Saudi Arabia sweating on Al Shamrani fitness

Nasser Al Shamrani faces a race against time to be fit for Saudi Arabia's Asian Cup opener with China on Saturday.

Head coach Cosmin Olaroiu, who only took charge last month, stated that the AFC Player of the Year aggravated an old injury in a 2-0 friendly defeat to South Korea last Sunday.

Subsequently the Al Hilal striker may be forced to sit out when Saudi Arabia start their Group B account in Brisbane.

"He had some problems against Korea," said Olaroiu.

"It's something he had before. Our medical staff has tried to improve him but we will see. We still have time."

Olaroiu may have only been in the job for a short period of time, but the Romanian, who acknowledges the challenge posed by China, does not believe that will adversely affect the three-time champions.

"We have to face the strongest opponent in the group in the first game," he added.

"I saw them, they are a very strong team. They've changed a lot from the qualification games but they have a very good coach, they are organised and we're going to have a difficult game.

"We'll try to fix some problems we have had in the last few days. We'll try to be in the best shape we can in the first game. Of course at this level, they are all good. We cannot say that one is stronger than the other one.

"The time I have spent until now has helped me a lot in understanding the players and how they play. Of course any coach wants to have more time to prepare the team. We have had this short time together and I will try to do my best."