The Iranian giant advanced to the ACL final with a 5-3 win on penalties against Al Nassr after the West Zone semifinal ended 1-1 in 120 minutes at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium on Saturday.
"In terms of where we are competition-wise, the objective at the end of the day is to measure our standard to the South African standard and see if we can meet it. We are not oblivious though, we have included six of our foreign-based players. They will bring in more drive and experience to add to that of our local players," he concluded.
"They are a strong team. Our young players seemed to be a bit afraid of that in the first half, while making some adjustments after the break," Tianjin coach Liu Hao commented, also hoping that his side can progress and improve after the loss. Enditem
Next up for the 33-year-old is Russia's world No. 16 Karen Khachanov. Djokovic owns a 3-1 lead in the head-to-head record against Khachanov but the latter won the pair's previous encounter in Paris - at the 2018 Paris Masters when the Russian claimed a straight-set win in the final to clinch the biggest title of his career until now.
The French midfielder fired Marseille in front in the 16th minute from Florian Thauvin's pass, squeezing a shot between goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and the foot of the post for his first goal of the season.
Having qualified for only one of the previous four World Cups, Uruguay reached the semifinals of the 2010 tournament in South Africa and also made it to the knockout stages of both the 2014 and 2018 editions.
As for player updates, Germany's Han Ying enters the action at the Women's World Cup in place of Australia's Melissa Tapper, and Germany's Patrick Franziska replaces Australia's Hu Heming to participate in the Men's World Cup. Enditem
"It was a very strong and tough defense. They played with a lot of contacts, and it was not easy to score, with a lot of turnovers and missed shots," he commented. Enditem
Clubs like Bayern had to accept a substantial loss in quality after the departures of Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool), Philippe Coutinho (back to Barcelona), and Ivan Perisic (Inter).
"All the time I kept myself in the back to attack when I needed to," said Kitata. "When I went, I tried to push the pace more than before. I went into the last lap to beat the others."
Amaju Pinnick, the NFF president, said with the appointment of a new head coach, he's confident that the new technical crew would take the women's team to brand new heights.