Syria told to focus on ensuring victory against Jordan after opening draw against Palestine

Stange is only too aware Syria cannot afford another slip up against Jordan on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2019
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Syria told to focus on ensuring victory against Jordan after opening draw against Palestine

  • Syria could find no way past an obdurate Palestine side in Sharjah.
  • Draw ensured Palestine secured their first ever point in the Asian Cup.

LONDON: Syria coach Bernd Stange has told his players to focus on winning their next match against Jordan after they were held 0-0 by Palestine on Sunday.
The Syrians were strongly fancied to beat their neighbors but were unable to find a way past Noureddine Ould Ali’s men in Sharjah. That now means Stange’s team have to get a result against Jordan on Thursday to have a chance of progression to the knockout stages.
“Looking back at the game, we tried to do everything. We changed the system and increased the pressure but we didn’t come through,” said Stange.
“We have a strong starting XI and a equally strong bench with Mohammed Osman, Yousef Kalfa and other players but we were playing against a wall of a very organized Palestinian team.”
The German, though, was quick to praise his opposite number, Noureddine Ould Ali and his players for the way they took on Omar Khribin and Co.
“You must give respect when it is due and you must respect the tactics of your opponents. They (Palestine) played very well and made it hard for us to find the target.
“My players are very disappointed with the result. They wanted to give their best for Syria but it’s difficult to play these kind of teams, when they play compact football.
“I can’t blame anybody, just my team for not using at least a handful of clear chances to score. That’s why we are more disappointed.
“That’s football. One-way football over 90 minutes did not bring the result, the three points, we wanted to achieve. And now we have to look forward to the next match against Jordan.”


Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori get ready to serve up the action in Dubai championship

Updated 23 February 2019
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Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori get ready to serve up the action in Dubai championship

DUBAI: With the women’s tournament now over for another year, it is the turn of the men to wow the crowds in Dubai, with the men’s ATP event getting underway in the emirate this weekend.
The tournament has traditionally attracted some of the biggest names in the sport, with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray all having played in the past.
The 2019 entry list is no different, with Roger Federer, Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori, Karen Khachanov and Stefanos Tsitsipas all on show this week.
World No. 6 and top-seeded Nishikori will get his tournament up and running against Frenchman Benoit Paire, while second seed Roger Federer — seven-time champion in Dubai who last won the title in 2015 — will face German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Croatian Marin Clilc has arguably the toughest opening match against the recent Rotterdam Open winner Gael Monfils.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, who shocked Federer at the Australian Open, begins his campaign against the Australian Matt Eden.
Other notable first round ties see Tomas Berdych up against Aljaz Bedene and last year’s champion Roberto Bautista Agut playing India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Federer, apart from chasing an eighth title in what is likely to be his Swanson in Dubai, will also be hoping for victory next weekend to claim his 100th title on the ATP tour.
Nishikori, however, will be out to stop the Swiss ace and claim the $565,000 winner’s prize and his second title of the year having won the Brisbane International last month.