Despite three losses in a row coming into the season, Wuhan coach Li Xin expressed her satisfaction in some respects.
However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has not been able to win a major trophy at international level; a gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics notwithstanding. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar might be his last chance to change that.
Alvaro Ordiozola will continue at right back after Dani Carvajal suffered a knee injury on Friday that will sideline him for a couple of months, while Ferland Mendy will likely return on the left after being rested in the narrow midweek win at home to Valladolid.
As one of title contenders going into the current campaign, Xinjiang was back on a winning track following its defeat to Sichuan in Thursday's opener.
Dilana took center stage early on by scoring seven points in a row, while Yang Shuyu provided much-needed help beyond the arc. The duo combined for 17 points in the first quarter to propel Dongguan to a 22-13 advantage.
After both exchanged serves in the following two games, a more experienced Zhang then delivered a dominant performance in the tie-break to seal the first set.
Jiangsu's 8-0 run to start the game forced Tianjin into an early timeout. Tianjin lost too many defensive rebounds to provide their opponents with second chance baskets, digging a 29-7 hole for themselves after the first quarter.
"I've had two fantastic years here at Sydney FC and have cherished every moment of my life in Australia," he said.
A second-quarter surge helped Xinjiang take over down the stretch over Wuhan. Although falling behind 23-21 early, they forged a 38-25 advantage entering the second half, including six points from Wang Lili.
Without Li Yueru protecting the rim, Hebei trimmed the deficit to six points midway through the second quarter, but it was the closest they would come. Li responded by scoring eight points from the bench. Inner Mongolia held their nerve to build a 46-31 halftime lead.
The Schalke coach's options seem limited due to financial uncertainty and the transfer window closing this Monday at midnight.