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[FM10] Cristoval Alvarez Attempts to Take Over The World!


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C.A. Peñarol

Uruguay - Primera Division (Closing Stage) - May 2011 Update

[i]Copa Libertadores 2nd Round Leg 2 - May 4th 2011[/i]
[b]Penarol                    3   1   Atlas[/b]
Antonio Pacheco (71)               Ulises Mendivil (15)
Bryan Rodriguez (82, 84)

[i]Primera Uruguaya Closing Stage - May 8th 2011[/i]
[b]Tacuarembo                 0   0   Penarol[/b]

[i]Copa Libertadores Quarter Final Leg 1 - May 11th 2011[/i]
[b]Penarol                    2   2   Estudiantes (LP)[/b]
Julio (70)                         Leandro Gonzalez (16)
Antonio Pacheco (88)               Mauro Boselli (pen 84)

[i]Copa Libertadores Quarter Final Leg 2 - May 18th 2011[/i]
[b]Estudiantes (LP)           2   1   Penarol[/b]
Gerardo Alcoba o.g. (1)            Marcelo Sosa (60)
Leandro Gonzalez (68)

Ghana World Ranking: 21st

Notes: With the league already won, I was happy enough despite a 0-0 draw against bottom of the league Tacuarembo, which meant that we went through the Closing Stage unbeaten. We had more important matters on our mind...

Namely - the Copa Libertadores. After our 0-0 first leg draw against Atlas, we got an excellent 3-1 win over them in the home leg to go through to the Quarter-Finals, including a goal from Antonio Pacheco, who just announced his retirement at the end of the season. With ten minutes to go we were going out of the competition on away goals, but with two goals in the last ten minutes we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

We were drawn against Argentine giants Estudiantes. We had to come from behind twice to get a 2-2 draw in the home leg, which was a good result. We also had a good showing in the away leg, but we eventually succumbed to a 2-1 defeat in Argentina. A good performance to get all the way to the Quarter-Finals in our first attempt - however, I'm not going to get a chance to see how we do next season, since I'm moving on to another team... :eek:

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st     Penarol                 15  11  4   0   28  7   +21   37 [/b] 
2nd     Fenix                   15  10  2   3   29  18  +11   32  
3rd     Defensor Sporting       15  9   0   6   29  15  +14   27  
4th     Cerro                   15  7   3   5   25  16   +9   24  
5th     Miramar Misiones        15  7   3   5   23  20   +3   24  
6th     Liverpool               15  7   1   7   24  26   -2   22  
7th     Atenas de San Carlos    15  5   5   5   21  22   -1   20  
8th     Racing de Montevideo    15  5   4   6   18  17   +1   19  
9th     Bella Vista             15  5   4   6   14  13   +1   19  
10th    Plaza Colonia           15  5   4   6   18  21   -3   19  
11th    Wanderers               15  5   3   7   21  24   -3   18  
12th    Nacional                15  4   5   6   16  30  -14   17  
13th    River Plate             15  4   4   7   13  20   -7   16  
14th    Cerro Largo             15  4   3   8   19  28   -9   15  
15th    Danubio                 15  3   4   8   19  24   -5   13  
16th    Tacuarembo              15  4   1   10  14  30  -16   13

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - May 20th 2011

Yes, I'm moving to the EPL - the Egyptian Premier League that is! Al-Ahly, one of the biggest clubs in Africa came calling, and I decided that now would be a good time to strike out from my home continent and make a name for myself in African club football as well as African national football.

I've got to assume that my management of Ghana gave me the standing to take on the club named "Club of the Century" by the CAF. But the pressure is going to be on to perform right away - the previous manager lost his job after daring not to win the league two seasons in a row! After finishing 3rd in 2009/10 and 2nd in 2010/11, the board felt it was time to bring in new management to help the perennial powerhouse overtake Ismaily, who've won the league the last two seasons in a row.

With an £8.7m transfer budget and a £98k wage budget, it's considerably more money to play with than at Penarol, plus the interest of a new continent to explore. The African Champions League runs from January to November, so we're still in this season's competition, having made it to the group stage. The group stage of the ACL is actually quite late on in the competition - there are just two four-team groups, and the top two from each group go into the semi-finals. We'll be facing arch-rivals Egyptian side Zamalek, Ivory Coast team Africa Sports, and Angolan side Petro Atletico.

Short term goals: Win the Egyptian Premier League - That's the reason they bought me in - two seasons without a championship is too long for a team like Al-Ahly, and my task will be to bring the glory days back to the 74,000 capacity Cairo International Stadium immediately.

Long term goals: Win the African Champions League - The club have won the Champions League 7 times in their history, 5 times in the past decade - we obviously can't expect to win it every year, but I think getting one win in the competition in the next 3 to 4 years is a very realistic goal - more than that would be excellent.

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Good move. :thup: I'll be following your Egyptian exploits with interest. What's the squad like?

The squad is pretty decent, but aging - with Egyptian legends like 36 year old midfielder Ahmed Hassan (161 caps/26 goals), and 35 year old defender Wael Gomaa (92 caps/0 goals). We've got a total of 6 players with more than 50 caps for Egypt. We've also got former Spurs midfielder Hossam Ghaly. I've been using the ample transfer budget to lower the average age of the squad - but I think the veterans are going to have a major part to play for at least another season.

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - July 2011 Update

[i]CAF Champions League Group A - July 17th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    3   1   Zamalek[/b]
Hossam Ghaly (24)                  Sayed Mosaad (86)
Emad Motaeb (39, 64)

[i]CAF Champions League Group A - July 30th 2011[/i]
[b]Petro Atletico             0   3   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Mohamed Barakat (17)
                                  Emad Motaeb (46)
                                  Osama Hosny (69)

Ghana World Ranking: 32nd

Notes: No better way to start off your career at a new club than to get a dominant win over your side's most hated rivals. A 3-1 win over arch-rivals Zamalek was also a great way to start my adventures in the African Champions League. We followed that up with a good 3-0 away win over Angolan side Petro Atletico - probably the weakest team in the group. Three goals in two games for Emad Motaeb was a good return and an excellent way to make a positive impression on his new manager.

After not playing again this month, we plummeted ten places in the world rankings - as long as dropping in the rankings isn't to do with poor performance, I'm not too concerned. Mauritania have in fact turned out to be our closest opponents in the qualifiers - they're just one point back from us in 2nd place, and we face them away from home in September. On the plus side, if we beat them in that game, we'll have qualified.

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st     Al-Ahly                 2   2   0   0   6   1     5   6[/b]   
2nd     Zamalek                 2   1   0   1   6   4     2   3   
3rd     Africa Sports           2   1   0   1   4   6    -2   3   
4th     Petro Atletico          2   0   0   2   1   6    -5   0

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Good move :thup:. It'll be interesting to see how you cope with the pressures of expectancy at Al-Ahly. Sounds like you've got a good, albeit ageing squad. Ghaly is a class player, well he was when I had him on 08.

Good luck in t'Egypt :thup:

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - August 2011 Update

[i]CAF Champions League Group A - August 10th 2011[/i]
[b]Africa Sports              0   3   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Ahmed El Sayed (33)
                                  Sayed Moawad (85)
                                  Mohamed Barakat (90+1)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - August 13th 2011[/i]
[b]ENPPI                      1   2   Al-Ahly[/b]
Zeka Goore (46)                    Lebohang Mokoena (19)
                                  Mohamed Barakat (61)

[i]CAF Champions League Group A - August 24th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    3   0   Petro Atletico[/b]
Ahmed El Sayed (20)
Mahmoud Abdel Hakim (27)
Osama Hosny (65)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - August 27th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    1   0   Police Union[/b]
Emad Motaeb (6)

Ghana World Ranking: 34th

Notes: Four wins from four this month - particularly impressive in the Champions League, where we convincingly beat a decent Africa Sports side (probably the second best side in the Ivory Coast after ASEC) and got a second 3-0 win over Angolans Petro Atletico. Already qualified for the next round, if we can beat Zamalek next time out we're guaranteed to win the group - and get a major psychological advantage over our arch-rivals.

Our league performances were a bit less convincing - ENPPI are one of the league's top teams, finishing 3rd last season and 4th the season before, so a 2-1 win over them away, in part thanks to a goal from one of my new signings, South African Lebohang Mokoena, was quite pleasing, if hardly dominant. We also struggled a little too much to beat newly promoted Police Union at home - but a win is a win, and sees us top of the table as one of only two teams with 100% records - the others being Zamalek.

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st     Al-Ahly                 2   2   0   0   3   1    +2   6[/b]   
2nd     Zamalek                 2   2   0   0   4   1    +3   6   
3rd     Ghazl Al-Mehalla        2   1   1   0   2   1    +1   4   
4th     Ittihad                 2   1   1   0   2   1    +1   4   
5th     Masry                   2   1   1   0   3   0    +3   4   
6th     Telecom Egypt           2   1   1   0   3   2    +1   4   
7th     ENPPI                   2   1   0   1   3   3     0   3   
8th     Ismaily                 2   1   0   1   2   2     0   3   
9th     Mansoura                2   1   0   1   1   1     0   3   
10th    Petrojet                2   0   2   0   0   0     0   2   
11th    Suez Cement             2   0   2   0   0   0     0   2   
12th    Al-Jaish                2   0   1   1   1   2    -1   1   
13th    Military Production     2   0   1   1   0   1    -1   1   
14th    Assiout Petroleum       2   0   0   2   1   6    -5   0   
15th    El Gouna                2   0   0   2   0   2    -2   0   
16th    Police Union            2   0   0   2   1   3    -2   0  

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st     Al-Ahly                 4   4   0   0   12  1   +11   12[/b]  
2nd     Zamalek                 4   3   0   1   11  5    +6   9   
3rd     Africa Sports           4   1   0   3   5   11   -6   3   
4th     Petro Atletico          4   0   0   4   1   12  -11   0

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Good move :thup:. It'll be interesting to see how you cope with the pressures of expectancy at Al-Ahly. Sounds like you've got a good, albeit ageing squad. Ghaly is a class player, well he was when I had him on 08.

Good luck in t'Egypt :thup:

Thanks Raware - I think it's going to be fun. I think this is the first time since FM07 that I've managed a team with such high expectations from the off - 42,000 season ticket holders is pressure enough!

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The squad is pretty decent, but aging - with Egyptian legends like 36 year old midfielder Ahmed Hassan (161 caps/26 goals), and 35 year old defender Wael Gomaa (92 caps/0 goals). We've got a total of 6 players with more than 50 caps for Egypt. We've also got former Spurs midfielder Hossam Ghaly. I've been using the ample transfer budget to lower the average age of the squad - but I think the veterans are going to have a major part to play for at least another season.

I remeber Ahmed Hassan from his days in Turkey. He played for my adopted team here, Genclerbirligi, for a while before moving to Besiktas.

42,000 season ticket holders?!? How much revnue do you get from that?

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I remeber Ahmed Hassan from his days in Turkey. He played for my adopted team here, Genclerbirligi, for a while before moving to Besiktas.

42,000 season ticket holders?!? How much revnue do you get from that?

Sadly, it's only £6 per season ticket, so our total revenue is only about £250,000 per season - not what you might hope for with 42,000 season ticket holders. It's only £1.10 for a matchday ticket as well, so our 74,100 all-seater stadium doesn't do us as much good financially as you might think. Got to be a pretty intimidating venue for opposing teams though, you'd think.

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - September 2011 Update

[i]CAF Champions League Group A - September 10th 2011[/i]
[b]Zamalek                    2   2   Al-Ahly[/b]
Ahmed Gaafar (16, 60)              Mohamed Barakat (23)
                                  Osama Hosny (48)

[i]CAF Champions League Group A - September 14th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    2   0   Africa Sports[/b]
Mahmoud Abdel Habim (8, 35)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - September 17th 2011[/i]
[b]Ghazl Al-Mehalla           0   1   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Emad Motaeb (34)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - September 21st 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    3   1   Suez Cement[/b]
Emad Motaeb (4, 28)                Emad Motaeb o.g. (87)
Lebohang Mokoena (12)

[i]CAF Champions League Semi-Final Leg 1 - September 25th 2011[/i]
[b]Ismaily                    0   3   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Lebohang Mokoena (2)
                                  Ahmed Hassan (43)
                                  Emad Motaeb (88)

[i]Egyptian Cup - September 28th 2011[/i]
[b]ENPPI                      0   4   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Hosni Abd Rabo (pen 39)
                                  Lebohang Mokoena (48, 60)
                                  Ahmed Hassan (69)

[i]African Cup of Nations Qualifiers Group H - September 3rd 2011[/i]
[b]Mauritania                 1   2   Ghana[/b]
Wassiou Diouf (75)                 Michael Essien (30, 67)

Ghana World Ranking: 28th

Notes: Still unbeaten as Al-Ahly manager, but we couldn't quite maintain our 100% record in all competitions. Nevertheless, a great month. We kicked things off with a 2-2 draw with arch enemies Zamalek in the Champions League - away from home it was a decent result which the fans were pleased with, and probably a fair outcome for both sides. Three days later we finished up the group stage with a comfortable 2-0 win over Ivorian side Africa Sports, to ensure we finished top of the group, with Zamalek also qualifying. Qualifiers from the other group were Tunisian side Club Sportif Sfaxien and Egyptian champions Ismaily - meaning 3 of the 4 semi-finalists are Egyptian. We were drawn against Ismaily - whose two title wins in the past two years cost the previous Al-Ahly manager his job - but we made a major statement of our intent in this competition by hammering them 3-0 to surely all but guarantee our place in the final.

Back in the league, we still couldn't quite reach the same heights as we did in the Champions League in toiling to a 1-0 victory over Ghazl Al-Mehalla, but we looked better in our game against Suez Cement as our excellent first half performance earned us a 3-1 win.

We got a tough draw in the Egyptian Cup 1st Round - while many Premier League sides were facing lower league opposition, we were drawn against ENPPI, who finished 3rd in the EPL last season and 4th the season before. But we didn't play as if it was a tough draw, thrashing them 4-0 away to book our passage into the next round.

Ghana faced Mauritania in what would basically be the game that decided the one qualifier from our group for the African Cup of Nations - Mauritania were just 1 point behind - if they won, they would be 2 points ahead with just one game to play. If we won, we would be an unassailable 4 points clear, and could book our hotels in Gabon for the 2012 Cup of Nations. And in a full blooded, hard fought encounter, we eventually secure a 2-1 victory, thanks to a performance from Michael Essien fitting of our best player. We have one now-meaningless qualifying game against Zimbabwe to prepare for a tournament that I really hope we might have a decent chance of winning early next year. :thup:

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st     Al-Ahly                 4   4   0   0   7   2    +5   12[/b]  
2nd     Zamalek                 4   3   1   0   9   3    +6   10  
3rd     Ismaily                 4   3   0   1   7   4    +3   9   
4th     Telecom Egypt           4   2   2   0   5   3    +2   8   
5th     Ittihad                 4   2   1   1   3   2    +1   7   
6th     Assiout Petroleum       4   2   0   2   9   8    +1   6   
7th     ENPPI                   4   2   0   2   6   6     0   6   
8th     Petrojet                4   1   3   0   4   3    +1   6   
9th     Military Production     4   1   2   1   2   2     0   5   
10th    Al-Jaish                4   1   1   2   2   5    -3   4   
11th    Ghazl Al-Mehalla        4   1   1   2   3   4    -1   4   
12th    Masry                   4   1   1   2   3   2    +1   4   
13th    Mansoura                4   1   0   3   3   9    -6   3   
14th    Suez Cement             4   0   2   2   1   4    -3   2   
15th    El Gouna                4   0   1   3   2   5    -3   1   
16th    Police Union            4   0   1   3   3   7    -4   1  

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st  Q  Al-Ahly                 6   5   1   0   16  3   +13   16[/b]  
2nd  Q  Zamalek                 6   4   1   1   18  7   +11   13  
3rd     Africa Sports           6   1   1   4   5   13   -8   4   
4th     Petro Atletico          6   0   1   5   1   17  -16   1 

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st  Q  Ghana                   5   4   1   0   9   1    +8   13[/b]  
2nd     Mauritania              5   3   0   2   4   6    -2   9   
3rd     Algeria                 5   2   1   2   5   3    +2   7   
4th     Zimbabwe                5   0   0   5   1   9    -8   0   

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - October 2011 Update

[i]Egyptian Premier League - October 1st 2011[/i]
[b]Military Production        1   1   Al-Ahly[/b]
Ahmed Mohsen (pen 82)              Lebohang Mokoena (45)

[i]CAF Champions League Semi Final Leg 2 - October 5th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    1   1   Ismaily[/b]
Emad Motaeb (26)                   Ahmed Ali (62)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - October 15th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    2   0   Telecom Egypt[/b]
Emad Motaeb (55)
Osama Hosny (87)

[i]CAF Champions League Final Leg 1 - October 19th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    2   1   Zamalek[/b]
Ahmed Hassan (45+1)                Sherif Ashraf (41)
Ahmed El Sayed (63)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - October 22nd 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    0   0   Ittihad[/b]

[i]African Cup of Nations Qualifiers Group H - October 8th 2011[/i]
[b]Ghana                      5   0   Zimbabwe[/b]
Sulley Muntari (33)
Asamoah Gyan (53)
Michael Essien (70, 79)
Anthony Annan (72)

Ghana World Ranking: 28th

Notes: A few too many draws this month, particularly in the league, where we drew two out of three to slip to 3rd in the league. That will absolutely not be an acceptable position for the board come the end of the season - but just 7 games into the EPL schedule and still unbeaten, we've got plenty of time to overhaul Zamalek and Ismaily, who are currently ahead of us. A 1-1 draw with Military Production and a 0-0 draw with Ittihad sandwiched a good 2-0 victory over Telecom Egypt.

In the Champions League, another 1-1 draw against Ismaily was more than enough to put us through to the Final with a 4-1 aggregate victory overall. Our African Champions League Final opponents? Our arch rivals, Zamalek. It was always going to be a fiery encounter, and so it proved, with challenges flying in all over the pitch and a sell out 74,000 crowd for our first leg at home - and the fans got exactly what they wanted as we came from 1-0 down to win 2-1 and set ourselves up for a storming second leg at Zamalek on November 9th.

With Ghana already qualified for the Cup of Nations, our final qualifying game really served as a warm up for the big tournament. And we warmed up in the best possible fashion, with a 5-0 thrashing of Zimbabwe, including two more goals from captain Michael Essien.

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
1st     Zamalek                 7   6   1   0   16  3   +13   19  
2nd     Ismaily                 7   6   0   1   15  5   +10   18  
[b]3rd     Al-Ahly                 7   5   2   0   10  3    +7   17[/b]  
4th     Petrojet                7   3   4   0   10  6    +4   13  
5th     Ittihad                 7   3   2   2   5   6    -1   11  
6th     Al-Jaish                7   3   2   2   9   8    +1   11  
7th     Assiout Petroleum       7   3   1   3   12  10   +2   10  
8th     ENPPI                   7   3   0   4   9   12   -3   9   
9th     Telecom Egypt           7   2   2   3   6   9    -3   8   
10th    Masry                   7   2   1   4   4   6    -2   7   
11th    El Gouna                7   1   3   3   4   5    -1   6   
12th    Military Production     7   1   3   3   3   9    -6   6   
13th    Ghazl Al-Mehalla        7   1   2   4   5   9    -4   5   
14th    Police Union            7   1   2   4   6   11   -5   5   
15th    Mansoura                7   1   1   5   4   12   -8   4   
16th    Suez Cement             7   0   4   3   2   6    -4   4   

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st  Q  Ghana                   6   5   1   0   14  1   +13   16[/b]  
2nd     Algeria                 6   3   1   2   7   3    +4   10  
3rd     Mauritania              6   3   0   3   4   8    -4   9   
4th     Zimbabwe                6   0   0   6   1   14  -13   0   

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - November 2011 Update

[i]Egyptian Premier League - November 2nd 2011[/i]
[b]Ismaily                    0   0   Al-Ahly[/b]

[i]Egyptian Premier League - November 5th 2011[/i]
[b]Assiout Petroleum          0   1   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Osama Hosny (80)

[i]CAF Champions League Final Leg 2 - November 9th 2011[/i]
[b]Zamalek                    1   2   Al-Ahly[/b]
Ahmed Magdy (82)                   Emad Motaeb (24)
                                  Ahmed Hassan (86)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - November 19th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    4   0   El Gouna[/b]
Ahmed El Sayed (7)
Hosni Abd Rabo (10)
Lebohang Mokoena (40)
Emad Motaeb (88)

[i]Egyptian Cup 2nd Round - November 22nd 2011[/i]
[b]Ala'ab Damanhour           0   4   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Emad Motaeb (8, 24)
                                  Hosni Abd Rabo (pen 15)
                                  Hossam Ghaly (88)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - November 26th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    3   2   Petrojet[/b]
Emad Motaeb (35)                   Eric Bekoe (74, 75)
Hossam Ghaly (49)
Ahmed Hassan (71)

Ghana World Ranking: 25th

Notes: Let's get the important news out of the way first - Al-Ahly are African Champions League winners for 2011! After our 2-1 win in the first leg, we knew that a win or a draw would be enough to make us the continental champions. And we started well, with a goal from the excellent Emad Motaeb (15 goals from 21 appearances so far this season). Then it was a case of holding on to our lead as Zamalek tried to get back into the tie. With just eight minutes left, Zamalek equalised on the night - one more goal, and the Champions League Final would be going to extra time. But as Zamalek pushed on for that goal, we caught them on the break, and legendary midfielder Ahmed Hassan scored to kill off the tie and give us a 4-2 win on aggregate.

Back in the league, we started the month with a decent 0-0 draw away to defending champions Ismaily, and then we needed an 80th minute goal to overcome mid-table Assiout Petroleum 1-0 away. Much better was a 4-0 thrashing of El Gouna, and we followed that up with a 3-2 win over high-flying Petrojet to finish the month in 2nd place and still unbeaten - five points clear of 3rd place Ismaily, but four behind also unbeaten Zamalek. We still have both of our league games against Zamalek to play this season, and they are going to be absolutely vital - not just to our chances of winning the league, but also to me holding on to the job. I have no doubt that the board would consider my position if we don't win the league, despite the Champions League triumph.

Of course, the Champions League win also means that we get to take part in next month's Club World Cup, which will be interesting, though it will disrupt our league schedule. Finally, in the Egyptian Cup, we played lower league Ala'ab Damanhour and emerged with an easy 4-0 victory to see us through to the Quarter Finals.

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
1st     Zamalek                 11  10  1   0   28  4   +24   31  
[b]2nd     Al-Ahly                 11  8   3   0   18  5   +13   27[/b]  
3rd     Ismaily                 11  6   4   1   16  6   +10   22  
4th     Petrojet                11  5   5   1   16  10   +6   20  
5th     Masry                   11  6   1   4   13  8    +5   19  
6th     Ittihad                 11  5   3   3   12  10   +2   18  
7th     Al-Jaish                11  4   5   2   14  12   +2   17  
8th     Assiout Petroleum       11  4   3   4   18  13   +5   15  
9th     ENPPI                   11  4   1   6   13  18   -5   13  
10th    El Gouna                11  3   4   4   8   11   -3   13  
11th    Military Production     11  1   6   4   7   14   -7   9   
12th    Telecom Egypt           11  2   3   6   9   18   -9   9   
13th    Ghazl Al-Mehalla        11  2   2   7   7   15   -8   8   
14th    Police Union            11  2   2   7   9   21  -12   8   
15th    Mansoura                11  1   2   8   5   18  -13   5   
16th    Suez Cement             11  0   5   6   4   14  -10   5

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Thanks for the congrats everyone! :D

rancer - the league situation with Zamalek is reminding me a bit of your Zenit/Spartak situation!

iacovone - thanks! Winning the ACL with the legendary Clever Boys would have been an epic achievement. Winning with Al-Ahly was almost expected from the board and the fans - but still very pleasing.

TaylorB - Zamalek are going to be really tough to catch - though they don't have Zaki or Mido, who both find themselves in the North East of England. Zaki moved to Newcastle on a free in 2010, where he's been a bit part player, while Mido returned to Middlesbrough after his loan spell at Zamalek - and played miserably (5.76 average rating) in a Middlesbrough side that was relegated from the Premier League last season. Despite Zamalek's exceedingly good league form, we have the psychological advantage of having beaten them three times and drawn one in the four times in the past few months we played them in the ACL. We'll see how it goes in our first head-to-head league game later this month. :thup:

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - December 2011 Update

[i]Egyptian Premier League - December 3rd 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Jaish                   0   1   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Emad Motaeb (89)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - December 7th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    2   0   Masry[/b]
Lebohang Mokoena (13, 60)

[i]Club World Cup 2nd Round - December 10th 2011[/i]
[b]Jaguares                   0   1   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Lebohang Mokoena (3)

[i]Club World Cup Semi Final - December 14th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                  p 2   2   Internacional[/b]
Emad Motaeb (4)                    Walter (46)
Hosni Abd Rabo (pen 39)            Talles Cunha (61)

[i]Club World Cup Final - December 18th 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    2   3   Barcelona[/b]
Emad Motaeb (23)                   Alan Dzagoev (2)
Lebohang Mokoena (77)              Bojan (30)
                                  Andres Iniesta (61)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - December 21st 2011[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    2   0   ENPPI[/b]
Emad Moteab (1)
Osama Hosny (90+1)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - December 28th 2011[/i]
[b]Zamalek                    1   4   Al-Ahly[/b]
Sherif Ashraf (79)                 Lebohang Mokoena (17, 57)
                                  Mohamed Barakat (21)
                                  Hosni Abd Rabo (32)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - December 31st 2011[/i]
[b]Police Union               1   0   Al-Ahly[/b]
Tamer Shaker (26)

Ghana World Ranking: 25th

Notes: Two excellent things to report this month - we made it all the way to the Club World Cup Final in an excellent performance as we finished runners-up - and then there's that game against Zamalek.

We faced the Mexican champions of CONCACAF, Jaguares, in the Club World Cup 2nd Round, and an early goal from Lebohang Mokoena was enough to see us through in a tight encounter. In the Semi-Final, we faced Copa Libertadores champions Internacional - but it was an Internacional side in crisis, with their manager fired and the caretaker manager struggling, it was the ideal time to face the Brazilians. Although we threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2, we triumphed 4-3 on penalties to get through to the final against Spanish giants Barcelona. And we gave the Catalan side a real scare in the final, pushing them all the way until we eventually succumbed to a 3-2 defeat. Still, an excellent performance in the competition, which will also do no harm to my reputation.

In the league, we still hadn't hit top gear, needing an 89th minute goal to defeat Al-Jaish 1-0 away. A brace from Lebohang Mokoena, who's hit a rich vein of form recently, gave us a 2-0 win over rivals Masry. Then, a massive development in the title race, as Zamalek went down 1-0 to Ismaily while we were at the Club World Cup. They still had a 4 point lead over us, but we had a game in hand and a big game against them when we got back. First though, we had to overcome ENPPI and with goals in the 1st and 91st minutes, we duly got the 2-0 win.

Then, the big one. Away to Zamalek in the biggest league game of the season so far, and my guys came to play. We roared to a 3-0 lead at half time, added a fourth on 57 minutes, and the game had been won for a while when Zamalek got a consolation goal with just over ten minutes to go. 4-1 was a fantastic result, and left us one point back with a game in hand. But then we threw away some of that progress with a flat 1-0 loss to Police Union - thankfully, Zamalek only drew so winning our game in hand would still put us top of the league.

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
1st     Zamalek                 17  13  2   2   37  9   +28   41  
[b]2nd     Al-Ahly                 16  12  3   1   27  7   +20   39[/b]  
3rd     Ittihad                 17  11  3   3   26  13  +13   36  
4th     Ismaily                 17  10  5   2   28  13  +15   35  
5th     Masry                   17  7   5   5   21  16   +5   26  
6th     Petrojet                17  6   7   4   21  20   +1   25  
7th     Assiout Petroleum       17  6   5   6   21  17   +4   23  
8th     Al-Jaish                17  5   7   5   21  20   +1   22  
9th     ENPPI                   17  7   1   9   19  24   -5   22  
10th    Police Union            17  5   4   8   18  27   -9   19  
11th    El Gouna                17  3   7   7   11  19   -8   16  
12th    Telecom Egypt           17  3   6   8   13  25  -12   15  
13th    Military Production     17  2   8   7   11  23  -12   14  
14th    Ghazl Al-Mehalla        17  3   4   10  9   20  -11   13  
15th    Mansoura                16  3   3   10  9   21  -12   12  
16th    Suez Cement             17  1   6   10  6   24  -18   9

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - January 2012 Update

[i]Egyptian Premier League - January 4th 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    3   0   Ghazl Al-Mehalla[/b]
Emad Motaeb (26, 48)
Ahmed Hassan (67)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - January 7th 2012[/i]
[b]Suez Cement                0   3   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Emad Motaeb (16)
                                  Mostafa Shebeita (20)
                                  Osama Hosny (90+2)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - January 11th 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    0   0   Mansoura[/b]

[i]Egyptian Premier League - January 14th 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    3   0   Military Production[/b]
Osama Hosny (34)
Sayed Moawad (pen 74)
Ahmed Hassan (83)

[i]Egyptian Cup Quarter Final - January 18th 2012[/i]
[b]Mansoura                   0   3   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Mostafa Shebeita (3)
                                  Lebohang Mokoena (34)
                                  Hosni Abd Rabo (50)

Ghana World Ranking: 25th

Notes: We were hot on the heels of Zamalek as this month began - their form was faltering, and other than our defeat by Police Union, we were on fire. We got two back-to-back 3-0 victories over Ghazl Al-Mehalla at home and Suez Cement away to keep up the pressure on Zamalek, who also struggled to two wins.

Then, the all important game in hand. Win, and we would go top by one point. But... we just couldn't find a way to break down a stubborn Mansoura side, who showed the sort of fight they'll need to get out of the relegation scrap they currently find themselves in to hold us to a 0-0 draw.

Our big opportunity had passed, and we were still one point behind Zamalek in second place. But then Zamalek slipped up themselves, only managing to draw away to Masry, meaning that another 3-0 win for us over Military Production put us top of the league after all. You get the feeling this title race is going to go down to the wire though...

In the Cup, having failed to beat Mansoura in front of our own fans in the league, we had no difficulty beating them away as we grabbed yet another 3-0 win to see ourselves through to the Semi-Final, where we'll face Ittihad.

There's a brief layoff in league action now, as attentions in Africa turn towards the Cup of Nations. I'll be off to Gabon to lead my Ghana team in a tournament the Ghanaian FA wants to see us at least get to the Semi-Final in. Captain Michael Essien thinks we can go all the way... can he be right? Special report coming soon! :D

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st     Al-Ahly                 20  15  4   1   36  7   +29   49[/b]  
2nd     Zamalek                 20  15  3   2   42  11  +31   48  
3rd     Ismaily                 20  13  5   2   32  14  +18   44  
4th     Ittihad                 20  12  4   4   29  15  +14   40  
5th     Masry                   20  8   7   5   25  18   +7   31  
6th     Assiout Petroleum       20  8   6   6   25  18   +7   30  
7th     Al-Jaish                20  6   8   6   24  24    0   26  
8th     Petrojet                20  6   8   6   23  24   -1   26  
9th     ENPPI                   20  7   3   10  22  28   -6   24  
10th    Police Union            20  6   4   10  19  30  -11   22  
11th    El Gouna                20  4   8   8   14  22   -8   20  
12th    Military Production     20  3   9   8   13  27  -14   18  
13th    Mansoura                20  4   5   11  12  24  -12   17  
14th    Telecom Egypt           20  3   7   10  15  31  -16   16  
15th    Ghazl Al-Mehalla        20  3   4   13  10  26  -16   13  
16th    Suez Cement             20  1   7   12  7   29  -22   10

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Ghana

African Cup of Nations 2012 - Gabon

[i]African Cup of Nations Group C - January 22nd 2012[/i]
[b]Liberia                    0   3   Ghana[/b]
                                  Kwadwo Asamoah (1)
                                  Sulley Muntari (pen 16)
                                  Isaac Vorsah (45+1)

[i]African Cup of Nations Group C - January 27th 2012[/i]
[b]Ghana                      4   1   Guinea[/b]
Samuel Yeboah (18)                 Fode Mansare (63)
Sulley Muntari (pen 32)
Asamoah Gyan (51, 73)

[i]African Cup of Nations Group C - January 31st 2012[/i]
[b]Senegal                    2   2   Ghana[/b]
Demba Ba (33)                      Samuel Yeboah (19)
Mamadou Niang (74)                 Asamoah Gyan (64)

Notes: We were drawn in a very decent group, with Senegal as our main competition, Guinea a potential threat, and Liberia expected to be the group's major underdogs. Our opening game was against those Liberian underdogs, and they never really looked likely to cause us any problems as we cruised to a 3-0 win - all three goals coming in the first half and then we took our foot off the gas for the second half.

The game against Guinea was a more difficult game, but we eventually asserted our dominance and came away with a 4-1 win. The major downside was Michael Essien getting himself sent off for violent conduct - a 3 game suspension meant that we would only get him back for the final - if we made it that far.

Without Essien, we managed a battling draw against Senegal, as the Senegalese twice came from behind to level the match at 2-2. Thanks to our superior goal difference though, we qualified for the Quarter Finals top of our group.

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st  Q  Ghana                   3   2   1   0   9   3    +6   7[/b]   
2nd  Q  Senegal                 3   2   1   0   6   2    +4   7   
3rd     Guinea                  3   1   0   2   3   7    -4   3   
4th     Liberia                 3   0   0   3   1   7    -6   0

[b]Other Qualifiers:[/b]
Nigeria
DR Congo
Ivory Coast
Tunisia
Cameroon
Morocco

[i]African Cup of Nations Quarter Final - February 6th 2012[/i]
[b]Morocco                    1   2   Ghana[/b]
Nabil Baha (23)                    Kwadwo Asamoah (8)
                                  Asamoah Gyan (46)

[i]African Cup of Nations Quarter Finals - Other Results[/i]
Nigeria                    0   2   [b]Tunisia[/b]
DR Congo                   0   4   [b]Ivory Coast[/b]
Senegal                    0   2   [b]Cameroon[/b]

In the Quarter-Finals we faced defending champions Morocco. It was an even first half, with midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah scoring early on for us and then Nabil Baha equalising half way through the first half for Morocco. But Rennes forward Asamoah Gyan restored our advantage right after the interval, and we held out against the Moroccan onslaught to reach the Semi-Finals.

[i]African Cup of Nations Semi Final - February 9th 2012[/i]
[b]Ivory Coast                1   2   Ghana[/b]
Aruna Dindane (26)                 Isaac Vorsah (21)
                                  Asamoah Gyan (80)

[i]World Cup Semi Final - Other Result[/i]
[b]Tunisia                    1   1 p Cameroon[/b]

The Ivory Coast were probably the toughest side in the competition, and it was a rip-roaring Semi-Final as we threw everything at each other to try to reach the Final. Defender Isaac Vorsah gave us the lead after 21 minutes, but the lead barely lasted five minutes as Aruna Dindane grabbed an equalizer after 26 minutes. We went in level at the break, and it was end-to-end football in the second half as both sides tried to grab a vital advantage. But it took until the 80th minute for a breakthrough to be made - and to my delight, it was Asamoah Gyan again who grabbed us a vital winner to send us through to the final.

[i]African Cup of Nations Third Place Playoff[/i]
Tunisia                    0   3   [b]Ivory Coast[/b]

[i]African Cup of Nations Final - February 12th 2012[/i]
[b]Ghana                      0   0 p Cameroon[/b]

Cameroon would be our opponents in the Final, as they overcame Tunisia on penalties in the Semis. Michael Essien returned for us after his suspension, and put in a good performance, but it was 23 year old Hoffenheim defender Isaac Vorsah who was the star of the show, marshalling the defence like a veteran to limit Cameroon to just one real opportunity. We, on the other hand, had 16 shots on goal, but in the end we still couldn't break them down, in normal time or extra time, and the game was going to penalties.

This was a game between two teams that really didn't want to lose, as every single player on both teams scored their first penalty - it was 11-11 as the players started to go round again. Cameroon midfielder Jean Il Makoun was Cameroon's first/twelfth penalty taker, and he tucked his penalty home in the bottom corner. That meant that captain Michael Essien had to score to keep our chances of winning the competition alive. But in heartbreaking fashion, Cameroon keeper Carlos Kameni guessed the right way and palmed Essien's penalty around the post to give Cameroon the title.

It was a wrench to lose the final like that, but I'm still really pleased with our performance in the competition. However, while I'm in no rush to leave, now I've taken Ghana to the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations, I may keep my eyes open for other international jobs - particularly if something interesting comes up after this summer's European Championship. :thup:

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - February 2012 Update

[i]Egyptian Premier League - February 15th 2012[/i]
[b]Telecom Egypt              0   2   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Lebohang Mokoena (34)
                                  Hosni Abd Rabo (39)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - February 18th 2012[/i]
[b]Ittihad                    0   1   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Osama Hosny (32)

[i]CAF Champions League Preliminary Round Leg 1 - February 22nd 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    4   1   Power Dynamos[/b]
Emad Motaeb (4)                    Jacob Tembo (61)
Mostafa Shebeita (6)
Ahmed El Merghany (52)
Osama Hosny (84)

[i]CAF Champions League Preliminary Round Leg 2 - February 29th 2012[/i]
[b]Power Dynamos              0   1   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Ahmed El Merghany (68)

Ghana World Ranking: 15th

Notes: After the African Cup of Nations interlude in the league, we picked up right where we left off in the league with a good 2-0 win over Telecom Egypt, with goals from Lebohang Mokoena and Hosni Abd Rabo. Our next match was a tough game away to 4th place Ittihad, but we came away with a 1-0 win to stay one point clear at the top of the league.

Next up was the start of a new African Champions League campaign, as we faced Zambian side Power Dynamos in the Preliminary Round. After destroying them 4-1 at home in the first leg, we grabbed a 1-0 win away from home to book our passage into the competition proper.

After our good African Cup of Nations performance, Ghana climbed back up to a pleasing 15th place in the rankings.

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st     Al-Ahly                 22  17  4   1   39  7   +32   55[/b]  
2nd     Zamalek                 22  17  3   2   45  11  +34   54  
3rd     Ismaily                 22  15  5   2   36  15  +21   50  
4th     Ittihad                 22  12  4   6   29  17  +12   40  
5th     Assiout Petroleum       22  10  6   6   30  21   +9   36  
6th     Masry                   22  9   7   6   27  19   +8   34  
7th     Petrojet                22  7   9   6   27  26   +1   30  
8th     Al-Jaish                22  6   9   7   24  25   -1   27  
9th     Police Union            22  7   5   10  22  32  -10   26  
10th    ENPPI                   22  7   4   11  22  30   -8   25  
11th    El Gouna                22  4   10  8   14  22   -8   22  
12th    Mansoura                22  5   5   12  13  26  -13   20  
13th    Military Production     22  3   10  9   14  29  -15   19  
14th    Telecom Egypt           22  3   7   12  15  35  -20   16  
15th    Ghazl Al-Mehalla        22  3   4   15  13  32  -19   13  
16th    Suez Cement             22  1   8   13  7   30  -23   11

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Unlucky in the ACON iseemonsters. Still that's a heck of a performance to get to the final anyway. If I was you I'd stay at Al-Ahly for a bit longer, only 'cause it doesn't seem realistic too me..

Thanks TaylorB - I was really pleased with the performance, even though it was a crushing way to lose the Final! I'm definitely not seeking out any job offers just yet, but a move to one of the big three (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A) would be hard to turn down if it was put on a plate for me. Anyway - Gary Megson moved to Bolton just one month after taking over at Leicester - so leaving Al-Ahly after only nine months wouldn't be totally unprecedented! :D

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - March 2012 Update

[i]Egyptian Premier League - March 3rd 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    4   4   Ismaily[/b]
Hosni Abd Rabo (11)                Hommos (24, 82)
Emad Motaeb (30,77)                Abdallah Said (65)
Osama Hosny (73)                   Ahmed Khairy (68)

[i]Egyptian Cup Semi-Final - March 6th 2012[/i]
[b]Ittihad                    0   1   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Osama Hosny (45)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - March 10th 2012[/i]
[b]El Gouna                   0   1   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Emad Motaeb (65)

[i]CAF Champions League 1st Round Leg 1 - March 18th 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    1   0   Kaizer Chiefs[/b]
Ahmed Hassan (40)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - March 24th 2012[/i]
[b]Petrojet                   1   2   Al-Ahly[/b]
Eric Bekoe (42)                    Emad Motaeb (66)
                                  Osama Hosny (pen 74)

[i]CAF Champions League 1st Round Leg 2 - March 31st 2012[/i]
[b]Kaizer Chiefs              2   2   Al-Ahly[/b]
Sherif Ekramy o.g. (40)            Emad Motaeb (3)
Matthew Ntombela (77)              Sakhile Ngobeni o.g. (79)

Ghana World Ranking: 15th

Notes: Well, we've found ourselves back in 2nd place after a thrilling 4-4 draw against third place Ismaily. We went 2-0 up, only to be pegged back to 2-2, go 3-2 down, go back in front 4-3 and finally concede the equaliser with 8 minutes to go. Drawing with 3rd place Ismaily is not a bad result by any stretch of the imagination - but it places even more importance on what will basically be a title decider against Zamalek at the end of next month. We won the rest of our league games, beating El Gouna and Petrojet away 1-0 and 2-1 respectively. We're just one point back but our goal difference is not as good as Zamalek, and we definitely can't rely on them to slip up - I think it's going to be all-or-nothing on the 28th of April.

In the Egyptian Cup, we faced Ittihad in the Semi-Finals, away once again - all of our Egyptian Cup matches so far have been away from home! In a tight game, we grabbed a 1-0 win to put ourselves through to the Final against - who else? - Zamalek.

Back in the African Champions League, we faced South African side Kaizer Chiefs in the 1st Round of the competition. In the home leg we got a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from the old warhorse Ahmed Hassan, and then grabbed a 2-2 draw in South Africa to go through to the 2nd Round - the last round before the Group Stage.

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
1st     Zamalek                 25  20  3   2   52  14  +38   63  
[b]2nd     Al-Ahly                 25  19  5   1   46  12  +34   62[/b]  
3rd     Ismaily                 25  17  6   2   46  19  +27   57  
4th     Ittihad                 25  13  4   8   31  23   +8   43  
5th     Masry                   25  11  7   7   31  21  +10   40  
6th     Assiout Petroleum       25  10  6   9   32  27   +5   36  
7th     Petrojet                25  9   9   7   31  28   +3   36  
8th     Al-Jaish                25  8   9   8   31  29   +2   33  
9th     Police Union            25  9   5   11  25  33   -8   32  
10th    ENPPI                   25  7   5   13  26  37  -11   26  
11th    Mansoura                25  6   7   12  18  30  -12   25  
12th    El Gouna                25  5   10  10  17  25   -8   25  
13th    Military Production     25  4   10  11  16  34  -18   22  
14th    Telecom Egypt           25  4   7   14  18  41  -23   19  
15th    Ghazl Al-Mehalla        25  4   5   16  18  37  -19   17  
16th    Suez Cement             25  1   8   16  8   36  -28   11 

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - April 2012 Update

[i]Egyptian Premier League - April 7th 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    2   0   Assiout Petroleum[/b]
Hossam Ghaly (63)
Hosni Abd Rabo (66)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - April 14th 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    2   0   Al-Jaish[/b]
Mostafa Shebeita (13)
Osama Hosny (90)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - April 18th 2012[/i]
[b]Masry                      1   4   Al-Ahly[/b]
Ahmed Osman (44)                   Osama Hosny (1, 34)
                                  Ahmed El Merghany (5)
                                  Lebohang Mokoena (70)

[i]CAF Champions League 2nd Round Leg 1 - April 22nd 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    5   1   Wydad Casablanca[/b]
Daniel Kouassi (14)                Ismail El Omari (75)
Emad Motaeb (37, 46, 81)
Mostafa Shebeita (83)

[i]Egyptian Cup - April 25th 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                  p 1   1   Zamalek[/b]
Ahmed El Merghany (45+1)           Ahmed Gaafar (28)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - April 28th 2012[/i]
[b]Al-Ahly                    4   1   Zamalek[/b]
Lebohang Mokoena (13)              Sherif Ashraf (45+2)
Osama Hosny (31, 90+1)
Hosni Abd Rabo (47)

Ghana World Ranking: 14th

Notes: It was crunch time in our league season as we went into the run of games leading up to our showdown with Zamalek - plus there was the small matter of the Egyptian Cup final, also against Zamalek. First though, we had to win all our games in order to keep the gap to Zamalek down to a minimum to ensure that if we did beat them in the league, we'd find ourselves at the top of the table.

We started out with two consecutive 2-0 home victories, against Assiout Petroleum and Al-Jaish, and then followed that up with an excellent 4-1 away win over 4th place Masry. Zamalek continued to win too, which meant that our game at the end of the month - the penultimate league game of the season - would almost certainly decide the destination of the Egyptian title.

There were a couple of important games to play before that though. First off, we had to try to gain passage to the Champions League group stage. The obstacle in our way was Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca, but with Emad Motaeb in scintillating form they provided little opposition as we thrashed them 5-1 to virtually ensure our passage into the group stage.

Then there was the Egyptian Cup Final - another competition that the board expected us to win, though not right at the top of my list of priorities. It was a tight affair, with Zamalek taking the lead mid-way through the first half before midfielder Ahmed El Merghany - one of my pre-season signings who the fans had branded a "waste of money" (costing us the princely sum of £350k from my £9m transfer budget) - got an equalizer on the stroke of half time. That was the way it stayed, so I would be managing in another big final that went to penalties. Both sides missed one of their first five, taking us to sudden death - but this time it went in my favour, as the "waste of money" Ahmed El Merghany scored the decisive penalty to win us another trophy at the expense of our arch-rivals.

We didn't have much time to celebrate though, as our next game against Zamalek was just three days later. Despite getting the win in the Cup Final, we knew we had to improve our performance - we wouldn't have the luxury of extra-time and penalties to secure a win, and a 1-1 draw would still leave us one point behind in the race for the title. But we were simply superb on the big occasion, with my most expensive signing Hosni Abd Rabo, the £2.4m man, bossing the midfield, and the acceleration of striker Osama Hosny getting the better of the Zamalek defence as we cruised to an epic - and hopefully decisive - 4-1 victory.

Now two points clear at the top of the table with just one game to go, all we have to do is match Zamalek's result in our final game of the season against Mansoura to grab a league, cup, and Champions League treble - all at the expense of our arch-rivals. :D

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st     Al-Ahly                 29  23  5   1   58  14  +44   74[/b]  
2nd     Zamalek                 29  23  3   3   61  19  +42   72  
3rd     Ismaily                 29  19  6   4   50  22  +28   63  
4th     Masry                   29  14  7   8   35  25  +10   49  
5th     Ittihad                 29  14  5   10  31  21  +10   47  
6th     Assiout Petroleum       29  12  7   10  32  27   +5   43  
7th     Petrojet                29  11  10  8   31  28   +3   43  
8th     Police Union            29  11  6   12  31  29   +2   39  
9th     Al-Jaish                29  9   10  10  32  33   -1   37  
10th    ENPPI                   29  9   7   13  29  38   -9   34  
11th    Mansoura                29  8   8   13  23  33  -10   32  
12th    Military Production     29  5   12  12  20  37  -17   27  
13th    El Gouna                29  5   11  13  18  30  -12   26  
14th    Telecom Egypt           29  5   7   17  20  45  -25   22  
15th    Ghazl Al-Mehalla        29  4   6   19  22  50  -28   18  
16th    Suez Cement             29  1   8   20  8   42  -34   11

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Good luck with the last round of matches iseemonsters. Incredible that Zamalek pushed you all the way domestically and continentally. Has either team got many national team players?

Unlucky with Ghana in the African Cup of Nations too. What's your rep now? Continental?

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Good luck with the last round of matches iseemonsters. Incredible that Zamalek pushed you all the way domestically and continentally. Has either team got many national team players?

Unlucky with Ghana in the African Cup of Nations too. What's your rep now? Continental?

It's quite the heated rivalry between us and Zamalek - the two most successful teams in both Egyptian and African football, both from Cairo, they both even share the same stadium. Apparently the matches between the two have been broadcast live to most of the Arab world since the 1970s.

25 of my 30 man first team squad have some international experience, with 23 of those having senior international caps. Most of them are Egyptian - we have at least 10 players regulary getting into the Egypt squad. Zamalek only have 7 senior internationals, with just 3 or 4 regularly getting into their main squads, 2 of whom are Egyptian.

My rep has actually climbed to World Class, which was a surprise to me when I checked it - I'm sure the ACL win and the Cup of Nations performance has probably contributed to that. :thup:

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Al-Ahly Sporting Club

Egypt - Premier League - May 2012 Update

[i]CAF Champions League 2nd Round Leg 2 - May 2nd 2012[/i]
[b]Wydad Casablanc            1   3   Al-Ahly[/b]
Douglas Mattoso (46)               Lebohang Mokoena (1)
                                  Emad Motaeb (11)
                                  Wael Gomaa (48)

[i]CAF Super Cup - May 9th 2012[/i]
[b]FAR Rabat                  0   1   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Ahmed El Merghany (3)

[i]Egyptian Premier League - May 12th 2012[/i]
[b]Mansoura                   0   3   Al-Ahly[/b]
                                  Osama Hosny (12)
                                  Emad Motaeb (45+1, 88)

Ghana World Ranking: 14th

Notes: Good results on all fronts in our final three games of the season. We ensured our passage into the group stage with another good win over Wydad Casablanca. The tie was pretty much over before this game even began, but we did a professional job to make sure the Wydad Casablanca never even saw a glimmer of hope.

Next up was an opportunity to win another trophy, as we played the CAF Super Cup against African Confederations Cup winners FAR Rabat of Morocco, but the "waste of money" Ahmed El Merghany got another important goal to give us another piece of silverware for the trophy cabinet.

Finally, we had our final league game of the season, and we were going for a win to make absolutely sure of winning the league title. In the end, our result didn't matter, as Zamalek crashed to a 3-0 defeat at home to 3rd place Ismaily. But we still managed a comprehensive 3-0 win over Mansoura to give us a rather flattering 5 point win in the league to confirm a league, cup, and Champions League treble.

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
[b]1st     Al-Ahly                 30  24  5   1   61  14   47   77[/b]  
2nd     Zamalek                 30  23  3   4   61  22   39   72  
3rd     Ismaily                 30  20  6   4   53  22   31   66  
4th     Masry                   30  14  8   8   35  25   10   50  
5th     Ittihad                 30  14  6   10  38  29    9   48  
6th     Petrojet                30  11  11  8   35  31    4   44  
7th     Assiout Petroleum       30  12  7   11  38  35    3   43  
8th     Al-Jaish                30  10  10  10  35  34    1   40  
9th     Police Union            30  11  7   12  32  38   -6   40  
10th    ENPPI                   30  10  7   13  32  38   -6   37  
11th    Mansoura                30  8   8   14  23  36  -13   32  
12th    Military Production     30  5   13  12  20  37  -17   28  
13th    El Gouna                30  5   12  13  18  30  -12   27  
14th    Telecom Egypt           30  5   7   18  20  48  -28   22  
15th    Ghazl Al-Mehalla        30  4   6   20  23  52  -29   18  
16th    Suez Cement             30  2   8   20  10  43  -33   14

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Congrats on a superb treble iseemonsters! :thup: Zamalek must be absolutely sick of you! With a reputation of world class are you looking for a move or staying put for more success for a season or two? Emad Motaeb seemed to have scored in all of your big games, must have got a high av.r?

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Congrats on a superb treble iseemonsters! :thup: Zamalek must be absolutely sick of you! With a reputation of world class are you looking for a move or staying put for more success for a season or two? Emad Motaeb seemed to have scored in all of your big games, must have got a high av.r?

Thanks TaylorB - Motaeb got an average rating of 7.31 with 34 goals in 49 starts in all competitions. Despite that excellent form, he hasn't played for Egypt all season, stuck behind Amr Zaki and Mohamed Zidan as the first choice starting strikers.

As to your other question... news to come in my next post! :D

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S.S. Lazio

Italy - Serie A - June 17th 2012

So, there I was, minding my own business, spending my summer holidays scouting new players for Al-Ahly and helping get Ghana qualified for the 2014 World Cup - having made the decision to stay in Egypt for at least another season and not to seek out a new job - when I got the proverbial "offer I couldn't refuse".

To explain why it was an offer I couldn't refuse, let me take you back - back into the mists of time. Back to the 1990s. A few people in rancer's thread mentioned an affinity for Fiorentina thanks to the Channel 4 show Football Italia during that turbulent decade. Back in those golden days, I used to play the original CM Italia with my friend, and when we played, he would always manage Fiorentina - I would always manage Lazio. I don't know what it was that attracted me to the side (not Gazza, if that's what you're wondering) - it might even have been that back in those days Lazio and Fiorentina seemed like they were on a fairly equal level so it was a "fair" game. Anyway, whatever the reason, Lazio have been my Italian club ever since.

So how could I resist when they came calling out of the blue? After Davide Ballardini led them to 9th place in Serie A back in 2009/10, they fired him and hired former Dortmund manager Thomas Doll to restore them to glory. If by glory they meant just one place above the relegation zone - 17th in Serie A - then mission accomplished. Incredibly, they stuck with Doll, and allowed him to spend £19m in an attempt to catapult Lazio up the table. Once again, it was a spectacular success, as Lazio climbed an incredible two places to 15th. :D

That was finally enough for the board, who terminated Doll's contract and offered the job to - this thread's humble hero, Cristoval Alvarez! An opportunity to manage one of the teams I've supported for more than a decade in one of Europe's major leagues was obviously too much to resist - plus they were offering me a 4 year contract on almost ten times as much money as I was on in Egypt - from £1,700 p/w at Al-Ahly to £15,000 p/w at Lazio. Add to that a £19.6m transfer budget and a £610k p/w wage budget, and this was something of a dream move.

Short term goals: Safely reach mid-table mediocrity - The first order of business is to try to reverse the slide down the table brought about by the Doll regime. If we can get back up into a safe mid-table spot this season, I think that will be a job well done. The squad is decent but not excellent, with our stand-out player, Mauro Zarate demanding a transfer (I can't blame him, he's too good for a relegation scrap), and clearly the players haven't been performing up to their potential, so it's no easy task - but I think it's doable if I can get my summer transfer dealings right.

Long term goals: Get back into Europe - We're not in Cairo any more, Toto. This isn't the Egyptian league where only two teams are really contenders for silverware. Obviously in finishing 15th, Lazio were underperforming - hence the firing of their manager - but they weren't underperforming by that much. There are at least 10 teams in Serie A right now who are objectively better than us, and it's going to take some effort to climb out of that hole. If we've managed to start competing for European places in the next three years, that will be impressive. We can start thinking about climbing higher after that.

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Wow. Lazio! Good luck in Italy iseemonsters! Hope you can bring Lazio back to glory, and maybe win a trophy or two in Serie A and Europe. :)

And thanks for the little thread advertising... :p

Of course - your thread is one of my favourite reads every day! :thup:

Speaking of which, I'm trying to make one of my first signings a player who I believe you're quite familiar with... :D

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Of course - your thread is one of my favourite reads every day! :thup:

Speaking of which, I'm trying to make one of my first signings a player who I believe you're quite familiar with... :D

Aw, cheers for that compliment. :o

As for the signing, I'll predict it's either Cardozo, Jo, or Neuer...although my gut instinct says one of Cardozo or Neuer. :D

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Aw, cheers for that compliment. :o

As for the signing, I'll predict it's either Cardozo, Jo, or Neuer...although my gut instinct says one of Cardozo or Neuer. :D

Ha - well, at least you were kind of right!

My new signing

Couldn't really pass him up - signed on a Bosman as part of what is fast becoming my Man City rejects squad (I just signed another player from City's reserves and have a bid in for a third!). :D

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great progress iseemonsters... i come on, find you've gone to Egypt which was a great move, win the treble and guide Ghana to the ACN final... And then Lazio!

fair play mate. good luck this season. been a great read so far.

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Wow! :eek: That's a great first job in Europe :thup: Not easy, but I predict big things from S.S Lazio in the future years :D

Thanks TaylorB - I wasn't really searching for a job, but i couldn't turn it down given the chance.

great progress iseemonsters... i come on, find you've gone to Egypt which was a great move, win the treble and guide Ghana to the ACN final... And then Lazio!

fair play mate. good luck this season. been a great read so far.

Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it! Things moved on a lot quicker than I thought they would, but I'm really pleased with the way things have developed. :thup:

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S.S. Lazio

Italy - Serie A - Pre-Season Update

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Name                     Club                  Fee      | Name                     Club                  Fee      |
|---------------------------------------------------------|---------------------------------------------------------|
| Miguel                   Sporting CP           £850k    | Lichtsteiner, Stephan    Olympigue Lyonnais    £9.5m    |
| Jo                       Manchester City       Free     | Richard                  Inter                 £4.1m    |
| Kvernoey, Svein          Molde                 £400k    | Zarate, Mauro            Atletico Madrid       £31m     |
| Camilleri, Vincenzo      Reggina               £3.5m    |                                                         |
| Lucas                    Manchester City       £4m      |                                                         |
| Machacek, Michal         Sparta Prague         £550k    |                                                         |
| Vertonghen, Jan          Ajax                  £7m      |                                                         |
| Medel, Gary              Boca Juniors          £9m      |                                                         |
| Wilshere, Jack           Arsenal               £12.5m   |                                                         |
| Hleb, Aliaksandr         Barcelona             £3.6m    |                                                         |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| TOTAL                                          £41.4m   | TOTAL                                          £44.6m   |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, you could say I've gone for broke here, drastically changing the team and selling off two of our best players. Both Mauro Zarate and Stephan Lichtsteiner had declared their desire to leave the club, so I decided that if I could get a fair price for them, it was best to allow them to leave during this transfer window and start afresh, rather than have the possibility of their departure hanging over us until January and possibly longer. So, Mauro Zarate, by some distance our best player, was allowed to leave when Atletico Madrid came in with a £31m bid, and Swiss international right back Stephan Lichtsteiner also left when Lyon met my £9.5m price tag. The other notable departure was Brazilian goalkeeper Richard - he's young and quite talented, but I had two goalkeepers ahead of him in the pecking order, so £4.1m was too much to turn down for a third-string keeper.

With nearly £20m in my transfer budget already and a nice chunk added from those departures, I was able to spend freely to remake the team in preparation for our charge up the table. Bringing in Jo on a free transfer was an excellent deal for us, which provided us with a real threat to lead the line up front - and without having to spend a penny. Jo has been festering in the Manchester City reserve team, after more or less flopping in England - but I'm hopeful that I can get the best out of him as my sole out-and-out striker in a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation. Another Manchester City reserve also caught my eye - Lucas, the much maligned former Liverpool midfielder, was available for a cut price £4m. I know there will be some people who think I'm crazy for taking a risk on him, but he's performed pretty well when given a chance for Manchester City and on loan at Tottenham, and I think he can do a job for us anchoring the midfield.

Next up it was time to bolster the defence, which needed work, particularly after the departure of Lichtsteiner. Vincenzo Camilleri was the first player in, a 20 year old Italian defender who I think can be a rock at the back for years to come. Jan Vertonghen I'm hoping will add some quality at left back. The 25 year old Belgian international has been at Ajax for virtually his entire career, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in Italy. Finally, versatile Chilean defender Gary Medel arrived for £9m from Boca. I think he's of a similar level to Lichtsteiner, so swapping a player who wants to leave for one who wants to be here is a good piece of business for me, especially since his versatility will come in useful

Most of the other signings (Miguel, Kvernoey, Machacek) were youngsters who I would look to develop for the future. And then there was my biggest signing, the player who I hope can make the fans forget about the loss of Mauro Zarate. I'm talking, of course, about Jack Wilshere. The youngster had barely had a chance at Arsenal, but excelled on loan at Celtic last season - he can play on either wing or through the center, but most likely he'll play down the right. I'm hoping he can be the creative spark in our attack.

There was a little bit of last minute business, as Barcelona offered Aliaksandr Hleb for £3.6m. I think he's going to slot in as first choice on the left side of my attack, with my anticipated first choice, Pasquale Foggia, providing cover across the midfield.

[b]Projected Starting Eleven (4-5-1/4-3-3):[/b]

[b]GK:[/b]  Fernando Muslera
[b]DR:[/b]  Gary Medel
[b]DL:[/b]  Jan Vertonghen
[b]DC:[/b]  Stefan Radu
[b]DC:[/b]  Vincenzo Camilleri
[b]DM:[/b]  Lucas
[b]MC:[/b]  Cristian Ledesma
[b]MC:[/b]  Alex
[b]AMR:[/b] Jack Wilshere
[b]AML:[/b] Aliaksandr Hleb
[b]ST:[/b]  Jo

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S.S. Lazio

Italy - Serie A - August 2012 Update

[i]Coppa Italia 3rd Qualifying Round - August 18th 2012[/i]
[b]Lazio                      4   0   Mantova[/b]
Alex (34, 49, 71)
Cristian Ledesma (38)

[i]Italian Serie A - August 25th 2012[/i]
[b]Lazio                      0   0   Inter[/b]

Ghana World Ranking: 19th

Notes: My first competitive game in charge of Lazio was a Coppa Italia game against Serie B side Mantova. This game should pretty much a formality, and thanks to a hat-trick from Brazilian midfielder Alex - by far the best player signed by the previous regime - it was. Then we had a really stern test of our new side in our first league game, as we faced heavyweights Inter at the Stadio Olimpico. While Inter were unequivocally the better side, we still managed to hang on for a battling 0-0 draw. It's nice to take some points from one of the big boys, but I think the fate of our season will rely more on how we perform against the smaller teams and the mid-table sides.

Pos     Team                    P   W   D   L   GF  GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
1st     AC Milan                1   1   0   0   4   2    +2   3   
2nd     Roma                    1   1   0   0   2   0    +2   3   
3rd     Udinese                 1   1   0   0   2   0    +2   3   
4th     Palermo                 1   1   0   0   3   2    +1   3   
5th     Fiorentina              1   1   0   0   2   1    +1   3   
6th     Juventus                1   1   0   0   1   0    +1   3   
7th     Livorno                 1   1   0   0   1   0    +1   3   
8th     Ascoli                  1   0   1   0   3   3     0   1   
9th     Empoli                  1   0   1   0   3   3     0   1   
10th    Cagliari                1   0   1   0   0   0     0   1   
11th    Inter                   1   0   1   0   0   0     0   1   
[b]12th    Lazio                   1   0   1   0   0   0     0   1[/b]   
13th    Siena                   1   0   1   0   0   0     0   1   
14th    Sampdoria               1   0   0   1   2   3    -1   0   
15th    Lecce                   1   0   0   1   1   2    -1   0   
16th    Chievo                  1   0   0   1   0   1    -1   0   
17th    Parma                   1   0   0   1   0   1    -1   0   
18th    Genoa                   1   0   0   1   2   4    -2   0   
19th    Bologna                 1   0   0   1   0   2    -2   0   
20th    Napoli                  1   0   0   1   0   2    -2   0

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Congrats on the Lazio job. By the sounds of it, Channel 4's Football Italia affected a whole generation of young football fans! :D I was sick of Gazza by the time he started playing for Lazio so I was never into them much (I'm sure you can redeem them slightly for me though ;)). I always followed David Platt and Des Walker in their time in Serie A though so my team ended up being Sampdoria (Vialli and Lombardo were always good to watch as well :)).

Looks like you've made some good signings. Best of luck for the season.

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