'Play as if this is the last game we ever play' - Auckland City FC solely focused on first Club World Cup match

Forward Fabrizio Tavano is relishing his second stint with Auckland City as the Navy Blues prepare to tackle yet another Club World Cup.

Auckland meet UAE team Al Jazira in their first match early tomorrow in the United Arab Emirates, with the winner advancing to the quarter-finals against Japan team Urawa Red Diamonds

Tavano was a key figure in Auckland's run to a bronze medal win over Cruz Azul in Morocco three years ago, and has returned after a short spell in Mexican football with Tigres de la UANL in 2015.

The 24-year-old played as a centre forward for the Navy Blues following the injury to star striker Joao Moreira during that tournament and shone brightly.

He doesn't get carried away by those past successes, however, and says the key to putting together a winning start is purely down to focus.

"I don't think about what happens in the Club World Cup outside of the first game. The other possibilities don't come to my mind. I just focus on playing the first game as if it will be the last game I ever play in my life," he said.

"We know the first game is always the most important game and we will be giving more than 100 per cent to win it.

"If we get a good result against Al Jazira, OK, then we look at what happens next. At the moment there is no other team, no other game, only Al Jazira."

Tavano says Al Jazira, the UAE league title winners, present a difficult challenge with a different style of play.

"We need to be focused and play them as if this is going to be the last game we ever play in our lives."

Fabrizio Tavano says thoughts of playing teams like Real Madrid are well out of the picture - Al Jazira is the only team that matters. Source: Supplied


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Watch: Serbian striker whips out sensational volley from nowhere for goal of the year candidate

It had been nearly two months since his last goal, but Petar Skuletic showed it was well worth the wait after he scored a mesmerising goal in Turkish side Genclerbirligi's win over Sivasspor on the weekend.

The 27-year-old has struggled for form this season having only scored twice in the first 13 games of the season.

His club was also in a rut sitting last on the Super Lig table going into Sunday's clash against their mid-table opponent, but it took just 12 minutes for Skuletic to give himself and his teammates some hope with a sensational volley goal.

A long ball from defence was flicked towards Skuletic, who then turned towards goal and trapped the ball with his left foot, keeping it in the air in doing so.

With the defence stepping away from him, the Serbian striker juggled the ball off his left thigh before slamming it him with a blazing left-footed volley into the top right corner.

It was Skuletic's first goal since late October, with his team going on to win 4-0.


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Ex-All Whites coach Anthony Hudson confirmed as Major League Soccer manager

Former All Whites coach Anthony Hudson hasn't had to wait too long to get back into his work, today appointed the new manager of American Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids.

Hudson, 36, left his position as All Whites manager last week, having crashed to a 2-0 defeat in the intercontinental play-off with Peru for next year's World Cup.

The American-born Brit was today confirmed as the Rapids' new boss, introduced at the club's DSG Park.

"It's an exciting moment and a wonderful opportunity," Hudson said in a statement

"From the start, I was impressed by the club's culture, front office and vision for the future. I believe we share a philosophy, and now it's just a matter of going out and getting the results that both this club and community deserve."

Colorado were in desperate need of a new manager, finishing second to last in the MLS' Western Conference last season.

All Whites Coach Anthony Hudson
Former All Whites Coach Anthony Hudson Source: Photosport


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