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[FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 13/32


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MINEROS WIN THE LIGA DE EXPANSION MX APERTURA

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To be honest, we were dominant. We were the better team and deserved to win it. When I left, we had 2 6-1 wins. We added a third immediately against Venados. Tampico got an undeserved draw against us and Pumas Tabasco took advantage of an early red card and international callups to beat us. From then on, we were unbeaten in the league until we comfortably beat Pumas Tabasco 6-0 on aggregate to win the Liga de Expansion MX Apertura. It will probably be the most simple title I've won and it was expected for us to win it. We had the best team. Our only two goals conceded in the knockouts were after we went fully defensive to save our legs. Even if they equalised, we'd have gone through as the higher seed.

The only frustration was that we lost a couple of players to injuries. Saul Quintero was injured right before the knockout stage and it was frustrating. Fortunately, Nicolas Rossi stepped up with the goals to send us to this title. If we sweep the Apertura and Clausura, I'm wondering if we just get promoted instead of playing somebody else since there isn't another winner of the Apertura/Clausura to play.

The Mexican Cup is going ok. I'll update at the halfway stage of the Clausura since we haven't finished the group stage yet. We're tied on the top of the table with Atletico San Luis with two to go and only the top team progresses.

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Posted (edited)

Mineros Knocked Out in Copa MX Semi Final

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For the club, this cup run is fantastic. We beat recent winners Atlas on penalties and Toluca 2-0 after a difficult group including Atletico San Luis and Tigres. A 1-1 draw with Tapatio set up a winner takes all match against San Luis. They scored quickly before we equalised in the 13th minute but they took the lead in the 20th. It was that way until the 60th minute where San Luis gave away a penalty. We equalised but we still had to win to assure our progression. Then in the 86th minute, Saul Quintero got onto the end of a low cross from Lozano to score. We topped a group including San Luis and Tigres.

Toluca was simple but Atlas was anything but. They had a man sent off and we went 2-0 up in the 40th minute and first minute of stoppage time. 2-0 up, it was simple. They pulled one back in the 47th minute but it was fine because we restored our 2 goal lead in the 57th minute. I thought it was game over. Football Manager didn't as Atlas equalised with goals in the 61st and 82nd minute. Fortunately, we were able to win the shootout to progress to the Semi Final.

It can be argued we didn't deserve to lose the Semi Final but they were the first to score in the 35th minute. Carlos Lozano equalised in the 1st minute of stoppage time so we were level at half time. Then Christian Martinez scores again for Alebrijes to lead 2-1. A defensive error where Velazquez gave the ball away cheaply for a one on one with the keeper. Then 3-1 in the 71st minute to give them a comfortable lead. I was frustrated until the 78th minute when Centre Back Jesus Rivero gave us a lifeline. We pushed for a goal after that which never came. We were out but it showed what we should be able to achieve next season.

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The league is borderline boring. Yes, it's fun to watch us dominate teams and win every game but it's just not what I enjoy. We're unbeaten with the only game being a 0-0 where we couldn't convert our chances. We're the better team in every game and if we don't win both parts of the season, it would be incredible. If we don't get promoted, it's incredible.

My next update will come at the end of the season where we should be promoted by winning the Apertura and Clausura or some other weirdness.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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MINEROS PROMOTED TO LIGA MX!

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It was a 98th minute corner. The 8th minute of injury time after Victor Guzman had to come off. A 98th minute corner onto the head of Centre Back Jesus Rivero to win the Clausura. I didn't know at the time thinking it was just the higher seed progressing but since it was a final, it was what would be a walk off goal. The 98th minute of the Second Leg of the Clausura seals it. As a team that dominated the league, I hate it. As a fan of sporting moments, those are the moments we live for.

As a result of winning both the Apertura and Clausura, we are promoted. No tie against somebody else. We're promoted. That's it. Season done. The annoying thing is I don't get Hall of Fame points for it despite getting 42 points for winning the Apertura. It's annoying, really.

As a recap of the season, it's nothing less than we've deserved. We've been fantastic and I can't fault them. We were the best team and it showed throughout the season. Our only loss in the Clausura was an unfortunate, late loss against Juarez in the First Leg of the Final but when it's won like that, I think I'll let them have it. It doesn't matter because we won the tie and we're in the Liga MX.

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World Update - France Gets Another PSG

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Because it's interesting and relevant, I've decided to update on a new French Super Team joining PSG. Le Harve have joined PSG as the other French dominant team. Last season, the fight was PSG and Le Harve and the gap to Monaco was huge. So when we get to France, it's not just PSG we'll have to topple. It will be Le Harve too. In 2025, they had a Swiss Tycoon Takeover with the ambition to become one of the biggest clubs in France. They've been successful in that and have recently won the Coupe de France in 2032 and 2034. Their previous best position in Ligue 1 was a third place in 1951. Now, they're one of the French Superpowers.

In Europe, Le Harve were knocked out in the Quarter Final by Liverpool who went on to lose in the Semi Final to eventual winners Bayern Munich. This is the furthest they've gone in Europe since losing to Monaco in the Europa League Quarter Finals in 2031.

As it stands, when we get to France, we have to beat two teams on PSG's level. If it wasn't going to be difficult already, we'll have to do what Le Harve did and take a team from Ligue 2 and win them Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Liga MX Preview

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The Season Preview says we'll be bottom of the league. Considering how we absolutely smashed apart the Liga de Expansion and beat teams from this league in the Copa MX, I'm far more optimistic. Obviously, for a newly promoted team, the aim is to not be bottom of the Average Points. If we play as well as I expect us to, it shouldn't be the case. Although Queretaro were relegated from the league last season, we beat them comfortably in pre-season. 

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This is the team we're likely going to wheel out. There aren't many changes to the team that dominated the Expansion league last season with the only changes being a new Right Back and a new Central Midfielder. In the first season at the club, we lost our only suitable right back so made do with Santos in that position. Although Jara wasn't my first option, the plan is to use him and develop him throughout the season. Being a promoted team, I didn't want a team fully focused on youth and the signing of Gallaga brings that experience and a step up in terms of quality.

In terms of the rest of the team, Lozano and Quintero continue their strike partnership to hopefully take advantage of unsuspecting teams in this league. Compared to the league, we have a young squad and that will help us for the long term. Finances isn't as much of an issue as it was in Argentina with a lot of money in the early stages for competing in the league and various youth tournaments in Mexico. A few sales wouldn't be bad but I'd rather keep the core of the team together.

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2nd in the Table Shows the Quality We Have

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Even though the season preview doesn't highlight it, I'm being told how we have leading Liga MX players. Quintero being one of them has continued on from his Liga MX Expansion form and has translated that into being a star man for us in Liga MX. In most games, I feel like we're on top and deserve the wins we're getting. However, part of me feels like we're going to get the usual slump for newly promoted teams.

As it stands in the league, we're going to surpass my aim of getting into the Apertura Title Playoffs in 11th since we're in the fight for Top 4. America and Pumas have a game in hand and are only two points behind us. If that game is an away game, they could be 2 points ahead of us on the adjusted league table. Our losses this season have felt undeserved. Albrijes aren't a better side than we are currently. Last season, in the cup Semi-Final, I'd argue we were the worse side. However, against Pumas, we threw away a 2-0 lead. I felt completely helpless to do anything about it and it was one of those games.

Fortunately, we are doing well in the league. In the cup, we lost our opening game to Toluca, frustratingly. However, we had a win against Morelia and a game against FC Juarez to look forward for the other teams in the group. I will return with an update, as I did last season, after the full Apertura and hope we continue this good form and quality.

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We Fall Back to Earth As Teams Don't Go Easy On Us

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It was an edgy end to the season as we struggled to draws against Chivas and Necaxa. Even the Group Stage game against Juarez needed a late penalty. From then, we just couldn't win and didn't turn up anymore. Pachuca was a high scoring game which they edged and America dominated us. Santos Laguna are near the bottom of the table and beat us comfortably then Toluca all but ended our hopes for Automatic Progression in the Copa MX. Hopefully, we should progress beating Juarez and Morelia.

Puebla was a fantastic return to form but we ended the Apertura in 5th. As a result, we needed to beat Pachuca and we did reasonably comfortably. Their second goal was late on and didn't change much. However, against Monterrey is what I call our worst performance of the season. At one point, we were in a salvageable position and chasing a 2-0 loss. Then we had a second yellow for Jesus Rivero creating space in the Centre Back position. They took advantage and made it a 4-0 lead.

With the tie effectively over, I went more attacking. Annoyingly, this didn't convert to any goals as they took the lead in the 29th minute. Now Carlos Alatorre was sent off for a second yellow (the only two in the game at that point) before we equalise on the night through Lozano in the 59th minute. Although we were on top, Monterrey weren't bad enough to justify losing 6-1 and not progressing despite being the higher seed.

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Clausura First Half Begins as Well as the Apertura

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We began the Clausura fairly shakily. We weren't in great form after struggling through the end of the Apertura and losing poorly to Monterrey. However, that form has turned into regular wins and being confident of our ability. There was a concern that the boost from being promoted had ended and we were now settling to our usual form. What that seems to be is that we've got a number of players who are very good in the Liga MX. Quintero up top and Conejas are being regularly regarded as one of the best players in the league. Updates we get are constantly about how the team would fit in at the top of Liga MX's best clubs and it's great.

Excluding the Club America game, we've played well and been on top. They clearly have the best quality in the league and deserved to win the Apertura. However, in the Copa MX, we pushed them to a penalty shootout. Despite losing the penalty shootout with the last penalty of the original 10, we played well and showed how we deserve to be on the same level as North America's best teams. In terms of the remaining games, we came back from 2-0 down against Monterrey to draw 2-2 and only drew against Cruz Azul with a 95th minute equalier from them. These are some of the most difficult games in Mexican football and show how we can compete on this stage.

Looking at the rules, 5th in the Apertura or Clausura should be fine to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League with 8 teams qualifying in total. I would, of course, rather finish 4th due to the lack of a Preliminary Round in the playoff for that extra bit of rest before the first Quarter Final game.

My next update will come after the full conclusion of the Clausura with an update on CONCACAF Champions League Qualification.

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MINEROS WIN LIGA MX CLAUSURA!

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Well. That's #8. We are Liga MX Clausura Champions. They were tight games and it was fascinating going through them. We finished Second in the League Stage but that doesn't matter. A tight Quarter Final against Tigres where we won 4-3 on aggregate after a 1-0 win and a 3-3 draw setup a tie against Apertura Quarter Final victors Monterrey in the Semi Final. We drew 1-1 in the first leg but beat them 1-1. Meanwhile, Tijuana beat Club America to face us in the Final.

As expected, it was a tough game against Tijuana in the first leg. We struggled in the first half as Tijuana took the lead on 7 minutes before extending it on 28. We were 2-0 down at half time but I didn't make massive changes since we weren't awful and they did what we needed. Guzman scores in the 51st minute to make it 2-1 before Lozano equalises the game in the 74th. We were the better team in the second half and 2-2 is probably a fair result. In our last game at our home stadium, Sebastian Velazquez scores on 5 minutes. The stadium erupts but is nervy until the 21st minute where star, 19 year old striker Saul Quintero scores to make it 4-2 on aggregate. Finally, we were comfortable and it showed as we got a third in the 51st minute through Carlos Lozano.

We did it. We won the 2035/36 Liga MX Clausura. #8 done.

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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 8/32
Posted (edited)

CONCACAF Group Stage Draw

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The CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage Draw is done and we've got 4 teams I think should be beatable. Cancun are definitely beatable from our league seasons with Cavalry being the minnow from Canada assigned to be beaten by us and two MLS teams in Charlotte FC and San Jose Earthquakes. As it stands, Charlotte FC are 7th in their Conference whilst San Jose are 8th. Based on these results, these teams should be beatable and the playoffs for not being in the Top 2 should be out of the question.

Leagues Cup Draw

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Since we qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League, we also qualified for the Leagues Cup against MLS Clubs.

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Unlike the Expansion League where this competition gets you promoted, this is essentially the Mexican version of the Super Cup. Since Club America won the Apertura, we're playing them in this competition soon.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

Mineros WIN the Campeones de Campeones

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It was a fantastic game as one of the new additions to the squad featured in the game. We were on the front foot against a very good Club America team who continue to be the best in Mexico. Saul Quintero scored a 37th minute goal to take the lead into half time. A 57th minute counter attack set up a low cross into the middle to equalise for Club America. This ended the game level and sent us into Extra Time where we remained on top. Then Club America gave away a penalty in the 107th minute and Saul Quintero scored. We saw out the Extra Time to win the Campeon de Camepones.

As a result, we play Cincinatti in October for the Campeones Cup.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

Mineros Win the Campeones Cup

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It's not the most exciting competition we've ever played. However, we played well and ran out comfortable 2-0 winners to be the first Mexican side to win it since 2032. A fantastic through ball from Quintero was launched onto the underside of the crossbar and into the goal from Lozano to take a deserved lead in the 17th minute. A cross-box pass from summer signing Right Back Reygadas found its way into Gallaga to make it 2-0 in the 34th minute. That's how it remained until half time. In the second half, Cincinnati built up some xG to make it look more competitive than it actually was as we made changes for fresh legs and saw out the game to add the Campeones Cup to the list of trophies I have.

In other news, Saul Quintero is starting to get some European interest. Those clubs being Aston Villa and Fulham in the Championship as well as Real Oviedo in La Liga. It's interesting but not much of a surprise considering he's become one of our key players and a star player in Liga MX. Hopefully, he stays until the end of the season to win the Copa MX and CONCACAF Champions League with us.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Mineros Drawn Against Group Stage Rivals Charlotte FC in the CONCACAF Champions League Second Round

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It was a comfortable Group Stage for the CONCACAF Champions League where we only lost one game to Cancun. Outside of that, we conceded 0 goals and bullied Cavalry FC from Canada as well as beating San Jose and Charlotte. We didn't need to go through the Playoff stage and that's how Charlotte progressed despite being third in the Group. I'm expecting it to be a fairly simple tie against them.

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In the Apertura, we lost in the Final against Club America. It was all down to a poor away leg as we lost 4-0. We had a good league stage after a slow start where we were hampered by key players in the Olympics. That meant our Leagues Cup campaign was short with a 2-0 loss to New England. When they returned, it was fantastic. The only exception is a 5-2 loss to Atlas where we had a player sent off and made the wrong tactical decisions when 2-1 up.

In the Copa MX, we're pretty much already through. We have two games to go against Altenos Tepa and Queretaro but we're on 12 points and 6 points ahead of the other teams. Even if we don't finish top, we'll likely still go through anyway so the plan for those games is a fully rotated squad.

If you're wondering why this is posted not long before the last one, I forgot to post it last night.

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Mineros Drawn Against Cincinnati in the Quarter Final of the CONCACAF Champions League

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It was a comfortable 4-0 win at home against Charlotte FC. WIth that, I was able to rotate the team and use that to keep them fit for the upcoming games. We rotated the team and that meant we weren't fantastic in the second leg to lose 3-1. It doesn't matter, though. We won 5-3 on aggregate and were able to not risk players when we didn't need to.

Our reward for winning this tie is another MLS side in Cincinnati. I'm hoping we should be a level above them with a home game within that. We won 2-0 at their own stadium already so I'm expecting this should be fairly simple. If we win the tie, we get a game against Cancun or Columbus Crew.

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In the Copa MX, we had a difficult tie in the Second Round against Tigres. Two goals in the opening 10 minutes put us on the back foot but we made changes and came back for 2-2. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find a winning goal but it didn't matter as we scored all 7 of our penalties and Tigres missed their 7th.

The penalty shootout was rewarded with a game against Puebla. They aren't great and we walked the game to win 5-0. I was able to make considerable changes and Puebla continued to be awful to rest players for future games. The reward for this is a game against Toluca who we've recently beaten 3-0. I feel like this competition is definitely winnable. The other tie in the competition is between Cruz Azul and Chivas for a final.

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Posted (edited)

Mineros Reach CONCACAF Champions League Semi Final

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As previously thought, it was a simple tie against Cincinatti. We won by a larger margin away with a 3-0 win. With that, we were able to rest players and Gonzalez scored to extend our lead to 4-0. In both legs, we played well and were dominant. We deserved to win and I feel like we've taken a step up since then. Our reward for this is another MLS club in the Columbus Crew who were able to beat Cancun with a 4-2 win in Cancun despite a 1-0 win at home.

Should we win this, we play the winner of New York City and Pumas. Since we've played well against MLS clubs so far in the competition, I'm hoping Pumas slip up to give us a more simple tie in the final.

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It was a more difficult tie than expected against Toluca. It was a goalless first half but Toluca scored early on and it felt like one of those games where we didn't play well. Fortunately, a goal in the first minute of second half injury time through Lozano. We were the better team on penalties and went through. It felt slightly undeserved since we weren't at our best but we went through.

Either way, we're through to the final and play Chivas with the final after the two legs against Columbus.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Mineros Reach CONCACAF Champions League Final

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It should have been more simple than it was from the two legs against Columbus. We were dominant and went 2-0 up until Columbus make it 2-1 in the 53rd minute. Lozano made it 3-1 in the 79th minute and it felt like we were comfortable and the game was done. We sealed the away leg. Then Columbus make it 3-2. Deep into injury time, we have a defensive mistake and then the keeper fails to make a simple save to make it 3-3. I was frustrated and we didn't deserve to draw that game.

Fortunately, we didn't make anymore mistakes in the home leg to win that. Lozano took the lead in the 40th minute meaning we were 4-3 up on aggregate at half time. After the teams returned for the second half, Quintero blasts the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0. Then we make it 3-0 through Aguilar in the 65th minute. In response, we made changes and rested key players. We weren't going to throw the game away but Harris brought a goal back for Columbus. They couldn't find any other goals to worry us.

Now we're into the final against New York City. Yes, they're part of the City Group but I feel we should be the favourites for the game at Yankee Stadium.

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Mineros WIN THE COPA MX!

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Chivas posed no threat and we made no mistakes. Chivas had one shot on target and it wasn't in a highlight. That was pretty much the perfect cup final. We were dominant but had no reward until the 40th minute when a fantastic ball from Gallaga sent through Aguilar for a one on one with the goalkeeper to blast the ball into the roof of the net. Gallaga got his goal in first half injury time when left back Almaguer got to the byline and a low ball into the compact area found Gallaga to slot it into the net at the near post. That was 2-0 at halftime.

In the second half, we continued our dominance. Then a corner in the 74th minute found Rivero's head to flick on to an unmarked Lozano for an open goal. 3-0 and we made no mistakes. That's #9.

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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 9/32

MINEROS WIN INCREDIBLE CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL!

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I don't know what I expected but it wasn't that. It was an incredible game and Quintero scored in the 87th minute to win. That was an exhausting game on this ridiculous game simulating this ridiculous sport.

Quintero had a one on one with their goalkeeper in the 20th minute and chipped it over for a comfortable goal. I thought that was going to be the beginning of us going out of sight. How wrong could I be? Very.

2 minutes later, they scored. A cross from deep for New York City ended on the head of David Jackson contending with Jara. Our right back so it was obvious who was winning that battle. That turned the momentum in New York City's favour and how the first half ended. 1-1. New York City on the front foot with highlights in their favour.

In the 50th minute, I was worried. Their goalkeeper launched a ball down to a fight between Alfaro and our defender Rivero. Alfaro was able to head it down back to their right winger who slotted a through ball back to Alfaro. Rivero fails to notice this happening and they have their one on one and chip over the goalkeeper. I was worried. We were 2-1 down with nothing going our way. Whatever highlights happened were comfortably saved.

Then one highlight went on for a while. It was saved, we had a corner out for a throw-in on the left hand side. It was the 71st minute. Fear was setting in. The throw-in was short with a few quick passes to fall to Gallaga. On the edge of the box, he rifles a low shot in at the far corner of the net. 2-2. The keeper had no chance.

With momentum on our side, I wanted to take advantage. We had a few minor shots from New York City but they weren't an issue. As time was winding down, I didn't want to end the second half. We were on top and Extra Time and/or penalties became more real. Then the ball found Jara on the right side of the pitch. Quintero running around in the box and lost his marker. He was on his own, Jara passed the ball to him and launched a shot into the roof of the net.

Quintero wins us the CONCACAF Champions League. He wants to leave for a bigger contract and isn't accepting a contract offer. There's interest from a few clubs around the Championship. Aston Villa currently there and Swansea in the relegation zone of the Premier League.  But he did all I asked. He scored a brace and we're CONCACAF Champions League winners.

That's #10. That's CONCACAF done at club level.

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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 10/32

Mineros defend Liga MX Clausura

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We came 5th in the league but that doesn't matter when you have players like Saul Quintero who can turn it on in knockout competitions when the lights are on and everybody's watching. We dominated the Preliminary Round against Pachuca. A 1-0 home win against Monterrey followed by a 1-1 draw meant we progressed to the Semi Finals. Against Cruz Azul, it went mental. A 6-2 win meant we could rotate and afford a 3-2 loss with a rotated side. This set up a final against Pumas.

In the first leg, we were comfortable and won 3-1. In the second leg, Saul Quintero blasted the ball into the back of the net inside the opening minute. For those that missed it, he did the exact same thing in the first minute of injury time at the end of the first half. We were 5-1 up meaning we could do pretty much anything in the second half. So I brought some players off. They scored to make it 5-2 on aggregate but it wasn't enough.

We defend our Clausura title. It doesn't really matter but we do and it's nice to have.

My next update will either be the Club World Cup or the end of club review. Checking the page for it, the Club World Cup should be this year and we should qualify as winners of the CONCACAF Champions League but I'm not entirely sure.

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Before I came to the club, they had some time in Liga MX but it was ultimately unsuccessful. They were one of the better teams in the Expansion league and when Queretaro got promoted and we made some signings, it was comfortable. We had a solid core of the team and that really showed when we absolutely dominated the league and made the Copa MX Semi Final.

Lozano was fantastic but we needed a new strike partner and Saul Quintero was the perfect fit. He was young, developable and would grow with the club. Near the end, Saul Quintero knew he had absolute quality and it showed. He dominated every competition and game he was in. He was a game changer and knew he was too big for the club. It showed in the final season when he refused contract talks and he had the infamous Wanted tag on him. On an End of Contract, there was interest from clubs like Aston Villa, Swansea, Real Betis and Sporting Gijon. Aston Villa got promoted in 2037 and one of the teams they replace are Swansea. The other two promoted clubs in Bristol City and Reading are also looking at him. Real Betis and Sporting Gijon are 8th and 9th in La Liga. Those are the types of clubs circling around for him and it's well-deserved. In 122 appearances, he's scored 89 goals with key goals in many competitions.

Elsewhere, we got Jesus Rivero for £67k from Pachuca. He was a crucial part in a defensive partnership involving Jose Daniel Conejo who we signed for £750k from Morelia. That partnership shut up shop in crucial games and both players scored from corners. They were a threat aerially and defensively. They picked out passes that would create chances and open doors. It was a privilege and a pleasure having those two at the back. It would amaze me if nobody looked at them after I'm gone. Adding to that, Tonatuith Cid. Before they came in, he was a fantastic signing from the NYCFC Academy and started immediately. He was a fantastic young signing who was a crucial backup when it was necessary for the squad. He returned to haunt his former club when he came on in the CONCACAF Champions League Final.

In midfield, Sebastian Velazquez is a one club man. In defensive midfield, he was crucial and being there, used his brain to create chances for us and cut them out for the opposition. He came through as a youth player in 2027 and will be there long after I'm gone. He was the first and only option for my defensive midfield and I hope he's not the last in a line of standout youth players. Elsewhere in midfield, we have Luis Ernesto Gallaga. In the attacking role in Central Midfield, he was stellar. Scoring over 10 goals a season and surprising defenders with his presence. I will never forget the equalising strike in the CONCACAF Champions League Final. It typified his game and showed why he was a fantastic player for us.

Elsewhere in midfield, Carlos Aguilar made one of the crucial steps in midfield to show how we're one of the best teams in the country. We had a hole and it was fit for Carlos Aguilar. In his first season at the club, his assists and ability to pop up in surprising areas is what makes his game. He was stunning and I can't criticise him one bit.

An honourable mention should go out to Jose Alfredo Almaral. He was only 16 but he played a season in midfield in the Expansion League and he didn't look out of place. He was fantastic and a real asset in our title winning season. I didn't want to play a 16 year old in that position for much longer which is why Gallaga came in but that's not an issue on Almaral's part. He will be in this team for a long time. If not, he'll star in another team whether it's Mexico or otherwise.

As for me, I'm not sure. I don't want to go to Europe yet which is why I've added Australia to the options of South Korea and China. The only Insecure jobs at National level are African and we've already won the African Cup of Nations. Next year is a World Cup year so theoretically, we could wait around for that but waiting a year for a job won't be that interesting. I'd rather get Asian club football done. By ending on Asia instead of going to Asia after South America and ending at CONCACAF, we're looking for Asian clubs to sack their managers as opposed to being at the end of the European season. Hopefully, there's an option in International management soon but since there's the Club World Cup, I'm not sure we're going to see an International competition.

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I saw the Germany job was insecure so I declared interest hoping that would push them towards sacking him. Unfortunately, I don't think Germany are that interested in me. As it stands, it's the only job that would interest me since nobody else is Insecure that I can feasibly win with. That combined with the clubs in South Korea being my aim and that not being available yet.

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The Last Step Before Europe. Welcome to Anyang FC

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Our final step in club football before the big trek across Europe takes us to South Korea and Anyang FC. Their history is reasonably similar to Mineros with some spells in the top flight but haven't won a top flight title. Unlike Mineros, they had won a Korean FA Cup. They're currently in the K League 2 in the final embers of the season in 8th. At most, we can be a spoiler for other teams and that's about it. Theoretically, we can be 4th and into the playoffs but that's a massively long shot. It requires us to hit the ground running and the other teams to have an absolute disaster.

The final games of this season are about finding our footing to make a title charge next season. If it's as dominant as the Mineros promotion season, that would be an absolute bonus.

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Posted (edited)

We Were Awful. Lots of Work To Do

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To put it simply, there's a lot of work to do at this club. A few players are retiring and a couple of others are ageing. That meant our results were just awful. We had no defensive solidity at all. Fortunately, there is the budget to do so. The club has about £20m in the bank and they're giving us £11m to work with. The plan is to have a significant overhaul of the squad to push for promotion next season.

In terms of fixtures, we were fine in terms of our ability to score goals but we just couldn't stop conceding. In the 4-4, we had a 2-0 lead and a 4-3 lead. We lost the 2-0 lead in a handful of minutes. The 7-2 was just poor. We had more shots and matched the xG but our goalkeeper and defence gave them easier shots and a failure to stop them. At that stage, I just wanted the season to end.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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K League 2 Preview

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Our signings have resulted in us being rated at 16-1 to win the title. Unfortunately, Incheon are rated at 1-91 to win the title which skews the odds slightly. However, I hope it's possible to overcome those odds with more tactical familiarity in the squad to not make the mistakes we did at the end of last season. As a note, I have returned to the 1-100 ratings for a better understanding of what makes a better player. I thought it was better but I'm not entirely sure about that.

It's been a solid off-season for us. We've improved in key areas and made the loan signing of 18 year old Yoon Soo-Min permanent. There wasn't an option to buy so I had to purposefully purchase him. The plan was to reduce the Average Age of the squad with a number of players reaching 35, let alone 30. To improve our midfield, we also signed Hwang Sang-Wook on a free. He's not the greatest player I'll ever sign but he's an improvement and will improve in the near future.

The 37 year old, retiring, goalkeeper did retire and it was difficult to look around since we had just joined the club with limited league knowledge. We signed Hwang Woo-Chul from Suwon for approximately £50k. He's an upgrade and part of the plan to resolve our defensive crisis. Frustratingly, I couldn't find any full backs to resolve that issue at the club so I'll have to wait until the summer. Unlike Argentina, there is a bigger opportunity to sign players in South Korea so there's enough time to improve in the offseason if we can find the targets.

In the attempt to find a new, South Korean Saul Quintero, I stumbled upon Lee Dong-Ho. He isn't obviously better at the moment but he will improve in the coming years to hopefully be the one to win the AFC Champions League.

In terms of updates, I'll update you after the first 9 games. We play every team 4 times so 9 games is a good marker to show. We also have an FA Cup game against Asan FC to look forward to.

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Good Start As Well As The Discovery of a Plan for Anyang FC

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The first 9 games of the season have gone better than I expected. As it stands, we're in for a title fight and I can't complain. We've played well and been the better team in most of our games. The only exception is probably the first game of the season against relegated, and title favourites, Incheon United. They scored in the third minute and I feared for a continuation of the form at the end of last season. However, it was just a blip with a wonder goal and we equalised in the 77th minute.

The only blip so far this season came in the FA Cup where we were the better side but Asan took their chances and we didn't. It was frustrating but it helps limit the potential fixture congestion an FA Cup run brings and the main aim for us in this league is to be promoted. 

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You'll probably notices that there are quite a few changes to the team. We have a new defensive partnership of two 18 year olds and two 19 year olds in the Box to Box Midfielder roles. As of now, we have one more player to join the team in July as a full back but he's at the military service team. Although they may not represent a clear step forward in terms of the quality of the team now, they show that there is a lot of room for growth. With a team at this level, it's much better to have a team growing than a team at the peak of their form and needing a lot of turnover.

The plan essentially consisted of a review of the South Korean National team. Looking through, I noticed there wasn't a lot of players in there outside of the K League. Therefore, a lot of these players will look to having more game time even if they're having to dip down the leagues. I look into this in every nation but in the past, it's not been the case as much. Argentinian players move to Europe at a relatively young age as do those in Mexico. What worsened our situation at those clubs is that even if we found the right player, it was less likely we could due to the club's financial situation. The Gimnasia (Mendoza) build was more difficult due to a lack of money in Argentina and the lack of money finding smaller clubs like ours. Therefore, we had to look to players outside of their national youth setup and show their quality in our team. Although it was successful, it takes longer building a team this way.

At Anyang FC, we had a £10m transfer budget and about £80k in the wage budget. Since these players cost as much as an Aidan Mfulwane and Saul Quintero did at approximately £1m total, there was a lot of scope to look to these players as opposed to the unfavoured like we needed to at previous clubs.  Being in this habit, I looked around for those types of players but they were few and far between and the game changer players were too expensive. The wage budget and transfer budget is more like a Championship team without the league reputation to allow players to join us. There are a few who are reserved about joining us due to being in the K League 2 and that's to be expected.

I wouldn't be surprised to see more of these types of players over the coming seasons since they're available and an effective way to build a team at this level. 

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Posted (edited)

Anyang FC Continue Their Title Charge and Hold Their Lead After Tricky Results

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At the halfway stage, we have a 5 point lead. It's effectively a 6 point lead with our massive goal difference advantage. We did have a questionable run of form where we lost games that should have been winnable. For reference, the game against Gwangju is a third of their total points this season. Hopefully, that was the usual mid-season slump which we should have been able to deal with because of the quality and potential we have in the team.

Other than those edgy games, we definitely know how to score goals. We've scored 4 in two separate game as well as a dominant 7-0 win against Jeju. There's no reason why we shouldn't win the title and we're playing well enough to deserve it. This team should be in the K League 1 and fighting for continental qualification as we are. Let alone with the upgrades from the millions we have available.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Anyang FC Hold 7 Point Lead With 9 To Go

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We've continued our good run of form in the K League 2. The results haven't been emphatic as the second quarter of the season as teams become more defensive against us. The first game of the quarter was thrown away with a bizarre own goal. Our only other disappointing loss in this part of the season was against Gyeongnam. We went 2-0 down on the edge of half time and immediately got a goal back in the 47th. We were the better team but got nothing out of it. 

It feels inevitable we're going to win the league barring a collapse. We have 9 to go and I'll update when we've won it. Being promoted is more simple than anywhere since Polokwane has been.

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ANYANG FC ARE K LEAGUE 2 CHAMPIONS

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After 33 games, we did it. We've won the title. We still have 3 more games to beat the record of 79 points set in 2017 by Gyeongnam. With 77 points, we are only two behind that with three games to go. One win should be easily doable to essentially make that unbeatable.

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World Update - Uruguay Win The World Cup

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It can't be argued that Uruguay had an especially easy run to the World Cup. Nor were they absolutely dominant. However, they topped a group involving the Ivory Coast with two wins before beating Morocco 1-0 in the Second Round followed by Turkey in the Third Round. A Quarter Final beckoned which they won through a 41st minute penalty. They needed penalties to beat Confederation rivals Argentina after taking the lead in the 13th minute before a tight World Cup final against Italy. They took the lead in the 69th minute to win their first World Cup in 88 years and 108 years after their first. This tournament is their first since the 2024 Copa America.

They never scored more than one goal in every game but defensively, they were stellar having conceded one goal all tournament. The 32nd minute Matias Callejo goal from Argentina is the only to break the rock solid Uruguayan defence down.

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Posted (edited)

Anyang FC End Season Slowly After Winning the Title

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Until we won the title, we were fantastic. We were unbeaten in this round of fixtures and showed why we deserved to win the title. Ansan gave us a mild scare when they kept up with our scoring but it wasn't really an issue. After we won the title, I think the team had no interest in the matches to win and that's how they were lost. We were the better team in both games but the end product and chance creation just wasn't there as opposed to the end of the season.

Having a look at the team after the season, we are losing Kim Jun-Sik to military service. This was the issue I was concerned about earlier with buying such young players. We have replaced him but the replacement also could be involved in military service.

I'll review the team at the start of next season when we should make new signings.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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We Have to Beat Them.

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This isn't a joke. They have Barcelona sniffing around their players. They've won every title since 2032 when Ulsan Hyundai won. What does help them is that the good players in Asia aren't relieved like they are in Europe and Africa for some countries. That way, Asian players are competing with South Americans to be the players that are picked out for the Squad Registration.

To put it simply, great. We have to close the chasm between us and Jeonbuk. What makes it worse is their wage bill is 10x ours. Our wage bill is £5m. Theirs is £50m.

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Posted (edited)

Season Preview For The K League 1 Debut

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We're predicted to be last at 350-1 and the board just expect us to Fight Bravely. Honestly, I can't see how we shouldn't get into the Top Half Group at the split. For those unaware, the league works with three fixtures against every team in the league. The league is then split into two with the Top 6 teams in one group and the Bottom 6 in the other. My aim for the season is to get into the Top Half. Hopefully, we can make good progress in the Korean FA Cup and win that to remove that from the priorities for next season.

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The team is slightly changed. We have three incomings into the first team with Cho Jae-Min. Frustratingly, Kim Jun-Sik was called up to National Service (playing for Gimcheon) so we'll lose him for the next season and a half. That meant we needed a replacement since he was a starter and Cho Jae-Min turned up in the South Korean youth national team and looks to be at first team quality already. I aim to avoid putting Under 18 players in the first team but I think he should be a starter.

I felt that left back was a weakness in the team last season and I wanted to improve that position. It wasn't a clear priority but it was part of the longer term plan. We got a Chinese scout onboard and they were sent to scout every single player like we did with South Korea. Fortunately, Yan Heng was a significant upgrade and available on a free so we signed him up.

The Box to Box role felt like it needed more quality at depth and signing a first team option felt necessary. So the signing of Kim Dong-Won will hopefully solidify the midfield further and show me how to properly dominate a midfield and ensure it's a crucial part in chance creation.

Not as much spent this year as some targets just didn't want to join but this team should get Top 5/6 and show positive signs of beating Jeonbuk long term.

 

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Anyang FC Sit Second As Jeonbuk Win Every Game

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We started the season impressively against Busan IPark with a 4-0 win and we were comfortable. In most games, we've been the better team and shown we have the potential to kick on to be one of the best teams in the division. The game against Jeonbuk was a case of the best team in the league continuing to win. It's one of the two especially tough games of the season. The other will be the other away game against Jeonbuk. We did have a few off the boil games where we just couldn't get into the game or show our advantage. Ulsan Hyundai was a case of us not being good enough but Incheon got lucky with us having an off day in front of goal then they sucker punched us with a late goal then a penalty.

The cup game came at the right time for us and lower league opposition in Yangju meant we could be comfortable in front of goal again and we then carried that into the Suwon Bluewings game. Overall, we are doing well in the league but Jeonbuk winning every game means that they have an 11 point lead already and have pretty much sorted the title. In the next round, we play Gimcheon who are definitely beatable and all we can do is continue to assure ourselves of a good league result and a cup run.

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Anyang FC Remain Second As They Progress in the Korean FA Cup

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We remain second in the league through the second run of fixtures. We continue to be the better team in most games but we dropped clear points to Daegu, Jeonnam, Seoul E-Land and Suwon. Outside of Jeonbuk, we weren't the worse team in any game and it was frustrating but it's not going to close the gap enough to Jeonbuk to win the title this season. The focus is the FA Cup since that's the only theoretically feasible competition we could win.

On the topic of the FA Cup, it was a comfortable win against Gimcheon and we're into the Quarter Final where we play Daegu. Our record against them is one win and one draw. The winner will play the winner will play one of Ulsan or Ansan for a final spot. Jeonbuk are still in the competition so we'll probably have to beat them in the final.

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ANYANG FC REACH THE KOREAN CUP FINAL

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Fortunately, we avoided Jeonbuk in the final as Suwon beat them 3-1 in the Semi Final. Unlike every other cup final, this is a two legged affair at the end of the season.

To reach this stage, we beat Daegu 1-0 in the Quarter Final. It was tight but we were comfortable before a 3-2 classic against Ulsan Hyundai. We've been better when we played them in the league but this was a classic cup game. Yoon Soo-Min gave us the lead on 9 minutes before we made it 2-0 on the brink of half time with a goal from Lee Dong-Ho. With goals in the 58th and 72nd minute, Ulsan Hyundai came back to scare us of a comeback but we kept calm and returned to dominant fashion to win 3-2. A goal in the 85th minute through Seol Young-Jin made sure we were in the final.

A few days later, we played a warmup game for the cup final against Suwon where we won 2-0 at their stadium. It won't be the same but we should go into the game as favourites.

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As the main stage of the season ends, Jeonbuk have a 14 point lead with superior goal difference. If we were to win the league, it would dwarf any other league comeback in football whether real or in game. We're comfortably second as we progress through in Group A. The rules of the league are that we play every single team in our group once with the original points. As far as Asian Champions League qualification, I think we're certain even if we lose the Korean FA Cup with our form and general ability.

We've done well this season to get to where we have and I can't see us falling down now.

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Posted (edited)

ANYANG FC WIN THE KOREAN FA CUP!

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It was a comfortable FA Cup Final for us. In the first leg, we won 2-0 away at Suwon's stadium and showed why we beat them in the league table and fixtures. It wasn't the most thrilling nor was it the most topsy-turvy final you'll see. Goals from Yoon Soo-Min and Seol Young-Jin in the 35th and 74th minute meant we ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. In the second leg, it was a tighter affair but we took the lead, and made it 3-0 on aggregate, in the 51st minute where Seol Young-Jin scored. They pinned us back in the 57th but we retook the lead in the 66th minute through Lee Tae-Won. They pegged us back again in the game in the 88th minute but it didn't matter. We won 4-2. We are Korean FA Cup winners.

That's #11.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 11/32

Anyang FC Survive Goalkeeper Injury To Finish Second

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Through the last 5 games, it showed we don't have the quality to beat Jeonbuk yet. A dominant win against Ulsan Hyundai started the group off well but the injury to the goalkeeper was too much for the teams 1st and 3rd in the league. Fortunately, we recovered form against Seoul E-Land and Jeonnam to win the cup final. That's the main story from the season and we were able to hold second in the league.

The gap is 17 points. That's 6 wins from our 11 losses and getting something against Jeonbuk in the 4 games we play would go a long way. If we turn that around alone, that's 24 points we overturn from 0 to 12 with them going the other way. Of course, we have to beat the teams we should more comfortably.

I have some plans for improvement next season with the AFC Champions League run. Winning that and the K League 1 would be great.

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AFC Champions League Group Stage Draw

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The Champions League Group Stage starts before the league in South Korea as we already have the Group Stage draw and the first few fixtures before the season starts. We have an interesting group of teams at this stage with a Chinese Super League, Australian and a Japanese team. The Urawa Reds had to win the playoff against Western Sydney Wanderers to reach this stage. We should get through this stage fairly easily considering the gap in quality between the leagues and we're one of the better K League sides.

In the unlikely occasion we don't win the group, we have to be one of the three best sides from Groups F through to J to progress. This shouldn't be an issue for us and I'd expect us to be in the Second Round.

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Posted (edited)

Anyang FC Comfortably Progress From AFC Champions League Group

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In the Second Round of the AFC Champions League, we play Vissel Kobe. We comfortably progressed from the Group with 16 points. Our only dropped points were in the opening game against Melbourne Victory. Vissel Kobe were second in their group and failed to beat Seoul E-Land in the opening game. I'm expecting this to be a relatively easy tie but it's in September so a long way until then.

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Fortunately, Jeonbuk aren't insurmountable this year and we're only 9 points off the top with a game in hand. We started the season slowly with two 0-0 draws as well as other draws against Suwon, Pohang and Seoul E-Land. We did have frustrating losses against Jeonbuk and Ulsan Hyundai but we've also recently beaten Jeonbuk 3-0. Hopefully, we can continue this positive league form and translate it into a league title as I'm not particularly interested in doing another season in Asia.

The plan is to return either 22 games gone or when we've had our game in hand. Whichever comes latest. Hopefully, we've made more progress up the league table for a title in that time.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

We're Playing Well and In A Title Race

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Yes. Your eyes aren't deceiving you. We're playing well and we're in a title race. We've won every game bar a quiet 0-0 against Ulsan Hyundai. Since they're in one of the top positions, I'll take that type of result. Especially considering Jeonbuk did the same against them. 7 games ago, we were 9 points behind with a game in hand so we'll call it 6. Without playing Jeonbuk, we've brought it back to 4 so I'm happy.

In other competitions, I rotated the team against Pohang and they still brought home a win.

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In other news, we've got two (one new, one returning) players to the club. After completing his military service, Kim Jun-Sik returns to the team as our second best defender at the club and will start. Our other signing is a new, 21 year old striker named Bae Min. Bae Min will be our starting player for a while and the hope is for him to improve. He's only played the game against Jeonnam so far and signs are positive for him to do so.

The Vissel Kobe game is before the 33rd game of the season so I'll return with an update after that. It should be a simple game considering they didn't top their group, aren't at home and are a Japanese team.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Anyang FC Progress in the AFC Champions League

Spoiler

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It was a relatively insecure win for us. We started slowly and went 1-0 down to Vissel Kobe but by half time, we turned it around to ensure we won. We were the better team after conceding and turned that into a win. They had a player sent off so it was a comfortable run. With that, we play Seoul E-Land to take our step to the top of the same group as Vissel Kobe. So far, we've played them twice with a 0-0 and a 2-2 draw being the case so I'll expect it to be a tight affair.

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Well. We're 3 points behind Jeonbuk and we play them in the next few games before the split. We've played well and drawn twice with the remaining being wins. Suwon was frustrating with them being 10th as was Pohang. We've been knocked out of the Korean FA Cup but a goalless draw with Jeonnam caused a loss on penalties. It's not a huge loss as it reduces the latter season fixture congestion with a title fight and an AFC Champions League run.

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Anyang FC Reach the AFC Champions League Final

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Al-Jazira is the team that keeps us from choosing to go to Europe and finish the non-European club story. We were the better team against Seoul E-Land with a 2-0 lead pegged back to 2-1 in the 90th minute. The more important fixture was the tie between Jeonbuk and Daegu. It's the difference between a massively tough game and something we should win. Fortunately, Daegu won 1-0.

A few days later, we played Daegu for a spot in the AFC Champions League final. We were the better team and got a deserved win. A goal in the 60th minute was enough and Daegu weren't up to our level to deserve anything.

Spoiler

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Not many games played but they were key games. We lost to Ulsan with a fantastic goal before a tight 0-0 draw against Jeonbuk. We followed that up with comfortable wins against Seoul E-Land and Ulsan Hyundai. In that time, we've gained two more points to Jeonbuk. This is a tough title fight and we've been closing the gap slowly. Now we need to overcome the final points. One point would be enough with our goal difference but I'd rather have more than that. We play Jeonbuk soon and that will define our season.

My next update will come at the end of the league season for that update. Hopefully, I can bring a title.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Anyang FC WIN K LEAGUE 1

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Well. We did it. At 2-0 down, I looked up the rules to make sure I wasn't going to be screwed by something unusual and it turned out to be goals scored which we were dominant in. Jeonbuk had to score about 15 goals when they had scored none. We made it 3-0 and Daegu added a consolation in injury time as they made it 3-1. Seoul E-Land paid us back for holding us in the last game to ensure we win the league title. We did well to win this title and I'm proud. A season ago, this was unfathomable. Now, we won by 2 points.

In terms of the games since, we had a comfortable game against Jeonnam as Jeonbuk failed to win. That gave us the advantage heading to a crucial game. I was confused we were 5 points up as they led which was when I realised they dropped points. I was then happy with the draw we eventually got as Jeonbuk pegged us back twice. Then Seoul E-Land fought valiantly to secure a clean sheet and a draw which brought Jeonbuk back to level on points. Against Daegu, you know the story.

Now we're at the end of the season, all that is left remains the AFC Champions League. A tie against a side from the UAE and the winner of the highest coefficient league in Asia should be fairly comfortable but I thought that in Mexico and you know what happened there.

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ANYANG FC WIN THE AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

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Fortunately for us, we turned up and made no mistakes. Al Jazira just weren't on our level and I'm not surprised they weren't. We took the lead in the 29th minute and held it until half time. We gave away a penalty in the 59th minute but we showed we were better as central defender Kim Jun-Sik scored a header in the 61st minute. We continued on but scored nothing for the remainder of the game to win the AFC Champions League.

So that is that for Asia and outside of Europe at club level. We've won Champions Leagues in Africa, South America, North America and now Asia. We've won titles and cups in South Africa, Argentina, Mexico and South Korea. The plan might be to go into International Management and do something there depending on the European options. It's nearly Christmas so there will be some good jobs available then leave at the end of a European season for an international job in the summer. In my mind, that makes more sense

Spoiler

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With that Champions League win, we've finally reached the Worldwide Hall of Fame. I'll update when we top the English Hall of Fame for Nationality. Depending on when I finish the challenge, I might look to going for the Hall of Fame. Annoyingly, Julian Nagelsmnan has been at Bayern forever winning the Bundesliga and a few Champions Leagues so that's a bit unrealistic.

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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 13/32

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Yes. I know. Chesterfield. Chesterfield is the unique opportunity to do something exciting in England. Everybody knows England and English clubs. However, what isn't known is the rise of Chesterfield in this save game. In real life, they are a National League side who finished 7th in the league. In this save, they went back to back to back promotions from the National League to the Championship from 2026/27 to 2029/30 in the Championship where they were immediately relegated. A few teams went from the National League to League 1 and that's not unheard of but what Chesterfield have done is fascinating and I've followed them for a while. Southend did a similar thing but they didn't do it with consecutive promotions. This is why I took the Chesterfield job very quickly after Anyang as they'd be an exciting team to manage and complete the journey from the National League to the Premier League.

They're currently 10th in the Championship so you're right in thinking that their manager wasn't sacked because he was poached by struggling Championship side Sheffield United. As a bigger club, I get that but I want to make him think he made a mistake by leaving them despite it not being likely he'd take them to the Premier League. Checking the Wikipedia page, there's a reason for Chesterfield to regard them as a rival club. Though Sheffield United have bigger fish to fry in terms of rivalries, that's where we are.

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The aim of the club is to stay in the Championship and I can't really blame them. They've been a yo-yo club in the league for a while and the finances make it understandable. At the moment, we've got £85k to do something with but I think that's unlikely for January. Especially as we have nothing to do with it. If any dead wood want to leave, I'll look at making that a possibility if an obvious target comes up. The plan for the short term is to hold position in the league, survive and then make moves in the summer to push for playoffs or promotion next season.

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I'm In Two Minds About This Squad.

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Admittedly, our midfield isn't fantastic. However, the club have our three best central midfielders our on loan. All three. They're not a significant upgrade, I'll admit but why would you do that? They're not the best and you should be able to get better at this level and I understand that. But how can you do that and expect to avoid relegation? How are you 10th? Did the last manager forget central midfielders exist? Did he do the Ring of Fire? It boggles the mind.

Rant over. The rest of the squad actually look passable. They'd be on par with my Anyang FC side and I'd say that would finish in the playoffs in this league. Annoyingly, we do have a couple of loans but they're not bad players at all. There are definitely positions that need refreshing and that's the short term plan. Players like Cowen and Pattison should either be moved on or retiring soon. We do have a reasonable striker at the club but, as you've guessed by now, he's out on loan to another club. Since Pattison isn't the fittest, I'd have looked at giving him some game time. Fortunately, the club is competent in the loan market as they've brought in an equally good striker to operate as a backup.

I have no issues with using loan players since the club brought in competent players and I generally use them the same way I did for Brian Funes where we used him until the end of his contract to get him on a free.

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Unusually Good Start Highlighted by Emphatic FA Cup Wins

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I can't really explain how the start has gone. Part of me thinks we've played easier teams but we've also played well when we should have won. Peterborough reminded us how badly a demoralised team can be. We didn't deserve to win 4-0 but they were hopeless. Swansea showed why they were in the Premier League a few years ago. Forest are the typical lower league side in the league and haven't had any form this season and the same case is for Hull and Stoke.

Burton frustrated me as they just scored everything they touched. As the song goes, all that glitters is gold. They were better but they weren't 6-1 better. Oxford have been solid this season and they were another team I kept my eye on to take to the Premier League and showed why we were 7th.

I'd take the Premier League any day but I feel like it's unrealistic. Even if we do, the squad needs a massive overhaul for it. We're level on points with Reading for the last playoff spot. If we're in the playoffs, it wouldn't be surprised if we fell at the first hurdle of that.

Spoiler

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We did well in our games in the FA Cup. Overperforming with a 4-0 win against Premier League relegation fighters Norwich and a 5-1 win against Sheffield United. We didn't deserve to win so emphatically but it feels like those results were just preparing us for a massive return to Earth. Man United are going to kill us. The FA Cup run is over.

I'll return for the FA Cup game where we'll have a bad game and lose comfortably.

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Good Play Results in a Fight for the Playoffs

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We're playing well in the league and part of me hopes we do get the year to rebuild key areas of the squad. If we get promoted to the Premier League, we'll be killed but the money would be incredible no matter how we do. In terms of results, we're playing well and I did a new tactic because I wanted to do something else here. The more games we play, the more I realise how good the loan signings are at this team. Without them, we'd be so much worse off and we'd be a defensive disaster. With players like Jessup at DM and Davison-Marsh at CB, it helps build a solid defensive line where they don't get anywhere near as many chances. They shouldn't be at a team like Chesterfield.

We have had some unfortunate results but they're expected for our team. Middlesbrough were equally good as were Brentford and Sheffield United. Watford were our only league loss and they were better. They're midtable and it shows how the Championship is. Our strength is turning into beating teams we should beat at this stage meaning we didn't mess up against Charlton, Wycombe and Ipswich.

Spoiler

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On paper, it's a simple win for Man United and that's how it was in the game. However, we did take the lead in the 18th minute when we had a chance but Snedker decided to slide tackle the ball into his own net. I was stunned for most of the rest of the first half until they scored in the 38th minute. They showed their quality when they got the ball to their striker on 53 minutes so they could score. I can't complain. If anything, I'd rather have this game at Old Trafford for the shared ticket income and we normally fill our stadium anyway.

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