Make no mistake - the touchpaper was lit at Parramatta Stadium when Abbas was jeered off the park with a knee injury so bad, Graham Arnold seriously doubted whether he would return.
For 14 long months Abbas has worked his proverbial socks off and all the while, 16 January 2016 has been in his sights - the return to Wanderland.
The sight of "Ali Abbas - knee (indefinite)" was a regular one on Sydney FC's squad submissions, but his return against Newcastle Jets last weekend, and his goosebump-inflicting, tear-jerking goal, was nothing short of triumphant.
He will grace the turf of Parramatta Stadium again, like he said he would, and for one of the game's most likeable characters this is a triumph of sheer will.
The derby sub-plot aside, Abbas is the man to pep-up Sydney's oddly flat season.
Their absence of a lethal no.9 means the good work of Milos Ninkovic and Filip Holosko, who are both hitting their stride, has gone unrewarded and Sydney's play has often spluttered and stuttered in the final third.
Ninkovic and Holosko are new too, and while Marc Janko scored his way straight into the hearts of the Sydney FC faithful, aside from club legend Alex Brosque, this season's team is a side short on heroes - short of a crowd favourite to really bring together the supporters.
The Iraqi was a crowd favourite even before his stoushes with Sydney's enemies in red and black, but his cameo at ANZ Stadium was a reminder of his quality on the park.
Tricks, flicks, stepovers, a directness and desire to influence the game lit up what had been another flat performance that only occasionally threatened to spark to life.
The roar when Abbas scored was a reminder of what he brings to Sydney FC both on the park and in the terraces.
Abbas is back and he alone can make the difference.