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[FM10] Travelling into the unknown...


iseemonsters1

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Game Setup: 10.1 Patch, Small Database

Leagues Loaded: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Honduras, Ivory Coast, New Zealand, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan (12 leagues)

Start Date: July 2009

Thanks to the wonderful work of the FM community, FM10 offers the opportunity to travel to hitherto unplayable areas of world football. I downloaded the African, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, and Oceania league packs from FMSite.net (massive credit goes to those folks, though I don't know how to tell them directly since the whole site is in Spanish), and I also downloaded the Asian league pack from HKFM.org. I wanted to run a career game to experience some of those previously unplayable leagues (plus Greece and Ukraine as I wanted to include some relatively big European leagues and those two have always appealed to me).

My FM alter-ego is a 26 year old Uruguayan by the name of Cristoval Alvarez - he also has British citizenship through his father's side of the family. Alvarez' only previous experience is in Sunday League football.

Career Summary

Season       Club             GP  W   D   L   GF   GA   GD      Earnings    Notes
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2009	     Perez Zeledon    27  15  8   4   44   25   +19     £13,000
2010         Perez Zeledon    57  37  16  4   76   28   +48     £28,000
2011         Perez Zeledon    29  20  8   1   43   11   +32     £23,000     Resigned July 18th 2011
2011/12      Barcelona SC     11  8   2   1   23   10   +13     £35,000     Appointed November 27th 2011
2012/13      Barcelona SC     22  14  5   3   35   18   +17     £76,000
2013/14      Barcelona SC     44  27  10  7   71   35   +36     £100,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL                         190 121 49  20  292  127  +165    £275,000

Competition History

Season    Club               Competition         Country/Continent  Position       Achievements
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2009      Perez Zeledon      Copa de Verano      Costa Rica         6th            Playoff winners, Champions
2009      Perez Zeledon      Copa de Invierno    Costa Rica         1st (Group B)  Playoff semi-finals
2010      Perez Zeledon      Copa de Verano      Costa Rica         1st            Playoff winners, Champions
2010      Perez Zeledon      Copa de Invierno    Costa Rica         1st (Group A)  Playoff winners, Champions
2010/11   Perez Zeledon      CONCACAF Chmp Lg    North America      2nd (Group B)  Quarter-finals
2011      Perez Zeledon      Copa de Verano      Costa Rica         1st            Playoff winners, Champions
2011/12   Barcelona SC       Serie A             Ecuador            6th            11th when appointed
2012/13   Barcelona SC       Serie A             Ecuador            1st            Champions
2013/14   Barcelona SC       Serie A             Ecuador            1st            Champions
2013/14   Barcelona SC       Copa Sudamericana   South America      N/A            Semi-Finals
2013/14   Barcelona SC       Copa Libertadores   South America      1st (Group F)  Runners-Up

Trophy Cabinet

Season    Club               Competition       Country
-------------------------------------------------------------
2009      Perez Zeledon      Copa de Verano    Costa Rica
2010      Perez Zeledon      Copa de Verano    Costa Rica
2010      Perez Zeledon      Copa de Invierno  Costa Rica
2011      Perez Zeledon      Copa de Verano    Costa Rica
2012/13   Barcelona SC       Serie A           Ecuador
2013/14   Barcelona SC       Serie A           Ecuador

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The Wide World of Football

World Cup

Year      Winner              Runner-Up           Third Placed        Hosts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010      England             Japan               Spain               South Africa
2014      Italy               Serbia              Spain               Brazil

Confederations Cup

Year      Winner              Runner-Up           Third Placed        Hosts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2013      Italy               Brazil              Mexico              Brazil

European Championship

Year      Winner              Runner-Up           Hosts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2012      Italy               France              Poland

Asian Cup

Year      Winner              Runner-Up           Third Placed        Hosts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2011      Australia           Uzbekistan          Saudi Arabia        Qatar

Copa America

Year      Winner              Runner-Up           Third Placed        Hosts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2011      Argentina           Paraguay            Brazil              Argentina

African Cup of Nations

Year      Winner              Runner-Up           Third Placed        Hosts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010      Mali                South Africa        Nigeria             Angola
2012      Nigeria             Senegal             Egypt               Gabon
2014      Ivory Coast         Nigeria             Senegal             Libya

Gold Cup

Year      Winner              Runner-Up           Third Placed        Hosts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2011      Mexico              Costa Rica          Honduras            United States
2013      Costa Rica          Panama              Mexico              United States

OFC Nations Cup

Year      Winner              Runner-Up           Third Placed        Hosts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010      New Zealand         Papua New Guinea    Tonga               Papua New Guinea
2012      New Zealand         Fiji                New Caledonia       American Samoa
2014      New Zealand         Vanuatu             Tahiti              Vanuatu

Olympic Games

Year      Winner              Runner-Up           Third Placed        Hosts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2012      Germany             Brazil              France              Great Britain

Club World Cup

Year      Winner                                  Runner-Up                               Hosts
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2009      Barcelona (Spain)                       Africa Sports (Ivory Coast)             UAE
2010      Real Madrid (Spain)                     Racing de Montevideo (Uruguay)          UAE
2011      Arsenal (England)                       San Lorenzo (Argentina)                 Japan
2012      Juventus (Italy)                        Internacional (Brazil)                  Japan
2013      Juventus (Italy)                        River Plate (Argentina)                 United States

African Champions League

Year      Winner                                  Runner-Up           
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2009      Africa Sports (Ivory Coast)             Al-Ahly (Egypt)
2010      Al-Ahly (Egypt)                         Africa Sports (Ivory Coast)
2011      Ismaily (Egypt)                         ASEC (Ivory Coast)
2012      Zamalek (Egypt)                         Ismaily (Egypt)
2013      Al-Ahly (Egypt)                         Zamalek (Egypt)

AFC Champions League

Year      Winner                                  Runner-Up                               Hosts
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2009      Al-Shabab (Saudi Arabia)                Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia)                 Japan
2010      Al-Ahli (Saudi Arabia)                  Urawa Reds (Japan)                      Bahrain
2011      Gamba Osaka (Japan)                     Al-Ittihad (Saudi Arabia)               UAE
2012      Urawa Reds (Japan)                      Al-Shabab (Saudi Arabia)                China
2013      Al-Shabab (Saudi Arabia)                Gamba Osaka (Japan)                     India

UEFA Champions League

Year      Winner                                  Runner-Up                               Hosts
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010      Real Madrid (Spain)                     A.C. Milan (Italy)                      Spain
2011      Arsenal (England)                       Chelsea (England)                       England
2012      Juventus (Italy)                        Manchester United (England)             Germany
2013      Juventus (Italy)                        Barcelona (Spain)                       Scotland
2014      Barcelona (Spain)                       Juventus (Italy)                        Netherlands

CONCACAF Champions League

Year      Winner                                  Runner-Up                               
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010      Olimpia (Honduras)                      Pumas (Mexico)                          
2011      Pumas (Mexico)                          San Jose Earthquakes (USA)               
2012      Club America (Mexico)                   Atlas (Mexico)                
2013      Club America (Mexico)                   Alajuelense (Costa Rica)
2014      Toluca (Mexico)                         Olimpia (Honduras)

OFC Champions League

Year      Winner                                  Runner-Up                               Hosts
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010      Waitakere United (New Zealand)          Ba Electric (Fiji)                      Solomon Islands
2011      Auckland City (New Zealand)             AS Venus (Tahiti)                       Tonga
2012      Auckland City (New Zealand)             Kossa FC (Solomon Islands)              Vanuatu
2013      Auckland City (New Zealand)             Ba Electric (Fiji)                      Samoa
2014      Auckland City (New Zealand)             Ba Electric (Fiji)                      American Samoa

Copa Libertadores

Year      Winner                                  Runner-Up                               
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010      Racing de Montevideo (Uruguay)          Palmeiras (Brazil)                          
2011      San Lorenzo (Argentina)                 Fluminense (Brazil)               
2012      Internacional (Brazil)                  Boca Juniors (Argentina)                
2013      Chivas (Mexico)                         River Plate (Argentina)
2014      Internacional (Brazil)                  Barcelona (Ecuador)

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So, my first task is to get a job! Because the data is not totally complete for some of these leagues, there are plenty of open jobs - and of course, I've applied to all of them!

After letting all my applications play out (and getting plenty of rejections, of course), I have 9 job offers to mull over:

In Uzbekistan, where 17 of the 30 games this season have already been played, I have offers from Sho'rtan, who are currently 9th out of 16, and Buxoro, who are rock bottom in 16th. Buxoro, however, are offering a higher weekly wage to me (£525 compared to just £230), and a much higher wage budget (£4.5k p/w compared to only £800 p/w).

In Costa Rica, where the league stage of the season is over, and they've reached the playoff stages (where the top eight in the league play to decide who will be the champions), I have three job offers. The offer from Santos de Guapiles can be dismissed right away, since they finished bottom of the league and have been relegated, which means I'll be sacked as soon as the league reaches its reset date without even playing a game. Of the other choices, Ramonense are offering me a £70k transfer budget and a £2.9k p/w wage budget, and finished in 10th place, outside of the playoff places, but the more intriguing choice seems to be Perez Zeledon, who are offering a £100k budget and £2.6k p/w for wages, and finished 6th which would mean I would be thrown in at the deep end by playing in the champions playoffs right away.

Meanwhile, I also have three job offers in Ecuador, where the season has yet to start. This is the league in which I would have the most money to throw around, with all of them offering transfer budgets of over £600k and wage budgets of over £8k p/w. CD Olmedo seem to be the smallest of the trio, offering me a wage of £650 p/w. CS Deportivo Cuenca are offering the biggest wage and the biggest wage budget, offering to pay me £1.1k p/w and giving me £15k p/w to pay the squad's wages. Finally, El Nacional are offering me a £725 p/w wage and a £950k transfer budget.

Finally, in New Zealand, where the season is also yet to begin, I have a job offer from Auckland City. A transfer budget of £10k and wage budget of £2k p/w isn't huge, but Auckland have won 4 of the last 5 New Zealand championships, and New Zealand teams seem to dominate the OFC Champions League, which brings the possibility of domestic and continental silverware pretty quickly.

Anyone want to offer any advice on where I should go? :D

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Well as a Uruguayan alter-ego I think you should plump with one of the jobs in Ecuador or Costa Rica despite the promise of success in NZ. I'd go with one of the Costa Rican jobs so that you really start low down.

Thanks, iacovone! Got to admit it was the fun you had at Bidvest that inspired me to take a break from my SC2BC challenge games to play a career game.

I was torn between NZ and Costa Rica - I think Ecuador is too high up to start and would make a lot of the other nations feel like a bit of a step down. I'm going to take your advice and go to Costa Rica - so I can blame you if it all goes wrong! :thup:

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Municipal Perez Zeledon

Costa Rica - 9th July 2009

So, the first stop on my globetrotting career will be in Central America, as I take control of Costa Rican side Perez Zeledon on a £525 p/w 2 year contract.

The Copa de Verano started back in February, and involved 12 teams playing each other twice in a league stage, before the top 8 playoff against each other to decide the champions. The league stage finished the week before I took over, and we finished 6th, which means that we get to enter the playoff stage - we will be taking on Herediano (4th) in the quarter-finals of the playoffs in my first game in charge.

Once that competition is over, we then take part in the Copa de Invierno, which will take up the rest of the year - seems to be a similar competition, except instead of one big league of 12, we play in two groups of 6, the top four of which get into the playoff stage. The fact that the two different tournaments have different rules make them seem different from just being opening and closing tournaments in the South American style - but I'm not sure which of the two tournaments carries the most prestige, and how continental qualification is decided yet. :D

The club has a 5500 capacity stadium, fairly basic training facilities, adequate youth facilities and a youth academy. The squad is decent, with the assistant manager assuring me we have the quality to push on for continental qualification (now if only he would tell me how we achieve that! :p ). We look a little bit lightweight in defence, so I'll be using the room I have in my wage budget to pick up a couple of defenders to provide cover at the back.

For those interested in league rules, you're allowed 4 foreign players in your match squad, and one of your first XI needs to be under the age of 19 (quite a problem for my team right now, since none of my youngsters really seems worthy of a first team place - let's hope the scouts can find me some good youngsters to snap up). :thup:

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Municipal Perez Zeledon

Costa Rica - Copa de Verano 2009 Review

Well, my first tournament as manager of Perez Zeledon is already over. As I mentioned, the league stage of the tournament had already finished when I took charge - we finished 6th out of 12 to qualify for the playoffs.

Copa de Verano Champions Playoff Quarter Final

vs Herediano - won 5-2

Copa de Verano Champions Playoff Semi Final

vs Saprissa - drew 0-0 (won 5-4 on penalties)

Copa de Verano Champions Playoff Final

vs Brujas - won 3-2

My opening game as manager was a comfortable victory over Herediano, who finished two places above us in the league stage, including a hat-trick by my one foreign player, Argentinian striker Diego Pais. That set us up for a semi-final tie with Saprissa, who have won 5 of the last 6 Copas de Verano, won the league stage by 8 points and finished a massive 19 points ahead of us. I think it goes without saying that we were the underdogs. But those underdogs defended doggedly (see what I did there? :p ) and we ground out a 0-0 draw in normal time. Luck was definitely on our side, as Saprissa were denied what seemed to be a nailed on penalty. And our luck continued to hold as we clung on throughout extra time, with Saprissa strikers missing the gilt-edged opportunities that my tired defence seemed determined to offer them. But we held on, and held our nerve in the penalty shoot out to grab a shock victory.

That put us in the final against Brujas, who finished 3rd in the league stage. They were predicted to finished 10th, so they were definitely over-performing, just like us, in reaching the final. We raced into the lead when midfielder Diego Gallo curled in a shot from the edge of the area after only 2 minutes. And we doubled our advantage just before the break, when Brujas full back Pablo Brenes put the ball into his own net to send us in 2-0 up at half time. But the second half was a different story, as Brujas clawed their way back into the game, halving the deficit one minute after the interval, and then grabbing the equaliser after 61 minutes. But we weren't done for yet, and Diego Pais came good again by firing in the winning free kick with just 10 minutes left on the clock. We held on to our narrow advantage this time, and with it we grabbed the club's first major silverware.

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Municipal Perez Zeledon

Costa Rica - Copa de Invierno 2009 Review

League Stage: Group B - 1st place

Copa de Invierno Playoff Quarter Final vs San Carlos

1st Leg (Away) - won 3-1

2nd Leg (Home) - won 1-0

Copa de Invierno Playoff Semi Final vs Alajuelense

1st Leg (Home) - lost 0-1

2nd Leg (Away) - lost 0-2

For the second main tournament of the year, I got to take charge of my Perez Zeledon side throughout the league stage as well as in the playoffs. In the first tournament of the year, the league stage consisted of all 12 top flight teams playing each other twice, and then the top 8 go through into the playoff quarter finals - and each playoff round consists of a single leg at a neutral venue. In this second tournament, the league stage is instead two groups of 6 - each team plays the other teams in its group 4 times, and the top four from each group go through to the playoff stage - and in this tournament playoff ties consist of two-legs.

We were drawn in Group B, and our biggest opponent was Saprissa, probably Costa Rica's top side. I also got to think a little about the road not taken, since we were also drawn against Ramonense, who offered me a job in the summer. Throughout the group stage, we were locked in a fierce battle for top place with Saprissa, while the rest of the group lagged behind by some distance. Despite the fact that we only managed to get 2 points out of our 4 games against Saprissa, we eventually triumphed over them to top the group, as Saprissa lost and we defeated Ramonense to overtake them on the final day.

So, once again we were into the playoff stages, reaching the board's minimum expectation. Disaster struck though, as Diego Pais (who scored 9 goals for us during the league stage) was injured and would be out for the rest of the season. But we did fine in our quarter final tie against San Carlos, who came 2nd in Group A, comfortably overcoming them 3-1 in the home leg. The away leg was more difficult, but we eventually managed a 1-0 win, to go through to the Semi-Final. In the next round, we would face Group A winners Alajuelense, another of Costa Rica's top sides. We just couldn't gain any traction and never really looked threatening, losing the home leg 1-0 and the away leg 2-0.

Nevertheless, champions of one tournament and semi-finalists in the other was a very successful start to my management career in Costa Rica. Even though I'm not sure about how continental qualification is decided, I can only assume that I've done enough to get a chance to play in the CONCACAF Champions League next season. :thup:

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Municipal Perez Zeledon

Costa Rica - 2010 Pre-season Update

CONCACAF Champions League football has been confirmed for this season, although we'll have to wait until the second half of 2010 - the current competition has only reached the Quarter Final stage and won't be over until April.

After making a decent profit last season, the board have been pretty generous with transfer and wage budgets. The board has given me £575k to spend this season, and I've gone about spending a chunk of it to strengthen the side significantly. My biggest signing was Honduran striker Herberth Cabrera, who cost us £170k from Nicaraguan side Diriangen FC. Cabrera looks to be a decent player already, and at only 18 he has the dual upside of being a good prospect for the future and also fulfilling the requirement to have a player under the age of 19 in the first XI. Another young Honduran came in on a free transfer, with 23 year old left back Andres Morales signing from Honduran side CD Real Espana.

I also signed two Costa Rican internationals, with centre back Michael Umana (4 caps) signing for £60k and right back Luis Daniel Vallejos (3 caps) signing for £20k. Finally, I brought in Costa Rican midfielder Esteban Granados from Cartagines for £28k.

I brought in a new back room team since I didn't feel that most of the current staff were up to the job. I also signed a new 2 year contract for £550 p/w - a meagre £25 p/w pay increase, so I considered holding off on signing, but I want to establish some stability here to gear up for a crack at the continental competition. I definitely won't be so quick to sign the next contract extension they offer.

I'm hopeful that we can continue to play well this season, and looking forward to testing myself in continental competition - I'm not really sure the quality of play in the CONCACAF Champions League, but with US and Mexican teams in the mix it's got to be decent. If I want to be successful in the North American region, then I have to build a team capable of challenging either in Costa Rica or Honduras - and now is as good a time as any to try my hand at it! :thup:

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Great set-up. :thup: I didn't realise all those Latin American leagues were available - I'll be downloading them myself at some point. ;)

Congrats on a strong start in Costa Rica. From my experience on FM09, there is a big gulf between the US and Mexican sides and the rest of the competitors in the NACL. Ocassionally, Saprissa or one of the Honduran/Guatemalan sides would get through to the knockout rounds or at least challenge for a place. I'm sure you can do something about that though. ;)

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Great set-up. :thup: I didn't realise all those Latin American leagues were available - I'll be downloading them myself at some point. ;)

Congrats on a strong start in Costa Rica. From my experience on FM09, there is a big gulf between the US and Mexican sides and the rest of the competitors in the NACL. Ocassionally, Saprissa or one of the Honduran/Guatemalan sides would get through to the knockout rounds or at least challenge for a place. I'm sure you can do something about that though. ;)

Haha - I'll do my best! :D

I don't have enough in depth knowledge of the various leagues to 100% vouch for their accuracy - but since I don't know any different, they're accurate enough for me! They seem to be pretty much the same as the way the leagues are explained in Wikipedia, so I'm sure they're fine. Overall it's great fun to be able to play in previously unexplored areas of the football world - and I'm pretty sure that between the various websites, just about every professional football league in the world is represented (the CONCACAF pack has leagues for both the US and UK Virgin Islands, for instance!).

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This has been a really enjoyale read. Certainly something different! I'd have gone for Auckland City myself but I'm sure Perez Zeledon have plenty to offer. Best of luck.

Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it! :thup:

I was definitely torn between going to New Zealand and Costa Rica, and I'll certainly be aiming to move to Oceania at some point (really, I'd like the chance to have a crack at all the continental competitions, so NZ is my only chance to have a go at Oceania). Definitely been enjoying Costa Rica though. However, I'm still keeping an eye on the managerial vacancies that come up, just in case something appealing becomes available! :D

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The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... hang on, that's something different. I just reached my first anniversary as Perez Zeledon manager, and I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how the teams I could have joined have fared over the past year.

Santos de Guapiles (Costa Rica) - they were relegated before I even took over at Perez Zeledon, though they did still get to play in the second Costa Rican tournament of the year, the Copas de Invierno. In keeping with their general poor performance, they came bottom of their group, and have dropped into the second tier (and out of my game).

Ramonense (Costa Rica) - had already finished in 10th place in the first tournament of the year, and out of the playoff places. In the second tournament of 2009, they came bottom in the group that we topped, so they didn't make the playoffs in that tournament either. This season, in the first tournament, they finished just one place and two points ahead of the relegation spot, so they've clearly been one of the strugglers in Costa Rica over the past year.

Sho'rtan (Uzbekistan) - 9th out of the 16 teams in the Uzbek top division when they offered me the job, they eventually finished 11th, despite getting just 2 points from their last 10 games. This season they're 10th after 17 games, so they seem to be pretty much stuck as a mid-table Uzbek side.

Buxoro (Uzbekistan) - rock bottom in the Uzbek league when they offered me the job, they managed to climb one place before the end of the season, finishing in 15th place. They were still relegated though, finishing 5 points from safety.

CD Olmedo (Ecuador) - Olmedo had a decent season in Ecuador, finishing 6th in the end after climbing as high as third at one point. They seemed to be the smallest of the three Ecuadorian teams who offered me a job, but finished highest, so it seems like it was probably a good final position for them.

El Nacional (Ecuador) - this was the team willing to offer me the biggest transfer budget, but the manager who did take over here obviously didn't feel the need to spend much of it, with only £150k being spent since he took over, on a 33 year old left midfielder. Considering that they've been in the Copa Libertadores recently in real life, a 7th place finish was probably disappointing.

Deportivo Cuenca (Ecuador) - Cuenca was the team willing to offer me the highest weekly wage - twice what I'm earning at Perez Zeledon. I've got to imagine they were not that happy with finishing 8th out of 12 in the Ecuadorian top division, but they've stuck with the Paraguayan manager they appointed for another season.

Auckland City (New Zealand) - the team I was closest to joining besides Perez Zeledon. As champions of New Zealand in 4 out of the last 5 years, they must have been disappointed by just scraping into the top four in the league to reach the New Zealand Championship playoffs, edging out the 5th placed Canterbury Dragons by just 1 point. But they would have been much happier with beating 1st placed Waitakere Utd in the playoff semi-final, even if it was on penalties. However, they were beaten by YoungHeart in the final to end up as runners-up in the New Zealand Football Championship.

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Municipal Perez Zeledon

Costa Rica - Copa de Verano 2010 Review

League Stage: 1st Place

Copa de Verano Champions Playoff Quarter Final

vs Cartegines - won 1-0

Copa de Verano Champions Playoff Semi Final

vs Saprissa - won 1-0

Copa de Verano Champions Playoff Final

vs Herediano - won 2-0

After last season's unexpected triumph, we were being offered at 5-1 to repeat our success. Saprissa, once again, were favourites, while Alajuelense were also heavily favoured. But we were absolutely dominant during the league stage, going 18 games unbeaten from the start of the season in February all the way through to June. By the time we finally lost, away to Brujas FC, we had already sewn up our place in the playoffs and 1st place in the league stage. Alajuelense were 10 points behind us in second, while Saprissa only just got into the playoffs in 7th place. Particularly pleasing was our defence - not exactly solid last season, this season it was the best in the country, conceding just 12 goals in 22 games.

The first playoff game was against Cartegines, who finished the league stage in 5th place. A single goal for Herberth Cabrera, the Honduran striker who was my record signing, was enough to see us through, as our defence held solid once again to put us into the semi-finals.

In the semis we would face Saprissa for the second year running. As I mentioned, Saprissa were not on the best of form, having finished 7th in the league stage. Nevertheless, despite overcoming them on penalties last year, we had never beaten them in 90 minutes in the eight times I'd played them since I took over last year (five draws, three defeats). But the old workhorse Diego Pais, now 34, scored his seventh goal of the season, and the only goal of the game, to finally deliver a victory for us against the team who had won this tournament 28 times in their history.

So, we were back in the final for the second year in a row, where we would face Herediano, who we played in my first match in charge almost exactly a year ago. And Cesar Mena, a defender who was one of my first signings at Perez Zeledon, scored the opener from the penalty spot after 55 minutes, and substitute Rony Urena, a Costa Rican striker who was first choice last season but had found himself on the bench for most of the season with the arrival of Herberth Cabrera, finished things up by grabbing our second after 84 minutes.

Our second win in the Copa de Verano, which seems to be the competition that FM places the most weight on, was absolutely great, especially considering our impressively solid defence which didn't concede a goal throughout the playoffs (not normally my speciality on FM - usually I'm a "score one more than you" kind of manager). The really interesting part comes next, as we get to test our mettle in the NACL.

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Wow - drawn in something of a group of death in the NACL:

CONCACAF Champions League Group B

Chivas

New York Red Bulls

Perez Zeledon

Toronto FC

Well, looking on the bright side, if we can get out of this group, then surely we've got a good chance of going all the way?

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Municipal Perez Zeledon

Costa Rica - Copa de Invierno 2010 Review

League Stage: Group A - 1st place

Copa de Invierno Playoff Quarter Final vs Saprissa

1st Leg (Home) - drew 1-1

2nd Leg (Away) - won 3-1

Copa de Invierno Playoff Semi Final vs Cartagines

1st Leg (Away) - won 4-1

2nd Leg (Home) - drew 0-0

Copa de Invierno Playoff Final vs Alajuelense

1st Leg (Home) - won 1-0

2nd Leg (Away) - drew 0-0

Just like in our victory in this season's Copa de Verano, only one game blemished our unbeaten record, and again it came too late to really make a difference to our position, as we dominated Group A, conceding just 6 goals in 20 games and finishing 13 points ahead of Saprissa in second place.

And it was Saprissa we would face in the playoff quarter finals. Once again, they proved stubborn opposition, but 34 year old Diego Pais came good again in the home leg to give us the lead - only for Saprissa to grab an equaliser one minute into injury time. In the second leg, we were much more determined, leading 2-1 even before Saprissa had a man sent off just after half time. We grabbed another one before the end to win the match 3-1 and the tie 4-2.

Cartegines came third in our group, and we would face them in the semi-finals - the stage that we went out at last year. This year, the team were fired up to get one stage further in the competition, and roared out to a 4-1 lead in the away leg, Pais amongst the scorers again. The second leg was much more of a dull, nervous affair - my players not wanting to make any mistakes that might let Cartegines back into the tie, they held tight in defence, and a 0-0 draw was more than enough to see us through to the two-legged final against Alajuelense.

This final would be a chance to get revenge against Alajuelense, who had beaten us at the semi-final stage last year. This year, they ended up second in Group B, one point behind Herediano, and had beaten the aforementioned Herediano and Brujas FC on their way to the final. The first leg was at home, and in another tight, nervy affair, Pais scored another priceless goal to give us a lead to take into the away leg. And it was Pais again who scored first in the second leg, giving us a two goal lead in the tie, and what could be a precious away goal. Alajuelense scored to level the game on the night in the 83rd minute, but to beat us they needed two more, the defence held firm to deny them and we were crowned champions of the Copa de Invierno for the first time in our history.

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Municipal Perez Zeledon

Costa Rica - CONCACAF Champions League 2010/11 Update

Group B

Pos    Team                  P   W   D   L   GF  GA  GD  Pts
------------------------------------------------------------
1st    Toronto FC            6   4   1   1   9   2   +7   13
2nd    Perez Zeledon         6   3   1   2   4   6   -2   10
3rd    Chivas                6   2   2   2   6   5   +1    8
4th    New York Red Bulls    6   0   2   4   4   10  -6    2 

We opened our NACL campaign with a trip to New York to face the Red Bulls - and came away with a shock 2-1 victory. Midfielder Diego Gallo scored after 15 minutes to give us the lead, and we were two up by half time thanks to a goal from another midfielder, Roberto Mudarra. New York pulled one back after 58 minutes, but despite throwing everything but the Statue of Liberty at us, they couldn't grab an equaliser, and we came home with all three points.

The next game was at home to Toronto FC, who proved to be much tougher opposition. Our solid defence performed miracles once again to keep TFC from scoring, but our attack couldn't breach their defence either, and the game ended in what was for us a satisfying 0-0 draw.

The third group game would be at home to Chivas. Driving rain in Costa Rica kept the Mexicans from playing us off the park, but nevertheless they would manage 14 shots to our 5. Not only that, but midfielder Esteban Granados got himself sent off after 41 minutes for a trip, and we would have to play the entire second half with ten men. But that rock solid defence did it again, limiting Chivas to just one clear cut chance, which they couldn't take. And when our one clear cut chance of the game came, young Honduran forward Herberth Cabrera was there to slot home coolly, to give us a 1-0 advantage we would never surrender.

Three games gone and we were unbeaten, sitting joint top of the group with TFC. And another good result was to come, as we defeated a lackluster New York side 1-0 in our final home group game, although we didn't manage to break down their defence until the 89th minute. Nevertheless, a win is a win, and we now had a record of played four, won three, against some of the toughest teams on the continent.

That's where things started to go a little wrong. Our fifth game was the return match in Toronto, against the team that had been by far the toughest test so far. And so they proved again, destroying my much vaunted defence and thrashing us 4-0. And we lost again in our final group game, defeated 1-0 in front of nearly 40,000 fans in Mexico against Chivas. They had nothing left to play for but pride, however, as we had already qualified from the group alongside Toronto.

We then had a gap of 4 months before the quarter-final game, in which we were drawn against Honduran side CD Victoria. Surely, having beaten the likes of New York and Chivas in the group stage, we had a good chance of beating a team that were as unfancied as us to go all the way. Well, no, as it turned out. Both legs ended up as scrappy, tight, niggly 1-1 draws, and the tie would go to penalties. Defensive midfielder Jorge Gatgens, in for the injured Diego Gallo, missed our 4th spot kick, and Victoria made all of their penalties, to dump us out of the NACL at the quarter final stage. Heartbreak for the players, and disappointment for me, but I've got to be proud of my first crack at the NACL.

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Great stuff in the NACL iseemonsters1! :thup: The toughest group always has Toronto as they qualify through the Canadian Championship and are joined by another MLS team so to get through that was quite an achievement. As you say though, a shame to lose to the Hondurans after that...

And congrats on the domestic titles - a sterling start to your career. :)

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Great stuff in the NACL iseemonsters1! :thup: The toughest group always has Toronto as they qualify through the Canadian Championship and are joined by another MLS team so to get through that was quite an achievement. As you say though, a shame to lose to the Hondurans after that...

And congrats on the domestic titles - a sterling start to your career. :)

Thanks, it's been really fun so far! :thup: In my second season and so far in my third, domestically we've been pretty dominant, so I'm pretty much living for the NACL in Costa Rica at the moment.

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Municipal Perez Zeledon

Costa Rica - March 2011 Update

So, our first shot at NACL football is over, defeated by Honduran side CD Victoria on penalties. The board offered me a new four year contract, but I turned them down, opting instead for a one year extension, with my wage increasing from £550 p/w to £850 p/w. The clubs' coffers are full, with over £3m available for me to spend on players, and nearly half of my £14k p/w wage bill still available to me. My reputation has reached Continental level, and the two trophies I won in the past season has put me 18th in the Hall of Fame for North America. All in all, a good first two years to my career.

But - I'm beginning to get itchy feet. Expectations have been ramped up at the club, with the board now expecting us to win this season's Copa de Verano and at least reach the final of the Copa de Invierno. But that's not what's making me unsettled - the problem is that I fear it might not be enough of a challenge to meet those expectations. The league structure in Costa Rica is interesting, but the fact that 8 of the 12 teams in the league reach the playoff stages in each competition makes the league stage meaningless a lot of the time. Despite that, we easily dominated the league stages last season, and never looked in any real danger of defeat during the playoffs - and this season has started no differently. We're unbeaten in seven, including a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Alajuelense, at their place - a team which should be one of our closest challengers.

I've really enjoyed my time in Costa Rica, but I'm beginning to feel like it might be time to move on. I've definitely molded Perez Zeledon into my own team, albeit a team which is quite different from the kind of teams I usually build - my normal way of playing is all about width and attacking mentality, with good young players pursuing a "score one more than you" footballing philosophy. This time, I've relied largely on older players (like the old workhorse Diego Pais) and have been playing a narrow 4-1-3-2 formation that relies on a solid defence and stifling the opposition's creativity - sometimes all four of my midfielders are DMs. I've been really pleased with my ability to do that, and it was the best option based on the talent available to me - there's no question it's been successful - but it's not quite the same as flowing football, skilled playmakers, and flying wingers. There are no young players that I'm really attached to, no youth academy products that I want to see step up to senior level - the only thing that makes me consider staying on is seeing how we fare in the next edition of the NACL, especially considering how well we did in our last attempt - but there's always the chance to move back to Costa Rica or Honduras and have another crack at it later in my career.

So, I'm monitoring the available jobs carefully - CD Marathon are currently looking for a manager in Honduras, but that definitely feels like a sideways step at this point, so it's not that appealing. Also, the Panionios and Atromitos jobs are both available in Greece. These options are much more tempting - but I kind of envisaged the two European leagues I included as a kind of climax to my career, rather than the second stop along the way. I'm leaning towards hanging on with Perez Zeledon until the summer and the end of this season's Copa de Verano, and then I can make a clean break of it - the first of the two domestic competitions will be over, and I won't be leaving them in the lurch in the middle of an NACL campaign. Of course, if an offer I can't refuse comes along in the meantime, then maybe I'll have to reconsider... the managers of Libertad in Paraguay and LDU de Quito in Ecuador are both very insecure, and those jobs would be very hard to pass up...

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I really love your write-ups. The fun you're having really comes across in your writing. And as I said before, it's an interesting and different project that you've taken on.

Bet you'll have a real life soft spot for Perez Zeledon after this!

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I really love your write-ups. The fun you're having really comes across in your writing. And as I said before, it's an interesting and different project that you've taken on.

Bet you'll have a real life soft spot for Perez Zeledon after this!

Absolutely - they'll be added to the long list of teams I follow because of FM. :D

Thanks for the kind words - it's been really fun and I'm really glad you've been enjoying it! :thup:

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Municipal Perez Zeledon

Costa Rica - Copa de Verano 2011 Review

League Stage: 1st Place

Copa de Verano Champions Playoff Quarter Final

vs Liberia - won 2-1

Copa de Verano Champions Playoff Semi Final

vs Saprissa - won 1-0

Copa de Verano Champions Playoff Final

vs Alajuelense - won 3-1

We were looking for our third successive victory in this competition - not quite on a par with Saprissa's 28 titles, but an impressive achievement nonetheless. This time around, we were joint favourites with Saprissa to take home the title. And after two tournaments last season where we were unbeaten in all but one game - this time around, we went one better, going the entire 22 match season and three playoff games without losing. Ironically, it was a closer run league campaign than last season, as we finished just 5 points ahead of Cartegines, who only lost one game throughout the league stage of the season. Sadly for them, they went out at the quarter-final stage of the playoffs - it would seem only fitting that they should have made it to the final.

In our quarter final, we faced Liberia, a real underdog who were expected to finish 9th in the league, but had managed to get into the playoffs, finishing 6th. They gave us a bit of a scare, taking the lead after 19 minutes. But an own goal on 21 minutes but us back on level terms. They held us for most of the second half, and even worse our midfielder Luis Daniel Vallejos was sent off after 80 minutes. We finally broke the deadlock with just one minute to go in normal time, as defender Cesar Mena was tripped in the area following a corner kick, and Esteban Granados scored from the spot to put us through.

In the semi-final, we would yet again face Saprissa, and just like last year we came away with a 1-0 win - we dominated the game in terms of possession and chances, and midfielder Roberto Mudarra scored in the 38th minute to give us a lead we would never relinquish. Once again, our defence has been excellent this season, conceding just 5 goals in the league stage, and holding firm again here to put us into the final.

This time around, we would face Alajuelense in the final - they finished 5th during the league stage, but have always been one of the top challengers during my time in Costa Rica (over the course of their history, they have nearly matched Saprissa with 24 Copa de Verano titles to their name). But they were no match for us this time around - from the moment Diego Quesada put us ahead from the penalty spot, the outcome was never really in doubt. An own goal after 26 minutes put us two up, and despite Daniel Jimenez scoring to pull one back for Alajeulense, young striker and substitute Federico Perez wrapped it all up for us after 77 minutes to put the result beyond doubt.

So, our third Copa de Verano in a row, going unbeaten throughout the entire competition, and beating the two best teams in the country, Saprissa and Alajuelense, on the way to the title. A good note to bow out from Costa Rica on...?

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Municipal Perez Zeledon

Costa Rica - July 18th 2011 - Resignation

The time had come to move on. A day after delivering our 4th trophy in my 2 years in charge - to a club that had never won any silverware before I arrived - I stepped down as manager of Perez Zeledon. I left as the 12th most successful manager in North American history, and 1st in Costa Rica.

Other than winning the NACL, an outside shot at best, I felt that I'd taken the club as far as I could. Fighting off a little bit of tedium in the long league campaign - 51 games all told if you go all the way to the final in both competitions - to reach the 6-10 NACL games every season that actually really matter didn't seem spectacularly appealing, not when there are new horizons to explore and other footballing cultures to experience.

So, it was with a little bit of sadness in my heart, but a lot of hope for the future, that I said goodbye to Costa Rica and Perez Zeledon. I wish them all the best in the future. I didn't have a job lined up to move on to - but I knew there would be some exciting opportunities ahead. :thup:

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - November 27th 2011

No, not the Spanish giants. This is the Ecuadorian Barcelona. Not quite as illustrious as their Spanish counterparts, but they are 13 times champions in their native country - tied for the most Ecuadorian titles with El Nacional. They were also the first Ecuadorian team to ever reach the Copa Libertadores final - twice finishing runners up in the competition, in 1990 and 1998. Make no mistake about it - this is a big team.

But it is a big team in trouble. They haven't added to their tally of national titles since 1997, they finished 4th during the 2009/10 season, and 6th in the 2010/11 season. At the halfway point of this season, they are 11th - just one place above rock bottom in the 12 team Ecuadorian league, with just one win from eleven games this season. If the season were to finish today, they would be relegated.

Fortunately, the season doesn't finish today, and the board at Barcelona have offered me a two and a half year contract on £1,400 p/w to rescue them from their current problems and return them to their rightful place among Ecuador's elite. It's a tough challenge - but I think it's going to be a fun one. :D

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A 2011/12 Review

Final Position: 6th

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
1st  CL  Deportivo Cuenca        22  14  2   6   33  17  +16   44
2nd  CL  LDU de Quito            22  12  4   6   35  22  +13   40
3rd  CL  Emelec                  22  12  2   8   41  38   +3   38
4th      LDU de Portoviejo       22  11  4   7   32  28   +4   37
5th      El Nacional             22  10  4   8   25  23   +2   34
[b]6th      Barcelona               22  9   6   7   36  33   +3   33[/b]
7th      Deportivo Quito         22  9   4   9   33  35   -2   31
8th      Macara                  22  8   5   9   23  21   +2   29
9th      Aucas                   22  5   7   10  24  32   -8   22
10th     Espoli                  22  6   4   12  27  33   -6   22
11th R   Manta                   22  5   7   10  26  35   -9   22
12th R   Tecnico Universitario   22  4   5   13  20  38  -18   17

6th was really an excellent outcome for the season, though well below the high standards that Barcelona fans will expect in the long run. Given that we were 11th when I took over, at the halfway point in the season, 6th was about the best we could possibly hope for.

The two staff members who actually quit Perez Zeledon when I left, supposedly in the hope that they could work with me at my new club, refused to come and join me in Ecuador - which I found pretty strange, since I had the money to pay them more than they were earning in Costa Rica, and I can only assume that Barcelona have a higher reputation. Never mind - the backroom staff here was already pretty decent, so I didn't feel the need to make too many additions.

I did make some additions to the playing staff though. The pick of the bunch was probably defender Sergio Sepulveda, a regular in the Colombian national side at the tender age of 22. He cost £90k from Colombian side Atletico Nacional and slotted straight into the defence. I was able to sign two other internationals on free transfers as well - defensive midfielder and Bolivian international Jorge Antonio Ortiz, and Paraguayan Jose Montiel. The new arrivals, coupled with an apparently "very successful" team meeting, refocused the playing staff, and united the players in their desire to overcome the team's poor form and return it to it's rightful place in the top half of the table.

The stand out player in my time at Barcelona so far though has undoubtedly been Juan Carlos Ferreyra. The Argentinian striker was signed by the previous regime for £375k, and scored 16 goals from 18 games over the course of the season as a whole - most of those goals came after I took over, and Ferreyra ended up top scorer in the Ecuadorian top division.

Next season: Given how well the team came back in the second half of the season, and the generous £4.4m budget the board has given me to play with, I feel like we've got to be aiming for Copa Libertadores qualification. The top two in the league qualify automatically, and third place enters the qualifying rounds - top three should definitely be a realistic aspiration.

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A 2012/13 Mid-Season Update

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st      Barcelona               11  8   2   1   19  9   +10   26[/b]
2nd      Macara                  11  7   0   4   17  8    +9   21
3rd      LDU de Quito            11  4   5   2   19  16   +3   17
4th      Deportivo Quito         11  4   3   4   15  17   -2   15
5th      El Nacional             11  4   2   5   13  11   +2   14
6th      LDU de Portoviejo       11  3   5   3   14  16   -2   14
7th      Olmedo                  11  3   5   3   10  11   -1   14
8th      Aucas                   11  3   4   4   14  17   -3   13
9th      Deportivo Cuenca        11  4   1   6   11  16   -5   13
10th     Espoli                  11  3   3   5   12  19   -7   12
11th     Emelec                  11  2   5   4   17  17    0   11
12th     Azogues                 11  2   3   6   8   12   -4   9

As you can see, it's been a great first half to the season - way better than I expected. The truth is that the big teams have really underperformed - Deportivo Cuenca were last season's champions, and they've been almost as poor in the first half of this season as Barcelona were in the first half of last season. Both Quito sides have been disappointing, despite sitting 3rd and 4th - both of them have only won 4 out of 11 games so far this season. Only Macara, 8th last season, have been challenging us so far.

There's some bad news though - Juan Carlos Ferreyra, by some distance my player of the season last season, was sold by the chairman for £4.4m - not bad for a player we paid £375k for just one season ago. But the options to replace him were thin on the ground. I ended up spending £1.7m to buy Pedro Romo from LDU de Quito, but honestly I don't see him as any kind of long term option - just filling the gap until I can find a better option. I also signed Jorge Majao and Andres Diaz, both from Olmedo for £210k and £300k respectively. The fans branded them "a waste of money", but I think they've been decent so far. I also signed Martin Rogelio Cabrera to play in goal as I wasn't convinced by Maximo Banguera last season.

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Just catching up here - a good move to 'the other Barcelona'. You've turned them around pretty quickly. :thup: Good luck for the rest of the season!

Thanks! :D I've got to admit that we're doing a lot better than I expected - but honestly I think it has a lot to do with underperformance of the other big teams this season so far. But hey - I'm not complaining! :p

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A December 2012 Update

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - December 8th 2012[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  2   1   LDU de Quito[/b]
Pedro Romo (25, 43)                Nicolas Lopez (75)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - December 22nd 2012[/i]
[b]Deportivo Quito            0   2   Barcelona[/b]
                                  Jose Montiel (52)
                                  Pedro Romo (88)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - December 29th 2012[/i]
[b]Azogues                    2   1   Barcelona[/b]
Jorge Zambrano (10)                Camilo David Hurtado (87)
Danny Alejandro Vera (25)

Notes: Pedro Romo could make a believer out of me yet. Three goals in three games this month - including a brace against probably the biggest team in the country, LDU de Quito - is an impressive return. If he keeps up this form, maybe signing a new striker won't be my priority come the end of the season. Defeating both Quito teams I think has effectively ended the title aspirations of both of them, but just when I thought we might be beginning to walk away with this year's championship, the players serve up that disastrous result against Azogues. Up until that point they were bottom of the league, but they dominated us and it took a goal in the final few minutes from Hurtado to even make the result semi-respectable.

Still five points clear of Macara though, and eleven ahead of El Nacional - incidentally, the next team out of ourselves and El Nacional to win the title will become the most successful team in Ecuadorian league history - we're currently tied on 13 titles each.

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st      Barcelona               14  10  2   2   24  12  +12   32[/b]
2nd      Macara                  14  9   0   5   23  13  +10   27
3rd      El Nacional             14  6   3   5   19  13   +6   21
4th      Olmedo                  14  5   6   3   15  14   +1   21
5th      LDU de Quito            14  5   5   4   24  22   +2   20
6th      Deportivo Quito         14  5   4   5   16  19   -3   19
7th      Aucas                   14  4   5   5   19  22   -3   17
8th      Deportivo Cuenca        14  5   2   7   17  21   -4   17
9th      Emelec                  14  4   5   5   22  19   +3   17
10th     LDU de Portoviejo       14  3   6   5   16  22   -6   15
11th     Azogues                 14  3   3   8   11  17   -6   12
12th     Espoli                  14  3   3   8   13  25  -12   12

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A January 2013 Update

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - January 12th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  1   1   Olmedo[/b]
Pedro Romo (8)                     Jose Luis Bueno (45+1)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - January 19th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  2   2   Emelec[/b]
Marco Andia (23)                   Joao Rojas (31)
Wilson Folleco (86)                Mario David Quiroz (36)

Notes: We'd really have liked to have gotten at least one win from these two games - preferably from the second one - the Clásico del Astillero, as the rivalry between Barcelona and Emelec is known, is one of the most popular games in Ecuadorian football. But two draws would have to do, and actually both of them were decent results, especially considering my chairman's attempt to destroy the side.

Despite being about £9m in the black, he sold left back Andres Imperiale for £3.2m, and left midfielder Efren Mera for £3.8m. I definitely wouldn't have sold either of them given the choice - the club doesn't need the money, and the options for replacements who want to join Barcelona are pretty thin on the ground. Even players from other Ecuadorian clubs don't want to join us, so we're going to have to cope more or less with the squad we have and see if we can hold on to our place at the top of the league.

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st      Barcelona               16  10  4   2   27  15  +12   34[/b]
2nd      Macara                  16  10  0   6   27  15  +12   30
3rd      Olmedo                  16  6   7   3   21  17   +4   25
4th      LDU de Quito            16  6   6   4   27  24   +3   24
5th      Aucas                   16  6   5   5   24  23   +1   23
6th      Deportivo Quito         16  6   5   5   19  21   -2   23
7th      El Nacional             16  6   3   7   20  17   +3   21
8th      Emelec                  16  4   7   5   25  22   +3   19
9th      Deportivo Cuenca        16  5   3   8   20  27   -7   18
10th     LDU de Portoviejo       16  3   7   6   17  25   -8   16
11th     Azogues                 16  4   3   9   14  28  -14   15
12th     Espoli                  16  3   4   9   11  18   -7   13

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A February 2013 Update

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - February 2nd 2013[/i]
[b]Deportivo Cuenca           1   2   Barcelona[/b]
Juan Carlos Solis (90)             Victor Valarezo (pen 31)
                                  Pedro Romo (64)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - February 24th 2013[/i]
[b]El Nacional                0   1   Barcelona[/b]
                                  Camilo David Hurtado (24)

Notes: Now that's more like it. Deportivo Cuenca were last season's champions, but they've been poor this season, and it was a fairly comfortable victory, with another goal from Pedro Romo. El Nacional were on a good run of form a few weeks ago which saw them as high as third, but they've been slipping recently and never really presented much of a problem for us, although we only managed one goal against them.

LDU de Quito and Olmedo are basically out of the title picture unless we lose all the rest of our games and they overtake us on goal difference, which really means its down to us and Macara, a team predicted to finish 8th this season. With only four games to go this season, it seems pretty unlikely that their title challenge is suddenly going to collapse when they've sustained it this long - but we definitely still have the advantage.

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st      Barcelona               18  12  4   2   30  16  +14   40[/b]
2nd      Macara                  18  12  0   6   30  15  +15   36
3rd      LDU de Quito            18  7   7   4   32  28   +4   28
4th      Olmedo                  18  7   7   4   23  21   +2   28
5th      Aucas                   18  6   6   6   26  26    0   24
6th      Deportivo Quito         18  6   6   6   20  24   -4   24
7th      Emelec                  18  5   8   5   29  23   +6   23
8th      El Nacional             18  6   4   8   22  20   +2   22
9th      Deportivo Cuenca        18  5   4   9   23  31   -8   19
10th     LDU de Portoviejo       18  4   7   7   20  28   -8   19
11th     Espoli                  18  4   4   10  16  31  -15   16
12th     Azogues                 18  3   5   10  14  22   -8   14

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a great read this - really interesting to see how some unplayable nations work. great success in Costa Rica and you've settle into Barcelona really quickly!! looking forward to seeing how you get on in this career. good luck.

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A March 2013 Update

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - March 16th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  0   0   Macara[/b]

Notes: Just one match this month, but it was a big one - 1st vs 2nd as we took on Macara at home. The board made the match a fan day, but the bumper crowd was ultimately to be disappointed, as we played out a rather dull 0-0 draw. Of course, we were hoping for a win that would basically have delivered the title, but by avoiding defeat we maintained our four point lead at the top of the table. We also guaranteed that we will finish first or second this season, which means that my main goal of qualifying for the Copa Libertadores has been achieved. Now we just have to see if we can hang on, win the title, and make Barcelona the most successful team in Ecuadorian league history.

The chairman continued his attempts to destroy the team, accepting a £2.8m bid for my right back, Victor Valarezo. Fortunately (on one level), he broke his collarbone, meaning that he failed the medical and the move was cancelled. He may be out for nearly 2 months, but at least that means he can probably play for me again by the end of the season - if he'd been sold off, he'd never play for me again!

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
1st      Barcelona               19  12  5   2   30  16  +14   41
2nd      Macara                  19  12  1   6   30  15  +15   37
3rd      LDU de Quito            19  7   8   4   35  31   +4   29
4th      Olmedo                  19  7   8   4   24  22   +2   29
5th      Aucas                   19  7   6   6   28  27   +1   27
6th      Deportivo Quito         19  7   6   6   21  24   -3   27
7th      Emelec                  19  6   8   5   31  24   +7   26
8th      El Nacional             19  6   5   8   23  21   +2   23
9th      Deportivo Cuenca        19  5   4   10  24  33   -9   19
10th     LDU de Portoviejo       19  4   7   8   20  29   -9   19
11th     Espoli                  19  4   5   10  19  34  -15   17
12th     Azogues                 19  3   5   11  15  24   -9   14

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a great read this - really interesting to see how some unplayable nations work. great success in Costa Rica and you've settle into Barcelona really quickly!! looking forward to seeing how you get on in this career. good luck.

Thanks! :thup: It's been a really fun game so far, exploring some of the previously unplayable corners of the football world - and there are plenty of illustrious clubs that have never been playable before to think about managing.

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A April 2013 Update

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - April 6th 2013[/i]
[b]LDU de Portoviejo          1   2   Barcelona[/b]
Geovanny Cumbicos (83)             Camilo David Hurtado (43, 69)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - April 27th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  3   0   Espoli[/b]
Pedro Romo (15)
Wilson Folleco (49, 84)

Notes: Well, it's all over, and Barcelona are the Champions of Ecuador! :D Our 2-1 win over relegation threatened LDU de Portoviejo was enough to secure the title for us, as Macara's unlikely title challenge finally collapsed with a 2-1 defeat against Olmedo. We followed that up with a celebratory 3-0 win over another set of relegation strugglers, Espoli, in front of our home fans.

I'm really pleased with a title in my first full season in Ecuador, though I still maintain that a lot of it was down to the underperformance of teams such as LDU de Quito, Deportivo Quito, El Nacional, and last season's champions, Deportivo Cuenca. But all credit to my players - they've really taken advantage of the opportunities that have been afforded to us, and as the season went on and my chairman continued to sell off most of my first XI, some fringe players stepped up to keep our title challenge going. Particular credit goes to Camilo David Hurtado, a 32 year old who has done enough over recent weeks to earn himself a new contract at the club, when I was originally intending to let his contract lapse so I could bring in some fresh blood.

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st   C  Barcelona               21  14  5   2   35  17  +18   47[/b]
2nd      Macara                  21  12  2   7   32  18  +14   38
3rd      Olmedo                  21  9   8   4   29  24   +5   35
4th      LDU de Quito            21  8   8   5   39  34   +5   32
5th      Aucas                   21  8   7   6   31  29   +2   31
6th      Emelec                  21  7   8   6   33  26   +7   29
7th      Deportivo Quito         21  7   7   7   22  26   -4   28
8th      El Nacional             21  7   6   8   25  22   +3   27
9th      Deportivo Cuenca        21  5   6   10  26  35   -9   21
10th     Espoli                  21  5   5   11  20  37  -17   20
11th     LDU de Portoviejo       21  4   7   10  22  34  -12   19
12th  R  Azogues                 21  3   5   13  17  29  -12   14

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A May 2013 Update

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - May 18th 2013[/i]
[b]Aucas                      1   0   Barcelona[/b]
Ismael Villalba (1)

Notes: Well, all the important questions of the season were already decided for us by the time this last game of the season rolled around - qualified for the Copa Sudamericana, qualified for the Copa Libertadores, league champions - so I wasn't too dismayed by our 1-0 defeat to Aucas. But there was drama elsewhere in the league, as the defending champions, Deportivo Cuenca, were overtaken by both LDU de Portoviejo and Espoli on the last day to slip into 11th position, and found themselves relegated from the top division.

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st   C  Barcelona               22  14  5   3   35  18  +17   47[/b]
2nd      Macara                  22  12  3   7   33  19  +14   39
3rd      LDU de Quito            22  9   8   5   40  34   +6   35
4th      Olmedo                  22  9   8   5   29  26   +3   35
5th      Aucas                   22  9   7   6   32  29   +3   34
6th      El Nacional             22  8   6   8   26  22   +4   30
7th      Emelec                  22  7   9   6   34  27   +7   30
8th      Deportivo Quito         22  7   7   8   22  27   -5   28
9th      Espoli                  22  6   5   11  22  37  -15   23
10th     LDU de Portoviejo       22  5   7   10  25  34   -9   22
11th  R  Deportivo Cuenca        22  5   6   11  26  38  -12   21
12th  R  Azogues                 22  3   5   14  17  30  -13   14

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A 2012/13 Review

Final Position: 1st

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st   C  Barcelona               22  14  5   3   35  18  +17   47[/b]
2nd      Macara                  22  12  3   7   33  19  +14   39
3rd      LDU de Quito            22  9   8   5   40  34   +6   35
4th      Olmedo                  22  9   8   5   29  26   +3   35
5th      Aucas                   22  9   7   6   32  29   +3   34
6th      El Nacional             22  8   6   8   26  22   +4   30
7th      Emelec                  22  7   9   6   34  27   +7   30
8th      Deportivo Quito         22  7   7   8   22  27   -5   28
9th      Espoli                  22  6   5   11  22  37  -15   23
10th     LDU de Portoviejo       22  5   7   10  25  34   -9   22
11th  R  Deportivo Cuenca        22  5   6   11  26  38  -12   21
12th  R  Azogues                 22  3   5   14  17  30  -13   14

We definitely exceeded all my expectations in the league, qualifying for both the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana, and winning the league to make Barcelona the most successful team in Ecuadorian league history, with 14 titles. This was their first title for 16 years though, and it was a big turnaround from when I took over a year and a half ago, when Barcelona were in the relegation zone. As I've mentioned before, the underperformance of a lot of the other teams in the division definitely contributed to our championship run, but the players took advantage of the opportunities we were offered.

As the season went on, the chairman did his best to decimate our squad, selling last season's best player Juan Carlos Ferreyra for £4.4m before the season started, and selling left back Andres Imperiale for £3.2m and left midfielder Efren Mera for £3.8m during the season, leaving our squad a bit thin for the last few games. He also accepted a bid for our right back, Victor Valarezo, but injury prevented him from leaving. Obviously, it's going to be hard to hold onto our players at Barcelona - that recap of the chairman's antics leaves out all the bids that I turned down for other players.

Fortunately, now that we have a league championship under our belt and continental football to look forward to next season, players have been more interested in joining us, and I've been on a bit of a mini-spending spree in the off season, to fill in the gaps left by the departures last season and hopefully improve the squad a bit as well.

In other news, the Uruguay national team job has come up three times over the past year, but I've missed out on it all three times. One day, maybe I'll be able to manage my homeland! :D

Next season: Can we repeat the success of this season? If Macara are our main opposition for the title again, then I'd fancy our chances. But I have to expect that at least one out of LDU de Quito, El Nacional, or Deportivo Quito will have a better season next time out and put up some stiffer opposition for us. I'm definitely pleased with the additions I've made in the off season though, so I think we can definitely put up a fight whoever the challengers are.

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Interesting - I'm being heavily linked with the job at Zamalek in Egypt. I decided not to comment on the rumors, in order to leave my options open and see if they came through with an offer, and the board put some subtle pressure on me to stay by saying that they took my silence to mean that I would not look to leave the club.

I would definitely not expect to leave Barcelona, especially after just signing a new 4 year contract - but it'll be interesting to see if Zamalek make an offer - and what that offer might be...

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Barcelona Sporting Club

Ecuador - 2013/14 Pre-Season Update

Media Prediction: 2nd

Pre-Season Odds: 5-4 Joint Favourites

The media and the bookies both seem to think it's between us and LDU de Quito for this season's championship, and I'd have to agree with them. We have been hit by the departure of our goalkeeper, Martin Rogelio Cabrera, who left for Braga in Portugal for £3.9m. But despite losing Cabrera and the chairman selling a lot of my players last season, I've been pleased with the additions we've made in the pre-season and I think we have a good chance.

Probably my favourite of my new signings is Brazilian left back Andrezinho, a £650k signing from Corinthians. I think he has the potential to be a really high quality full back, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do. Also, we've brought in Marco Barreto, a 22 year old Uruguayan striker from Penarol, 18 year old Paraguayan forward Alcides Miranda for £1.4m, Argentine midfielder Carlos Fernandez from cross-town rivals Emelec for £1.3m, and Brazilian goalkeeper Carlos from Bolivian side The Strongest.

The Copa Sudamericana draw has also been made, and we'll be facing Peruvian side ADFPC Cienciano in the Preliminary Round. Looking at some of the other teams in the Preliminary Round, such as Flamengo, Fluminense, Santos or Vasco de Gama from Brazil, or Estudiantes, Independiente, and Boca from Argentina, I think it's a pretty decent draw.

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Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A August 2013 Update

[i]Copa Sudamericana - August 7th 2013[/i]
[b]ADFPC Cienciano            0   1   Barcelona[/b]
                                  Marco Barreto (59)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - August 17th 2013[/i]
[b]LDU de Quito               1   4   Barcelona[/b]
Jefferson Lara (89)                Christian Hurtado o.g. (24)
                                  Camilo David Hurtado (47)
                                  Alcides Miranda (53)
                                  Marco Barreto (75)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - August 24th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  1   0   Aucas[/b]
Jose Montiel (36)

[i]Copa Sudamericana - August 28th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  3   0   ADFPC Cienciano[/b]
Camilo David Hurtado (9)
Marco Barreto (39, 45+1)

Notes: Couldn't really ask for a better start to the season than that! We comfortably breezed past ADFPC Cienciano and into the First Round proper of the Copa Sudamericana - where we'll face Estudiantes of Argentina. That's going to be a real test of our team on the continental level, and give us a good idea how we might fare in the Copa Libertadores later in the season.

In the league, we opened with what should be the toughest fixture of the season, away to LDU de Quito - and we destroyed them. Their 89th minute consolation goal makes the result seem closer than it really was - and 4-1 doesn't seem that close! In truth, it could have been seven or eight, and it was a real statement of our intentions for this season. The game against Aucas was actually much tighter, but our defence was very solid and Jose Montiel, my Peruvian left winger, scored the only goal of the game. Barreto's four goals in four games so far this season is a great return - maybe playing under a Uruguayan manager has helped him to settle in fast! :D

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st      Barcelona               2   2   0   0   5   1    +4   6[/b]
2nd      El Nacional             2   2   0   0   4   0    +4   6
3rd      Emelec                  2   2   0   0   5   3    +2   6
4th      Espoli                  2   1   0   1   2   3    -1   3
5th      LDU de Quito            2   1   0   1   4   4     0   3
6th      Tecnico Universitario   2   1   0   1   2   3    -1   3
7th      Aucas                   2   0   1   1   0   1    -1   1
8th      Deportivo Quito         2   0   1   1   1   2    -1   1
9th      LDU de Portoviejo       2   0   1   1   2   3    -1   1
10th     Macara                  2   0   1   1   1   2    -1   1
11th     Manta                   2   0   1   1   4   5    -1   1
12th     Olmedo                  2   0   1   1   2   5    -3   1

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Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A - September 2013 Update

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - September 14th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  0   2   Deportivo Quito[/b]
                                  Hermen Guerrero (6)
                                  Jackson Mosquera (51)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - September 18th 2013[/i]
[b]Tecnico Universitario      0   1   Barcelona[/b]
                                  Jose Montiel (25)

[i]Copa Sudamericana - September 25th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  2   1   Estudiantes (LP)[/b]
Jose Montiel (29, 60)              Hernan Hechalar (57)

Notes: After our great start to the season, we were brought back down to earth with a bump, defeated 2-0 by Deportivo Quito. We were never really in the game, definitely one of the poorest performances since I took over at Barcelona. We bounced back though, with Jose Montiel putting in another good performance to get us the win away to recently promoted Tecnico Universitario.

Montiel has a habit of getting important goals, making the breakthrough when none of my other players seem to be able to. And he showed that again in our game against Estudiantes, getting both goals in a wonderful 2-1 win. I can't help but worry that the away goal might come back to haunt us, and Marco Baretto was injured in the game and will miss the second leg - but for right now, we can just be happy with a hard fought win over a really good team.

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
1st      El Nacional             4   3   1   0   7   1    +6   10
[b]2nd      Barcelona               4   3   0   1   6   3    +3   9[/b]
3rd      Emelec                  4   3   0   1   10  5    +5   9
4th      LDU de Quito            4   2   1   1   8   7    +1   7
5th      Tecnico Universitario   4   2   0   2   6   6     0   6
6th      Deportivo Quito         4   1   2   1   3   2    +1   5
7th      LDU de Portoviejo       4   1   2   1   5   4    +1   5
8th      Macara                  4   1   2   1   4   4     0   5
9th      Espoli                  4   1   1   2   2   5    -3   4
10th     Aucas                   4   0   2   2   2   7    -5   2
11th     Olmedo                  4   0   2   2   6   11   -5   2
12th     Manta                   4   0   1   3   4   8    -4   1

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Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A - October 2013 Update

[i]Copa Sudamericana - October 9th 2013[/i]
[b]Estudiantes (LP)           0   0   Barcelona[/b]

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - October 19th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  2   0   Emelec[/b]
Gilbert Quinonez (72)
Andres Diaz (76)

[i]Copa Sudamericana - October 23rd 2013[/i]
[b]Santos                     0   1   Barcelona[/b]
                                  Marco Barreto

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - October 26th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  3   1   El Nacional[/b]
Marco Barreto (23, 77)             Franklin Orlando Corozo (74)
Andres Diaz (pen 52)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - October 30th 2013[/i]
[b]Olmedo                     1   1   Barcelona[/b]
Nicolas Pico (36)                  Marco Barreto (86)

Notes: Another really good month. While I didn't set out my stall to defend in our return leg against Estudiantes, it was the defence that really shined and held on against an onslaught from the Argentinians to maintain a 0-0 draw which put us through 2-1 on aggregate. Getting through to the quarter-finals of the Copa Sudamericana meant quite a few of my league games got rescheduled, which meant that we fell as low as 5th at one point in the league.

When we got to play our next game in the league, it was the derby against Emelec. This was a team that did set its stall out to defend, and it took us more than three quarters of the game to break through their defence. But break through we did in the end, with two goals in the space of five minutes from a couple of my defensive players - Gilbert Quinonez and Andres Diaz - both from set pieces, and that was enough to give us the win.

The Copa Sudamericana quarter finals saw us drawn against Brazilian side Santos - a game in which nobody gave us much of a chance. But again, the defence was stellar, and striker Marco Barreto marked his return from injury by grabbing the only goal of the game and a vital away goal to surely give us a decent chance of winning the tie.

We returned to the league with a game against El Nacional, who were in the midst of a bad month after topping the table last month. And their month didn't get any better, as we comfortably saw them off 3-1 thanks to another brace from Marco Baretto. We struggled a little bit against Olmedo, but a late goal from Baretto gave us a deserved draw, and we can go back on top if we win our game in hand against Espoli early in November.

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
1st      LDU de Quito            8   5   2   1   16  9    +7   17
[b]2nd      Barcelona               7   5   1   1   12  5    +7   16[/b]
3rd      Emelec                  8   4   1   3   15  11   +6   13
4th      Deportivo Quito         8   3   3   2   7   5    +2   12
5th      Tecnico Universitario   8   4   0   4   9   11   -2   12
6th      El Nacional             8   3   2   3   10  8    +2   11
7th      Macara                  8   3   2   3   9   7    +2   11
8th      Olmedo                  8   2   4   2   10  12   -2   10
9th      LDU de Portoviejo       8   1   5   2   7   8    -1   8
10th     Espoli                  7   1   3   3   4   8    -4   6
11th     Manta                   8   1   3   4   9   14   -5   6
12th     Aucas                   8   0   4   4   4   14   -10  4

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Another thread i've been quietly following with interest. Good to see some leagues being played that I/the majority of us know nothing about. I like playing in countries where I have to learn the rules as I go along :thup:.

Good to see you having some success :thup:. Is there one particular club you want to go to/end up at during this save?

Great update style too. Nice, clean and easy to read and follow :thup:.

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Ecuador - Copa Credife Primera A - November 2013 Update

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - November 2nd 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  2   0   Espoli[/b]
Andrezinho (pen 34)
Marcelo Cespedes (82)

[i]Copa Sudamericana (Quarter-Final 2nd Leg) - November 6th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  3   0   Santos[/b]
Andrezinho (pen 53)
Marco Andia (69)
Jose Montiel (76)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - November 9th 2013[/i]
[b]Macara                     1   0   Barcelona[/b]
Roberto Carlos Estacio (84)

[i]Copa Sudamericana (Semi-Final 1st Leg) - November 13th 2013[/i]
[b]Independiente              1   0   Barcelona[/b]
Alfredo Lezcano (15)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - November 16th 2013[/i]
[b]LDU de Portoviejo          2   2   Barcelona[/b]
Juan Manuel Carini (30)            Marcelo Cespedes (69)
Deison Mendez (38)                 Marco Barreto (83)

[i]Copa Sudamericana (Semi-Final 2nd Leg) - November 20th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  2   1   Independiente[/b]
Camilo David Hurtado (2)           Fabian Ibanez (26)
Marco Barreto (69)

[i]Copa Credife Primera A - November 30th 2013[/i]
[b]Barcelona                  2   0   Manta[/b]
Marco Barreto (67)
Jorge Majao (90+3)

Notes: A month of ups and downs this time around. We started by beating Espoli in our game in hand to put us back on top of the table. Andrezinho got his first goal for the club from the penalty spot - and he's already attracting interest, both from Saudi Arabia and his native Brazil. Then came our second leg against Santos, and after a tight first half, we opened up on them in the second half, Andrezinho getting another from the penalty spot to open the floodgates for us to get two more as they pushed forward in a desperate attempt to salvage the game.

Again, we were brought back down to earth in the league as we crashed to defeat away at Macara - I thought we'd done enough to hang on for an ill-deserved draw until Macara scored in the 84th minute to send us crashing to defeat, and drop us back to second place in the league. Our next game also ended in a 1-0 defeat, as we faced Argentinian side Independiente in the Copa Sudamericana Semi-Final. We battled hard and could come away with our heads held high, but we also knew that progressing to the final was going to be a very difficult task after the first leg defeat.

We couldn't regain our league form against LDU de Portoviejo, having to come from 2-0 down to grab a point in the 83rd minute, with another goal from the excellent Marco Baretto. But we got back to winning ways as we put on a magnificent performance in the second leg of our Copa Sudamericana Semi-Final, grabbing a thoroughly deserved 2-1 win. Despite the fact that we went out of the competition on away goals, we can be extremely proud of our performance and I think we've proved beyond a doubt that we can hold our own against some of the top teams on the continent.

And we also returned to winning ways in the league, defeating newly promoted and bottom of the league Manta to put us back within a point of LDU de Quito at the top of the table. Our first game in December is at home to LDU de Quito, and if we can get a win in that game then we can go back to the top of the league. I've also been linked with another Egyptian side - Ismaily, who won the African Champions League a couple of seasons ago. I don't anticipate leaving Ecuador for a little while yet though - just hit my two year anniversary in charge of Barcelona and there's plenty more I want to do with them yet.

Pos      Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
------------------------------------------------------------------
1st      LDU de Quito            11  7   3   1   21  12   +9   24
[b]2nd      Barcelona               11  7   2   2   18  8   +10   23[/b]
3rd      Emelec                  11  5   3   3   21  14   +7   18
4th      Macara                  10  4   3   3   11  8    +3   15
5th      Deportivo Quito         11  3   5   3   11  11    0   14
6th      El Nacional             11  3   5   3   14  12   +2   14
7th      Olmedo                  11  3   5   3   15  18   -3   14
8th      Tecnico Universitario   11  4   1   6   9   14   -5   13
9th      Aucas                   11  2   4   5   12  16   -4   10
10th     LDU de Portoviejo       11  1   7   3   10  13   -3   10
11th     Espoli                  10  2   3   5   6   12   -6   9
12th     Manta                   11  2   3   6   12  22  -10   9

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