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22 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Started another new save instead, in Spain, with Racing Santander. Similarily to my Norfolk save, I can only sign players from the Cantabria that region in which Santander lies. Santander start with a pretty decent squad but few players from the region but they do have this guy, Pablo Torre, who I will build a squad around. The club is losing money hand over fist and we're £5k over a weeky wage budget of £87k p/w. They have a net debt of £12m which is being repaid at £100k per month. 

They start life in the Spanish 3rd tier, alongside Deportivo Coruna. We're expected to finish 3rd which would mean a play-off place. We've played four games so far and are unbeaten and we sit in 6th place but the players are adapting to playing a more attacking formation. 

Having entered circa 25 locations into the search function for players we are left with 120 players from the region who are within our scouting constraints, if I remove those restraints that is increased to 221 players including Sergio Canales and Adrian Corral. 

Season over and title won, just, by one point to Deportivo La Coruna. We had on two occasions opened up healthy gaps over the chasing pack but were reeled in though fault of our own. We also reached the Quarter Finals of the Copa del Rey, which to my surprise gives no prize money for winning each round like the FA Cup does, we had easy-ish run, as we beat Sabadell, Tenerife, Ovideo and Cadiz en route to the quarters, bowing out against rivals Bilbao. 

Carlos Castro top scored with 25 goals whilst Bustos and Isma Lopez made eight assists apiece. Pablo Torre had an OK season, scoring six and assisting six in the SS role but I didn't expect more from the 18 year old, who has asked to move to a bigger club. 

The board kept pumping money in to keep the finances under the negative £1m mark and we got no money for promotion, other than the £4.9m we should see for TV rights throughout the course of the season. 

25 players have been released at the end of their contracts, mainly B team players who will never make the grade. Six first teamers were in there also, reducing the wage budget expenditure by around £27k p/w initially. We've signed two players so far, born within the region and promoted one from the U19s. Our intake was pretty decent, we got four elite talents with three of them coming from the region. 

Expectations for next season are just to stay up, the media predict 18th (of 22 teams), we face the likes of Almeria, Espanyol, Granada, Eibar and Las Palmas this season. 

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8 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Expectations for next season are just to stay up, the media predict 18th (of 22 teams), we face the likes of Almeria, Espanyol, Granada, Eibar and Las Palmas this season. 

We've hit Jan 1st and we're sat in 11th in the Segunda, ahead of the likes of Oviedo and Las Palmas. Our performances however have been pretty poor, the wins are mostly ground out 1-0s or 2-1 scorelines but they will do.

Our top scorer is Castro so far with six, which shows the leap in difficulty we have seen/ he's a 3rd tier striker at best but due to constraints we're stuck with him for the time being. No player has an average rating over 7 which again shows in our performances. We've got a few players earmarked to sign on a bosman, we need to secure another season in the 2nd tier before committing to signing too many players. 

Finances are starting to build on an upward trejectory, we have £850k in the bank and look on course to end the season with a positive balance. I've just noticed our £12m loan is repayable once we become established in the top division, so we haven't been spending £100k per month whittling that down. 

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20 hours ago, KlaaZ said:

Might be overlooking it, but what are their personalities like?

Damn, thought it was showing on there.

Tsarev - Fairly Professional
Sesko - Fairly Ambitious 

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2 hours ago, john1 said:

Damn, thought it was showing on there.

Tsarev - Fairly Professional
Sesko - Fairly Ambitious 

In that case, go with Tsarev. They're fairly equal but I think his professionalism will help him develop better in the long run. 

That, and I'm a sucker for high flair players.

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20 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

We've hit Jan 1st and we're sat in 11th in the Segunda, ahead of the likes of Oviedo and Las Palmas. Our performances however have been pretty poor, the wins are mostly ground out 1-0s or 2-1 scorelines but they will do.

Our top scorer is Castro so far with six, which shows the leap in difficulty we have seen/ he's a 3rd tier striker at best but due to constraints we're stuck with him for the time being. No player has an average rating over 7 which again shows in our performances. We've got a few players earmarked to sign on a bosman, we need to secure another season in the 2nd tier before committing to signing too many players. 

Finances are starting to build on an upward trejectory, we have £850k in the bank and look on course to end the season with a positive balance. I've just noticed our £12m loan is repayable once we become established in the top division, so we haven't been spending £100k per month whittling that down. 

2nd season finished with Santander and a comfortable mid-tabled finish in 10th place, beating Tenerife on the last day of the season saw us leapfrog Elche and Zaragoza from 12th place. We still rolled through the season without really excelling too much, we scored more than two goals in a game just twice. 

Carlos Castro top scored with just 12 goals, which is really poor thankfully Pablo Torre improved season-on-season, notching 10 goals and making 14 assists from SS. Wingers Alvaro Bustos scored nine goals whilst promoted youth player Neco Celerio scored eight times from the left wing. We ended the season with just two players having an average rating 7.00 or above, Torre (7.00) and Inigo (7.02). 

The finances have improved well through the course of the seaosn and we now have £1.5m in the bank, the board have kept the wage budget the same for next season but have given us a small transfer budget of £200k to spend on new players. I have at least one youth player who I will promote to the first team next season, another AMC/L. We also have a CB who is maybe a season away from being a good squad player, he will probably go out on loan next season.  

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19 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

I have at least one youth player who I will promote to the first team next season, another AMC/L. We also have a CB who is maybe a season away from being a good squad player, he will probably go out on loan next season.  

Here's the AMC/L in question, Franck Romero, he's progressed very well in his time with us so far, he's scored two goals and made five assists in 14 games so far this season. 

I've spent a good hour, redo-ing the player search filter to now include 61 locations within the region, they might not all be in the game as birth locations but we're covering bases. 

Spoiler

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We have 98 players interested in joining which isn't many, most of them are rubbish but when we untick it goes up to 135, thats with a scouting package of Liga Santander, Liga SmartBank and Federation 1B. When move it to a world wide scouting we have 217 players available to us. 

On the pitch we're 15 games in and we sit 10th with a 7-3-5 record. Other than Castro we've been pretty poor, we may look to change formation but to utilise the best players we have in Torre and Romero at AMC/LW. We're making a profit each month too, which is nice, our balance is up to £2.2m.

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10 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

they might not all be in the game as birth locations but we're covering bases

You can easily make a list of that. If you have the editor is simple to extract it from there.

If not, you load the spanish league, make a new manager with nationality spanish, and then search in the birth place going through the alphabet all places in the region (like Cantabria). This also helps in cases when the spelling in the FMdb and google maps or wiki is different.

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On 03/02/2022 at 09:27, ToMexico!! said:

On the pitch we're 15 games in and we sit 10th with a 7-3-5 record. Other than Castro we've been pretty poor, we may look to change formation but to utilise the best players we have in Torre and Romero at AMC/LW. We're making a profit each month too, which is nice, our balance is up to £2.2m.

We finished two places lower in 12th place but has better figures, goal difference and points were better. We had a better time of it in the Copa del Rey too, reaching the 4th Round before bowing out to Athletico Madrid. 

Castro top scored with 17 goals this season whilst Romero scored 13 and Celorio scored 10. Romero also made 11 assists as a seasons best but no player had an average rating above seven. 

It was off the field where things changed the most, in April we got taken over by Tycoon; Jonathan Vincent. He pumped £36m into the balance, increased the wage budget, improved the youth facilities (at a cost of £7.5m) and agreed to improve the junior coaching and improve the training facilities. 

We've been given £5.5m to spend on new players and an increased wage budget to £127k p/w. 

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22 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

We've been given £5.5m to spend on new players and an increased wage budget to £127k p/w. 

Armed with the above budgets we made moves in the window to bring back three former players. Saul, a 29 year old LB from Espanyol, who have spent time at Deportivo Coruna and Alaves, he joined for £425k. I then spent £3.8m on Fede San Emeterio from Valladolid, the 27 year old CM gives us experience and quality in the middle of the park, he originally left to join Sevilla in 2016/17. The last former player to join was David Concha, he left Santander in 2014/15, joining Real Sociedad, he was released by Badajoz and offers an alternative on the RW. 

I also spent £175k on a Cantabrian forward from Guijuelo, £50k on Lucas Laso (who came through at Cantabrian youth club Basander) from Oviedo and £54k on another newgen AMC from Laredo but sent him back on loan there. Now we have money I can begin to share some of the wealth out to the smaller clubs in the region in hope they spend it wisely on improving facilities or their junior coaching. 

We sit 4th after eight games with four wins and four draws, we were briefly top of the division too at one stage but I don't expect us to reach the play-offs this season. 

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a27a5ea852b2baba88b08f317de627c4.png 
Fantastic  to see my players getting into top 50 :cool: Only Olivero, Grange, Berrouche and Kabongo came through the academy. 

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Kabongo, came through last season, already played 2 games in the league and bagged 2 goals :cool: 

2d4e2a4cc5f107e6994067e8089afdc2.png 
Berrouche is already capped by Algeria :cool: Will promote him to first team next season and be left back starter for us.

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On 30/01/2022 at 12:28, Jason the Yank said:

Things starting to go sideways as we begin pre-season.

We held the incoming team meeting and I told the team I was expecting a top-two finish. They responded that that was way too much to expect. Even though it's what the board is demanding. Unfortunately, there's no option in the responses to foist blame off to the board. So morale took a hit there.

Then our goalkeeper and captain (who is closing in on 100 caps for Hong Kong) was looking down so I set a meeting with him where he said he wasn't happy that we sold Mattioli. I tried to explain that it was Mattioli who wanted a bigger challenge. Well the goalkeeper didn't accept that and is furious at me for the sale and complaining to his teammates about it.

Just what we need to begin our title defense.

Think I might have got through this, at least for now.

We're busy wrapping up our preseason matches, which also saw us have to travel to Tajikistan for our AFC Cup Interzone Playoff semifinal against Istiklol Dushanbe. I changed my tactics a bit, focused on keeping things tight as we're still short of match fitness. And we came away with a 0-2 victory with the home leg to come. The domestic campaign will get underway in about  a week with our Community Cup match against Southern District.

As for the league, the bookies have made us 4-11 favorites to defend our championship.

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On 05/02/2022 at 08:50, ToMexico!! said:

We sit 4th after eight games with four wins and four draws, we were briefly top of the division too at one stage but I don't expect us to reach the play-offs this season. 

Well despite not thinking we would finish in the play-offs, we did, in 6th place. We faced Rayo Vallecano in the play-off semi-final, we drew the home leg 1-1 but lost the 2nd leg 1-0 to bow out. A decent season in the league, we also reached the 4th round of the Copa del Rey, losing to Rayo there too. 

I think our success of reaching the play-offs was the change in tactic, we weren't getting the best out of the SS so, we moved him back to a MEZ and moved the CM to DM and the Half Back role. Angel Luna, who was signed from Guijuelo for £175k in the summer was thrust into the starting line-up and he excelled with his pace and acceleration (17 for both) scoring 30 goals in 39(5) games. Wingers Frankc Romero and David Concha both scored double figures for goals and both made nine assists apiece. Pablo Torre who was moved from SS to Mez, scored 6 goals and made 10 assists, he only had 1 goal and 5 assists prior to the tactical switch. 

The facilities were improved, the training facilites are now Great, whilst the youth facilities are now up to Superb. Junior Coaching is now up to Excellent and Youth Recruitment up to Exceptional. We have another good youth intake, a golden generation, which provided us with four top quality players. With the improvements, increased expenditure on the youth setup (£313k p/m) and player wages (£410k p/m) we lost plenty of money and the balance is down to £21.3m. 

We have 6 first team players leaving in the summer at the end of their contracts, so we need to bring in/promote some back up players to the first team. Ideally I also need to find a new first choice CB. 

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I've binned off my Norfolk save (too many leagues for my laptop to handle) but I'm going to create a thread for my Santander save I think. Wish I'd done that from the start but I didn't think I would have such fun with it. 

We've reached mid-December in the 2025/26 season and going well, very well in fact. 

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On 05/02/2022 at 19:07, Jason the Yank said:

Think I might have got through this, at least for now.

We're busy wrapping up our preseason matches, which also saw us have to travel to Tajikistan for our AFC Cup Interzone Playoff semifinal against Istiklol Dushanbe. I changed my tactics a bit, focused on keeping things tight as we're still short of match fitness. And we came away with a 0-2 victory with the home leg to come. The domestic campaign will get underway in about  a week with our Community Cup match against Southern District.

As for the league, the bookies have made us 4-11 favorites to defend our championship.

Routed Southern in the Community Cup by a 6-1 score, the 1 being a late consolation goal for Southern after we'd already put 6 on the board.

Eased past Istiklol with a 2-0 win in the home leg as well to advance to the Interzone Playoff final against Ho Chi Minh City. We were held to a 1-1 draw in the home leg, and fell short in the away leg. We were down 2-0 after 16 minutes, managed to claw one back in the 32nd minute and then shipped a third 2 minutes later. Came out attacking in the second half and managed to make it 3-2 but couldn't find an equalizer.

Stumbled out of the gate in the league with an opening-day draw, and later got FM'd by Tai Po (we had 14 shots on target but lost 0-1) to end a 16-match unbeaten run. Midway through the double round-robin, we're 2 points behind Southern.

It's time for the Sapling Cup group stage now, and so far I've used it mainly to rotate and give reserves and youngsters a runout since the board doesn't care about it (I have two young goalkeepers who could develop into 4+ star talents, but one is "unambitious" and the other has "low self-belief." So maybe alternating between them changes one or both). We've had 2 draws from the first 2 matches. The next four matches are all Sapling Cup games, so I may bring back some first-teamers at least for the final 1 or 2 games just to keep them sharp.

 

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I was having the usual problem of wanting to play FM, but not being inspired to continue with my current game.

So when in doubt, just rip off someone else's idea. I'm enjoying @theBlackPrince's Nottingham Forest career at the moment and decided to steal borrow their Youth Academy+ approach. Mostly keeping the same rules (only signings can be from the youth intake, players that previously came through the academy, players from affiliates, and players born in the local area).

I scrapped the rule about immediately ditching all existing squad members that this didn't apply to though, because it seemed impossible to do that straight away and still remain competitive. I'm letting myself use the existing squad, but I can't extend any of their contracts, so they'll be gone within a few seasons.

I support my local team, Reading, so that's who I'm going with. I've had a couple of disasters with them before, but this went a lot better.

Reading - 2019/20 - Championship

We made a strong start to the season with three wins and three draws in August, though we were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Brentford in the second round. Things got rocky over the next few months as we struggled for victories, picking up just three wins in 13 games, with eight defeats in this time. My usual 4-4-2 wasn't working, and experiments with 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-1-1 were very mixed. An uninspiring midtable finish was looking likely.

2020 began with a 2-1 win over league-leaders Fulham and we dispatched Southampton 3-2 in the FA Cup, but we followed this up with a couple of meek losses. Again I switched formation, trying to make something that would work. I started from scratch and went for a basic 4-1-4-1 without many instructions. And finally, it clicked. Between 21st January and the end of the season we lost just once in the league, although the second string did take a 5-1 tonking from Chelsea in the FA Cup. The cracking league form propelled us to the outskirts of the play-off places, and as other teams fell away we kept at it and finished in 5th place.

With form on our side we went into the play-offs full of confidence. West Brom were beaten home and away for a 4-1 aggregate semi-final win, before we faced QPR in the play-off final. Goals from our top scorer George Puscas (15 goals) and captain Liam Moore (in the 119th minute) were enough to secure promotion.

John Swift (16 assists) was voted player of the season. Our financial situation was looking pretty desperate, over £12 million in the red, so this Premier League money can't come soon enough.

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Reading - 2020/21 - Premier League

Two wins and two losses in August gave us a solid start to the season, though being knocked out of the League Cup by Crystal Palace was disappointing. Through September, October, and November we were inconsistent, only picking up two wins but never losing more than two in a row either. We'd already built up a decent gap over the bottom three.

A great December saw us earn 13 points from a possible 18, and we crept into the top-half. But it was all downhill from there. In 2022 we managed just two more league victories, as morale and momentum plummeted. The worst run was 10 games without a win, including hammerings by Arsenal, Tottenham, and Bournemouth, and an FA Cup 4th round defeat to Everton.

A 4-0 win on the final day over Norwich was enough for us to clinch 15th place, as luckily we'd got enough early points on the board to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.

We spent about £10 million on new players, making roughly the same back from sales. My player of the season was loanee Ethan Laird (7.02 average and 6 goals).

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On 09/02/2022 at 19:46, Jason the Yank said:

Routed Southern in the Community Cup by a 6-1 score, the 1 being a late consolation goal for Southern after we'd already put 6 on the board.

Eased past Istiklol with a 2-0 win in the home leg as well to advance to the Interzone Playoff final against Ho Chi Minh City. We were held to a 1-1 draw in the home leg, and fell short in the away leg. We were down 2-0 after 16 minutes, managed to claw one back in the 32nd minute and then shipped a third 2 minutes later. Came out attacking in the second half and managed to make it 3-2 but couldn't find an equalizer.

Stumbled out of the gate in the league with an opening-day draw, and later got FM'd by Tai Po (we had 14 shots on target but lost 0-1) to end a 16-match unbeaten run. Midway through the double round-robin, we're 2 points behind Southern.

It's time for the Sapling Cup group stage now, and so far I've used it mainly to rotate and give reserves and youngsters a runout since the board doesn't care about it (I have two young goalkeepers who could develop into 4+ star talents, but one is "unambitious" and the other has "low self-belief." So maybe alternating between them changes one or both). We've had 2 draws from the first 2 matches. The next four matches are all Sapling Cup games, so I may bring back some first-teamers at least for the final 1 or 2 games just to keep them sharp.

 

Took an early stumble in the Sapling Cup with a draw and a loss, but righted the ship by winning the final 3 group stage matches to get through easily.

Continued our hot streak by winning 5 league matches in a row, plus our first FA Cup group stage game, plus the two knockout rounds of the Senior Shield to reach the final. We were 5 points clear of our closest rival Southern District....and then got tonked by them 2-5 to cut the gap back down to 2.

Still waiting to find out our AFC Champions League competition, as we got direct entry to the group stage. In the meantime, our second long run in the AFC Cup apparently had a major impact, as next season Hong Kong will get THREE teams in the Champions League (1 group stage, 1 in the East playoff and 1 in the East second preliminary round), plus 1 in the AFC Cup.

My contract expires in the summer and talks with the board quickly fell apart. They wanted 3 years with no pay rise. I countered with 2 years and a pay rise. They didn't like that. So unless things change over the next couple of months, it seems my time in Hong Kong will be drawing to a close after 3+ seasons.

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Got a tough draw for the Champions League.

 1529156731_Screenshot(1).thumb.png.5fce0bb339e451535aba4bf1a428d43b.png

 

Back to domestic competition and it ... wasn't great.

Playing Rangers in the league and took an early lead with a penalty. But we couldn't hold onto it, and were held to a 1-1 draw. That proved costly as Southern District smashed bottom side HKFC to go top of the table on goal difference. One match left until the split, and then it's a 3-match sprint to the finish.

Then it was the Senior Shield final against TSV Pegasus. Our budding young star AML ended up tearing his hamstring in the 9th minute and is out 3 months (so basically the rest of the season). I had to put together a makeshift formation as the only left-sided player I had on the bench (only 5 subs in the Senior Shield) was an ML. But the sub came through in a big way, with a goal before halftime. But just as we were getting ready to celebrate the double, Pegasus found an equalizer in stoppage time. So that sent us into extra time, which I really didn't want. Looked like it was going to end up in penalties, but sub ML found his second goal of the match in the 115th minute and we held on for a 2-1 win.

A week later was our FA Cup match against Kitchee. And with only 2 days of rest after that before our first Champions League match, I tried to do some rotation. Unfortunately that extra-time cup final had taken a lot out of the players with some of them dipping into the red zone around the 50-60 minute mark. WIth heavy legs we couldn't see out the match and lost 2-1. Bright side is, top 2 in the group go through, so a positive result in the final match should see us through.

 

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18 hours ago, baller94 said:

How's Cafu and Yaya going for you?? Was thinking of doing a save with them myself.

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Cafu, is playing well for me at the moment :thup:

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Struggling to break into first team at the moment with Sousa and Lukovic, playing well in midfielders.

 

Other news is we won the appeal to get out of transfer embargo, so making alot of offers to sign new players in for January market.

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18 hours ago, john1 said:

0400c7f8770b998b8a822bee0549f1b8.png

Cafu, is playing well for me at the moment :thup:

9889bd5a9830184fe1908412915cf980.png

Struggling to break into first team at the moment with Sousa and Lukovic, playing well in midfielders.

 

Other news is we won the appeal to get out of transfer embargo, so making alot of offers to sign new players in for January market.

Did you start this save after the latest update? Quite keen to start my own one...seems a pretty decent challenge.

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13 hours ago, baller94 said:

Did you start this save after the latest update? Quite keen to start my own one...seems a pretty decent challenge.

Yup, I started it on the new update :thup:  It's very tough to start with, small wage budget, and with transfer embargo in place. Few good players in U's23. The club will also appeal against the embargo in October/November time.

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82b80201aab1ac11cc53818d352a5ecf.png

 

Wow what a season! Sporting was top of the league going into last 5 games. Sporting played Benfica in last game of the season, which Benfica, ends up beating them to win the league. Porto, just sacked their manager.


Also we just added our first trophy in our history

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Was shocked we put 3 past Porto, away from home despite they beating us at home :eek:

Edited by john1
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On 27/02/2022 at 04:16, Jason the Yank said:

Got a tough draw for the Champions League.

 1529156731_Screenshot(1).thumb.png.5fce0bb339e451535aba4bf1a428d43b.png

 

Back to domestic competition and it ... wasn't great.

Playing Rangers in the league and took an early lead with a penalty. But we couldn't hold onto it, and were held to a 1-1 draw. That proved costly as Southern District smashed bottom side HKFC to go top of the table on goal difference. One match left until the split, and then it's a 3-match sprint to the finish.

Then it was the Senior Shield final against TSV Pegasus. Our budding young star AML ended up tearing his hamstring in the 9th minute and is out 3 months (so basically the rest of the season). I had to put together a makeshift formation as the only left-sided player I had on the bench (only 5 subs in the Senior Shield) was an ML. But the sub came through in a big way, with a goal before halftime. But just as we were getting ready to celebrate the double, Pegasus found an equalizer in stoppage time. So that sent us into extra time, which I really didn't want. Looked like it was going to end up in penalties, but sub ML found his second goal of the match in the 115th minute and we held on for a 2-1 win.

A week later was our FA Cup match against Kitchee. And with only 2 days of rest after that before our first Champions League match, I tried to do some rotation. Unfortunately that extra-time cup final had taken a lot out of the players with some of them dipping into the red zone around the 50-60 minute mark. WIth heavy legs we couldn't see out the match and lost 2-1. Bright side is, top 2 in the group go through, so a positive result in the final match should see us through.

 

Started off well enough. Although it took us a while to get going we got our goal-scoring boots on against Persib, we tallied 3 after halftime before conceding a late belter to run out with a 3-1 win to start our Champions League adventure.

But then I tried to rotate to account for fixture congestion and we were held to a 1-1 home draw by HKFC, who are rock bottom, to close out the first phase of the league campaign. Fortunately, Kitchee held Southern District as well, so we go into the championship stage level on points with Southern at the top (but trailing on goal difference). (and our past runs in the AFC Cup will be a benefit, as Hong Kong will get 3 Champions League spots next season; we have a decent gap between us and Kitchee in 3rd)

Then we went away to SH Port in the Champions League. I abandoned our usual positive style of play and opted to park the bus. We won a penalty, for our only shot on target. Meanwhile, Port were battering us but couldn't get many shots on target. One of them though did manage to breach our defense and we could only come out with a 1-1 draw. Still, that's 4 points from our first 2 matches. I don't expect that we'll make it through the group, but at least we're giving a decent account of ourselves so far.

 

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Managing in Denmark while trying to compose a squad of Scandinavian only players is quite the mess. All other Scandinavian nations have their leagues run in the calendar year so players signed from there have contracts from January to December while other players have contracts from June to June :idiot:

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On 13/03/2022 at 19:51, Jason the Yank said:

Started off well enough. Although it took us a while to get going we got our goal-scoring boots on against Persib, we tallied 3 after halftime before conceding a late belter to run out with a 3-1 win to start our Champions League adventure.

But then I tried to rotate to account for fixture congestion and we were held to a 1-1 home draw by HKFC, who are rock bottom, to close out the first phase of the league campaign. Fortunately, Kitchee held Southern District as well, so we go into the championship stage level on points with Southern at the top (but trailing on goal difference). (and our past runs in the AFC Cup will be a benefit, as Hong Kong will get 3 Champions League spots next season; we have a decent gap between us and Kitchee in 3rd)

Then we went away to SH Port in the Champions League. I abandoned our usual positive style of play and opted to park the bus. We won a penalty, for our only shot on target. Meanwhile, Port were battering us but couldn't get many shots on target. One of them though did manage to breach our defense and we could only come out with a 1-1 draw. Still, that's 4 points from our first 2 matches. I don't expect that we'll make it through the group, but at least we're giving a decent account of ourselves so far.

 

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An incredible turn of events in the month of April.

We made the turn in the Champions League, starting the second half with a 0-2 win against Indonesian side Persib.

Then it was back to league play where we'd been stumbling and found ourselves 3 points adrift of Southern District at the top of the league with 2 matches left. But Southern was held to a 1-1 draw by Happy Valley, and we grabbed a 1-3 win at Kitchee with all the scoring coming in the first half. That put us 1 point back of Southern, with a final day showdown between the two of us to decide the title.

But first we had to make the trip to Australia for a Champions League match against Brisbane. They battered us in the first match and it was more of the same in the second. This time though I parked the bus, and we were able to frustrate them (they had 20 shots in the first half alone to our ... 0. But they put only 6 on target). I came forward a little bit more in the second half but it didn't do much good as we kept giving away possession. It came back to bite us, with Brisbane finally breaking through in the 84th minute. So we lost 1-0, and we cannot win the group (the only way to get through the group stage in the ACL), with a home match against SH Port remaining.

Then it was the title decider. We struck early, rode a bit of luck, and grabbed an insurance goal in the second half to win the match 2-0 and the title by 2 points. And in the process snapped Southern's 10-match unbeaten run.

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