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Thread: [FM11]Deltablue Rising II: Delta's Darlings.

  1. #401
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    Great going so far hopefully you can maintain it.

  2. #402
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    Excellent results so far,hope you can keep Zilina at bay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    A good run of form and a pretty emphatic win over Zilina
    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Some cracking results there. Good work .
    Quote Originally Posted by powells_red_army View Post
    Great going so far hopefully you can maintain it.
    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Excellent results so far,hope you can keep Zilina at bay.
    It's fine at the moment, but will probably get much closer soon.

    Nov/Dec 2036
    Senec 1-3 Michalovce (D1)
    We faced plenty of pressure, including a disallowed goal, at Senec. Abdul gave us the lead after 40 minutes, but they quickly equalized after the break. We didn’t have much attacking energy even after they had a player send off. Abdul was just about the only one of our players showing any life, and a late penalty from him restored the lead. Bilek did wake up as well to give us a 3rd in stoppage time.

    Liptovsky Mikulas 1-0 Michalovce (SC QF)
    We played Liptovsky Mikulas in the cup quarter final, away at first. Unfortunately Abdul went from hero to zero. Aside from a few late chances for us, his own-goal in the second half was the only event of a very lifeless game.

    Banska Bystrica 2-3 Michalovce (D1)
    Mballa getting flu forced one of a few changes I made to go to Banska, one of the tougher games of the season, but it worked. Kessou’s penalty gave us a 4th minute lead, but we didn’t do much else until they equalized after half an hour. We made a bit of a breakthrough early in the second half, Petrus and Bilek giving us a 3-1 lead, but though they got a goal back with 10 minutes left, we managed to avoid facing late pressure.

    Zilina 1-1 Michalovce (D1)
    Next was the game I wasn’t looking forward to, going to Zilina. While we’d still be top if we lost, a point’s lead would be nothing. Our 5 previous away league encounters had all been lost, conceding 23 goals and scoring just 4, which was also the least (and the usual) they scored every time. The early pressure wasn’t as bad as I expected, and in a pretty even first half, Kessou gave us the lead shortly before the break. They threw some more chances at us in the second half, again they’d done much worse in the past, but easily deserved the equalizer they got in the 79th minute.

    Michalovce 2-0 Trvana (D1)
    Bilek gave us the lead against Trnava in the 19th minute, but we had some chances from them to deal with before half-time. Abdul gave us a second goal in the 49th minute but otherwise we weren’t really on top of this one.

    Michalovce 4-0 (4-1) Liptovsky Mikulas (SC QF)
    I was confident that we could overcome the deficit when we played Liptovsky Mikulas in the home leg of the cup. It proved to be pretty easy. Bilek gave us the lead in the 12th minute, with Amoako following 5 minutes later. We seemed pretty satisfied with that, sitting back until late on where another Bilek goal, and Petrus, secured a 4-0 win with 10 minutes left.

    Michalovce 4-0 Kosice (D1)
    The last game before the break was against Kosice, who we would also play in the cup semi finals in April. On the evidence of this encounter they would be no trouble at all. Kessou pulled the strings in a man of the match performance to mark his 100th league appearance for us. Bilek gave us the lead after 17 seconds. Abdul extended the lead after 15 minutes, and in the second half Vagner (the right-back, not the winger) and Duris made it 4-0. That said, they had a very strong second half and could have had a goal or two.

    League Table

    Next up, ACN 2037...

  4. #404
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    Great record so far!

  5. #405
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    Still going great!

  6. #406
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    Still going strong. Good work .

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Great record so far!
    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    Still going great!
    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Still going strong. Good work .
    Thanks, still ages to go though, and already missed out on one of the two trophies I really wanted...

    ACN 2037
    I was pretty confident about doing well at the ACN in Angola, though after two final defeats I very much wanted to win this one, as hard as that would be. The past couple of years, I had noted the range of African nations who had a player in the World Player of the Year shortlist (Gabon had probably the best) with no Ghanaians. But we still had some very strong players, and great depth with a number of players either emerging or in their prime, and that combination had proved excellent, though admittedly not against strong opposition. Botswana (who we lost once to), being the only good side, however even given the lack of quality we faced, we’d managed some strong wins, including with less-than-full strength sides in friendlies, 9-0 over Swaziland being the last one. We were in a group with the hosts, Morocco (who we squeaked by in the quarter finals last time), and Congo.

    Ghana 2-2 Morocco (ACN)
    Morocco were first, they were favourites for the match, but we dominated early on. Frimpong had a goal disallowed in the 10th minute, before giving us the lead in the 17th. They suddenly pushed us heavily afterwards, but Owusu gave us a second against the run of play in the 35th minute. They kept it up after half-time, getting a goal back in the 57th minute, and equalizing in the 76th, reflecting an exciting and even game.

    Ghana 6-1 Angola (ACN)
    We were rather livelier against the hosts. Frimpong scored after a few minutes. They came close a few times to equalize, but the game turned in stoppage time when Diallo and Owusu got a quick pair of goals to give us a 3-goal lead. We kept it up in the second half. Owusu completed his hat-trick with two more goals (the second one, a penalty) by the hour mark, then after they got a goal back, the other Owusu, a full-back, scored to round off a 6-1 win.

    Ghana 6-1 Congo (ACN)
    Congo had lost both games, but still had a few incredibly strong players. They may have had Real Madrid’s star midfielder, but we had Frimpong, who scored a brace in the first half an hour. Abbey set Owusu up in the 36th minute. The forwards bagged an extra goal each between the 60th and 75th minutes (with a Congo goal in between), and chasing another, in the last minute a Gyamfi cross was deflected into their goal.

    Ghana 1-2 Ivory Coast (ACN QF)
    The quarter-finals would see us face the Ivory Coast. It didn’t help that we had our key midfielder Taylor injured for a month and a half against Congo. They scored in the 11th minute, and while we looked good to equalize, they suddenly hit us with another just before the half-hour mark. We rallied well in the second half. Frimpong got a goal back in the 76th minute, and we had a good go but couldn’t quite equalize. After 2 final defeats we got nowhere near this time, and again strong performances early on counted for nothing as we couldn't do it often enough.

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  8. #408
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    This is going down to the wire!

    Feb/Mar 2037
    Presov 2-2 Michalovce (D1)
    Amoako had been sold over my head during the winter break, but I knew we could cope until the summer, when we would also be losing Abdul. In the first half at Presov we were very comfortable, Petrus scored after 22 minutes, and Bilek added to it in the 40th. They fought back well in the second half, scoring a 54th minute penalty, then a rather more questionable one in the 73rd minute to grab a share of the points.

    Michalovce 6-0 Petrzalka (D1)
    We bounced back against winless Petrzalka in style. Petrus scored, in the 1st minute, and Duris in the 3rd. Duris completed a hat-trick by the 50th minute. Helcelet (the main beneficiary of Amoako’s departure) headed in a 58th minute goal, and Bilek wrapped it up in the 73rd minute.

    Ruzomberok 0-2 Michalovce (D1)
    Ruzomberok often give us a tough time, but when we went to theirs this time it thankfully wasn’t the case. Kessou scored a penalty in the 20th minute, soon having another goal disallowed. We were always likely to get another though, Petrus getting it in the 48th minute. They had a player sent off late on but they weren’t much of a threat anyway.

    Dubnica 0-3 Michalovce (D1)
    The second Dubnica trip was rather less exciting than the first one on the opening day. Kessou had a goal disallowed in the first half, having failed to establish any sort of dominance. Kocian gave us the lead right on the stroke of half-time, and that woke us up more. Duris scored in the 73rd minute, and with a few minutes left, Bilek’s goal made it look far more comfortable than it had any right looking.

    Uganda 1-2 Ghana (WCQ)
    Internationals returned with the first game of the final World Cup qualifying group. After the ACN failures, and not qualifying for the last World Cup (having only got two away points in the final stage), I definitely wanted to make it this time. Nigeria would be tough, but while they beat us in the ACN final 2 years ago, they didn’t make it out of the group (admittedly they had the toughest one) this year, Uganda and DR Congo would be less so but we couldn’t afford to slip up. The first game was in Uganda. We battered on their door for what seemed like an eternity before Owusu finally scored in the 67th minute. They was quickly followed by a Diallo header. They got a goal back but otherwise it was a one-way traffic game that should have yielded a far bigger win.

    Michalovce 2-0 Nitra (D1)
    We maintained our stride in the league against Nitra. Duris scored first in the 17th minute, Kovac heading in another just before the break. They had a handful of chances in the second half, but Bilek’s goal 15 minutes from time wrapped up an easy win.

    League Table

    Apr 2037
    Michalovce 2-0 Senec (D1)
    Kessou had already broken the record for most assists in a season, as well as having scored a few, and he got another in the 39th minute against Senec. Duris playing poorly and Bilek going off injured meant that there were unlikely to be any more. A few minutes from time, they had a diving header ruled out, and Yakubu struck almost immediately to make it safe.

    Slovan Bratislava 1-2 Mchalovce (D1)
    The defenders took centre-stage against Slovan. Kovac gave us the lead in the 18th minute, quickly went off injured for Valenta, who extended the lead in the 24th minute. Both assisted by Petrus who appeared to be racing Kessou for assists this season, as he beat the record that had stood just one match. We were far less steady in the second half. They caught us napping after an hour, but while they came reasonably close to equalizing, they didn’t do enough to earn it.

    Kosice 4-2 Michalovce (SC SF)
    We went to Kosice for the first match of the cup semi-finals. Abdul was injured just a few minutes in, but Duris still gave us an 8th minute lead. They equalized almost immediately, and then the defence just had a massive collective failure as they got two more. Duris got one back just before half-time, but the defence let us down again to give them 4th goal in an otherwise even second half, giving us a big task in the home leg.

    Michalovce 1-1 Banska Bystrica (D1)
    From that we faced a tough match with Banska, and heads dropped when they took the lead in the 13th minute. It was a pretty even game, and after a lot of trying, Yakubu got the late goal that would keep us top, though only on head-to-head results.

    Trnava 5-2 Michalovce (D1)
    Keeping it that way would be tougher when we went to 3rd placed Trnava. They scored after just a few minutes, and again we were sitting ducks defensively as they took a 3-0 lead by half-time. A red card for Valenta meant things promised to get worse. They got a 4th goal before Kessou got one back in the 62nd minute, and after it became 5-1, Duris got the last goal of the game with a couple of minutes left. The following day, Zilina hammered Senec 7-0 to go 3 points clear ahead of our last encounter the following weekend.

    Michalovce 2-2 (4-6) Kosice (SC SF)
    Before that, we had the second leg against Kosice, making it 2 games to save our season. Petrus got us off to a good start in the first minute, giving us the lead. We thought we had gained the away goals advantage in the 22nd minute only to see Yakubu’s goal disallowed. They equalized soon after. A Kessou penalty restored the lead in the 53rd minute, but we still needed another. Instead they levelled the scores again, cancelling out the away goals, and as much as we tried we couldn’t score another goal to get close. Having made the final in each of my three full seasons in charge, we failed to make it 4.

    Michalovce 3-2 Zilina (D1)
    It didn’t bode well for the Zilina game. Duris gave us the lead in the 10th minute, but after that we faced the usual high pressure from Zilina, and they equalized before the half-hour mark, though their goalscorer generously put the ball in his own net just before half-time to restore our lead. Luptak unfortunately repaid the favour after an hour, but Kessou soon restored the lead, which we kept despite incredible late pressure. We were now top again on head-to-head, but the games against us were the only league points they’d dropped since September(!!!!!) so any more from us could likely cost us the title. While there we a couple games where we might drop points (mainly Kosice away, but also bogey side Ruzomberok at home), all 12 points from the remaining 4 games looked realistic.

    League Table

  9. #409
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    Everyone loves a tense and exciting title race! Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Everyone loves a tense and exciting title race! Good luck!
    Not sure I do This one went down to the final few minutes.

    May/June 2037
    Kosice 0-3 Michalovce (D1)
    We wanted revenge on Kosice for our cup exit. We had a nervy start as they were on top early on, while Zilina already had the lead in their game, but their dirty ways were their undoing. They had a player sent off after 22 minutes, soon followed by Petrus converting a free-kick, then scoring another goal in the 33rd minute. The numbers were levelled when Duris got sent off for a second yellow after the break, but Bilek (mercifully back from injury) made it 3-0 after an hour. After that they had a few patches of attacking threat, but we were safe enough and soon saw them off to comfortably maintain the winning margin.

    Michalovce 4-0 Presov (D1)
    We were all over Presov at home. Bilek scored after 10 minutes, and though they had a few early chances, Abdul extended the lead in the 20th minute. Bilek was the star, getting another in the 26th minute, then finishing off his hat-trick with a penalty early in the second half, and there were many chances for a 5th. This against a side who were one of the ones I feared early on.

    Petrzalka 0-2 Michalovce (D1)
    If Presov weren’t a problem, I didn’t expect much trouble from a trip to Petrzalka, who were set to go down without a single win, though they had held Zilina on the opening day. However we were very uninspired. First we kept throwing away chances, then we had fairly few to throw away. Petrus came to the rescue in the 73rd minute. They had a couple of chances to equalize and spoil the party, but a free-kick was headed in by Vyborny with 5 minutes left.

    Michalovce 2-1 Ruzomberok (D1)
    That just left the final day. A home game against the side in 10th may seem easy, but Ruzomberok were a side we somehow struggled against rather a lot (though we still sometimes found them as easy a win as you’d expect). It’s fair to say this would be a very bad time for that to happen again. We raced to try and get the lead before they had the chance to play party-poopers. We thought Yakubu had done it in the 15th minute only to see it chalked off. We kept at it for a while, but then faded. Then they scored in the 68th minute. Petrus rallied, and equalized 5 minutes later, but I knew we’d need the win. As time ran out, Petrus snatched the goal we needed with just a couple of minutes left! He had been one of the players I inherited (one of only four left), had survived being replaced by Tetteh and Abbey, had kept his supposed replacement Vagner out of the side for most of the season, and had utterly shone. Only Duris would have been a more fitting player to grab the win.

    Final League Table

    Ghana 2-1 Nigeria (WCQ)
    It wasn’t quite the end, as there was still a key home international against Nigeria, probably the most important of the 6 matches. We managed to be the better side from the start, but not for the first-time, we showed a tendency to misfire when it mattered. Owusu was especially poor, up against a fellow Lyon forward on the other side, and missed a penalty in the 65th minute. Eshun gave us the lead just afterwards, and while they soon equalized, Adamu headed in a corner with 79th minute, and we managed to hold on.

    I could scarcely believe it! I wasn’t so much excited as relieved. This was the best chance we’d ever have to topple Zilina and it would have been truely crushing to fail and end the season with nothing (having had high ACN hopes as well)., knowing we wouldn’t really be able to match it next year. They had a slow start, but after that were relentless, winning every game against everyone else after September, so as I feared, any points dropped meant them closing in, even avoiding anything that could be considered a downturn in form wasn’t enough. Thankfully 2 wins and a draw against them was just enough, and the league rules. They would have won if goal difference had been the decider.

    Small nations are generally seen as being easier and less impressive to win. In this case I’m not going to hear a word of it. Just as reminder that Zilina had won the previous 25 titles by an average of 12.5 points each. If that’s not a tough title challenger to overcome I don’t know what is. Plus there was the chasm of budgets, which I had the chance to see in detail when I was offered their job a couple of years ago. To say I’m operating on a 1/10 of their budget is probably understating the gap.

    It was the club’s first title (and mine), and there’s something special not just about that achievement, but topping a club who had been as dominant as Zilina, who would now have to start their run all over again. I didn’t really expect a repeat next year, but I’d enjoy it for years to come. I’d also decided that next season would be my last in Slovakia, before leaving at the end of my contract, and chances were I’d receive an offer before that that I’d delay and accept at the end of the year.

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  11. #411
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    Congrats on the league title!

  12. #412
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    Congrats on the title

  13. #413
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    pleased to see you topple Zilina, bet you're more pleased that Slovakia has never introduced goal difference as the method of separating teams though!

  14. #414
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    Well done winning the league!

  15. #415
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    Not impossible after all! Well done.

  16. #416
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    Fantastic, congratulations!

  17. #417
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    Brilliant work winning the league .

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Congrats on the league title!
    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Congrats on the title
    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    Well done winning the league!
    Quote Originally Posted by ShanghaiNugget View Post
    Not impossible after all! Well done.
    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post
    Fantastic, congratulations!
    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Brilliant work winning the league .
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    pleased to see you topple Zilina, bet you're more pleased that Slovakia has never introduced goal difference as the method of separating teams though!
    This isn't the first time this career that the rules have come to the rescue, anyone remember my Sportist promotion? That happened due to one club in the top three being officially a feeder, so 4th place (which was us, on goal difference ironically) went up. Anyway, it genuinely feels like something to be proud of. Zilina can win the next 25 for all I care now.

    Summer 2037
    There was an odd feeling of relaxation around in the summer. Having won the title, I was just keen to enjoy it while it lasted, and enjoy what would be my last season at Michalovce. While a repeat title would be nice, I wasn’t feeling any weight of expectation to win it again, if Zilina kickstarted another run of titles, I wouldn’t mind too much, only if it looked really close late on would I really be eager to go out with another win. There were a few squad gaps to be plugged, indeed when I knew in January that I’d lose Abdul in the summer I moved straight away to secure a replacement. Having mostly left Africa alone for a couple of years, I focussed there a lot more early on, getting some gems, including a new first-choice keeper, and a couple who wouldn’t arrive until January.

    At first we had players rejecting moves, Kessou looked like going when the board accepted a bid from Colorado just before we clinched the title, but he rejected them twice. Ivanovic also rejected a move, but late July saw Kessou go eventually, then Duris looked out of the door, but thankfully chose Hapoel Tel-Aviv over Red Star, and the Israeli club already being maxed out on foreign players saw the transfer cancelled. Later in August Ivanovic looked like leaving again, along with Bilek (whu signed for the side who had just knocked us out of Europe on the very same evening), and both did, though Duris (the jewel in our crown) was kept, thanks to the board having far greater resistance to bids now, in fact we could have kept Bilek as well if the bid hadn’t come in just before the Ivanovic transfer had gone through, as I was able to reject another bid that came in for him afterwards.

    It was most frustrating, though having already decided to leave at the end of the year, I decided to just enjoy it and reach the 5-year mark rather than let it end like this.

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  19. #419
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    Excellent work

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raware View Post
    Excellent work
    Cheers.

    July 2037
    Michalovce 5-0 Kosice (SSC)
    The season started very early with the Super cup against Kosice. It still hurt that they beat us in the cup semis, denying us the chance of a double, so it was pleasing that they were so tame. Kessou had twice rejected moves to Colorado, and as he scored in the 18th minute, I was pleased that it looked like he was staying. Bilek quickly followed it up a few minutes later. Duris got a goal either side of half-time, and Kovac finished them off in the 70th minute, and it really was as easy as that.

    Dubnica 1-2 Michlovce (D1)
    We got some new arrivals before going to Dubnica for the opening league game. It was a surprisingly dull start, but late in the first-half, Duris and Petrus gave us a comfortable lead. In the second half they got a goal back but never looked like getting anything else.

    KR 1-4 Michalovce (CL Q2)
    The CL draw (in the second qualifying round) was more favourable then our Europa League draws were, and we got Iceland’s KR. We took control in the first-half, or rather Bilek did. He got a quick brace just before the 15-minute mark, and completed a hat-trick shortly before the half-hour. They got a goal back in the second half but Duris rounded off a great win after 70 minutes.

    Michalovce 4-1 Ruzomberok (D1)
    Duris took over the star role as Ruzomberok were far easier than they were in the title-clinching game. He would have had a hat-trick in the first 20 minutes of the third one hadn’t been awarded as an own-goal. Bilek finished our scoring before we were even 25 minutes in. They got a goal with 10 minutes left but that was irrelevant.

    Michalovce 6-0 (10-1) KR (CL Q2)
    In the home leg with KR, the goals kept coming. Bilek scored after just over a minute, then Duris grabbed a pair before the 20th minute, either side of a Khumalo penalty. Kovac made it 5 in the 50th minute and Duris wrapped up a hat-trick in the 80th minute, sending us through 10-1 on aggregate to face Hearts.

    Senec 1-1 Michalovce (D1)
    Unusually Senec had made a slow start, and when we paid them a visit Bilek gave us the lead in the 16th minute. However they equalized 5 minutes later, and were very much on top on the second half as we survived to get a point.

    Michalovce 1-3 Hearts (CL Q3)
    Kessou had finally gone when we played Hearts at home. It also looked like it would be Duris’ last game. We tentatively proved them before their superiority told and they took the led just before the break. They got another in the second half, before Khumalo got sent off. Yakubu actually got a goal back but they easily got a third.

    Aug 2037
    Michalovce 2-0 Presov (D1)
    We still had Duris when we played Presov, but he wasn’t himself, and we struggled to do anything for most of the game. Kovac headed us the lead in the 73rd minute, Bilek adding to it 4 minutes later, but those goals were the only real sign of life in a game that otherwise would have petered out into a draw.

    Hearts 1-0 (4-1) Michalovce (CL Q3)
    In Scotland, Petrus went off injured in the 21st minute, but otherwise we survived the first half unscathed. They pretty much confirmed our exit when they scored in the 58th minute, but we at least stopped them getting more, as hard as they tried.

    Zilina 6-0 Michalovce (D1)
    We had two away games with Zilina this season, and now had the first. They had a goal disallowed in the 2nd minute, but still surged to a 4-0 lead at the break, as it was clearly a return to ‘business as usual’. We held them off for most of the second half but grabbed two more late on.

    Michalovce 3-1 Trnava (D1)
    We hoped to pay Trvana back for the heavy defeat last time. Duris got us off to a great start in the 12th minute, but they soon levelled it. We pushed hard in the second half before Duris restored the lead in the 57th minute. We kept on going and Bilek made it safe in the 72nd minute.

    Michalovce 0-0 Banik Ostrava (EL Q4)
    In the Europa League, we faced Banik Ostrava, at home in the first leg. Antonio was most excellent in goal, in the way that M’Balla never was, keeping them at bay while we conducted regular raids on their goal. It would have been great to grab a cheeky winner, but I was definitely delighted to have shown such resilience.

    Michalovce 6-1 Kosice (D1)
    Before the second leg, we played Kosice. Helcelet headed us into the lead in the 6th minute. They equalized a few minutes later but then the floodgates opened. Duris and Bilek (getting what could be his last goal for the club) made it 3-1 by half an hour. Vagner (finally getting his chance on the wing after Petrus’ injury) scored in the first minute of the second half, and got another after the hour mark, just after Helcelet’s own second goal. In the midst of so much frustration over the board looking like selling players, it was a nice reminder of how much I liked my Michalovce side.

    Banik Ostrava 3-0 (3-0) Michalovce (EL Q4)
    Ivanovic had gone when we went to the Czech Rep. We were on the defensive again in the first half, but a penalty right before half-time broke us. With the defence collapsing, they easily got a 3-0 win. Just after that, they signed Bilek.

    Banska Bystrica 1-2 Michalovce (D1)
    We went to Banska, one of the strongest sides around in the past year or two, and went behind in the 11th minute, however set pieces came to the rescue, Farkas heading an equalizer just before the break. A Duris header in the 59th minute allowed us to grab a winner.

    League Table

    Sept 2037
    Mozambique 1-3 Ghana (ACNQ)
    Ghana provided a nice break from the off-field nonsense going on in Slovakia. It started at Mozambique in an ACN qualifier (Uganda and Botswana also in the group). We were generally on top, but they surprised us with a disallowed goal in the 22nd minute. We managed to take control, Frimpong and Owusu scoring a few minutes later. They still had chances, getting a goal back in the 57th minute, but Owusu secured it in the 86th minute.

    Ghana 3-2 DR Congo (WCQ)
    World Cup Qualifiers returned with home games against DR Congo and Uganda. Diallo headed us into the lead in the 6th minute against DR Congo, but they had an excellent attack, equalizing in the 12th minute later. They did it again after Gyamfi restored the lead in the 18th minute. Abbey got our 3rd goal after half an hour, and while we were on top, there were still many close scares.

    Ghana 3-0 Uganda (WCQ)
    If we beat Uganda, and Nigeria failed to beat DR Congo we’d secure our place in next year’s World Cup. Gyamfi scored in the 3rd minute. Frimpong extended the lead in the 16th minute. The score in the other game was still level at half-time. Adamu’s header made it 3-0 in the 54th minute, and with nothing happening for Nigeria, with two games left we secured our place at USA 2038!

    Michalovce 4-1 Nitra (D1)
    Having beaten Trnava (and Kosice), we wanted to get revenge on the other side who beat us last year, Nitra. Yakubu got us off to a good start in the 14th minute. Early in the second half, Farkas and an own-goal put it beyond them, and a Vagner penalty in the 84th minute gave us a 4th goal, though there was still time for them to get a consolation.

    Slovan Bratislava 3-1 Michalovce (D1)
    Slovan had recovered from a poor bottom-half season last year, and would be a tough trip. They scored in the 17th minute. We were generally second best, but equalized from Yakubu in the 42nd minute, just after having one disallowed. However they took the lead again in the 62nd minute, and later got a third.

    Dubravka 0-6 Michalovce (SC)
    We went to non-league Dubravka in the cup. Farkas gave us the lead after 30 second. Duris got another in the 15th minute, but even though they soon went down to 10 men, more goals weren’t forthcoming until another Duris effort just before half-time. He completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute, and got a 4th with 10 minutes left. Yakubu’s late penalty rounded off a 6-0 win.

    Michalovce 3-1 Dun. Streda (D1)
    At home to Dun Streda, an own-goal gave us the lead in the 21st minute. Drahno extended it in the 36th minute, and we romped home to another goal from Farkas in the 64th minute, despite an 80th minute consolation.

    League Table

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    Wow, that was a tense finish, last season. Turning out to be another humdinger this time too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Wow, that was a tense finish, last season. Turning out to be another humdinger this time too!
    Sadly it appears not.

    Oct 2037
    Michalovce 4-0 Dubnica (D1)
    At home to Dubnica we were in the odd situation of being on the back foot early on, but Duris struck in the 5th minute, and as we took control, Drahno (who was no Kessou, but was doing a decent job covering for his loss) extended the lead in the 44th minute. Yakubu stepped up to the mark in the second half, with a 57th minute penalty, and a goal from open play in the 85th.

    Ghana 5-0 Botswana (ACNQ)
    Another trio of internationals popped up, starting with Botswana at home in an ACN qualifier. We took them apart easily. Frimpong’s penalty after a minute set us on our way, Adamu headed in an Abbey cross in the 18th minute, before my former Michalovce player got a goal of his own in the 26th minute, and Owusu made it 4-0 before half an hour was up. We never really let the pressure off, but only got one more goal from Frimpong in the 74th minute.

    Nigeria 2-1 Ghana (WCQ)
    Trips to Nigeria and DR Congo in the World Cup qualifiers would be far tougher, so it was just as well that we were already guaranteed our qualification. In Nigeria, while we had our chances, they were very much on top in the first-half and eventually took the lead in the 40th minute. They kept at it in the second half while we countered to try and snatch an equalizer, and got another goal in the 70th minute. Only then could Frimpong score for us 5 minutes later.

    DR Congo 2-3 Ghana (WCQ)
    We wasted a good start in DR Congo and went behind after 20 minutes, an own-goal levelled it just before the break, and Frimpong gave us a 51st minute lead. They turned up the heat later on, equalizing in the 82nd minute, but Owusu snatched a winner with a couple of minutes left.

    Rusomberok 1-3 Michalovce (D1)
    Ruzumberok were surprisingly tame when we went to theirs, but being bottom with no wins will do that to even the most annoying side. Duris gave us a 14th minute lead, adding another in the 38th, and a long awaited 3rd came through a 71st minute own-goal. They started playing well after that, getting a quick goal back and might have got a second.

    Michalovce 4-1 Lucenec (SC)
    We had Lucenec at home in the cup. Duris scored in the 18th minute, followed by Yakubu a couple of minutes later. They pulled one back in the 34th minute, and the score was in danger of looking close, but Duris scored again in the 76th minute, and quickly completed a hat-trick with a penalty.

    Michalovce 3-2 Senec (D1)
    Duris was utterly on fire this season, with 23 goals in 22 games, and he added 2 more (already giving him the club record for most goals in a season) in the first 10 minutes against Senec (unfortunately then picking up a suspension-triggering yellow card). Things took a turn for the worst in the second half. In the first 10 minutes, they got a goal back, Vagner went off injured, Duris (already set for a suspension) got sent off for a second yellow, and they equalized. Thankfully a cross from very green left winger Jakubicka was turned in to their net in the 66th minute, but while we held out, it was at the cost of Drahno also going off injured, both wingers being out for a few weeks.

    Presov 1-1 Michalovce (D1)
    Without most of our attacking regulars, nothing happened in the first half at Presov. They had the occasional attacking burst in the second half, and it was surprising when Yakubu snatched a goal with 15 minutes left, not so much so when they soon equalized, but we still held out against further attacks to grab a point.

    League Table

    Nov/Dec 2037
    Michalovce 2-0 Humenne (SC QF)
    The cup quarter finals brought a home leg with non-league Humenne, who had our former player Stochl up front. Jakubicka gave us the lead in the second minute, but a goal disallowed for them a few minutes later was a sign that it would not be an easy victory. We still deserved another, which Duris got in the 64th minute.

    Michalovce 1-5 Zilina (D1)
    Zilina had only dropped points twice this season, so I wasn’t too bothered about trying to catch them. That was just as well as they were definitely reasserting their dominance. They had beaten us away already, we had another (probably fruitless) trip to come, and they looked odds on for a treble when they were all over us in our home game. They eventually scored in the 23rd minute, an own-goal extending it a few minutes before the break. Helcelet got one back in the 49th minute, but while we were up for more, they suddenly hit a third in the 55th minute, racing to a 5-1 win in the end. And Duris picked up another suspension, presumably his Senec sending off meant he stayed one yellow card away.

    Trnava 5-3 Michalovce (D1)
    A trip to Trnava didn’t start well, they took the lead in the first minute and extended it in the 7th. Rada and Yakubu scored to level it by the 15th minute. They retook the lead in the 23rd minute, and looked on top. Rada equalized in the 46th minute, the Argentine-Czech having been a back up since he arrived a few years ago, but taking his chance today, but it wasn’t enough, and they retook control with a pair of goals from the 67th minute to win 5-3.

    Humenne 2-4 (2-6) Michalovce (SC QF)
    We had the second leg at Humenne. They raced out of the blocks, having an early goal disallowed, but getting a 2-0 lead by the 14th minute, levelling the aggregate scores. We realized how embarrassing it would be to go out to them, and a pair of Yakubu goals before half-time levelled the scores in the night and put us in pole position again with a 2-goal lead in the tie and an away goals advantage. Rada have us the lead in the 66th minute, and Yakubu secured progress and his hat-trick in the 88th minute.

    Kosice 2-6 Michalovce (D1)
    We had another poor start when going behind at Kosice in the 2nd minute. An own goal in the 14th minute levelled it, then Duris returned to form with a first-half hat-trick, though later went off injured, missing the last game before the winter break. They dominated in the second half, getting a second goal in the 50th minute, and how we managed to stop them getting any more I’ll never know. We were rewarded with a pair of Rada goals in the last 5 minutes, making it look deceptively easy.

    Michalovce 1-4 Banska Bystrica (D1)
    The last game before the break was Banska at home. We definitely had an issue with starting slowly, going behind in the 18th minute. However this time we failed to get going afterwards. They extended the lead in the 32nd minute before Goore scored a goal back for us. That was our only bright spot. They got a third in the 53rd minute, and a controversial penalty finished us off in the 72nd minute.

    Meanwhile the World Cup draw hadn’t been too kind for Ghana. Costa Rica weren’t too difficult, Spain definitely were, and a very strong Russia side, highlighted the very high standard of a lot of international sides, and would make qualification a tricky task.

    League Table

    World Cup Draw

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    Just fallen off the pace. Still, at least you have no problems scoring.

    As for the World Cup...well, same old story. We get the Argies and Brazil get an easy group.

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    unlucky in European qualifiers and so far in the domestic league, hopefully you can stop conceding as many goals and grind out a few wins to catch Zilina up and over take Slovan Bratislava.

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    Kept up a good chase up until December. What's your attendances like?

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    Not too far off from the top. Think it's achievable to take it in the second half?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raware View Post
    Just fallen off the pace. Still, at least you have no problems scoring.

    As for the World Cup...well, same old story. We get the Argies and Brazil get an easy group.
    If I do get through the group, Brazil are who we (Ghana) will probably get so not expecting a long stay in the competition.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShanghaiNugget View Post
    Kept up a good chase up until December. What's your attendances like?
    Average of 4073 in the league, slightly more overall, which is most of a 4200 capacity, the highest percentage in the league. It's 7th highest in the league, with the next three above within 50%, 2nd and 3rd (Banska and Trnava) between 10,000 and 15,000, and Zilina racing away on over 31,000.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    unlucky in European qualifiers and so far in the domestic league, hopefully you can stop conceding as many goals and grind out a few wins to catch Zilina up and over take Slovan Bratislava.
    Not too worried about goals conceded, Zilina responsible for a lot of those anyway. You have to have the attacking power to take down just about everyone else to get close to them so that's really the only way to go to compete, except in games against them but they're too strong to try to contain even then. Definitely want to beat Slovan to second, Zilina on the other hand...

    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Not too far off from the top. Think it's achievable to take it in the second half?
    Nope. Zilina aren't in the habit of dropping points very much so even if we win most of our games we won't get that close to them I don't think. Still, I broke their run, am leaving at the end of the season, so just winding things down rather than being too worried about retaining the title.

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    Tought World Cup draw but Im sure you can make a good effort at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Tought World Cup draw but Im sure you can make a good effort at it.
    Hopefully, but Russia are seriously strong so not too confident.

    Feb/Mar 2038
    Nitra 0-0 Michalovce (D1)
    We returned with a trip to Nitra. Both sides struggled to get going in the first half, and when we woke up a bit in the second, we still failed to get that close to a goal so had to settle for a very dull 0-0.

    Michalovce 0-3 Slovan Bratislava (D1)
    We needed to step up and beat Slovan at home to retake pole position in the race for 2nd. On a less relevant note, a win would also give us an equal head-to-head record since the start of the game. We were bright enough in the first half that we had high hopes of taking the lead, but suddenly they hit us with a goal before the break (and another disallowed). That as our cue to collapse as they scored a couple of quick goals early in the second half to stroll to victory.

    Dun. Streda 0-2 Michalovce (D1)
    With 3rd place also under threat, we stepped back up a few gears at Dun Strada. Rada got us going in the 5th minute, with Khumalo adding another in the 19th. The defence took a hammering early in the second half. Goore got a harsh red card, Kovan had already gone off injured, and his replacement, Kovarik, also went off injured. If Kovanic (who came on for him) got arrested mid-game I wouldn’t be that surprised. Thankfully the local police stayed off the pitch, and Streda were far too weak to take advantage as we remained on top.

    There was definitely trouble in Slovak paradise. Aside from the recent form dip, Duris (who had been rubbish of late) would be following me out the door as given I’d alienated half the agents in the country but not letting them go and not giving them new deals just for that (always a problem with so many players much in demand), he wouldn’t sign a new deal and was confirmed to be going to Brugge. Then having told Goore (who hadn’t played much at the time) that he needed to earn a new deal (having ages to run on his current one anyway, which would be my usual response, he decided that just after being sent off was a good time to moan about claiming I’d broken a promise. I was starting to look forward to leaving so much more now.

    Dubnica 1-2 Michalovce (D1)
    We slightly surprisingly went down in the first half at Dubnica. It would have been an embarrassing defeat so we fought back, Yakubu equalizing in the 66th minute. We were still very much at risk of losing, but in the last 5 minutes Drahno and another Yakubu goal gave us a relieving win.

    Michalovce 3-2 Ruzomberok (D1) 200th Michalovce match!
    A home game with Ruzomberok was my 200th Michalovce game. We were on top in the first half, but had to wait until an own-goal in the 55th minute to make a breakthrough. Khumalo gave us another goal in the 76th minute. We looked home and dry but a pair of goals in the last few minutes somehow allowed them to draw level. Thankfully Helcelet headed us a last-gasp winner in stoppage time.

    Senec 0-4 Michalovce (D1)
    Going to Senec, we were unlikely to get a 4th straight win. I was very surprised to see very strong first-half, with Vagner converting a free-kick in the 6th minute, followed by a Drahno cross being converted by new Ghanaian forward Amadu in the 10th minute, and Amadu got another just a couple of minutes later. Mballa was back in goal as Antonio was away on international duty, and had a very easy time of it. Drahno even made it 4-0 at the end of the half. The second half passed very quietly.

    Uganda 1-3 Ghana (ACNQ)
    The day after, Ghana had a game in Uganda. We were just about on top in the first half, though conceded a sloppy goal near the end. In the second half Mohammed came off after 3 years on the sidelines, getting an almost immediate equalizer, and putting us ahead in the 61st minute. We were firmly in control now, and Frimpong gave us a final goal in the 78th.

    League Table

    Apr 2038
    Michalovce 2-2 Presov (D1)
    We hoped to add to the winning run against the least threatening Presov side (they were down in 10th) I had encountered. Yakubu looked like getting us on our way in the 5th minute. However we completely lost focus. They soon equalized, and we didn’t look like doing anything else until they took the lead in the 55th minute. Farkas at least gave us a point in the 68th minute though we pushed on and should have had more.

    Michalovce 3-2 Nitra (SC SF)
    We hoped to beat Nitra in the cup and reach a 4th final in 5 years. Drahno set us on our way in the home leg, scoring in the 9th minute, followed by Farkas in the 20th. After Amadu made it 3-0 in the 50th minute, they got a goal back, and threatened to get another, which they just managed to do in the 88th minute, so we weren’t home and dry yet.

    Zilina 6-2 Michalovce (D1)
    I expected a trip to Zilina to be a bit of a farewell hammering. They were perhaps tired by a run to the Europa League, but while they weren’t dominant in an even first half, they were no less efficient. They broke us in the 35th minute, then got two more before half-time. Drahno got a goal back in the 47th minute, but that was quickly followed by their 4th, and as the defence were overran, they cruised to a 6-2 win (Vagner getting our other goal after their 5th). Not sure I’d miss them too much.

    Michalovce 2-1 Trnava (D1)
    Despite losing Right-Back Vagner (as opposed to the Right-wing one) to injury in the first minute against Trnava, we kept attacking and were rewarded by going behind just before the break. We weren’t standing for that. Amadu equalized early in the second half, and Other Vagner gave us the lead after an hour. They were still very troublesome indeed, but we managed to stop them snatching anything.

    Nitra 1-2 (3-5) Michalovce (SC SF)
    We had the return leg against Nitra, and probed occasionally in the first half, managing to stop them getting too close. Just one goal would give them an away goals advantage, and they got it in the 52nd minute. A quick Amadu double after an hour turned the tide, and levelled the away goals situation as well as giving us a 2-goal lead in the tie. There were some hectic exchanges afterward but no more goals meant we were reasonably comfortably in the final to face Slovan Bratislava.

    Michalovce 3-0 Kosice (D1)
    Encouraged by this, we decided to take Kosice to the cleaners. Duris’ first goal for an age gave us a 10th minute lead. He set up Drahno to extend the lead before half an hour was up, and Kovac wrapped up a 3-0 win by the 40th minute.

    League Table

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    Probably fair to say the title is out of reach now, but hopefully you can grab 2nd, which would still be good.

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    Hopefully you can grab 2nd place.

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    2nd should be good and is a great achievement Best of luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShanghaiNugget View Post
    Probably fair to say the title is out of reach now, but hopefully you can grab 2nd, which would still be good.
    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Hopefully you can grab 2nd place.
    Sadly not, did get something better though.

    May 2038
    Banska Bystrica 1-2 Michalovce (D1)
    Banska Bystrica were able to threaten our 3rd place if we lost at theirs. After an edgy first-half, Rada gave us a 59th minute lead. Farkas added another a few minutes later. Banska got a goal back with 8 minutes left but otherwise we comfortably strode to win.

    Michalovce 1-0 Nitra (D1)
    Battling Slovan as we were for 2nd, there was great relief when Duris livened up a dull game at home to Nitra with a goal just before half-time. Though rather less so when he got sent off near the end. However we were strong enough on the day to deserve the win.

    Slovan Bratislava 5-1 Michalovce (D1)
    The penultimate game at Slovan was utterly crucial. With both sides wanting the win, we both went at each other, and it was Yakubu who broke the deadlock for us in the 25th minute. However we looked vulnerable and it wasn’t surprising that they equalized, in the 41st minute, just before having a goal disallowed. After an hour, the defence messed up and they got a pair of goals, strolling to a 5-1 win.

    Michalovce 3-2 Slovan Bratislava (SC Final)
    We needed to do a lot better when we played them in the cup final. Indeed we made the brighter start and Duris gave us the lead after 10 minutes. They equalized almost immediately, and the game quietened down a bit until we resumed the pressure, and a Vagner shot was turned in for an own goal. They levelled it again 5 minutes before the break. Duris gave us the lead for the 3rd time in the 47th minute, and we were just about on top for most of the second half, though had the obligatory late close chances to survive. It felt great to go out with a trophy win.

    Michalovce 5-0 Dun. Streda (D1)
    My last Michalovce game was at home to Dun Streda, and it turned into a fitting farewell party. Yakubu scored in the first minute. Vagner made it 2-0 in the 5th minute, and it became clear that we were headed for a big win. Yakubu scored again just before the half-hour mark, followed by Drahno 5 minutes later. Valenta headed in a corner in the 56th minute, and all that was missing was a Duris goal, that being his last game for the club, having made his debut at the beginning of my first season, and giving us 102 goals (33 this season) in 149 appearances.

    Final League Table

    I had mixed feelings about my last year at Michalovce. Despite off-pitch troubles it had mostly been a very strong season, with the exception of a poor middle stint which cost us 2nd, and even a crack at 1st given that Zilina faded a bit in the Spring. I felt liberated by the lack of pressure and expectation, and was delighted to go out with a second cup win from a 4th final in my 5 years there. However now was most definitely the time to go out. It’s all been rather lovely.

    Cup Final

    Squad Stats

    And so it’s ‘Farewell Slovakia’. For the most part it was a fantastic 5 years, in terms of matches (though not seasons) my longest stint at a club yet (212 matches, about 10 more than Sportist, where I was at for a season longer). However from early on it was clear I could already do better than a 12kpw wage budget and 4200 capacity (plus having to face such a local Goliath as Zilina). Biding my time, winning a couple of cups and piping Zilina to the title, all the club’s first major trophies, had been very worthwhile, and opened far greater doors than early on.

    Recently I had been favourite for Serie B and Adelante clubs as big as Torino and Betis (and to a lesser extent, Bilbao, Reggina and Brescia), then a couple of big, rich Russian clubs, ensuring a good job at that level league at least, even Werder Bremen in February, and while I wasn’t favourite, at least linked to Marseille and Arsenal. That was before the last cup with which boosted my rep to ‘Continental’. While I felt the big clubs were still out of reach, it seemed clear to me that there was still a great opportunity out there with my name on it. The post World Cup manager changes might yield something.

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    World Cup 2038
    Ghana 1-0 Mozambique (ACNQ)
    Before the World Cup began, we first faced a useful warm-up in the form of an ACN qualifier against Mozambique. We had a few injuries up front, but were expected to still win comfortably. We had consistent, though not very intense, pressure throughout the game, but found scoring a rather different matter. Mohammed scored the only goal of the game in the 77th minute to considerable relief. Unfortunately one of our first-choice defenders, Diallo, went off injured and would miss most of the World Cup.

    So to the World Cup itself, held in the USA. We had a very tough group with Spain and Russia, but also the more manageable Costa Rica. The FA expected to reach the Second Round, I felt they were going to be disappointed. Thankfully we were pretty much at full strength.

    Ghana 2-1 Costa Rica (WC)
    We at least managed to open up with the easier Costa Rica game. For a lot of the first half, it looked only a matter for time until we converted pressure into the lead. However they struck instead in the 34th minute. We were able to fight back in the second half, Frimpong and Abbey giving us a quick pair of goals after an hour, but by that point they were a genuine threat, looking as likely to equalize as we were to get a third, but we got a hard-fought win, while the other game in the group was a draw.

    Ghana 0-2 Russia (WC)
    Russia would probably be the key game. We had most of what few chances there were early on, but sadly their superiority told and they took the lead after half an hour. A second half comeback was cruelly nipped in the bud when they got another in the 48th minute, and while we could have got a goal, we were clearly second-best after that.

    Ghana 2-1 Spain (WC)
    I doubted we’d get the win over Spain, one of the competition favourites, that we needed to progress. A couple of suspensions didn’t help either. Surprisingly they made a slow start, and an Owusu penalty gave us the lead in the 15th minute. As we kept probing, Adamu extended the led by heading in a corner in the 33rd minute. I’d faced too many Zilina games to rest easy though, especially as we had to get the win. It didn’t take many second half chances for them to get a goal back in the 55th minute, and my heart started really racing as they hit us with regular chances, getting pretty close late on, which was expected, while we had occasional chances to put it beyond them. It took all sorts of things, close shaves, last ditch-tackles, good saves, even a goal-line clearance or two, but we survived to get a fantastic win and progress!

    Ghana 1-0 Brazil (WC R2)
    I knew when the draw was made that if we scraped through in second, Brazil would await us, and so they did. I was even less confident than I was against Spain, but knew nothing was impossible. The game got off to a pretty slow start, the only time either side had a strong patch in the first half was later, and from them. They gradually picked up the chances in the second half, and it appeared like there would only be one winner, especially when Frimpong went off injured with 10 minutes left, leaving us a man down. However with a couple of minutes left, full-back Musah took advantage of a defensive mixup to head in a corner, and after facing a couple more Brazil chances, we pretty much stole the win, but I didn’t mind too much.

    Ghana 0-1 Holland (WC QF)
    Again we were on the tough side of the draw. Bosnia, Tunisia and Greece were still in, but we got Holland instead. Owusu had a goal disallowed in the 16th minute. We didn’t have too many chances after that, then they took the lead in the 31st minute. We still had a few brief phases of fight, and they had a goal disallowed of their own in stoppage time. The early phases of the second half went back and forth. We had an early burst, then they were awarded a penalty which our keeper Awal saved, then survived the goalmouth scramble that followed. We really went for it in the middle of the second half, and had another burst late on, and though we failed to grab a goal, we went out with heads held high.

    When I saw the draw I doubted we’d make it past the group, after losing to Russia I was sure we were heading out, I felt Brazil would get us if we did make it out, but somehow we managed to dispatch two sides I felt we wouldn't have a hope against. Just one of those wins would have made for an excellent world cup. Holland weren’t quite as strong as those two on paper, but while they were still too good, we certainly gave a good account of ourselves anyway, and the tournament in general as reaching the Quarters was always going to be seen as a good showing whoever we faced, and you can’t say we had it easy.

    World Cup Groups 1

    World Cup Groups 2

    World Cup Knockouts

    Someone was clearly taking notice, as even before the World Cup was over (but after we were out) I had a very surprising job offer landing in my inbox, that I didn't hesitate to accept. I knew I'd be able to get a reasonably good club when I left Slovakia but never expected one as big as this. For the club I was now manager of was... A.C. Milan!

    Admitedly they had been stuck in mid-table for at least a few years, so weren't as strong as the name suggests, but it was still quite something to get, and I was delighted.

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    BIG move to A.C Milan! Good luck getting them back to their former glory days!

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    WOW Quite a move from Slovakia to AC Milan,good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    BIG move to A.C Milan! Good luck getting them back to their former glory days!
    Very much looking forward to it, one of my most enjoyable stints on FM was after taking over a Juventus side just above the drop zone on FM10, and eventually grabbing Serie A (though it was hard work), though not the CL, though trying to do the same with a mid-table Inter on FM11 didn't go so well.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    WOW Quite a move from Slovakia to AC Milan,good luck.
    No kidding. While it's not too far above what I thought I might be able to get, it was still a massive shock getting the offer. While I haven't technically moved directly from Slovakia to Milan, it still counts as probably the biggest step up I've ever made. However Milan's history makes surprising reading. The game has lasted for 28 years so far. In that time they've not won a single thing. In fact they've only once finished in the top 3 of Serie A, and their only final appearances are a couple of Italian cup finals followed by a Europa League final about 20 years ago. Not exactly been giants of the game then.

    Budget is pretty good, 36M, and 1.2Mpw (using 1M), but 24M in the bank doesn't look that much for a club like this, especially as for the most part, good youngsters at a high level don't come cheap, so rebuilding, and moving out of mid-table and simply into regular European qualification won't be as easy a process as people thinking 'Oh he's at Milan, they won't be too much of a challenge' would imagine.

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    I don't know, £24m isn't too bad and you should be able to slash that wage bill to get that rising. Depends whether you can generate some income on the transfer market. No debts by the sound of it? That's the main thing with the big clubs I've found. Surprised they've done so badly in your save, but with a big stadium and a big name you should be able to push them into Europe's elite.

    Cracking move by all accounts, hope it goes well for you.

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    You are BIG TIME now! Who knew that the Slovakian Cup was held in such high regard by those in Milan

    Good luck at the San Siro!

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    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post
    I don't know, £24m isn't too bad and you should be able to slash that wage bill to get that rising. Depends whether you can generate some income on the transfer market. No debts by the sound of it? That's the main thing with the big clubs I've found. Surprised they've done so badly in your save, but with a big stadium and a big name you should be able to push them into Europe's elite.

    Cracking move by all accounts, hope it goes well for you.
    It isn't too bad a sum of money to work with, but the prize money isn't very much in Italy so I was more thinking about how it's unlikely to replenish very quickly when it's used up this summer even with a 80,000 capacity stadium (with recent average attendances being 50,000) so future improvements would be much limited. The new players are on pretty small wages so at least keeping that relatively low will also help.

    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    You are BIG TIME now! Who knew that the Slovakian Cup was held in such high regard by those in Milan

    Good luck at the San Siro!
    Indeed, would have been bigger if they'd won anything all game, or even been in Europe in the past 10 years. Still, A.C. Milan is A.C. Milan.

    Summer 2038
    I had a pretty busy summer ahead with a Milan side that had been a mid-table side for rather a long time, though at least had reasonable budgets to do it with. And we weren’t quite at such a high level that there weren’t a few strong options out there. However a fairly strong first choice side meant that I had to hold off bidding until I could better prioritise.. I decided to push the boat out in terms of not being afraid to go for players who’d take a reasonable chunk out of the budget, rather than try and spread it around quite a few players, which I often try to do and while it meant that short-term improvement would be limited, however there had been lots of transfer activity both ways before I arrived so there still would be squad gelling issues. What was worrying was that I went for a 16yr old from Brazil, though I otherwise wasn’t interested in players that couldn’t sign immediately and he rejected us. For Maribor!!! It’s not like they had dominated Slovenia in the way that Zilina had Slovakia. He was a genuine wonderkid and will be wasted there from the start.

    There wasn’t an awful lot of pressure, the board merely wanting a mid-table finish, which they’d been managing for a while. I wanted to be in the top half but would be casting my gaze up at the European places, especially as they hadn’t been in Europe for 10 years. At least I didn’t have to worry about another Zilina. Catania were champions, but Palermo had 7 of the past 11 (but just 2 before that), with Juventus and Roma forming a sort-of top three, occasionally broken by Inter and others, so while collectively they’d be tough to get many points from there was more room to challenge any one of them if we got that far. However that would be a while away at best. For now while we looked decent, after some reasonable deals for pretty good players, we wouldn’t be making waves for the time being. We’ll have to see where we stood next season. If ever there was a club in need of a restoration of fortunes, this was it, and I was very much looking forward to trying to do that.

    Hoffmann

    Katsikas

    Kunisch

    Larsen

    Lovell

    Toninho


    Transfers (Only stuff from 17th July is me)

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    Very nice career progression . Looks like you've been busy in the transfer market too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raware View Post
    Very nice career progression . Looks like you've been busy in the transfer market too.
    Not as much as it looks, that's why I mentioned where my activity starts. 6 players in and 9 out is hardly a quiet summer but most of the club's activity was from before I arrived.

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    AC Milan! Welcome to the big league

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    Fantastic work with the AC Milan job, bit of a surprise no doubt Some solid transfers there, Toninho and Katsikas especially look like they could become class players

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    AC Milan! Welcome to the big league
    Great to be here. Was watching 'The Prince of Egypt' on Monday and couldn't help but think of a villain song from that movie, 'Playing with the big boys now' regarding this move.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    Fantastic work with the AC Milan job, bit of a surprise no doubt Some solid transfers there, Toninho and Katsikas especially look like they could become class players
    Definitely a surprise, good to see that I could still get a few strong players I didn't need to pay large amounts for (though Katsikas was expensive enough that I held off biding for a while, massive talent or not, until I felt the central midfield was a priority).

    Aug/Sept 2038
    Milan 1-2 Roma (A)
    The first game was a difficult one, against Roma. Brazilian forward Chumbinho gave us the lead in the 5th minute, but while they weren’t that impressive, we were very sluggish, which perhaps isn’t surprising given how many players had been brought in even before I arrived. They easily took advantage to get a 2-1 lead by the 35 minute. They had another disallowed early in a reasonably even second half, where we had our chances to snatch a point, so it wasn’t all bad.

    Botswana 1-6 Ghana (ACNQ)
    It was straight from that to Ghana, who had an ACN qualifier in Botswana. Left-back Owusu got sent off in the 9th minute, and they quickly took the lead. It took time for us to get back into it, but after Abbey equalized after half an hour, a pair of Frimpong goals in 10 minutes gave us a comfortable lead at the break. After the 70th minute, 3 goals in 10 minutes (an own-goal, Frimpong completing his hat-trick, and the forward Owusu) gave us a great 6-1 win that secured our qualification with a game to go.

    Parma 0-3 Milan (A)
    The first Milan away game was at Parma. Defender Traore headed in a free-kick after 35 minutes to give us the lead. Right-winger Bertoni extended the lead in the 43rd minute, and while we weren’t that impressive, we strolled to a third goal from Larsen early in the second half, then resisted a bit of pressure and kept a clean sheet as well.

    Atalanta 1-1 Milan (A)
    The game at Atalanta was a nervous affair. Chumbinho gave us the lead in the 34th minute, as the only event of the first half. We had another disallowed in the 52nd minute, and the game never really livened up so it was no surprise that they snatched a 66th minute equalizer to reflect the fact that neither side did much to earn the win.

    Milan 2-0 Fiorentina (A)
    We were thankfully far better at home to Fiorentina. We were pretty comfortably on top. Forward Di Gregorio gave us the lead after half an hour, Chumbinho adding to it just before half-time to give us a deserved 2-0 lead. Injuries to Larsen and young right-back Ambrosi couldn’t stop us from cruising in the second half to the win, though there were no more goals.

    Bologna 2-2 Milan (A)
    We were similarly bright early on at Bologna, and could have had a penalty, however they took the lead in the 20th minute, and a penalty of their own extended the lead in the 32nd minute. Bertoni got a goal back in the 32nd minute, but they were dominant enough that trying to get another goal was hard work. Traore headed in a corner in the 69th minute to equalize, and the wind was very much in our sails for a bit, but in a hectic final phase of the match on balance we were just about the more relieved to get the single point.

    League Table

    Oct 2038
    Milan 2-2 Juventus (A)
    Table-topping Juventus were a very hard test next. They had a strong start, then we gradually started to take control, and began to hope for a good result. Eventually they scored after a goalmouth scramble in the 39th minute, and things got worse when our keeper Alberti put the ball in his own net. However we weren’t quite out of it. We started to fight back with Chumbinho scoring in the 68th minute, and Di Gregorio gave us a surprising point in the 82nd minute.

    Ghana 2-0 Uganda (ACNQ)
    The final Ghana ACN qualifying match against Uganda was a dead rubber, which was just as well as we had a few players missing. We were still comfortably on top. Owusu scored in the 22nd minute followed by Frimpong in the 35th, and that suggested that we’d win by a far greater margin, and we weren’t lacking the dominance and pressure to do so. After that we moved to into the top 10 of the world rankings, getting 8th and just beating Cameroon and Tunisia as the best African side.

    World Rankings

    Chievo 0-2 Milan (A)
    We had a bit of a scrappy time of it at Chievo, but settled a bit when Chumbinho gave us a 14th minute lead, and Di Gregorio extended it after half an hour. The game was pretty even and pretty safe afterwards as we beat one of my most disliked sides, since as Crouchy knows, Hellas are the only ‘true’ Verona side.

    Milan 0-2 Palermo (A)
    Palermo were our next test, the winners of 7 of the last 11 titles, so probably the strongest side in Italy in recent times and currently top. We kept it even for a bit, but they smashed home to take the lead in the 24th minute. Within 10 minutes, a Kunisch own-goal gave them another. Unlike against Juventus, a second-half comeback never really materialized, and we lost for the first time since the opening day.

    Milan 5-1 Giulianova (CI)
    The first cup game was at home to Serie C1 side Giulianova (though they had some players that definitely looked strong Serie B). Di Gregorio set us on our way in the first minute, followed by Kunisch heading the ball in the right goal this time in the 20th. The scoring resumed in the second half from Chumbinho in the 49th minute, and another Kunisch header 4 minutes later, with Chumbinho getting another 10 minutes from time. Their only response was from a penalty with a few minutes left.

    Pescara 1-2 Milan (A)
    We next had a trip to Pescara, who were the surprise package so far this season, being expected to be in the bottom half (14th to be precise), but who were currently up in 3rd. Chumbinho gave us the lead in the 4th minute, but after they equalized in the 16th, we were on the back foot until an own-goal restored the lead just before the break. We were able to keep them off in the second half, and even going down to 10 men after Lovell went off injured in the 82nd minute didn’t cause any problems.
    League Table

    Good start so far, especially with so many transfers happening even before I took over, and as we'd faced 4 of the 6 sides above us (admitedly mostly at home) and just 1 of the bottom 5, so I think European qualification (which doesn't sound very good for Milan but would be the first in 11 years by the way, so would count for something right now) is on the cards, probably a single-digit finish (which hasn't happened for the same amount of time) anyway.

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    Good start and hopefully things can better when your players finally gel.

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    Decent start, room to grow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deltablue View Post
    Brazilian forward Chumbinho


    That's fantastic.

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    Nice work getting the Milan job.

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    Congrats on the Milan job!

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    Off to a decent start, looks like a fairly open Serie A league though which could prove tough for you. Not sure if you've posted it before and I've missed it but do Italy still have the 4 CL spots? Italy 2nd in rankings would suggest there's a load of good Italians floating around, but are they in Italy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Good start and hopefully things can better when your players finally gel.
    Yep, definitely expecting more improvement to come from this bunch.

    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Decent start, room to grow.
    European football would help that a lot, but definitely will be tougher later on.

    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post


    That's fantastic.
    I thought so too.

    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Nice work getting the Milan job.
    Quote Originally Posted by cswalk08 View Post
    Congrats on the Milan job!
    Thanks, a very welcome and interesting opportunity to take them back to glory.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    Off to a decent start, looks like a fairly open Serie A league though which could prove tough for you. Not sure if you've posted it before and I've missed it but do Italy still have the 4 CL spots? Italy 2nd in rankings would suggest there's a load of good Italians floating around, but are they in Italy?
    According to League rules they do. I hadn't mentioned it yet but definitely would (especially if it was otherwise) if we were in the mix early on so people can keep track of what position will be enough. While that means 7th, I never count on the last spot going to the league instead of the cup until I can see that it probably won't, so thinking more of needing 6th right now.

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    Nov 2038
    Milan 2-1 Atletico Roma (A)
    Ambrosi got sent off in the second minute against Atletico Roma. Thankfully they were one of the easier sides, so much like Ghana-Botswana earlier in the year, we still were too strong. Chumbinho gave us a 24th minute lead, which he extended in the 38th. We weren’t so good as to be particularly superior with 10 men, simply enough to get the win, which was easily achieved though they did get a goal back with a few minutes left.

    Lazio 3-1 Milan (A)
    We still had tough games to go in the first half of the season, a trip to Lazio being one such game. We had a very poor day collectively. Their world-class Scottish forward (no really) got a hat-trick in the first half an hour to give them a 3-0 lead at the break. An own-goal in the 52nd minute was the culmination of our only real bit of life, and while we were a bit more solid, I definitely expected to give them a tougher ride, even if we didn’t get anything.

    Milan 1-1 Inter (A)
    It wasn’t good preparation for my first Milan derby. In the first half, Inter were just too strong, hitting us with countless chances before eventually taking the lead in the 42nd minute. We pushed back in the second half, but didn’t look like getting anywhere until Kunisch headed us level in the 77th minute to give us a point.

    Sapndoria 0-4 Milan (A)
    Toninho gave us the lead in the 5th minute at Sampdoria, and while Chumbinho extended it 10 minutes later, the minutes in between had been filled with Sampdoria chances. Chumbinho’s second goal a few minutes later made the scoreline very deceptive, especially as Sampdoria kept pushing for the rest of the half. The second half was far quieter from both sides, though we still had occasional chances. Chumbinho completed his hat-trick 5 minutes from time, giving us one of the toughest 4-0 wins I’ve ever had.

    Milan 2-1 Juve Stabia (A)
    By contrast, we struggled to do anything in the first half against Juve Stabia, except for a Bertoni goal disallowed a few minutes from the break. They took the lead in the 52nd minute, but we expected to win, and got it through Larsen and Di Gregorio goals in the 60th and 76th minutes, taking us to 6th without having played 2 of the bottom three yet, though it was going to be very tight for a while.

    Siena 0-2 Milan (CI)
    We went to Siena in the cup. It started slowly but we soon ramped up the pressure. Bertoni gave us the breakthrough after an hour, and we mostly sat back, managing to stop them equalizing, then Chumbinho got another in stoppage time to send us through to the next round.

    League Table

    Dec 2038
    Catania 0-1 Milan (A)
    In the next round, we’d face champions Catania, who we also went to in the league. I had hoped to face them much earlier when they had their ‘relegation-battling’ start to the season rather than now they’d recovered to be just above us. From the start, Alberti in goal had a massive job on his gloves to keep them out, though he managed to do so up to half-time. Things weren’t quite as tough in the second half but we still looked like heading for defeat. However after a few rare chances, right at the end of the game, Chumbinho scored to give us a robbery of a win.

    Milan 4-1 Siena (A)
    Kunisch gave us the lead against Siena in the first minute. Much like in our cup encounter, they looked like equalizing before Toninho extended the lead in the 33rd minute. They did get a goal back shortly after the break, but Lovell and Chumbinho struck in quick succession just before the hour mark to finish them off.

    Triestina 1-4 Milan (A)
    The last game before the Christmas break was at Triestina. The result was never in doubt. Toninho gave us a 13th minute lead. Mosquera and Chumbinho each scoring before half an hour was up. Toninho got another in the 40th minute. They got a goal early in the second half, but we still had most of the chances and deserved another at least. That maintained the 4th spot we took after Siena, but I would be very surprised if it lasted, especially with Napoli (who we’d go to next) and Roma just a point behind. However it meant we looked good so far for European qualification, which was the most I was aiming for right now.

    League Table

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    ACN 2039
    I had decided that this ACN would be my Ghana swansong, as I was focussed on the Milan project and having a major international tournament alongside club games didn’t feel right. In Slovakia it fitted nicely in the Winter break so this felt like it was getting in the way of a Milan adventure I was very excited to be on (though due to a match being rescheduled, the three group games were played in between Milan games). There were also far stronger national sides up there, though I wasn’t interested in more international management for the time being. The gift that had kept on giving had nothing more to offer me. We had a tough group of Benin, South Africa and Ivory Coast. That was made worse by 2 of our best defenders, Musah and Donkor, getting injuries just before the first game that would rule them out of the whole tournament.

    Ghana 4-1 Benin (ACN)
    Despite that we got off to a great start against Benin. An Owusu shot gave us a 6th minute own goal lead, which was extended by Frimpong in the 8th minute and Diallo in the 12th. Frimpong got another in the 33rd minute, while they got a goal back in first half stoppage time and we eased off in the second half.

    Ghana 1-1 South Africa (ACN)
    We were rather less inspiring against South Africa. We still did enough to have earned the lead by the time they took it instead a minute into the second half. A draw would leave us in a good position to qualify and we eventually snatched it from a stoppage time own goal.

    Ghana 2-1 Ivory Coast (ACN)
    A point against the Ivory Coast would be enough. They had won both games so far, but after a dull first half, Frimpong gave us the lead 23 seconds after the break. They equalized a couple of minutes later, but ever really threatened to get a winner. We snatched top spot at the end with Abbey setting Frimpong up for his second.

    Ghana 4-3 Algeria (ACN QF)
    The quarter final was against Algeria, they started better, with a penalty claim turned down, but then Frimpong (who always shone in the competition) came to the fore. He got a hat-trick between the 13th and 18th minute. In the second half they came back well, but after they scored in the 53rd minute, Owusu gave us an all-important 4th, as they closed it to 4-3 in the end.

    Ghana p1-1 Morocco (ACN SF)
    Morocco were our semi final opponents. We enjoyed superiority early on, Owusu giving us the lead in the 32nd minute, but the tables were turned in the second half. They equalized in the 48th minute, and had most of the chances as we somehow survived to extra time. We managed to come out of our shell for a bit, but again were lucky to survive to penalties. Awal saved their second penalty, but Frimpong missed our third. That was followed by another miss from them, but Gyamfi missed our 5th to take it to sudden death, where another Awal save allowed Ayew to send us through to the final.

    Ghana 4-1 Senegal (ACN Final)
    Our opponents in the final were holders Senegal, hoping to be the first team for 20 years to win back to back African titles. They certainly didn’t play like it. The first half was remarkably easy. Owusu gave us an 8th minute. Frimpong, who had been anonymous in both our previous finals extended it 5 minutes later. Abbey, who had come a long way since I brought him to Michalovce, gave us a 3rd in the 26th minute, and Frimpong got his second just before the break. They were much better in the second half, but a single goal after an hour was all they got. After 2 final defeats in my first two tournaments, followed by just reaching the quarters last time, it was great to bow out by finally winning the ACN, the nation’s first since 2015. Farewell Ghana. It’s been great all the way.

    ACN Groups

    ACN Knockouts

    ACN Final

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    Congratulations on the ACN win!

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    Congrats on winning the ACN!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DazRTaylor View Post
    Congratulations on the ACN win!
    Quote Originally Posted by cswalk08 View Post
    Congrats on winning the ACN!
    Cheers, and vaguely on the subject of Ghana, my former Ghana defender Boateng (who was also a former club player of mine at Sportist some time before that) is one of my coaches at Milan, making this the third time we've encountered each other. Small world.

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    Congrats on the African Cup of Nations! Moving Ghana back to the top I assume that in saying "farewell Ghana", you have left the post?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Congrats on the African Cup of Nations! Moving Ghana back to the top I assume that in saying "farewell Ghana", you have left the post?
    I have. I wanted to try and get to 100 games, but even before the tournament I decided that it would be too much of a distraction (mainly the ACN finals, but also when I had a few games in one go, which happens at a couple of points in the 4 year international cycle) as I've wholeheartedly embraced the 'getting Milan successful again' mission and that's all I want to focus on for some time, with no chance even of any other club being able to tempt me away, that's how enthusiastic I am about this mission.

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    A great trophy to claim .

    Looking steady in Serie A too. A few surprising teams in the Italian top tier. Have Atletico Roma, Pescara and Juve Stabia had takeovers in the past?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raware View Post
    A great trophy to claim .

    Looking steady in Serie A too. A few surprising teams in the Italian top tier. Have Atletico Roma, Pescara and Juve Stabia had takeovers in the past?
    One I'd been so close to for ages as well. Pescara aren't that surprising, from what I know they seem to be Serie B regulars to Serie A isn't that big a stretch, no more than Leicester (for example). They've had a couple of consortium takovers 10 and 1 years ago but they were already in Serie A when the first happened, and with the exception of 1 season, have been for 17 years, so that's not had too much effect. Ditto for Juve Stabia, who have been in Serie A for over 20 years, and have only had a consortium takeover (plus 2 promotions from within) since then, so like Pescara it hasn't really had anything to do with them being Serie A regulars. However Atletico Roma had a tycoon takeover 10 years previously, taking them from Serie C1 to A in 5 years, down to B and back in the meantime. Chairman 'will listen to offers', there's a loan debt on 60M (compared to a value of 23M), and (just) in the relegation zone so future not looking too great.

    The thing about a long-term game is that 10+ seasons in you do get big shifts in which leagues teams are in, so as this season is the 29th these things aren't that notable to someone used to them, like I am. That said not too many surprises in the Premier League, Bristol City and Coventry really being the closest right now. Regular appearances by Huddersfield, Scunthorpe and Peterborough being the biggest surprises in recent seasons but as they're strong League 1 at worst it's nothing that major.

    Anyway, still doing pretty well in the league, well on course for a first European qualification in 11 years, or even a first top 5 in 13. Up to 3rd is achievable but just the top 6 will do nicely.

    Jan 2039
    Napoli 2-0 Milan (A)
    It felt odd returning to league action without the ACN having even started. And a trip to Napoli was a tough one. We’d drop down from 4th unless we won (or Roma failed to win if it was a draw), which seemed a very tall order. The first half was very tight. However they pounced to score from a rebound in the 14th minute. They snatched another before the break, and we didn’t really look like coming back in the second half.

    Milan 1-0 Salernitana (A)
    It was a relief to next have a Salernitana side who had just three points. They way we played for a lot of the match made it seem like we’d gift them another three, or at least one. Larsen set Toninho up for what turned out to be the only goal of the game after half an hour, and while we won it was worrying looking so shaky against a side like that.

    Catania 1-0 Milan (CI)
    We needed to step up when we went to Catania in the cup. It was a more even game than our league encounter in December, but on the other side of the coin, we couldn’t quite keep them out this time as they scored in the 25th minute. The second half saw a good fightback but not good enough to equalize.

    Roma 3-2 Milan (A)
    A trip to Roma saw us go behind in the 12th minute. We had a good go but conceded another in the 52nd. The match seemed to be over but within 10 minutes, Toninho got a brace to draw us level, however they also retook the lead in that timeframe and we couldn’t come back again.

    Milan 3-1 Atalanta (A)
    We weren’t having a great run, and went behind again against Atalanta in the 9th minute. Bertoni and Hoffman gave us the lead after half an hour. Our position was still pretty precarious, but Chumbinho made it safe 5 minutes from time.

    League Table

    Feb 2039
    Fiorentina 1-1 Milan (A)
    We looked to be restoring a bit of form as we were very bright for most of the first half at Fiorentina. However a lack of finishing product cost us as they took a 41st minute lead. Toninho equalized a couple of minutes later, and we failed to get a winner.

    Juventus 2-0 Milan (A)
    A trip to Juventus was expected to be too tough. They scored in the 12th minute and were on top for a while afterwards. We managed to liven up in the second half, and were unlucky to have a Toninho goal disallowed before they got a second. Thankfully that was the day of the ACN final, so it ended up being a good one after all.

    Milan 5-1 Bologna (A)
    A game with struggling Bologna was a great chance to fire up again, which we took with both hands. Bertoni scored in the first minute, with Lovell following in the 22nd minute, and Chumbinho got a third on the stroke of half-time. They got a goal back in the 63rd minute, but it was just a minute later that Chumbinho scored again, and he completed a hat-trick 5 minutes from the end. It was the first of three home games that I wanted maximum points from to enhance our European chances.

    Milan 2-0 Parma (A)
    The second, against Parma, was significant because it was a game in hand we’d had for a few weeks, so felt like a ‘bonus’ game. With Bertoni in full creative swing, Lovell and Toninho set us on our way with a goal each before 6 minutes were up. They had a few dangerous patches but otherwise we were on top enough that we really should have had a third.

    Milan 4-0 Chievo (A)
    Chievo were the last of this trio, though a bit stronger than the others. We had easily beaten them in Verona however. They proved tougher to break through, but in the 20th minute, Kunisch headed us onto the lead (which put us 3rd as things stood, though I wasn’t expecting to move into the top 4). They hit us with some strong attacks, a warning not to take things for granted, but Lovell extended the lead in the 34th minute. Both sides had their chances for most of the rest of the game, but on balance we deserved more, and got it with a pair of goals in the final few minutes, from Mosquera and Toninho. The top 4 being the cup semi-finalists meant that 7th would likely be enough, which was just as well as we were only 2 points clear of that position (but Fiorentina in 8th, who had a game in hand, were 8 points behind), and had to go to Palermo next.

    Palermo 5-0 Milan (A)
    From the start there was only going to be one winner. It took 24 minutes for Palermo to eventually break through, though they ran up 2 mote before half-time. We looked pretty lively in the second half but was for nothing and they tore us apart to win 5-0. It had been a major schooling and no mistake, but we remained 5th with just Inter to play out of the top 4.

    League Table

    Mar 2039
    Milan 1-0 Pescara (A)
    The most important thing about the table after the Palermo defeat was that we remained 2 points ahead of Pescara, occupying the 7th place that I was determined to keep ahead of, and we played them at home next, which hopefully would help extend that advantage, or at least maintain it. We were frustrated in the first half as we had many chances but couldn’t grab a goal. Toninho finally scored early in the second half, but they gave us considerable pressure and it was a great relief to just about hold on to the win after another great performance from Alberti (who was still only 20) in goal.

    Atletico Roma 0-4 Milan (A)
    Chumbinho was suspended to the trip to Atletico Roma, but Di Gregorio shone in his absence. He scored in the 19th and 22nd minutes, a penalty giving him a hat-trick in the 33rd minute, and Bertoni wrapping up in the 39th minute.

    Milan 2-0 Lazio (A)
    Lazio was another reasonably important game regarding European qualification, though down in 9th so not as much as Pescara were, or Napoli would be. Toninho’s 21st minute penalty gave us the lead in a drab first half. We had a clearer superiority in the second half, another goal by Toninho (who had a poor injury-hit first few months but had really hit his stride recently) in the 67th minute.

    League Table

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    Well done on the ACL victory! Can't believe you're up to 2039 already; you are flying through the seasons!!

    Not going too badly domestically, although you don't seem to have a very good record against the other top six teams in Serie A

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Well done on the ACL victory! Can't believe you're up to 2039 already; you are flying through the seasons!!

    Not going too badly domestically, although you don't seem to have a very good record against the other top six teams in Serie A
    Yep, despite that fact that this was only started at the end of Jan, looking well on course to go past 2053 for the first time. Anyway results against the top sides wasn't my most immediate concern Sadly had a rather poor end to the season but still reasonably happy.

    Apr 2039
    Milan 2-1 Sampdoria (A)
    We fell with a bit of a crash against Sampdoria. We conceded in the 5th minute, and just about managed to equalize from Di Gregorio before the break. We looked a bit brighter in the second half, but still fell to a late defeat in the 84th minute, having looked like we might grab a winner.

    Juve Stabia 2-4 Milan (A)
    Things didn’t look much better at Juve Stabia, as they took the lead in the 3rd minute, then a penalty saw us 2-0 down after just 6 minutes. Mosquera headed in a goal back in the 9th minute, and as we got our confidence back, Toninho equalized in the 35th minute. Bertoni finally gave us the lead in the 51st minute, and got another or good measure in the 83th minute, completing a great turnaround.

    Inter 0-4 Milan (A)
    Our last game against the top 4 was the ‘away’ derby with Inter. We just didn’t turn up in the first half, going 4-0 down without so much of a whimper, and simply avoided conceding more.

    Milan 2-1 Catania (A)
    Champions Catania looked like they wouldn’t even be in Europe next season, but they still had enough about them to take the lead at the San Siro in the 35th minute, after we started brightly but just dropped off late in the half. We surged forward in the second half but they got a second goal late on, with N’Sumbu scoring far too late in stoppage time. Well we did steal a win in Sicily that should have been a Catania hammering, so we were now even with this ‘efficient’ display. What it did mean, as the 3rd defeat in 4, was that with 4 games to go we were mostly in a battle to secure 6th now. Napoli (who we played as our 3rd last game) were 6 points ahead, and Fiorentina 2 behind. However Pescara were a further 5 behind so with 7th looking enough it probably wouldn’t derail our European qualification ambition. In our favour, we had the bottom 2 sides at the end.

    League Table

    May 2039
    Siena 2-1 Milan (A)
    We were definitely having a poor end to the season, going behind at Siena after half an hour, who wouldn’t be easy but who otherwise I’d have expected to beat. They got another early in the second half before we started to do anything, Chumbinho got a goal back in the 78th minute and we should have grabbed an equalizer.

    Milan 2-1 Napoli (A)
    Having beaten a Lazio side at home earlier in the spring who had easily rolled us over in the away game, I hoped for a repeat against Napoli. Indeed we were far better, being comfortably on top before Bertoni gave us a 33rd minute lead. They came close to equalizing late in the first half, but otherwise weren’t too troubled, and earned our other goal from Chumbinho in the 68th minute. It wasn’t enough to retake 6th but we had an easy run-in.

    Salernitana 2-1 Milan (A)
    First was a trip to Salernitana, long-relegated with just 9 points. However we struggled to beat them at home, and this time a penalty gave them a half-time lead. We didn’t comeback as good as we should have, Toninho equalized in the 59th minute but as we chased a winner, they got it instead. It confirmed 7th with a game left, and European football next season, but didn’t feel like triumph after that game.

    Milan 3-1 Triestina (A)
    Triestina were last, and I hoped to make up for Salernitana at least. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was comfortable. Chumbinho gave us the lead from an 18th minute penalty, followed by Kunisch a few minutes later. They got a goal back before half-time but otherwise we cruised. Chumbinho scored again in the 74th minute and was denied a hat-trick by a disallowed goal, ending the season on a reasonably good note.

    League Table

    The poor final couple of months could only do so much to spoil a very good season. It had been a mixed start, then we seemed to hit our stride, and it looked like not only would we get European qualification but top 5 or 4 might be possible, though it did at least mean that we could survive the late slump. On the whole, it was a very promising start to Milan life, especially with 3 17yr old regulars (2 in defence) and a lot of transfer activity that wasn’t my fault last year, so it looked like we had the foundations of a pretty strong side, and we could look forward to a more gelled squad, and trimmed of those surplus to requirements who were ruining the atmosphere. It was especially good to see a lot of the players I got in having very strong debut seasons, mainly Kunisch, Larsen, Lovell, and eventually Toninho.

    While for a club like Milan this was only ever going to be a stepping stone to more glory (hopefully), it was still a very good first step, a first top 7 finish for 12 years is hardly bad going. There was still much to be done, as we were on course for even better, and did poorly against the top 4 (though that was hardly an immediate priority), plus in terms of squad quality there were a number of sides with comparable players, and I didn’t think we look good enough to challenge for a CL place, though we came closer than I expected in the spring. I was hoping for 5th or 6th.

    Financially, we’d actually made almost 20M this season (having been worried about being able to restore the balance which I had used up last summer), most of it month on month, and a far lower wage bill (I expected it to be around 800kpw with a couple of high-earning veterans being released, compared to 930kpw now and 1M when I arrived) plus European football would hopefully give us a big boost next year, as while I could do a lot on 20M each year, it wasn’t much in terms of competing with the big boys again anytime soon. I had actually been planning to save it up this year to have far more for future seasons but decided that there’d be plenty of money anyway so I might as well improve things more in the summer.

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    Summer 2039
    I was very much looking forward the next season. We would start a European campaign (which would do wonder both for finances and rep) in the third qualifying round, which would give us good preparation for the start of the league season. Torino and Udinese returning to Serie A made it even more interesting, and I already find it a very interesting league, a change of scenery from the Premier League, and more open than La Liga, probably my favourite place in FM. I still didn’t think we could get a CL place but was expecting a much stronger European qualification than last time, though kept the board expectations to ‘top-half’ as that would still give me all the money we had to spend.

    Having been worried about using up the money last summer, I had over 30M to spend), and could actually afford to go quite a bit in the red if need be, though obviously I would try not to. A gradually improving (and more gelled) squad was a good reason to be excited, and Europe would be an interesting challenge. No European football for 11 years meant that even in the Europa League, we would have a tough time of it for a while. I didn’t hang about using the budget, starting off with pinching one of the most promising forwards in Italy from Palermo (and then splashing out to get one that already looked fantastic from Juve Stabia), and while we weren’t their title-rivals yet, it would be great having him playing for us instead if against us when it came to that. I also used my non-eu transfer very early on a versatile and promising Brazilian, though admittedly far better (though far more expensive) options presented themselves later. There were also a few more Germans.

    There were quite a few bargains to be found, alongside a couple of players worth splashing out on. Even without considering the reasonably heavy influx of players, it would probably take a couple of years for this side to really come together, but I was far more optimistic about being able to play with the big boys again soon, even if it probably wouldn’t be next year.

    No transfer screen as it's a bit messed up showing a lot of last year's activity as well as this year.

    Digao (From Gremio)

    Lozo (From Nurnburg)

    Pugliese (From Palermo)

    Schmeidel (From Schalke)

    Terzi (From Juve Stabia)

    Wohlfarth (From Frankfurt)

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    Well done on getting back into European competition! Hopefully next year see you in the Champions League.

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    Great to see you finally win the ACN with Ghana, fully deserved and nice to see you go out on a high to commit fully to AC Milan. A decent first season, first step of many that I am sure you will make with them and getting that place in the Europa League will surely help you on the way as well.

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    Good work beginning to get this club turned around!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Well done on getting back into European competition! Hopefully next year see you in the Champions League.
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    Great to see you finally win the ACN with Ghana, fully deserved and nice to see you go out on a high to commit fully to AC Milan. A decent first season, first step of many that I am sure you will make with them and getting that place in the Europa League will surely help you on the way as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by cswalk08 View Post
    Good work beginning to get this club turned around!
    Thanks guys, unfortunately a poor start means that further progress will have to wait. Not that I'm already writing off this season but definitely some growing pains to go through and I'm mostly thinking of this year as being about treading water, hopefully managing a top-half finish, while European qualification would be nothing more than a relief. Not unexpected though, having to do quite an overhaul to try and turn Milan around, as well as with a young squad that definitely has a bright future but which which wouldn't come about immediately. Wouldn't be the first time a promising first season has been followed by a disappointing second.

    Jul/Aug 2039
    Milan 4-0 APOEL (EL)
    The first European game was against APOEL. Cypriot sides often had some excellent young Brazilians, but this APOEL side didn’t have such a threat. Terzi had plenty of early chances on his debut, but it was Lovell who gave us the lead in the 23rd minute. His wing partner Bertoni gave us a long overdue second in the 49th minute. I felt we deserved a couple more at least, with Toninho and an own-goal giving them to us in the 78th and 88th minutes.

    APOEL 1-1 (1-5) Milan (EL)
    Toninho gave us the lead in the 3rd minute in Cyprus. However another strong win wasn’t forthcoming. We looked like getting more, but they equalized before half-time, having had a goal disallowed in the 10th minute, and with the job done from our point of view, the game quietened down.

    IFK Goteborg 0-3 Milan (EL)
    Thankfully just being Italian made us seeds in the 4th Qualifying round as well as the 3rd, and we got IFK Goteborg. Terzi set Toninho up in the 16th minute in the first leg in Gothenburg. Kunisch headed in a second in the 29th minute. They soon had a goal disallowed but that wouldn’t have made much difference as we romped home, Terzi finishing the scoring off (but we definitely deserved a 4th) in the 64th minute.

    Chievo 2-0 Milan (A)
    Before the Milan leg we went to Chievo in the first league game. It was a bit of a wakeup call. We exchanged chances before they took the lead in the 21st minute. We fell very quiet for the rest of the half, conceding another just before the break. While we were far better in the second half, we failed to get even a consolation despite plenty of attacking promise.

    Milan 3-1 (6-1) IFK Goteborg (EL)
    We looked forward to finishing IFK off in Europe. Traore headed us into a 4th minute lead. Chumbinho added another a few minutes before half-time. Larsen got a 3rd early in the second half, and while again we deserved a couple more, instead they scored late on.

    Milan 1-0 Parma (A)
    Thankfully we improved in the league against Parma. Lovell scored in the 3rd minute, but we failed to build on that, Chumbinho being particularly culpable, especially with a missed penalty, so dominance did not lead to more goals. It didn’t help that Terzi went off with a dislocated shoulder, and would be out for up to 2 months. At least we had a win on the board. The Europa League draw wasn’t too kind, throwing up Marseille and Rubin, though Austria Vienna wouldn’t be so bad.

    Sept 2039
    Lazio 2-1 Milan (A)
    Our league away-day pains continued at Lazio, who scored 2 quick goals after 20 minutes. Lovell scored just after the break but that as much as we were able to do.

    Milan 1-2 Rubin (EL)
    The first Europa League group game was against Rubin, who didn’t look as bad as I feared they would. Pugliese gave us the lead in the 23rd minute, in a very hectic first half. That was just after they had a goal disallowed, which would have been against the run of play anyway. However they were far stronger in the second half, eventually getting an equalizer, but while we tried to get a winner (not helped by Chumbinho being very much Chumpinho) they grabbed it instead.

    Milan 1-3 Juventus (A)
    Juventus wouldn’t be much more fun. They took the lead in the 22nd minute, after a lot of chances, and got another in the 40th minute. They got a third just after the break before Larsen got one for us. However we had very few chances for another until late on. Against Siena, Di Gregorio gave us the lead in the 22nd minute. However it looked like we’d blow it as they had a goal disallowed, before equalizing with 15 minutes left. However we surged forward in search of a winner and Di Gregorio got it in the 88th minute.

    Catania 1-1 Milan (A)
    We managed to put in a reasonable away performance at Catania. Lovell gave us the lead in the 21st minute, but gradually they took control of the game, and we couldn’t quite hold out, as they equalized in the 68th minute.

    Austria Vienna 0-3 Milan (A)
    We went to Vienna in the second Europa group game, and saw them off easily enough. Bertoni and Lovell each scored in the first 16 minutes. Bertoni got another in the 56th minute, and had a late goal disallowed that would have given him a hat-trick. Once again the two wingers were setting a great example.

    League Table

    Oct 2039
    Milan 2-2 Pescara (A)
    We were still stuttering in the league, and conceded in the 5th minute against Pescara. They kept pounding us, while our efforts came to nothing at the other end, but a quick double from Bertoni in the middle of the second half turned it around. Schmeidel’s injury left us with 10 men for the last 15 minutes, so it was no surprise that they scored to get a point.

    Atletico Roma 0-1 Milan (A)
    A trip to Atletico Roma was a good chance to get a first domestic away win of the season. We were mostly very strong, Bertoni gave us the lead after half an hour. We slackened off late on, but grabbed that win.

    Marseille 2-4 Milan (EL)
    An extremely strong Marseille side was unlikely to give us away win. However Di Gregorio gave us a 9th minute lead. While we faced a lot of pressure, we gave as good as we got until late in the half when they got a pair of goals in the lack few minutes. It looked like we’d blown it but in the 73rd minute, Traore headed us level. I’d have been happy with that, but Di Gregorio put us back into the lead a few minutes after that. 10 minutes later Traore rounded off an amazing 4-2 win. It was a rare bright spot in a poor season so far, and put us top of the group, level with Marseille, and with Rubin held by Vienna they were 2 points behind. After losing at home to the Russians I thought that qualifying would be a tall order, but while we still had to go to Russia, if we got something at home to Marseille next (far more likely after tonight) we looked good to do so.

    Milan 3-0 Brescia (A) 1000th career match!
    We celebrated with my 1,000th career game at home to Brescia. For most of the first half we had little luck in taking the lead. In the 44th minute, Terzi (who was still unfit after his injury, and had come on as a sub for his return) scored a penalty, followed by Di Gregorio also scoring in stoppage time. Di Gregorio got another with 12 minutes left, wrapping up a strong win.

    Milan 0-2 Napoli (A)
    Napoli would be a tricker test of whether we were turning things around. They had a goal disallowed in the 5th minute, but otherwise we could have easily had the lead before they scored just before half-time. Late in the second half we turned up the pressure but only managed to concede another.

    Udinese 0-3 Milan (A)
    We were rather slow at Udinese, but Terzi gave us a 23rd minute lead. A Wohlfarth penalty extended the lead a couple of minutes into the second half, and in the 82nd minute, Mosquera capped off a good performance by heading in a corner to get the third and final goal.

    League Table

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    That's not the best of starts, although pretty nice to celebrate your 1000th game with a 3-0 win. Juventus aren't doing too bad are they? 30 points from 30, not bad at all!

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    Just need a bit more consistency and then you could easily grab a Europe spot! Once all those young players you've bought develop though, you could become a force in the league. Might be a few seasons away though.

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    Very mixed start to the season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    That's not the best of starts, although pretty nice to celebrate your 1000th game with a 3-0 win. Juventus aren't doing too bad are they? 30 points from 30, not bad at all!
    Yeah, they'll be a very tough challenge in the future, and great to have that milestone win, especially after Marseille, which has been the only real bright spot so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    Just need a bit more consistency and then you could easily grab a Europe spot! Once all those young players you've bought develop though, you could become a force in the league. Might be a few seasons away though.
    I'm not worried about a couple of years time, definitely got the basis of a very good side, but clearly there's a bit of waiting to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Very mixed start to the season.
    It gets worse, we've only played one of the regular top 4 (Juve, Palermo, Roma and Inter), and already done 2 of the promoted sides so the fixture list won't be getting kinder for a while.
    Last edited by deltablue; 15-05-2012 at 10:21.

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    Congrats on your 1 000 match! Hope that the season begins to turn around.

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    It's going to take some stopping Juve, they're running away with it even at this stage!

    Well done on 1000 games too. Not easy to reach that landmark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Congrats on your 1 000 match! Hope that the season begins to turn around.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raware View Post
    It's going to take some stopping Juve, they're running away with it even at this stage!

    Well done on 1000 games too. Not easy to reach that landmark.
    It did take over 10 seasons more to do it than last career though, probably because of soe poor patches with long periods without a club and being in leagues with fewer teams early on. Still, come a long way since doing very badly in the Slovanian Second League at the start. Anyway things picked up a bit eventually. Juve's form is a bridge to cross when we come to it. Just being in the mix would be a bit of a step up from where were are now.

    Nov 2039
    Milan 1-3 Marseille (EL)
    We had plenty of hope for the home game with Marseille, but they were quickly dashed when they scored in the 3rd minute, and Katsikas scored an own-goal 11 minutes later. A point would be good for us and we eventually got a goal back from Di Gregorio with 15 minutes left, but 5 minutes later a third Marseille goal left us 3 points behind them and one behind Rubin.

    Roma 2-0 Milan (A)
    Very little happened in the first half at Roma, which was probably a good thing given I was expecting to lose. Unfortunately that’s what happened as they hit us with a 52nd minute goal, and another 5 minutes later as the only side that really did anything.

    Milan 3-1 Torino (A)
    Torino’s return to Serie A had not been good, they had only a single point so far and failing to beat them at home would be an embarrassment. We took the lead in first half stoppage time from Toninho, not having looked like winners before that. He grabbed another in the 55th minute as we looked brighter, but failed to take advantage of a sending-off, instead conceding in the 76th minute, though a Bertoni volley with a couple of minutes left made it respectable.

    Inter 1-0 Milan (A)
    It was back down to earth in the ‘away’ derby against Inter. They scored in the 22nd minute, and the only reason there weren’t more was Alberti keeping out a number of Inter shots.

    Milan 4-2 Atalanta (A)
    We had a good start against Atalanta, Di Gregorio got a brace in the first half an hour. They got a goal back in the 41st minute, and equalized at the start of the second half, but we retook control of the game. Toninho scored in the 52nd minute, and Di Gregorio finished off a hat-trick in the 66th minute.

    League Table

    Dec 2039
    Rubin 0-0 Milan (EL)
    We went to Rubin needing to avoid defeat to have a chance of going through, and even a draw would leave us at the mercy of their final game with Marseille. Both sides were very much up for it, We were probably just about on top in the first-half, though they got stronger as the half wore on. We upped the ante early in the second half, but it didn’t last and they heavily bombarded us for most of the rest of the game, even after a red card, though we still came close a few times. Terzi thought he had given us a winner in the 84th minute, only to see it disallowed, but a draw was still good as unless they beat Marseille, a win at home against Austria Vienna would be enough to see us through, and that seemed a very likely outcome.

    Juve Stabia 0-3 Milan (A)
    Terzi had a storming game at his old club, Juve Stabia. He scored after 18 minutes, and had a hat-trick by half-time as we strolled to a good win.

    Milan 2-0 Palermo (A)
    He got another in the 5th minute against Palermo, and we were very much up or more. Munoz extended the lead a couple of minute before half-time. They tried to hit back in the second half, but while they attacked throughout, we were able to hold firm, and get our first win against one of the big sides. It also meant that while only 9th, we were just 5 points adrift of 2nd in what was a tight top half, admittedly with some strong variances in games played.

    Milan 6-2 Austria Vienna (EL)
    Confidence was high ahead of a European game with Austria Vienna that we were expected to win, but also needed Rubin not to in Marseille. Austria scored in the 3rd minute, but a couple of minutes later Terzi equalized. The rest of the half was very hectic stuff a we pounded them in search of the lead (which we needed, Marseille were beating Rubin but head-to-head was keeping the Russians in 2nd) while looking vulnerable enough that they could get another. After a first few months in Milan blighted by an injury and mediocre form, Terzi was really on fire right now, and he gave us the lead right before the half-time whistle. Both sides kept the pressure on early in the second half, and they got a potentially deadly equalizer in the 52nd minute. However that was as bad as things got. Di Gregorio restored our lead just before the hour mark, and while Terzi got a booking that would rule him out of the next European match, what mattered was that thanks to him we would be in the next round in the first place, as he go two more, sandwiching another Di Gregorio goal, as his tally of 4 gave us a 6-2 win to send us through, despite a Rubin equalizer in France.

    EL Group Table

    The next round would see us face Birmingham. As they were 3rd in the Premier League they weren’t to be underestimated. If we won, Sunderland or Guimaraes would follow.

    Sampdoria 1-4 Milan (A)
    We rounded off the year at Sampdoria. They took the lead in the first minute, and we didn’t do much until Munoz equalized just before half time. It appeared as if we still had issues, but we burst into life in the second half. Traore gave us the lead in the 55th minute, Terzi scored his 9th goal in 4 games in the 64th minute, and that was followed by another Traore goal 20 minutes after his first, giving us our 4th league win in a row. Things were now looking up, and a European spot looked there for the taking, especially as the first two league games after the Christmas break were both at home against the two sides just above us. We were now looking like the Milan we should be instead of the Milan we’ve been up until December.

    League Table

  76. #476
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    That's a fairly tight league table. Still a lot of opportunity for movement upwards.
    Last edited by cerud; 17-05-2012 at 03:36.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    That's a fairly tight league table. Still a lot of opportunity for mvoement upwards.
    We didn't really take our opportunity to do so while we avoided most of the tougher games.

    Jan 2040
    Milan 0-1 Fiorentina (A)
    Already missing Terzi for the first Birmingham game, an injury sidelined him up to that point as well. Without him we were criminally wasteful in the first half against Fiorentina, and as we gradually lost momentum, they scored in the 41st minute. That knocked the wind from our sails and we were on the back foot for the rest of the match as they came close to another goal a few times.

    Cesena 0-3 Milan (CI)
    We had no such trouble at home to Serie B Cesena in the cup, but weren’t very impressive. Di Gregorio gave us a 5th minute lead, and we only got a couple more late on from Katsikas and Bertoni. Chievo generally looked too good for us. They scored in the 10th minute, and we only came to life near the end, however Larsen’s goal right at the end gave us a point.

    Milan 1-1 Parma (A)
    We found things tricky at Parma. Bertoni gave us the lead after 35 minutes, but it was only Alberti who preserved the lead for most of the match, and he couldn’t quite hang on until the end as they got a last-minute equalizer.

    Milan 3-0 Lazio (A)
    After a mediocre start to 2040, we had our first strong performance at home to Lazio. Di Gregorio scored in the 4th minute. They had an equalizer disallowed a few minutes later, but you can’t say we were lucky as we took control with a 9th minute Traore goal, and won it with a Kunisch header after half an hour.

    Roma 2-1 Milan (CI)
    We went to Roma in the cup. The odds were very bad, but we managed to avoid being out played, though we did go behind in the 19th minute. Bertoni equalized in the 40th, and we were just as good value for a winner in the second half as they were, but in stoppage time they just sneaked through.

    Juventus 2-0 Milan (A)
    The odds were even worse for a trip to Juventus. It was nowhere near as close. They took the lead in the 15th minute. For a while Alberti held off further goals but they broke through again shortly before half-time, even if they couldn’t after that.

    League Table

    Feb 2040
    Milan 2-1 Catania (A)
    The month started with some bad news. Our bright young keeper Alberti was ruled out for 5-6 weeks, missing both Birmingham games (and we were already without Terzi for one leg) among other things, and very much slashing our chances of progress in Europe or being able to get into the European places. We got off to a good start though. Lovell gave us a 13th minute lead against Catania, quickly followed by Di Gregorio. They got a goal back in the 26th minute, but while they came close occasionally, we looked a lot more like getting another, and would have but Chumbinho had a goal disallowed after 80 minutes.

    Siena 2-3 Milan (A)
    We went behind at Siena after 13 minutes. Di Gregorio equalized in the 35th minute. They retook the lead in the 55th minute, but Lovell made it 2-2 in the 69th minute and after that we ploughed forward in search of a win, which Chumbinho got with a few minutes left.

    Milan 2-2 Birmingham (EL)
    We then had the home leg against Birmingham. We were on top in the first half, Lovell giving us the lead after 15 minutes. They snatched a 60th minute equalizer, but only had the edge for a brief time before we flew at them in search of a vital winner. Toninho scored in the 84th minute, but a controversial stoppage time penalty denied us an advantage to take to Birmingham, away goal not helping either.

    Pescara 3-2 Milan (A)
    We looked like continuing good domestic form when Bertoni gave us a 10th minute lead at Pescara. However we just dropped away as by the 51st minute they were 2-1 up. Terzi levelled it in the 55th minute but after struggling in the second half, we eventually conceded a Pescara winner in the 83rd minute.

    Birmingham 4-4 (6-6a) Milan (EL)
    We weren’t too confident ahead of the Birmingham trip. Kunisch headed us into the lead in the 2nd minute to give us a chance. This was followed by the much-missed Terzi a few minutes later, and at a stroke, we matched their away goals. Toninho got in on the act in the 10th minute. They needed 4 goals now, and got the first in the 15th minute, followed quickly by the second as they besieged us in search of the others. Toninho raised the bar for them with 5 minutes left, and that quietened them for a while. They got their 3rd goal in the 51st minute, and while they didn’t hit us as hard as before, they still kept threatening and levelled the aggregate score with 10 minutes left, though we still had the away goals advantage, which we held on to despite a couple of close Birmingham chances. It was a tense end to an epic tie. Guimaraes would be next in the last 16.

    Milan 2-0 Atletico Roma (A)
    Bertoni gave us the lead after 20 minutes against Atletico Roma. We were dominant enough that we should have had more, eventually getting a second goal right at the end from a Toninho penalty.

    League Table

    Mar 2040
    Napoli 1-0 Milan (A)
    A trip to Napoli would be tough, but as they were 3 points ahead of us in 7th, it was probably as critical a league game we’d have all season. We hit them hard for a lot of the first half, but couldn’t make a breakthrough. It was their turn to keep coming close for the rest of the match, aside from a hectic middle of the second half, but just as it seemed we had survived, in stoppage time they grabbed a winner.

    Guimaraes 3-2 Milan (EL)
    We hoped to make amends in our next away trip, to Portugal to face Vitoria Guimaraes. I didn’t rate them, and they were easily the most favourable draw, as the rest of the sides were reasonably big names from Twente, Leverkusen, Lens and Sporting Lisbon to Juventus, Man Utd, Chelsea (who admittedly were in a similar boat to Milan and had even tried to hire me recently) and Dortmund. While he was still recovering fitness, I decided that it was important enough to put Alberti back in for. We dominated the early stages, and Larsen scored in the 15th minute, but suddenly they came out of their shell, eventually equalizing in the 39th minute, and coming out of nowhere to head in a corner and take the lead just before the break. They took a 3-1 lead at the beginning of the second half as the defence were completely letting the side down. The forwards weren’t covering themselves in glory either, so it was up to the midfield (all of whom had been good) to rescue the situation. Munoz made it 3-2 in the 85th minute, and while we still lost the game, I expected a reasonably comfortable victory at the San Siro so still felt we would be able to go through, especially as thanks to away goals, 1-0 or 2-1 would be enough.

    Milan 5-1 Udinese (A)
    Udinese were a sort of warm-up. Toninho gave us a 19th minute lead, and scored another 20 minutes later. They pulled a goal back just after that, but in the middle of the second half we hit them with a flurry of goals from young defender Franchi, Pugliese, and Bertoni, with another disallowed later and a missed penalty.

    Milan 4-0 (6-3) Guimaraes (EL)
    In the home leg against Guimaraes, I gambled on breaking my policy of not changing a winning team, and put Terzi back in as I felt that his form this season trumped Pugliese’s second strong game. He rewarded me with a 21st minute goal after another strong start. Munoz gave us another goal on the strong of half-time. Mosquera headed in a third in the 52nd minute. Terzi got another 10 minutes later as it was as easy as I expected, and would have been even easier as a tie if the midfield didn’t have to try and carry the team in Portugal. We drew Liverpool (5th in the Premier League) in the quarter-finals. I didn’t expect to get through whoever we drew, so wouldn’t mind too much if we didn’t, but knew we had a decent shot.

    Brescia 1-1 Milan (A)
    Bertoni gave us the lead at Brescia in the 14th minute, but they sneaked an equalizer 10 minutes later. We tried continuously to get a winner, but while we were pretty dominant, we dropped points again against a side in the relegation zone.

    Torino 1-2 Milan (A)
    We hoped to avoid a hat-trick of such occurrences at Torino. They took the lead in the 11th minute. We didn’t look much like coming back and even got lucky that they had a second disallowed just before the break. A Pugliese shot held us to an own-goal equalizer in the 48th minute. We did sod all until late on when Pugliese got a 84th minute winner. That took us into 7th for the first time all season.

    Liverpool 4-0 Milan(EL)
    We needed to do better in Liverpool. The defence let us down on our travels yet again. The game was even if unexciting for a lot of the first half, but they efficiently picked us off with three goal before half-time. They got a 4th in the hour mark. Until we livened up at the end, Alberti in goal was the only player rising above the mediocrity, which says it all. We might have had a chance even with a narrow defeat, but we just threw the tie away already.

    It looked like the home leg would be the last European game for at least a year, as our 7 remaining games included 4 top 6 sides (mostly away), Napoli were 5 points ahead in 6th, and even if we somehow held 7th it may not be enough. At risk of writing my end of season summary early, it didn’t matter too much as given we’d probably be a bit short of Europe with a side that just hadn’t been firing this season, we had a pretty good campaign under our best, and league improvement next season would be far more of a focus anyway.

    League Table

  78. #478
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    What's your run in like? If results go your way, you could sneak above Napoli. 7th would still be a pretty decent finish though.

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    Looking better than earlier in the season.

    Although part of me doesnt want you to , you can overturn that Liverpool defeat. Just check my thread out for that .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    What's your run in like? If results go your way, you could sneak above Napoli. 7th would still be a pretty decent finish though.
    Very bad, just holding on to 7th would be quite something. Inter (home), Roma (home), Atalanta (away), Juve Stabia (home), Palermo (away), Sampdoria (home), Fiorentina (away). Three winnable (though could drop points against Atalanta) and would be amazed to get more than a few points in total (if that, though an earlier home win over Palermo suggests that Inter and Roma aren't impossible) from the other four.

    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Looking better than earlier in the season.

    Although part of me doesnt want you to , you can overturn that Liverpool defeat. Just check my thread out for that .
    I had a feeling you'd be pleased with the Liverpool result
    Last edited by deltablue; 17-05-2012 at 09:22.

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    Apr 2040
    Milan 3-1 Inter (A)
    A few injuries and suspensions played havoc with team selection for Inter, but a slightly odd lineup seemed to work as Mosquera gave us the lead after 25 minutes. They immediately equalized, but Terzi decided to show why I wanted to grab him from Stabia before anyone else did. He restored the lead in the 38th minute, and while we were on the back foot in the second half, he got another to clinch by first derby victory in the 82nd minute.

    Milan 0-1 (0-5) Liverpool (EL)
    Before the Liverpool game, there was a rumour that a Liverpool fan based in Turkey had placed a bet on us winning 6-0. Given that Alberti was ill I felt that chap perhaps should have gone for the reverse scoreline. We had a bright burst at the start, but soon faded, especially when they scored in the 42nd minute, and we never even looked like scoring afterwards.

    Milan 2-2 Roma (A)
    Our chances of a repeat of the Inter win against Roma took a blow when they scored a penalty in the 8th minute. Toninho equalized a few minutes later but they took control in the second half, starting with regaining the lead, but late on Traore headed in a free-kick to give us a point. We appeared to be finishing the season far better than last time.

    Atalanta 2-1 Milan (A)
    Terzi had a goal disallowed in the 11th minute at Atalanta, but finally scored in the 65th minute. However we had been far from comfortable, and they equalized 5 minutes later, getting a slightly surprising winner a few minutes after that.

    Milan 1-1 Juve Stabia (A)
    If we were looking like a good finish they certainly stopped being the case when we went behind in the first half against Juve Stabia. We woke up late on and Kunisch headed in a Larsen corner to give us a point, and we somehow remained in 7th, however I knew by this point that it wouldn’t give us European football anyway. Indeed we faced the possibility of finishing as low as 10th due to how tight those places were.

    Palermo 2-0 Milan (A)
    We were likely to drop after a trip to Palermo. We had a few early chanced but otherwise had to face a continuous barrage, end eventually they broke through in the 19th minute. That was quickly followed by a disallowed goal, but they got their deserved second anyway early in the 49th minute.

    May 2040
    Milan 5-1 Sampdoria (A)
    Chumbinho was given a chance against Sampdoria as Terzi had a hernia, and he scored in the 16th minute. Sadly the rest of the side seemed to have given up, and they scored a penalty after 40 minutes that seemed to be the signal to play even worse. However Chumbinho scored again in the 48th minute and we sparked back into life. Toninho gave is a third within 5 minutes, Munoz scored in the 69th minute, then set Chumbinho up to complete his hat-trick in the 82nd minute.

    Fiorentina 0-2 Milan (A)
    We would need to get something at Fiorentina to stand a chance of being above 9th. We managed to keep it fairly even for the first half, but they definitely on balance had the lion’s share of chances, Alberti definitely earning his summer holiday. We occasionally probed to try and get a breakthrough, and got it from Di Gregorio in the 65th minute. There was still no guarantee we’d get anything but Bertoni secured the win (and 7th) in the 84th minute, also denying Fiorentina a CL place.

    Final League Table

    It had been a bit of a difficult year, repeating last year’s 7th was better than it looked like being, as most players either never really shone at all or only in short bursts. We got first wins against Palermo and Inter, but dropped points against 4 of the bottom 5 as a sign of our continuously blowing hot and cold at different times, and never really sparking to life as a team. However that sort of showed what we could achieve when (and it was definitely ‘when’ and ‘how much’ not ‘if) we did, and there was no doubt we would, simply judging by the bids I was getting for quite a few players who weren’t even regulars. I was expecting better next year for sure, a return to Europe at least, and hopefully things really starting to click. As the wage bill kept tumbling I was also getting far more to spend, and without the need to get the numbers in, it was all about the true quality now.

    Squad Stats
    Last edited by deltablue; 17-05-2012 at 16:08.

  82. #482
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    Still a bit hit and miss. Missing out on Europe could turn out to be a blessing in disguise though

  83. #483
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    A 7th place finish is a good spot, but I know the desire to move into Europe Hopefully, next year this happens. Juventus is a beast! They are in my career save as well.

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    Guess that's the risk with finishing 7th, sometimes a team below you can win a cup which sees you out of Europe. Like AK said could turn out to be a blessing in disguise with less games compared to everyone else next year

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Still a bit hit and miss. Missing out on Europe could turn out to be a blessing in disguise though
    Well certainly with a reasonable European campaign under our belt, the focus would definitely be a considerably improvement in the league even if we were in Europe again. In fact rejected the England job because of how much I want to focus on Milan and Serie A for now.

    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    A 7th place finish is a good spot, but I know the desire to move into Europe Hopefully, next year this happens. Juventus is a beast! They are in my career save as well.
    My two 7th place finishes still mark the club's best finishes in over a decade. Had a taste of Europe so not so desperate for it right now. Juventus are just balancing out Palermo's recent dominance, while it means neither are invincible, it does mean I have to try and get the better of both sides, not just one, when it comes to challengin for the title, but we's some way from that yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    Guess that's the risk with finishing 7th, sometimes a team below you can win a cup which sees you out of Europe. Like AK said could turn out to be a blessing in disguise with less games compared to everyone else next year
    That's why I don't take the last European place for granted unless I can see the cup's going the right way for it to be enough. We'll certainly have less games, as Europe added 16 more to last season, hopefully that will end up giving us more focus and energy in the league, even if otherwise I wouldn't see the extra challenge and games as a problem in the slightest.

    Summer 2040
    I had over 50M this summer, and like last year I was able to keep expectations to ‘top-half’ and have all of it in the budget. I didn’t spend it quite as quickly as last year (nor did drain the balance, for the first time), but still had a weakness for ‘players for the future’ who I’d have to wait to blood in the first team, including a 14yr old from France! Well what’s this career for if not to load up with potential and be patient? I had to try and resist putting them in too much too early in order to avoid risking more stuttering.

    I definitely wanted a return to Europe, and a far stronger qualification than last time, maybe getting close to the CL places, though a top 4 finish would require us to really get our act together from the start. That Katsikas was receiving bids of up to 35M suggested that at least some of the side was now ready after a couple of years of growing and gelling. One player I didn’t have to worry about was a Brazilian who I had to wait 2 years for, unusual as I’d otherwise not want to use up my future ‘non eu from abroad’ slots that way but already looked quality at 15. We also took our count of Germans up to 8 (with one more removed to the reserves) in an interesting reflection of the late 80’s, though it was Inter that had a few Germans and Milan with a few Dutch.

    Off the pitch, I reinforced the coaching staff, making up for the fact that the facilities were downgraded (though still good) and the board felt that was fine for our current stature, ignoring the fact that that was far from where we should be. But when they decided the time was right we weren’t short on funding. Last season took us from an empty balance to 50M, and even without Europe this season (and aside from Liverpool, attendances were less than average anyway), another wage budget slash, added to the fact that we had over half of the balance left this time, meant that we’d be rolling in money already, even more so when we were in the CL on a regular basis I’d imagine.

    Adriano (From Miniero, in 2 years time)

    Diallo (From Birmingham)

    Eweka (From Schalke)

    Pastor (From Marseille)

    Puncheon (From Middlesborough)

    Richter (From Leverkusen)

    Sebastiao (From Anorthosi)

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    Despite what the league table says, been much improved this season.

    Sept 2040
    Bologna 0-3 Milan (A)
    The opening game was postponed, so it was odd having a few sides having played twice before we started our season after the international break, at re-promoted Bologna. We lined up Alberti-Sebastiao-Traore-Kunisch-Ambrosi-Katsikas-Richter-Bertoni-Lovell-Eweka-Terzi, a pretty good looking first 11. We hit them with numerous chances in the first half, but as we didn’t score, they looked likely to sneak a goal. That often happens, but not this time as Terzi delivered in the 57th minute. It looked like that was all we would have to show from the game, but Terzi got another in the 79th minute, shortly followed by a Traore header to make it look as comfortable as it deserved to be.

    Milan 3-0 Lazio (A)
    The original opening game was played afterwards, at home to Lazio, who were the sort of team we needed to be able to beat on a regular basis to have a shot at the top 4. They weren’t any sort of challenge. Terzi scored in the 13th minute, then converted a penalty in the 42nd, which also saw them go a man down. Despite the numerical disadvantage, they came out very strongly for a lot of the second half, but Bertoni gave us a 3rd goal in the 72nd minute, and 10 minutes later Terzi had another disallowed.

    Napoli 2-0 Milan (A) 100th Milan Match
    A trip to Napoli would be far tougher. It was also my 100th Milan game. As I feared, they were just too strong, and resisting was all we could do. We somehow held out until the 50th minute, when they scored in the middle of two disallowed goals, and got a second goal right at the end.

    Milan 5-0 Chievo (A)
    Terzi was injured for the Chievo game. Thankfully Toninho decided to turn up for one of his occasional good games, and gave us the lead in the 4th minute. Richter was pulling the strings well in midfield, which helped Eweka get his first goal for the club, and Bertoni to get two as we were 4-0 up at the break. Lovell set Toninho up in the 50th minute, and having lost to them on the opening day and been held at home last season, we had torn them apart this time.

    Atalanta 4-2 Milan (A)
    Eweka gave us the lead at Atalanta, but just like our last trip to Bergamo, they tore the defence apart to quickly to 2-1 up. Richter levelled it before the break but they finished us off with 2 second half goals. The usually reliable Alberti was completely useless and I was far from impressed.

    League Table

    Oct 2040
    Milan 3-0 Parma (A)
    We were without quite a few players (including both keepers) for Parma due to the European U21 playoffs. We had no trouble from them anyway. Toninho again shone, scoring in the 4th minute. We didn’t do too much else until late on, when he got another in the 73rd minute, and finished off a hat-trick with a penalty.

    Milan 4-3 Palermo (A)
    I wasn’t looking forward to facing Palermo, but Toninho got us racing into a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes. They started threatening, Puncheon was making his debut after Alberti’s Atalanta horror show (and I hoped to give him more opportunities given his wonderkid potential but being rather weaker then the Italian for now), and did a pretty good job, having been unavailable for his intended debut against Parma it was a bit of a baptism of fire, but they still got one back in the 40th minute. Toninho finished off another hat-trick in the last minute of the half to make things much safer. Puncheon had far more to do in the second half, but the defence let him down a bit, and they got a quick brace in just after an hour to level it. Terzi came off the bench and gave us a winner with a couple of minutes.

    Fiorentina 1-1 Milan (A)
    Having struggled on the road at the stronger sides, I was worried when we went to Fiorentina, though we beat them in Tuscany at the end of last season. We made it very easy for them in the first half, as they took the lead in the 20th minute, followed quickly by having another disallowed. Before half time we started to spring to life, but try as we might we just weren’t taking our chances. They had a late resurgence, requiring an epic defensive performance (Puncheon was man of the match in his second ever first-team game), but oddly it was then that Toninho slipped through to get a late equalizer. Better late than never I guess.

    League Table

    Nov 2040
    Juve Stabia 1-4 Milan (A)
    Toninho was seriously on form this autumn. He gave us the lead in the 12th minute at Juve Stabia. Bertoni had a follow up goal disallowed, but still extended the lead in the 27th minute, followed by Eweka just after the half-hour mark. Traore headed us a 4th in the 52nd minute, shortly before they did the same to get a consolation.

    Milan 0-3 Juventus (A)
    Unfortunately, while we weren’t far off the top places, we had all of the top three next, facing Juventus and Inter with a trip to Roma in between. We gave the champions a very easy ride, and Puncheon never stood a chance. They scored in the 12th minute, against just before the break, and finished us off in the 69th minute, and it could have been worse.

    Roma 3-1 Milan (A)
    Toninho was injured for a month so Terzi (and Alberti) was back in favour for Roma. It looked like a rejected penalty claim in the second minute was the closest we’d get to anything as they dominated and took the lead in the 9th minute. Pugliese made his first appearance of the season from the bench and levelled it within a minute, but unfortunately Digao didn’t so much go missing as get erased from time altogether and they quickly took a 3-1 lead we couldn’t come back from.

    Milan 0-4 Inter (A)
    We didn’t show up at all against Inter. Conceding after 16 seconds set the scene as we were 4-0 down at the break, only showing up to stop them getting more. I was offered the very attractive Palermo job just after, and it was just as well I wanted to stay so much as after that it could have been very tempting. However while we obviously had big problems against the big sides, if we could keep up our great form against the rest we could still have an excellent season.

    Udinese 1-4 Milan (A)
    A trip to Udinese was a good way to recover. However, we were a bit battered from our maulings, and while we had the lion’s share of the chances, we had a hard time of scoring until Wohlfarth gave us the lead a few minutes before the break. They equalized in the 47th minute, but regained the lead from a 62nd minute own-goal. 10 minutes later Pugliese made it 3-1, and Terzi finished them off in the 85th minute.

    League Table

    Dec 2040
    Milan 3-0 Modena (A)
    Next was promoted Modena at home. Traore’s 8th minute header gave us the lead, but further goals just weren’t coming until well into the second half. Bertoni scored after an hour, and Terzi wrapped things up in the 84th minute.

    Livorno 0-2 Milan (A)
    We went to another promoted side, Livorno. We had a good start but without much end product before the game started to balance out, and they looked just as likely to win. Eweka finally scored in the 88th minute, and there was enough time for Terzi to get another.

    Milan 1-4 Pescara (A)
    Bertoni gave us the lead after 15 minutes against Pescara, and it looked like another goal would be a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ unfortunately we were still not out of the phase where the defenders threw a game away, and they got three goals in the last 15 minutes of the half. We chased them hard, but a disallowed Terzi goal in the 65th minute was followed by a 4th for Pescara’s star striker, which was most frustrating. If ever you could say a team who won 4-1 got a lucky break, this was it.

    Sampdoria 0-4 Milan (A)
    We hoped that wouldn’t spoil our form, and went to Sampdoria in the last game before the break. We certainly made up for Pescara. Bertoni scored after 25 seconds, followed by Eweka in the 9th, and Larsen after half an hour. Even Katsikas got in on the act, scoring his first league goal for the club (and 2nd overall) after 2 and a half years just before half time. It was like the Inter hammering only with us dishing it out, which unfortunately extended to the lack of second half goals. Somehow I felt we were worth a bit more than 8th, but in a fairly tight top half (4th was 5 points away and top was 8) the Atalanta and Pescara slip-ups were costing us badly (Juve and Inter were also disappointing but only due to the severity of the defeats rather than feeling we threw winnable points away), but I felt if we continued in similar form we could have a strong finish on our hands.

    League Table
    Last edited by deltablue; 19-05-2012 at 09:40.

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    Looking very open this season, a good run of form could see you hit the CL places

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    I agree with PaulHartman, at this stage anything could happen if you grab some form.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    Looking very open this season, a good run of form could see you hit the CL places
    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    I agree with PaulHartman, at this stage anything could happen if you grab some form.
    In a way we're already on pretty good form. 10 wins out of 17, a lot of them very convincing, isn't bad at all, which is why I feel we're worthy of being a few places further up. Certainly we've been far better than last year, for the most part so should be improving on the two 7th finishes. 6 defeats is obviously rather less good, even then a few of those were near-inevitable, and that just left a couple of games the defence threw away, but while that won't happen much, we can't afford much more, and on such relatively small things can big differences in league position be made.
    Last edited by deltablue; 19-05-2012 at 09:53.

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    Very good going so far in 2041 but, well read the last paragraph, going to be a roller-coaster from this point on.

    Jan 2041
    Siena 1-1 Milan (A)
    Going to Siena, they posed little threat in the first-half, but they were a very tough nut to crack and we were goalless at half-time. They suddenly grabbed a goal after almost an hour, and looked pretty good after that. Just as it looked like another unlucky away-day Wohlfarth gave us a point in the 82nd minute but we deserved to come away with all three.

    Milan 2-1 Catania (A)
    Catania, the last side we hadn’t played, were just below us so it was a good idea not to lose to them. We went behind in the 19th minute, but had been good up to that point and it took just 5 minutes for Terzi to equalize. They were very strong after the break but gradually we took control, and Mosquera gave us the win in the 85th minute.

    Milan 3-2 Parma (CI)
    We had Parma in the first cup game, who were expected to be reasonably comfortable to beat. Terzi’s 14th minute penalty gave us the lead. They equalized in the 33rd minute but Eweka deservedly restored the lead just after. We were looking good in the second half. They equalized against the run of play in the 71st minute, but another Eweka goal in the 79th minute sent us through.

    Lazio 0-2 Milan (A)
    Lazio would be a tough away trip, especially as they were just below us. On balance, they definitely had the first half-edge, but not so much that we didn’t have our chances, and Eweka gave us the lead in the 40th minute. It wasn’t Lazio’s day. They had an early goal disallowed, and in the second half were denied a penalty then had a player sent off. It took a while for their threat to diminish, and they could easily have had an equalizer. Terzi had a goal disallowed with 10 minutes left, but that was quickly followed by an unbeatable Mosquera giving us our second goal. We had ridden our luck a little but it was very promising that we could get wins from tough away games like this.

    Milan 4-1 Bologna (A)
    Terzi gave us the lead after 5 minutes against Bologna, but the goal rush I expected didn’t come. Mosquera scored in the 52nd minute, followed by a Bologna goal, but the final few minutes saw a pair of Terzi goals to make it look as good as it should have been.

    Roma 2-0 Milan (CI)
    Far more challenging would be the cup quarter-final at Roma, who had knocked us out both seasons I’d been at Milan. We looked good in the first half and were unlucky to go a goal down before the break. We found it hard to come back after that, and the eventually got a second, as yet again the dumped us out of the cup.

    League Table

    Feb 2041
    Milan 1-1 Napoli (A)
    Toninho was back in the side to face Napoli and gave us the lead after 15 minutes, but as the half wore on, the less comfortable things got. They really turned the heat up in the second half, and we only just conceded an equalizer in the last minute.

    Chievo 2-2 Milan (A)
    A trip to Chievo seemed like one of those days. They took the lead completely against the run of play (and after we had a penalty turned down), and seemed immune to conceding an equalizer. Bertoni got one in the 69th minute but they just took the lead again. More pushing gave us a point thanks to Terzi but they shouldn’t have even got that.

    Milan 3-0 Atalanta (A)
    Atalanta were tough at first, but Terzi got a pair of goals in the last 5 minutes of the first half. He completed his hat-trick in the 47th minute, and while Mosquera was sent off, we held on easily enough.

    Parma 0-3 Milan (A)
    We had a tricky start at Parma, but Terzi’s goal in the 19th minute was followed by Sebastiao. The Angolan defender scored another in the 73rd minute.

    Milan 6-0 Juve Stabia (A)
    Bertoni gave us the lead in the 15th minute against Juve Stabia, and what followed was the finest half we’ve had yet, there has to be a Richter-scale joke somewhere as our German playmaker got a hat-trick (completed with a penalty), in the first half, with Toninho also scoring amongst that, and the Brazilian poacher getting another just after half-time.

    We were up in 4th, 3 points ahead of Fiorentina and Juventus, but this was as good as things were going to get, as not only did we have Bertoni (probably our most important player) out for pretty much all of the season, leaving us with the 15yr old Pastor (who had admittedly done well in a few sub appearances) but we had the rest of the top 5 as our next set of games. Given my record against the big sides I expected to take a massive hit over the next month, so the question was how much ground we needed to make up to get 6th or 5th at least with a (mostly comfortable run-in).
    League Table

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    Definitely a better season and still enough games left to really make things interesting

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Definitely a better season and still enough games left to really make things interesting
    Thanks, just finished that tough run of 5 games, and we're still in the top 6, and just 3 points behind 4th, which is a lot better then I was expecting so looking like getting 6th at least, and got a good shot at 4th. I said after December that we were worth a lot better than the 8th we were in at the time, and we're definitely proving it.

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    How to qualify for Europe the hard way...

    Mar 2041
    Palermo 3-1 Milan (A)
    What promised to be a painful month started in Palermo. Surprisingly we were on top in the first 10 minutes, but unsurprisingly they scored just afterwards. We looked spirited enough, but they had efficiently on their side and I felt being 3-0 down at the break was a little harsh. We still kept going, Pastor had a goal disallowed in the 55th minute, but at least we did get a goal 5 minutes later from Eweka. We failed to do much more after that, going down to our first defeat in 11 but felt we could have got something on another day.

    Milan 1-1 Fiorentina (A)
    We were now down to 6th but level with Juventus and Fiorentina, playing the latter at home next, and I felt we had a good chance in this one. The first half kept swinging either way, but having missed a penalty earlier, they took the lead in the 35th minute. We had a strong second half. Toninho equalized after an hour, and we kept pushing for a winner. However late on that ramped up the pressure, which explained why I was rather more delighted with a point than if things had been the other way around.

    Juventus 2-2 Milan (A)
    At Juventus, I wasn’t expecting the reasonably quiet and even first half that occurred. My heart still sunk when they took the lead in the 39th minute, but Terzi came off the bench and levelled it on the stroke of half-time. We were on the back foot in the second half, but Eweka gave us the lead after 68 minutes. It was far from over. This was perhaps the one game of the season I didn’t expect to win, and nor did we as they deservedly equalized at the end, but still it wasn’t a bad result, and I couldn’t complain too much. We still had the top two to go, Roma and Inter.

    Milan 2-0 Roma (A)
    We had a very good start against Roma, and Traore gave us a deserved lead in the 20th minute. There was a nervous sense that they could equalize at any time, but Lovell extended our lead just a few minutes after coming on at half-time. We were quietly on top for the rest of the game. 5 points from those 4 games wasn’t too bad. My experiences facing Zilina and since I arrived have taught me to fear the worst.

    League Table

    Apr 2041
    Inter 4-1 Milan (A)
    Of this tough run, we had the worst at the end, the ‘away’ derby with an Inter side that were 6 points clear at the top. We started very well, but the defence was weak and Inter breached it twice in a few minutes to have a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Wohlfarth gave us a goal back in the first minute of the second half. Unfortunately they had most of the pressure after that, and we never really had a chance to equalize, and after Richter’s injury left us with 10 men, they got two more goals to finish us off. Incompetent defence aside, it was still clear that we were closing the gap quite a bit to the best sides, however we were still in the top 6 (though level on points with a Catania side we had to travel to in the penultimate game), and just 3 points behind 5th and 4th so we looked good for a strong finish with most of the remaining games looking comfortable.

    Milan 6-1 Udinese (A)
    We were very surprised at home against Udinese when they took the lead in the 14th minute, anything other than a win would be an embarrassment, and Sebastiao headed in a free-kick just afterwards. Eweka soon gave us the lead. Terzi made it 3-1 in the 27th minute, and he scored a penalty 10 minutes later. Sebastiao got another header in the 70th minute, and Terzi finished off his hat-trick with 5 minutes to go.

    Special mention has to go to an amazing performance by Pastor. I was worried about getting him as he was just 14 when I got him and players I get who are under 16 rarely seem to develop, but decided he was worth a punt as a potential Zidane in case he ended up being one of the best players in the world playing against me. He was meant as backup and an eventual replacement for Bertoni, who was about to turn 30, and while there had been a few inevitable poor games he’d shown that even at just 15 and being thrust into the first team by the Italians injury, he wasn’t out of his depth, and was had already visibly improved a bit. I don’t think I have too much to worry about with him.

    Modena 0-2 Milan (A)
    Larsen assisted an own-goal in the 18th minute at Modena. Terzi scored a few minutes later as it was clear that we were going to wrap this one up early. We comfortably battered them in the second half but didn’t get any more.

    Milan 4-0 Livorno (A)
    After being the creative spark in the Modena win, Larsen gave us the lead in the 14 minute against Livorno. Terzi scored a few minutes later, and Sebastiao made it 3 in the 33rd minute. Terzi got his second goal of the game in the 54th minute as we strolled to another win. However Fiorentina were showing no sign of relinquishing 4th, and with a couple of potentially tricky games (especially the trip to Catania who were 3 points behind) 5th was far from secure. However Bertoni almost ready to return which was a massive boost.

    League Table

    May 2041
    Pescara 1-1 Milan (A)
    I was slightly uneasy about going to Pescara, given the defence gifted them a 4-1 win at the San Siro in the autumn. They didn’t look like doing much in the first half, but we lacked finishing power. They took the lead in the 51st minute, but while Toninho equalized in the 58th minute, their spirits were much up and the rest of the game was a survival mission.

    Milan 0-1 Siena (A)
    At home to Siena, we were frustrated for a lot of the first half. We really turned the pressure up in the second half, but not only couldn’t we score, they sneaked an 84th minute winner. Results elsewhere kept us in 5th but it was a missed opportunity to make it (or at least 6th) reasonably safe.

    Catania 2-4 Milan (A)
    Catania were just a point behind us (and so were Juventus) us so we couldn’t afford to lose in Sicily. Pastor was on international duty, which was a problem as Bertoni had another knock. Thankfully Wohlfarth had been training on the right and he was now capable of playing there. Eweka gave us the lead in the 8th minute. They started threatening in the middle of the first half, but Wohlfarth extended the lead in the 38th minute, followed by Terzi. They got a goal back after an hour, followed by another, but Richter gave us a 4th, and Terzi had what would be a 5th disallowed. I never expected that strong a win.

    Milan 3-3 Sampdoria (A)
    Sampdoria at home was the last game, and we hoped to win to clinch 5th, though were mindful of what happened against Siena. It helped that Juventus had to face Roma. We didn’t get off to a good start, and went behind in the 23rd minute. Terzi had a goal disallowed, but Hoffman levelled it in the 53rd minute, just as Roma did the same in Turin. However they retook the lead, as did Juventus by the time a Richter penalty levelled it for us. They retook the lead before Toninho equalized, and as it turned out it was just enough. While we would have been in the Europa league whatever, beating Juventus to 5th still meant something.

    Final League Table

    The first thing to be said is that this was the club’s first top 5 finish for 15 years, and highest points total for 20. It could have been so much better but the defence threw away points in quite a few games (and very nearly did with Sampdoria). It was great to some very good seasons from a number of players, as we showed great squad depth as well as talent. However in my experience Serie A is as competitive as leagues get in FM and we were penalized badly for our mistakes, but otherwise we definitely showed ourselves capable of better.

    Games against big sides still needed improvement (which was why I wasn’t too unhappy at not being in the CL yet) but we were getting there with a few more points, and giving good games when we did lose. I felt we could step up to getting CL qualification next year, and starting to challenge for the title, though I anticipated we would probably be getting close for some time before we could actually be top of the pile. It was always going to be slow work, but we were definitely getting somewhere now.

    Squad Stats
    Last edited by deltablue; 21-05-2012 at 09:05.

  94. #494
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    Good finish considering the clubs history. I think you can make Champions League next season reasonably easily.

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    Good season, looking like AC Milan are close to becoming title challengers again! Some very strong performances in there against Roma and Inter

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    Looking much improved! Scoring 90 goals in a Serie A season is no mean feat either

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    Quote Originally Posted by AcidBurn View Post
    Good finish considering the clubs history. I think you can make Champions League next season reasonably easily.
    Not sure about easily, the competition is as immense as you'd expect at the top end of a very strong league. Thats definitely my personal aim for the season. Wasn't sure we'd be ready to compete with the big boys before judging by our record against the bigger sides in Italy, but definitely feel we could now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    Good season, looking like AC Milan are close to becoming title challengers again! Some very strong performances in there against Roma and Inter
    Close perhaps, interesting to see how far we are from the top next season and see whether we can think about challenges. Pretty sure you meant Juve as I wouldn't call losing 8-1 over the two derby games 'strong'.

    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Looking much improved! Scoring 90 goals in a Serie A season is no mean feat either
    Defence rather less good, but if anything the goals scored is a sign that we're sparking into some sort of life now.

    Summer 2041
    Like last summer I had about 50M to spend. Spending it provided a dilemma. I hadn’t expected that many of my initial signings to be the basis of a top quality squad. And now, especially in defence and midfield, getting in better players meant a few of them would get drop down the pecking order or even be surplus to requirements altogether. The two standout players were in central midfield, one of them I was lucky to spot just in time to bid the day before his 21st birthday (as outlined in the OP, that’s what matters, for the sake of having a consistent line in the sand). As a knock-on effect, Schmeidel, his path already blocked by an ever-present Katsikas last year, would get more mileage out of being used as a right-back. Three would also be a crowd in terms of playmakers, as I grabbed a very talented player from Pescara. All three were very close together, but thankfully Richter would make a good winger, and as Lovell looked like ending up as one of those ‘stop-gap’ players, I was able to keep all three.

    One oddity was the lack of any Germans for once, I also (mostly) decided to hold back on getting players that still had a way to go. Just three signings this year meant that better stability would be as much of a benefit as the midfield upgrade. For the first time I raised the expectations to ‘European qualification’, though were definitely targeting a CL place as now I felt we were capable of competing at that level. I wouldn’t be too disappointed if we fell just short, but that was definitely the goal.

    Brighenti (From Parma)

    Davalos (From Boca Juniors)

    Olaizola (From Pescara)

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    Quote Originally Posted by deltablue View Post
    Close perhaps, interesting to see how far we are from the top next season and see whether we can think about challenges. Pretty sure you meant Juve as I wouldn't call losing 8-1 over the two derby games 'strong'.
    Quote Originally Posted by deltablue View Post
    Inter 1-4 Milan (A)
    That's where I got it from the Inter part from, but I misread the description the first time haha, re-reading it again shows it was a typo

  99. #499
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    Nice season! Congrats on the Europa League

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    That's where I got it from the Inter part from, but I misread the description the first time haha, re-reading it again shows it was a typo
    Normally I see those almost as soon as I post, though a few do get spotted by others. Well I was just about to go to bed

    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Nice season! Congrats on the Europa League
    Thanks, but we're still doing things the hard way. Just 1 point from the first two league games. Not happy.
    Last edited by deltablue; 21-05-2012 at 10:08.

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