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[FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 8/32


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POLOKWANE CITY WIN THE CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!

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We've done it. A win is a win and that's what we have. The CAF Champions League. Asante Kotoko had no real chances. They had no shots at all in the first half and their two shots caused a corner and resulted from it. They weren't likely to go in but part of me felt like we'd be sucker punched. We had an xG of 2.29. But the 88th minute goal from Max McMillan sealed the deal. We deserved that win. Asante Kotoko felt like they were just the other team in our incredible rise to the top. That's African Club Football completed. Now I don't know what.

Polokwane City Win the Nedbank Cup

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It wasn't the most exciting of finals. However, Cape Town All Stars had limited chances and caused no real threat to the Polokwane City goal. We didn't create much in the first half but both goals came in the second half. A 51st minute goal from Max McMillan took the lead and a 71st goal from Monty Bathlabane finished the game. It was a relatively unexciting affair to end the game to seal our first Nedbank Cup.

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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 3/32
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The trophy cabinet for this team was bare. A solitary GladAfrica Championship and a National First Division Coastal Stream. That's it. Nothing of any real quality with a top level trophy. We've brought in a total of 10 trophies. 9 of them at top level competition.

When I joined, the club were bottom of the GladAfrica Championship. A fantastic run gave us a chance of promotion via the Playoff but we weren't good enough. We weren't ready. Instead, we built a squad to tie the record points in a season which was also achieved by Wits in the 2005/06 season. In the first few seasons, we struggled with fixture congestion. However, in 2025/26, something clicked which meant we were able to more easily balance the numerous competitions and the league.

The quality of players we brought in helped with that. Key names you might see in the future include Aidan Mfulwane who moved to Juventus. He's played two games in the league from the bench in his first season and succeeded at U23 level in Serie C. Arguably, that's below his level. He should be at a Serie B club at the very least because he has some real talent and ability to progress in his game. I'd have loved him to be here for that final season where we won a lot of competitions. That 40% next sale clause will help the club should they sell him. At the moment, I can buy it for £4.21m but I expect that to rise. It's gamechanging money for the club for a man we bought for £200k in August of 2023.

The same goes for Strasbourg striker Lwazi Shelembe. In his first season, he scored 6 goals in 22 appearances as they avoided relegation in 15th. I'm hoping he continues to perform solidly at that level since Polokwane have a 40% profit on future sales for him. If he turns into somebody of fantastic quality, I'll definitely look at getting him as well as Mfulwane. £1m profit from a £400k Royal AM purchase the season before is incredible. It will help build the club beyond what I've done for them and bring them closer to the finances of Orlando Pirates and the Kaiser Chiefs.

My 10 trophies show it's possible to build clubs into winning machines. The other competitions are likely to be more spread out with fewer competitions. In South Africa, it was imperative us to be decisive over what we wanted to win. One year, we wanted to win the league. Another, we wanted to win trophy after trophy. 

In terms of my next step, I don't know. There are Mexican Second Tier clubs available as well as German, French and English clubs. However, my plan is to attack the European Five last. What I could do is get stuck in with International Management with Senegal. They offered me a role as I applied to see if I was good enough. But this would be a good opportunity to fully complete Africa. The problem with that is I have to wait nearly two years for the AFCON to appear and there's no World Cup to bridge the gap.

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Wilson Takes Senegal Post

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At this stage, Senegal felt more like a had to do than a want to do. I wanted to complete Africa but I felt like taking the Senegal job at this time would give me a solid chance to go and win the AFCON in nearly two years. They're ranked 21st in the world and I'm expecting that to be the case for a reason. In terms of compared to African clubs, 21st is only behind two teams in Africa in Morocco and the Ivory Coast so that gives us a good chance of progressing through tournaments. Since it's 2027, we're not in a World Cup year and winning the AFCON means we won't need to go through a World Cup cycle.

Hopefully, in 2029, we'll be able to find a more interesting club. Since we'd complete Africa, I'm open to going pretty much anywhere. There won't be as many updates since there isn't as much to do. AFCON Qualifiers start in March 2028 so that might just be the next update I'll do with the group of that. I don't think updating with a 6-0 Friendly win over Lesotho would be that exciting.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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AFCON Qualifiers Group Decided

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Here's our Qualifying Group for the African Cup of Nations. It's not the most difficult group I could have had. Our strongest competition look to be Zimbabwe with the other teams celebrating if they made the AFCON in the same way as if we won it. Then again, for teams of this relative quality, we're probably going to have this type of qualifying every single time with the expectation to walk these groups and make the tournament. Despite Sadio Mane being 35, and not in the National Setup, we've still got enough quality to show that we should be contending at the very top of the African game.

Since not much is going on, I'll detail the plan for understanding my squad. Until 2029, the plan is to rotate enough players through the squad to establish a Starting 11. I have a Starting 11 for the squad then I bring in a rotation of other players to understand their attributes and the skill relative to the squad. That way, I don't waste pointless friendlies by running the same squad every time and not learning about anybody else. This way, I can understand where the squad has backups and will likely remain for years to come if they're under 27.

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World Cup Qualifiers Group Decided

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There's no reason why we shouldn't be top of this group. We're one of the Top 3 teams in CAF. It's not as easy as the AFCON Group. Angola and South Africa have qualified for World Cups before but we should be comfortable. Especially with it being for the 2030 World Cup after the expansion in 2026. In the last round, we beat Comoros 10-0 but I didn't cover that as much since there was no chance we'd lose to them. I'm not going to be at the team for the World Cup so it's not important if we don't qualify but the aim is to qualify.

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Senegal B Win the African Championship of Nations

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Since I'm manager of the Senegalese National Team, I'm also manager of the B team. The African Cup of Nations takes place on alternative years with the African Championship of Nations taking place on the others for B Teams only. It's a weird competition allowing only U23s from the country's league. In the Group Stage, we faced Mozambique, Ghana and South Africa. With two wins and a draw, we comfortably progressed into the Quarter Final where we faced Kenya. As expected, it was a comfortable win which gave us a Semi-Final game against the DR Congo. It was the most difficult game of the tournament as we scraped a 1-0 win.

The final was made easier by an early red card for Guinea. An outside the box shot in the second half went in at the far post. It was a deserved win but not before Guinea had another man sent off and we finished the game off in injury time to make it 2-0 and an African Championship of Nations. Outside of Hall of Fame points, it doesn't matter. But we won it so now our focus turns to the African Cup of Nations and World Cup Qualifying Groups.

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AFCON 2029 Groups Drawn

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We comfortably qualified from our group with 16 points. It really went as well as I expected. Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea were no match for us. Zimbabwe comfortably qualified as the second team with the performance gap. I'm not taking anything from the group since the gap is so relatively large. We should progress through this group. As a team, we've played well so far despite the lack of impressive opposition and with Edoard Mendy in goal, I'm comfortable.

The group should be reasonably comfortable. South Africa would be a reunion with Aidan Mfulwane. Congo would be a main team rematch of the Championship of Nations Semi-Final. Guinea are the Second Seed team with the most difficult game of the group. However, I'm expecting it to be reasonably comfortable. We should be in the next round of the competition and there's no excuse to not top this.

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Posted (edited)

SENEGAL WIN THE 2029 AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS!

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As expected, we were comfortable in the Group. 9 points was a fantastic trio of results. It's entirely deserved as we've been solid defensively and that's rewarded with three clean sheets. Aidan Mfulwane wasn't in the team for the South Africa team but impressive goalkeeper Diana-Oliaro started for a reunion. He didn't keep a clean sheet as we took a comfortable 2-0 win. Into the Second Round we went with a game against Angola. Before the game, I don't see how it's much different to our Group Stage games and it wasn't. Goals in the 42nd and 43rd minutes from Ndao and Dia mean we progress to play Egypt.

Just like how we don't have modern star man Sadio Mane, Egypt don't have Mo Salah. The effect of that is Egypt seem less dangerous to me. Modern (2029) Egypt are largely those from their own league. Another quickfire double, this time a brace, starting with a penalty in the 15th minute followed by a low cross into Dia for 2-0. The game ended that way and some players were brought off for a rest. Edouard Mendy has 5 clean sheets from 5 and is fantastic this tournament. Our tactic is stable but I feel like better teams are to come.

Cameroon beat Ghana and it's the battle of the big name goalkeepers. Onana for Cameroon and Mendy for us. The other Semi Final have Morocco playing DR Congo. Mendy continues his tournament run of clean sheets as we win 2-0. Kanoute in the 64th minute scores to take the lead in an even game. Into the late stages of the game, N'Diaye scores to make it 2-0 and a win.

The Democratic Republic of Congo beat Morocco in the other Semi. They haven't won since 1974 and, since the real AFCON was after the start of the game, we haven't won any. With home advantage, we slightly recover that since we played the day before. I can't really explain how we did this. But we won 4-0. Kanoute scores in the 9th and the 15th minutes to make it 2-0 at half time. We were completely dominant and it showed as substitute Pape Gueye uses his fresh legs to get another double in the 81st and 89th minutes to win 4-0.

Africa is done. We've won the AFCON. The first for Senegal.

I'm not sticking around for the World Cup. The only international job available is Montenegro so that would be a waste of time. France is a possibility with Dunkerque and Bastia-Borgio in Ligue 2. There's also a second tier Mexican side available. Dunkerque are probably the most likely option since they're 6th in Ligue 2 since their manager left for Amiens.

Wait. The Argentina job is available. I want it. Unfortunately, they didn't want me and went for Diego Simeone.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 4/32

ARGENTINA! Not in that way.

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So I am working in Argentina. If you saw the edits at the end of the AFCON job, it would be understandable if you thought I'd be managing the Argentinian National Team. But we're a fair way from that. We're in the Second Division of Argentina with a team 21st in the league. Gimnasia (Mendoza) hasn't won anything in their history and obviously, the plan is to change that. First, I want to get out of the Primera Nacional. Then the aim is to go far in the Argentine Cup and win the Liga Profesional and Copa Libertadores. Argentine clubs have had good recent history in the competition with two wins and both are by Velez.

For the more immediate future, we have to avoid relegation and establish a plan that works for this club. The first season will be difficult but we're in Argentina so it shouldn't be too bad. Four teams get relegated and we're only one point and a bit of goal difference behind that. Tactics wise, I'll likely look at continuing with the 4-3-3 2DM which was successful with Senegal and evolving that where necessary.

 

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Evaluating the Squad and Team

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On reflection, the quality of the squad is better than most DStv Premiership sides and the money we can bring in reflects that. However, there are some ageing parts of it. Central Midfield has all three players of 30+. Yes, there's a backup option who's 20 but I don't think they'll be good enough to replace them should any of them retire. It feels like the team is performing worse than they should and hopefully my AFCON winning tactic will help that. Top 6 gets a minimum of playoffs. If we can get that, it will be fantastic and we've got 27 games to do that. I'd say it will be unlikely but we're only 11 points off. It's doable.

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Early Games Prove Frustrating for Wilson

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It's not been the greatest of starts. I've played 9 games, won 3, drawn 1, lost 5. I feel like our results have been more unlucky than anything. In our first game against Patronato, we took the lead and played well. But they immediately scored again and won in the 83rd minute. Godoy Cruz I think is the only game where we scraped something we didn't deserve. They showed they were in a title fight for a reason. The Rosario game was one that really annoyed me. They had 8 shots, 7 on target from an xG of 0.85 and they scored 5. We had a better xG than them but it felt like every time they were on goal, they scored. Temperley was a similar situation then we just didn't turn up against fellow relegation strugglers Aldosivi.

The board are mildly annoyed with me but one more point and I'd be meeting their objective. We're into a Transfer Window so there's scope to improve some areas of the pitch. All three midfield positions could do with some refreshing and CM is weak despite Carrasco being our main goal threat from that position. Despite getting a couple of goals, Guakinchay isn't performing as well as I like. Fortunately, there is a player on a similar level I can put in to try and prevent the rot.

We shouldn't be as bad as we are but I feel like there's definitely scope to find some form in the second half of the season.

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Gimnasia Find Form To Create Gap to Relegation

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With 7 games to go, we've found some form. It all came together the game after the previous update. A 2-0 win against Estudiantes (RC) showed that there is potential in this team when we want to show it. The only notable thing I've changed is swapping out the poor form of Guakinchay for Hidalgo. Honestly, it feels like that hasn't changed much. Our record over the last 9 games is 4 wins, 3 draws, 2 losses. It feels like those losses were a blip and more a case of bottom of the table opposition performing above expectations and us struggling with being the favourites.

With those results, we're now 16th and four points above the relegation zone. It feels like our form is picking up so hopefully, we'll see the team move up the table and increase the gap to relegation rather than drop back into it. 13th is only a point away and that feels like where I can take this team with our form. 12th is 4 points away and 11th is another 3. A mid table finish at the end of the season is good for me. It isn't as much of a rise as with Polokwane in our first season. However, we joined later and this league is tougher than the GladAfrica Championship was. Fortunately, with more places available for Continental Qualification, I feel like it's more manageable to make the Copa Libertadores.

That's all in the long term, though. Our first aim is to not mess up this form we've found ourselves in and finish the season well. 

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Frustrating End to the Season as Gimnasia Avoid Relegation

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Well. I said if we could continue our run of form, we could get 13th. We immediately lost 2 games. A tight win against Atlanta and a late equaliser against Patronato followed by a 2 goal comeback to equalise against 21st placed Almirate Brown meant we got more points than we really deserved. A comfortable loss against Godoy Cruz was frustrating but expected followed by a late loss to Colon. I was slightly concerned about relegation.

Going into the final two games with questionable form but 4 points ahead of 19th was a concern if they won their games. So, according to the script, we concede an 88th minute equaliser as they win. Again, we have to not lose and it's sorted. So we beat league champions Rosario 2-0. It was comfortable and they were probably on the beach. The 19th placed team drew so it was inconsequential.

Now the plan is to rebuild over the winter with some fresh faces coming in across the back line and throughout midfield. I have a plan for the striker but it requires the rest of the team to be better to support that. If I can find a better goalkeeper, I'll sign them since I regard it as important. Those last 9 games resulted in 2 wins, 3 draws and 5 losses and it felt like it should have been worse. We need to improve this squad. If I change nothing, we can get mid table but I want more than that. Playoffs would be fantastic.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

Gimnasia (Mendoza) Caught Out By Unusual Rules in the Offseason

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So we're predicted 16th this season. Overall, I feel like I've identified a number of players who I've brought into the team and will improve on Free Transfers. However, as the headline hints at, we've been caught out by those free transfers not being allowed to come in until the 1st of July. It's frustrating since those players have improved key, and needed, areas of the team. Included in that is multiple left backs for needed depth, a right back, a central midfielder and a winger. All these players would have been around the squad and been useful. Unfortunately, we'll need to wait to include them in the team.

What I've observed from playing the first few games is that I've made the Full Backs incredibly important to helping the Wingers create space. With Medina's lack of quality, he's not been able to use the ball the same way Cordero has been able to.

Fortunately, I have been slightly able to improve the team. We signed a Central Defender who will add needed depth to the position and will play games if either player gets injured. We sold our starting left back to Salernitana for £3m. Included in that is a 50% sale clause. It's useful in the long-term but not ideal since we now have to makeshift Medina into that position. He can play there but beyond that, it's a concern and it will be the case for the first half of the season.

We've already played one game this season in January in the Fifth Round of the Argentine Cup where we beat promoted side All Boys on penalties. We weren't the better team but we held on and grew into the game before penalties at the end of the 90 minutes.

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With Carrasco ageing and a replacement coming in, I decided to sell him. He was solid but I felt he was degrading a little with his age and that was only going to get worse. In Argentina, you're allowed to make two signings in a week in January and I thought that was going to help that situation too. I had bids accepted for 2 players who would have filled that position. However, the stronger of the two failed his medical since he was injured and the other didn't think we'd be able to afford his wages. Currently, finances aren't an issue and I didn't think that should be the case.

We were able to make a signing in listed player Maximiliano Diaz. I tried approaching him for a loan late last season but he was unavailable. I then looked through for a Left Winger as I felt Garin was a weakness in the side and he was listed for £2.7m from River Plate. We were able to make the contract work and he's our player. I'm hoping he impresses for us and puts us in playoff contention with some real ability. 

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

Goals Sparce As Clean Sheets Become The Story

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4 0-0s and a 2-0 win give us 5 Clean Sheets. A consolation goal in the 38th minute for Arsenal (Not That One) was our first goal conceded of the season in Game 5. The problem is we can't score goals. The 4-3-3 2DM is kinda not working. We're successful against bigger teams but I can't score a goal to save my life. I have a plan to change that but it might hurt us defensively for the greater good. (The Greater Good)

Overall, we've been more lucky to not concede in those goals than dominating the ball. I'm planning of changing the Roaming Playmaker in the DM role to a Box to Box Midfielder. Hopefully, it works out for us and I can see it bringing somebody forward and create more overloads because I think we're doing that defensively successfully.

With 3 wins, 4 draws and 3 losses, the results haven't been dreadful. But, as before, I feel like we are better than what we are. Relegation isn't a story but the board are expecting mid table. What does give me some hope is that the last two games were against teams near the top and it was close. Villa Dalmine was a far more deserved loss for us but Colon was far closer.

My next update will come around mid season in July so I can update you on the players I trialled and signed back in January. They'll bring some useful depth and quality to positions I need it. Hopefully, the tactical change is successful.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Tactical Change Gives Gimnasia Promotion Chance

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Well. The tactical change I highlighted in the previous game in moving the RPM DM to a B2B CM worked out. What made it better is adding a Get Further Forward Player Instruction to it. With that change, we've just made it work after losing the game to Deportivo Moron 1-0. I've kept the 2DM tactic open and added that instruction to the RPM. Our record from those games (excluding the cup game) is 6 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses. If we had that type of record earlier in the season, we'd be in a chance of the title. With about half of the season to go, I think it's theoretically possible but I'll focus on promotion first.

A couple of times, the player in that position has scored. Since we lost a tight game to Aldosivi, we're still 10 points off the title. At one stage, we were 7 points off. However, since they pulled a big gap, we're only 6 points off Automatic Promotion. We did have a couple of frustrating games where we were on top but didn't take advantage. We were the better team against Newell's, Flandria and Platense but we just didn't take our chances. There's the 6 points we missed out on.

In theoretical Ultimate Challenge news, we've progressed through to the Seventh Round of the Cup where we play Liga Profesional side Huracan. At the time, they had been around the bottom of the table but they've since found form to go 6th so I'm expecting my challenge to end there but it will be a real test to understand how the side has improved.

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This is why I waited to do this update. Medina has done a job at Left Back but it's not a good one. He was never suited to the role but he was the only option we had. Our success has been despite Medina and not because of him. Cordero has done exactly what I want a player in his role to do and provided fantastic support to Romano on the wing. Sanchez isn't the long-term option which is why I signed him at 28. He would have started had he been at the club and being a natural Left Back would have been great for us. Now we have him, hopefully, he helps Diaz and propels him to more involvement.

Central Midfield depth has been an issue. Changing the tactic has brought Galvan into the side as the BBM and he's done the role well and scored a couple of goals doing so. Hopefully, the signing of Fernando Alvarez won't change that too much and bring in some more quality and depth to a position which will need some reviewing in the short-medium term.

My next update will depend on the Copa Argentina. If we progress into the Quarter Finals and face a big name, I'll update. If not, I'll probably wait until around Game 30 like last season.

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Injury Prompts Loan Deal

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A long term injury to Alvarez in a comfortable win against Quilmes definitely was a concern with the length of his injury. 3-4 months essentially rules him out for the rest of the season. With that, I looked around for a replacement. I had identified Funes as a long-term replacement since he wasn't likely to join us soon. However, I noticed he was Transfer Listed. Being unable to afford him, I decided to explore the options for a loan deal and he accepted. Since his contract ends in 2031 with an extension unlikely, I looked into a loan for the End of Next Season to try to get him on a free.

He accepted the deal so the injury has turned into an upgrade in the team. It looks like he'll improve so hopefully consistent game time will allow that.

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Posted (edited)

The Goals Have Disappeared as Injuries Pile Up

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I can't explain why but the goals are gone. What hasn't helped is how we're in an injury crisis. As well as Alvarez, we've lost key players in Duarte, Romano and Santiago Garcia. Duarte has helped us at centre back and been key there, Garcia has been key in creating and scoring goals in Central Midfield as with Romano on the wing. We're in an injury crisis so we just can't score. Since winning in the cup against Liga Profesional side Huracan, we've scored nothing.

Excluding the Seventh Round of the cup, we've played 10 games. Winning 2, drawing 6 and losing 2. In the game against Central Cordoba, we threw away a 2-0 lead. Considering they're 21st, it frustrates me. Form returned to normal before a deserved 0-0 draw against Arsenal. Then we continued to not score in the league. Temperley feels like a bogey team where we didn't deserve to win but also didn't deserve to lose. Deportivo Moron was unlucky as a poor throw led to a penalty which they converted.

The cup has gone well, though. Beating a Liga Profesional team was fantastic. We went 2-0 up against the holders in the 84th minute before they scored in injury time. In the Quarter Final, we play San Lorenzo who are lower than Huracan in the table. Looking at the teams left, it's winnable. The only fixture I'd like to avoid the winner of is River Plate and Velez should we beat San Lorenzo. Other than that, I feel like we can get to a final.

I'll probably return in the late stages of the season since it will show if we've sorted ourselves out and players returning from injury have returned us to form. Playoffs are obtainable and winnable. We're 5 points behind 6th and we don't lose games enough to make it an issue. Obviously, I'd rather go up automatically but needing to gain 12 points out of the remaining 30 feels unlikely.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

Return to Form Puts Gimnasia (Mendoza) in Prime Position for Playoff Chance

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Fortunately, I've changed something and it seems to work. That as well as getting key players back meant we've finally returned to the form we showed earlier in the season. With three games to go, we're in 6th and a point behind 5th. However, the pack behind are close so we need to win the winnable games. Three points is the gap between us and 11th. Our lack of goals conceded has helped and will help us should we need to rely on it. Amusingly, we're still only 10 points off the top of the table which is where we've been all season. If we just got 8-10 points more then, we'd be in that fight for Automatic Promotion.

Excluding the cup game, we've played 7 games with 4 wins, 2 draws and a loss. That record is more like what I expected this team to do. The only outlier was a frustrating game against Atletico Tucuman. In that game, we took an early lead then we were just powerless to stop anything they shot. It wasn't a fair reflection of how the game was. But the response against Defensa y Justicia was fantastic. Initially, we struggled but changing parts of the tactic to go more attacking was successful as we won comfortably. Belgrano was difficult but a free kick from deep got to the feet of Caseres to score. A late goal was needed for a deserved point against Atletico Rafaela as Galvan took his chance. Flandria was a backs to the wall performance. Arguably, we didn't deserve to win but we dug deep and a quickfire double got us the win despite a late onslaught.

Unfortunately, we were second best against San Lorenzo.  When we went 1-0 down in the 21st minute, I went more attacking and it worked for the first half. But San Lorenzo showed their quality to make it 3-1.

I'll return for the end of the season where I'll update if we get playoffs.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Gimnasia (Mendoza) Finish 5th to Earn Playoff Place

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Two draws and a win is what it took. We were unfortunate to draw against Gimnasia (Jujuy) again. We were the better team but they somehow survived. Union (SF) felt like a missed opportunity as we took the lead on 22 minutes before they equalised in the 54th. It was frustrating but we knew what we had to do.

We had to win and hope other results went our way. We were the dominant team against Platense but they took the lead on 23 minutes through a fantastic free kick. A goal on the stroke of half time through Guakinchay meant we were level at the break. It was less than we deserved but on 57 minutes, a fantastic through ball from Lopez Garcia found an open Sanchez to chip it over the keeper to take the lead. With Union (SF) comfortably losing, we were a playoff team had we held on to that lead. For parts, it felt like we were going to be sucker punched but in the 93rd minute, a shot from outside the box gave us a 3-1 win and Sanchez a brace.

A 1-0 loss to relegated Atlanta meant Arsenal (Sarandi) missed out on the playoffs by 6 Goal Difference to Vila Dalmine. who beat Colon.

Now, we have two legs against Def. de Belgrano and I fancy ourselves for that game. We're in form and playing well. Both games against them have been draws in the league so I'm hoping for us to take the next step and beat them over 2 legs.

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GIMNASIA (MENDOZA) PROMOTED TO LIGA PROFESIONAL!

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It wasn't the way I expected. 2 wins against Def. de Belgrano meant we were in the final against Club Villa Dalmine. It was a tough tie and we were second best. They won 1-0 at their stadium. We took the lead on 9 minutes to equalise the tie. But they were always the better team and turned it around for 4-1 on aggregate. Aggressive tactical changes gave us a lifeline with goals from Diaz and Caseres to make it 4-3 down. Unfortunately, they were still the better team as they scored 2 more to make it 6-3 on aggregate.

As a result, we have to play Argentinos Jnrs in the inter-league playoff. It's an idea I'd like and it would be nice to see it done in the Premier League. Somehow, it just all fell into place. A 16th minute goal from Romano gave us the lead before Sanchez made it 2-0 on 25 minutes. It was unusually comfortable. I felt like a comeback was coming as we made it 3-0 on the stroke of half time to give Romano his brace. The comeback never came but a goalmouth scramble from a free kick and header hitting the post fell to Cordero to make it 4-0.

We are in the Liga Profesional de Futbol. Lots of clubs might struggle with fixture congestion due to South American football in the Copa Sudamericana or the Copa Libertadores. My aim is to avoid the relegation playoff and get into continental football. It feels doable if we don't pile up with injuries and make signings.

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2031 Liga Profesional de Futbol Preview

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Well. We're expected to be last and we have no money to sign anybody I wanted to go in for. Any sales we made didn't add much to the transfer budget to make more signings. Fortunately, £2.1m in signings and the 50% profit on Vallejos mean we're only £40k in the red as opposed to the £2-3m we were about a month ago. South American competition will bring in a lot more money to the clubs should we go far but we've got to get there first. The board have said we only need to Fight Bravely Against Relegation. 

In other competition news, we avoided a slip up as Newell's had a player sent off in the Fifth Round of the Argentine Cup. We conceded but went through on penalties in a game we comfortably deserved to win.

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Only a few games into his 2 year loan spell, River Plate recalled Brian Funes. That's why he hasn't been mentioned at all. I tried getting him back having removed the position requirement but River now want more than they did. It's fine. His contract expires at the end of the season and he's still Transfer Listed so it's possible but River want too much on the loan deal now.

We've made a few signings. Hugo Messi from Union is a small upgrade on an ageing Tello. My concern was always if we had an injury to Tello and had to go for a young, unprepared goalkeeper. I didn't want to give them a baptism of fire so a new/backup goalkeeper was a focus. Tello did a great job last season but I think it's time we work on sellable assets. The problem with him is that he only wanted a £1.7m release clause. Fortunately, having Tello reduces the risk but I wanted much more than that. Especially if a European club notices him.

Nelson Sierra is somebody I identified as somebody I could really flip for a good amount of money. He improves our Central Defence and has room to improve. A domestic club release clause of £5.75m is a concern but it represents good profit and I hope he'll want to go to a European club. I hope he becomes something of a star and somebody we can get 50% future fee on.

Damian Pintos is somebody I identified as an immediate quality for a low cost. With our lack of money, I had to go for these type of deals. Katriel Curi comes into the First XI after a year of development and good performances at the club. Romano goes to the bench but he's good enough to give us something.

I'll return around the 9/10 game mark to give an update on the Argentine Cup as well as our early season form.

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It's Going Pretty Well

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Well. I didn't expect this. Top 10 in the league after 9 games is impressive. We started with a tight loss before a 0-0 against Huracan. A 2-0 loss was frustrating to Estudiantes before another goalless draw against Lanus. I wasn't unhappy but I felt like we could improve the tactic. As a result, I increased the tempo significantly and felt we were dominating games still and creating chances, finally. That's turned into us being a team with belief in ourselves and the ability to beat teams.

The game against Deportivo Moron is frustrating. They went 1-0 up through a great goal kick to an attacker which we couldn't stop. Then we equalised before they scored a penalty but whilst we were attacking, they countered to make it 3-0. On another day, we'd win that game or draw. I felt like we played well enough and their second two goals were enough to launch their xG into orbit.

After dominating Patronato and seeing some players being tired, I made three changes. Somehow, we just didn't score the goals. We were the better team but we lost and that's cup football.

My next update will come around the halfway stage of the season. I don't have anything planned in July for transfers and we don't have the money for it. Ideally, we'd qualify for the Copa Sudamericana Group Stage to bring some money into the club but I can see us stagnating should we not sell anybody.

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Solid Results Have Gimnasia (Mendoza) Fighting for Copa Sudamericana Place

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Anywhere else, us fighting for Continental Football would mean we're nowhere near relegation and nearing the top of the league. It isn't going badly and what we've done so far this season has meant relegation would be a disaster than expected. The tactical change I made after the first month has been continuing to be successful. I feel like this period of the season was more difficult than the first quarter. In this, we've played teams like Boca Juniors, Independiente and River Plate. They're the real stalwarts of Argentinian football. Boca are struggling this season but they're still Boca as shown by the scoreline. That didn't replicate how we played as I went more aggressive and it bit us. Independiente and River Plate were a class above but their form this season is how the results turned out. Independiente saw out a comfortable win but we were able to steal a point from RIver.

We have had some missed opportunities but I can't really complain. Over the course of the season, those results have evened out and we've definitely stolen points when we shouldn't have. What I am finding is opposition teams are definitely out-scoring their xG against us a lot. For example, Gimnasia (LP) was a dominant game but I feel like we should have comfortably won. Their headed goals were well taken from the angles they were at but they scored and that's what's important. I wrote this part before the Rosario game but I didn't expect that to be so ridiculous. Dominated the first half. They equalise early on with a free kick header then score 2 more. Two goals through free kicks from deep. Maddening.

For the transfer window, I'm hoping to recover some money so I can do something with End of Contracts or signing undervalued and unwanted players. We're £1.5m in the red so I can't convince the board to do anything. We're bleeding money which is why I've had to overperform and sell to buy more than usual. We don't get the money for being in the top flight as you would in other leagues. Especially the Premier League which is why the first, and second, seasons in South American top flights are so difficult. We have to get into Continental football to get the real money. If we don't finish top 12 this season, it will continue to be difficult financially.

In terms of early signings, I have been able to get Brian Funes again so we can try and get him on a free at the end of the loan. It looks like we prevented a club from buying him for approximately £300k.

What I have been doing in terms of scouting is looking at places like Uruguay to try and find the sellable assets. The options are available and they're more likely to come since we're in the Liga Profesional but, as always, the money is becoming an issue for that.

The next update will be around the 25-30 game mark. We're not in any other competitions so it's just full focus on the league.

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It's All Gone Wrong

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It's all gone wrong. I can't figure anything out anymore. The team are becoming demotivated and we're in that spiral. We've fallen into the Automatic Relegation Zone. There's just no belief in ourselves anymore. It feels like all we concede are either wondergoals or one on ones. We led 2-0 in the early stages against Velez. Yes, it was undeserved but we did. But then we crumbled and it felt predictable. I couldn't do anything. I've lost my head in terms of tactics. I'm writing this before the Independiente game where we have a tactical reset and go back to what we know.

If there's anything positive, we've had a tough run. Games against Velez, Boca, Independiente, Gimnasia and Huracan are behind us. Yes, we still have to play San Lorenzo and River Plate but we've gone through a really tough run of fixtures with how Argentina decides them. Our end of season feels like it will be much nicer and somewhere we can find form and steer clear of relegation. There's a chance. Part of me wants to reset and find somewhere with the ability to have money to grow. But most of me wants to sort this out and grow the club. It's possible.

I'll update for the start of November. Then we have 4 games of Lanus, Estudiantes, Vila Dalmine and All Boys to figure out what we can do. If we find form before then, we're in dreamland.

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Forget Fight Bravely. We're Fighting Like Lions

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Forget all those concerns about relegation and being down. We've found form almost immediately. The win against San Lorenzo felt needed and it was fantastic. A 3-1 win is what we deserved. The loss to Tallares did scare me.

With both goalkeepers injured, we needed somebody to step up. It wasn't a greyed out keeper because we had a youth player available. Gustavo Landaburu. For the whole game, it felt like River Plate were on top but somehow, he kept a clean sheet. Then on the stroke of half time, Galvan sent the Gimnasia (Mendoza) fans into raptures. A lead at one of the biggest stadiums. El Monumental could have been the description of that moment. Let alone the stadium. The pressure from River Plate kept up in the second half but El Monumental will be the name of this game. Crucial in defying the odds and staying alive in the league.

Two games followed that. Neither were losses as we played a struggling Racing Club and Belgrano. Even excluding the penalty, we didn't deserve to lose against Racing Club and Belgrano showed how we had risen from the depths of despair. A comfortable and deserved 3-0 win is something that gives us a fighting chance for a Copa Sudamericana spot. 5 points behind 12th placed Rosario, 6 behind 11th Racing Club.

There's a chance. We've got to play Lanus. We're 8 points behind them. With the first game of November, that could come back to 5. Estudiantes are 10 points ahead of us. We can make that 7 with two games to go. That's unlikely. Then we've got Vila Dalmine. We're tied on points with them. Then All Boys in the final game. We're not being passed by them and I'm not looking back.

I'll return for the end of the season. Hopefully, we're Top 12 otherwise I need to do something to improve this squad. We've got no money. We need to get it from somewhere.

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Gimnasia (Mendoza) Qualify For The Copa Sudamericana on Final Day

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Well. We did it. 11th. It qualifies us for the Copa Sudamericana Group Stage and gives us a chance to salvage our dwindling finances. £4m in the red so we needed this. I don't know if we can improve our team with nothing from the league financially. But hopefully, the board can be generous to find something on an End of Contract.

The Copa Argentina Final between two non-Profesional teams meant we had to push for 11th for automatic qualification. Fortunately, we were in good form. A loss to Lanus didn't help but a fantastic comeback win against Estudiantes gave us a fighting chance. A win against Vila Dalmine set up a chance for a final day where we could finish 11th. San Lorenzo and Rosario played each other and we needed a win to assure we'd pass at least one of these teams. Fortunately, a 0-0 draw and a dominant 6-1 win against relegated All Boys (thanks to an early red) meant we were 11th. Copa Sudamericana here we come.

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More Money Than Expected Helps Expand and Improve

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We're still expected to be last and that's expected. Our reputation isn't up to the level yet despite improving our squad and qualifying for the Copa Sudamericana but it's ok. We're better than we were last season. In terms of finances, the weird thing is that sponsorships come in at the end of the season as opposed to the start. It helped us to improve this team enough to make us comfortable in the league and shouldn't need to worry about any relegation fight.

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We were able to sign Brian Funes on the free like I had planned about a season and a half ago. To get there, it was more frustrating than I planned but we're fine. He's first team level for nothing. It's great. Another free signing we made was Colombian Julio Dominguez. He's expected to be our starting striker now. I'm happy with how those free transfers have turned up and I'm expecting Dominguez to improve my team.

Alejandro Fossati is somebody I'm excited about. He's another young, Uruguayan centre back who will improve this team at Central Defence. We signed him for £625k from Danubio. His ability and age excite me and I'm hoping it goes well. I feel like it's a better deal than the £1.2m we bought Nelson Sierra who he relegated to the bench.

My other upgrade is signing Luciano Cabrera. He represents a good upgrade on Messi who will drop down to the bench. This signing became necessary when a Mexican team looked at Alejo Tello and signed him for £2.9m. It's a good amount of money we used to upgrade the team with Cabrera. To bring in further money, we also sold Guakinchay for £1.5m and kept Hidalgo on the bench.

Overall, I'm happy with how we've improved the team and generated some funds. The signings I made have been solid, budget moves. Our problem will always be that we're going to be an underdog against the giants of River Plate and Boca Juniors.

My first update of the season will be the Copa Sudamericana Group Stage draw. It shouldn't be too far down the line.

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Copa Sudamericana Draw!

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This group feels like it's winnable. Paraguayan Nacional and Emelec from Ecuador should be winnable games both times. They're a step below the Argentinian and Brazilian leagues. So my main concern is Fluminense. Last season, they finished 14th in the Brazilian Serie A. I feel like this group is winnable and that's the only position to progress. Our first game is the Away game against Fluminense so we have no time to build morale and form before then outside of the league.

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With a goal in the first minute against Gimnasia (LP), I thought we were on for qualifying for the Copa Libertadores. Obviously, reality set in when they turned it around in the 14th and 73rd minutes. It's been a tough start to the season in terms of fixtures but they're tight losses. Tigre was a frustrating game when new, exciting kid Fossati gave the ball away for an equaliser in the 86th minute. He then missed his penalty but, fortunately, the Tigre player also missed their 4th penalty so it went to sudden death where we lost.

Colon and Banfield were deserved wins. We won comfortably against Colon. Banfield was unfortunate, though. We took the lead on 3 minutes and then they scored a corner and a long-range screamer from outside the box. Fortunately, Santiago Lopez Garcia got us a deserved equaliser. It felt like two points lost.

My next update will come after the Copa Sudamericana. Hopefully, I've built a team which can beat those types of teams and progress to the Second Round where the weaker Copa Libertadores teams come in.

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Gimnasia (Mendoza) Get Olimpia in the Second Round of the Copa Sudamericana

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Going into the final day, we had 4 wins and a loss. That loss came in the opening game against Fluminense. As you'll know, it was our toughest game. We threw away a 2-0 lead and a 3-2 lead to lose 4-3. I thought my heart wasn't going to survive that. We beat Emelec and Nacional. Expecting to need some help from elsewhere, we went into the home game against Fluminense with a requirement to win. Them dropping 3 or more points felt unlikely. So we won 1-0. It wasn't comfortable, or even deserved, but we did.

Then the plan turned to passing them on goal difference. A 4-0 win in Ecuador at Emelec was matched by a 4-0 win over Nacional. We needed to score two more than Fluminense to assure ourselves of progressing in this difficult Group Stage. Two teams going through and it wouldn't matter but that's not how this works. We have to beat Nacional by two more goals than Fluminense beat Emelec by.

In the 29th minute, we took the lead through Katriel Curi. He had a stunning first half where it felt like he would never score again. At half time, it was 0-0 in the other game. We were going through but I felt as if 1-0 wouldn't be enough. I brought off a tiring Alvarez and moved Funes to CM since Sanchez was injured. I knew we'd need goals and the team would deliver. Diaz made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute before substitute added a third in the 56th and Dominguez in the 58th made it 4-0. If Fluminense scored three, we'd be fine.

Nacional forgot what the script was in the 70th minute and made it 4-1. One minute later, Fluminense took the lead. It was fine. We were winning by two more goals. Then Emelec do what I thought was unthinkable. An equaliser in the 74th minute bring Fluminense back to needing more. Them winning matching our score would have been enough since our away goals scored would have beaten them. Then Hidalgo did what Fluminense fans feared. We scored 5 so they'd need 4 in the final 15 minutes. Then Nacional make it more clear. A miscommunication between the defender and goalkeeper let Dominguez bundle the ball home from beneath their feat. We were 6-1 up with 10 to go. Emelec were frustrating the 2027 winners of the Copa Sudamericana and 4 time winners of the Brazilian league. Fluminense never scored. Not even a winner as the minnows from Argentina shock the Copa Sudamericana.

In the next round, we return to Paraguay as we play Olimpia in the Second Round. They finished third in their Copa Libertadores group. Their highlight result was against Palmeiras as they drew 1-1. But I can see this team being better over 2 legs.

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The continuation of form was the plan for the Liga Profesional and that was the case. A 76th minute winner against Lanus before a 3-1 win over Tallares gave me hope that we could push higher up the table. Then we were frustrated against Belgrano. They scored three goals from 1.01xG to win 3-1 as we collected 1.6xG. If xG won games, we'd never worry about relegation again. But that's football.

We then played the team bottom with 0 points. They go and score 2 of their first 3/4 shots in the opening 20 minutes to make it 2-0. We come back with a brace from Alvarez in the 31st and 43rd minutes. Then they score in first half injury time. We were the better team throughout but they get that golden game to win 3-2.

A game against Racing followed. They dominated and deserved their win. But it required a 21st minute free kick to do so. We could have salvaged something before Vila Dalmine. We went 2-0 up in that game through a 14th and 16th minute brace from Dominguez. Curi decides to do a poor challenge and get sent off in the 30th minute. We held on well until the 84th minute when they scored. As it edged closer to the end, I was hopeful. Then they score in the 3rd minute of injury time.

The red card story continues as Cordero got sent off this time against Rosario in the 41st minute. In the 51st, Hidalgo breaks his goal drought the media constantly remind me of. But we were still 10 men and Rosario frustrate me to turn it around through goals in the 65th and 81st minute.

I hate football so much with how much it pains me. Yet I come back. Speaking of coming back, I'll be back with an update after the Olimpia games.

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Gimnasia (Mendoza) Progress in the Copa Sudamericana

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It was a comfortable tie against Olimpia. A 3-0 lead was pegged back to 3-2 in the First Leg in Paraguay but that was about as concerning as it got. We were clearly the better team and a 2-0 win at home meant we progressed with a 5-2 win. I'm happy with the performance and it will be interesting to see who we get in the Quarter Final. With how we've played in this competition, I think there's a reasonable chance we can win it.

With both the Quarter and Semi Finals drawn, we already know our path to Brazil's Maracana for the final. Botafogo in the Quarter Final will be interesting. They're currently 11th in the Brazilian Serie A and 5 points ahead of Fluminense who we beat to top the group. This tie is definitely winnable from our perspective.

Should we win it, we will play either Vasco de Gama or Estudiantes. It's only Brazilian and Argentinian clubs remaining in the competition. As it stands, Vasco de Gama are 8th in their league whilst Estudiantes are 5th. Personally, I'm hoping Vasco de Gama win that tie.

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In terms of the league, it feels like we're not as bad as our league position shows. Yes, our wins are relatively sparse. However, I feel like we're always on the wrong end of tight games. Independiente was an unusual game where they just didn't turn up despite being top of the league and Tigre being in the relegation zone explains their poor game. The issue with this league is that if we turn two games around, we'd be in the Top 10. That's how tight it is in mid table.

Our investment is still an issue. There are clear weak spots that I'm trying to plug. However, our lack of finances make that difficult and we have to really search for those kids who haven't proven themselves to produce a big price tag yet. One we've signed is a DM named Ever Gomez from America de Cali. He's a very good option but him being 21 shows that he can still improve. Fortunately, he's a very good acquisition and he's done well. Unfortunately, he's currently at the Olympics. If we can keep him around, he can be a real mainstay in the side. If not, teams from Europe will look at him for big money.

In the position we're in, we need that investment of cash to really improve our squad. There's always the ceiling you can achieve with free transfers and young players. Fortunately, Dominguez has been absolutely stellar this season but we have to find those players every single year. In each continent, the time to develop a Champions League winning squad will be different. The issue I'm in is I've gone from one of the quickest where great players like Aidan Mfulwane will star to this where the absolute wonderkids come from.

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Gimnasia (Mendoza) Qualify for the Copa Sudamericana Semi Final

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A comfortable first leg win was enough to give us the tie and a Semi-Final run against Estudiantes. We won 4-0 in the first leg before struggling to a 3-1 loss. Fortunately, it wasn't too much of a concern as their third goal was in injury time of the Second Half. I had preferred to play Vasco de Gama but Estudiantes are beatable. If we do beat them, we play Nautico or Tallares and I feel like they're more beatable than Estudiantes are.

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COPA SUDAMERICANA FINALISTS!

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It's not the Copa Libertadores yet. But we're in the Copa Sudamericana Final. A South American final for this team. We've finally realised our own abilities and picked up form in the league. A 1-1 draw at home meant it was winner takes all in the Away leg at Estudiantes. This little team from Mendoza. We haven't ever won at this level before. Regionally, we're very successful but a competition on this level would be unfathomable. It was unfathomable until the 40th minute. We were clearly second best and Estudiantes were comfortable and had a deserved lead. They had a player on a yellow but it wasn't an issue.

Then Curi made his way into the box and was tripped. The game was turned on it's head. Acuna was sent off for a second yellow and Ever Gomez had a chance with a penalty. He stepped up and scored in the 40th minute to level the tie again. A few minutes later, Gomez was on a corner and it found Alvarez who headed it in. Estudiantes had been so dominant yet were 2-1 down at half time. But goals and sending offs change games. It definitely did in this one.

Estudiantes kept it at only 3-2 on aggregate down into the 69th minute as Dominguez found a fantastic run from Curi who was able to slot it past the keeper. 4-2 up. We were cruising. A reminder of the cruelty of football was provided as Grecco placed his shot into the top corner. It was nervy. But only for a few minutes as, of all people, Fabian Sanchez the left back made a run through the gaping hole in the Estudiantes defence and chipped the keeper to make it 5-3 on aggregate.

We were done. Copa Sudamericana finalist. Here we come.

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To start the next run of league games, Tigre was a disaster. We were second best but we weren't 5-0 bad. Then we followed it up with a fantastic win against a Velez side who were struggling. Huracan were better. But then it clicked.

A 4-0 win over Gimnasia (LP) was fantastic. We took advantage of Tucuman's poor form to win 3-1. We took an early lead against Independiente before they equalised for a point. Boca were sunk by a quick double before a bore draw against Rosario. Neither team really deserved a win. But Racing Club. Wow. They were awful and showed why they were 16th. They equalised our first goal then we just continued scoring. It was fantastic to watch.

This run of games has been stellar. We've finally showed we deserved to be higher than we were and beat teams we should.

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GIMANSIA (MENDOZA) WIN THE COPA SUDAMERICANA!

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Yes. It happened. Nautico were also in their first Copa Sudamericana final and it's a shame they came across a fantastic, developing side in us. When it clicked for us, it really clicked. We've won games and scored the goals we deserved to score. In the past, we didn't take our chances but that isn't happening now. I've built a fantastic, young, developing team. With this, we qualify for the Recopa Sudamericana and, more importantly, the Copa Libertadores. Interestingly, Wikipedia also includes a J League Cup/Copa Sudamericana Final but that isn't in FM22. 

With the team currently 6th in the league, we'd qualify for the Copa Libertadores anyway. We have two games of the season to go so I'll give a full update then. Either way, we're a good team and we're developing to become a great team. We can go toe to toe with the greats of Argentinian football. We can't expect to beat them but I'll give it a good go.

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Posted (edited)

Gimnasia (Mendoza) Finish 6th in the Liga Profesional!

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Well. It was a fantastic turnaround when it felt like we were always on the wrong end of the tight results. To win the title, all we need to do is turn around 8 results. The obvious ones are the losses to Tigre and Chacarita. Belgrano and Racing Club are definitely beatable. As are 4 points with a draw and loss to Rosario. A poor loss against Lanus can't be repeated and the same goes for Tucuman. Those are the 7 results I think we can turn around from this season alone.

This team is definitely growing. If a good offer comes in for a player, it will be difficult to turn it down. Hopefully, the contracts won't be too much of an issue since we're starting to become that club where players demand a lot of money. As a result of our Copa Sudamericana win, we're up half a star in reputation to Continental. I'm hoping this entices players to us for a lower cost.

The board gave us only £400k in Transfer Budget with not much movement in the wage. As with last season, we have to sell to buy then improve with lower cost alternatives. Players like Ever Gomez have been successful and it feels like we can make a massive profit if we can give him a contract without the release clause in it. It will be difficult when you consider the previously mentioned lack of financial muscle so I'm hoping we can improve. I've already made moves for players on End of Contracts. Although we are on the edge of the Foreign Player limit, I can unregister some younger players or loan them out.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

Gimnasia (Mendoza) Win the Recopa Sudamericana

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Well. The first tie was a calm affair. It was tight and nervy at home as we edged a 1-1 draw. It felt like they were the better team and probably deserved the win. But as we went there, everything went ridiculous. It was 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes and 3-3 at the end of the 120. Julio Dominguez finished his hattrick with a penalty at the end of first half stoppage time in Extra Time. I closed down the team in the second half of Extra Time since Flamengo were better and hoped for a penalty shootout win which we got.

So we've won the Recopa Sudamericana. Probably undeservedly but we won it. As this team continues to get results like this, I can see my time in Argentina ending soon. Hopefully, we end it with a league and cup as well as the Copa Libertadores.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Copa Libertadores Group

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Our Copa Libertadores draw was in January but it felt pointless discussing it since we had to wait for the final team to be decided. Liga de Quito and Millonarios were decided from the original draw but Gimnasia (LP) were decided through the Qualifying Rounds. They had to beat Independiente Santa Fe and Libertad to reach this stage.

In terms of progression, there's no reason why we shouldn't continue to progress. Liga de Quito from Ecuador have won the competition before but it was back in 2008 and should be beatable. Millonarios from Colombia haven't won before but I hope they'll be a reasonably easy team to beat as well as Gimnasia (LP) who we're used to playing in Argentina.

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Gimnasia (Mendoza) Ease Through the Group Stage to Play Palmeiras

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Excluding a frustrating 4-0 loss to Gimnasia (LP), we eased through the group. 5 wins and a loss. We only lost the group to Gimnasia (LP) by 2 goals. It doesn't really matter, though since two teams progress into the Second Round. In that tie, we play Palmeiras. Looking at their league position isn't really interesting since they've just played 5 games and it's a mix of games played. Last season, they finished third in the league. However, in the Copa Libertadores, they lost the final last season in Extra Time. So it's not been the nicest of draws.

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Continuing the theme of tough draws, we play Independiente in the Seventh Round of the Copa Argentina. We have already played them this season getting a 3-1 win but Independiente are still Independiente and a threat. Late Diaz goals meant Tigre sealed defeat from the jaws of victory but it doesn't really matter. We're through. 

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Now onto the league. Well. It's not been bad at all. Our only losses so far this season were when Velez were able to turn it around with a goal in the 91st minute to win 2-1. Boca was a very tight game neither team deserved to lose to make it a 1-0 loss. In terms of the draws, Godoy Cruz have had a good start to the season but two goalkeeper assisted goals put us 2-0 down and on the back foot. We equalised through 22nd and 32nd minute goals from Diaz and Fossati from a corner. Ortero then completes his hattrick with a fortunate free kick goal initially blocked by Cabrera but we equalise again through Diaz in the 89th minute.

The Gimnasia (LP) draw was more a case of us being poor than them being good. We did take the lead but we never kicked on from there and they equalised in the 71st minute to make it 1-1.

We are in a title fight and River Plate have lost their game to a team worse than any team we've lost points to so it's not over yet. I feel like this team is getting better and better but it's squad management with the quantity of fixtures that will decide the story more than anything. This season is probably the chance to win things since clubs in Europe are going to see our players starring and wonder what's going on. Especially with the ability to pick them up on the cheap with our lack of reputation compared to Boca and River Plate.

With the Copa Libertadores being more of a story this season and us being in the Seventh Round of the Copa Argentina, my next update will come after the Independiente game.

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Penalty Shootout Wins Help Gimnasia (Mendoza) Progress in the Copa Libertadores and Copa Argentina

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It was a tight, and difficult, tie against Palmeiras. We won 2-1 comfortably at home but 2-1 was a fair result. We held on against a difficult away game until the 92nd minute where a corner for Palmeiras met the head of centre back Michel who forced penalties. It surprised me with no Extra Time but it was welcome as Palmeiras were the better team. The first 6 penalties were scored until Palmeiras' fourth taker stepped up. He hit the crossbar meaning a Cordoba score would mean their final taker was under pressure.

Cordoba scored then the pressure was too much to force our fifth taker. We won 4-3 on penalties. Boca beat Internacional on penalties to set up an all-Argentinian tie in the Quarter Final. The rising star against the giant of Boca Juniors. We've already played both fixtures and each time, the home team won 1-0.

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River Plate were almost unbeatable until mid-July. Near the end of June, they had two games in the Club World Cup (a loss against Newcastle and draw against LA Galaxy) which likely caused fixture congestion. Then they had difficult games in mid-July where they lost against Independiente, Tallares, Racing and Belgrano in a row. At one point, we were 10 points back. Now we're with them and they're in a run of bad form whilst we are stunning. They did progress in the Copa Libertadores so they're still in with a shout of further congestion down the line.

In terms of our form, it's been fantastic. We've missed out on some big opportunities to overcome River Plate and letting Atletico Tucuman back in the game is frustrating. Losing to Vila Dalmine continues what I feel like is a bogey team run. Huracan are the exact same but everything else is fantastic. We're showing why we deserve to be in this position and why European clubs should be looking at this team.

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You can definitely call that a cup tie against Independiente. DIaz scored in the third minute with a well-placed shot for us to take the lead. Cordoba then extended our lead with a curling shot past the keeper from the edge of the box. At that stage, I thought we were comfortable. Then only two minutes later, in the 27th, it was a fantastic cross from Independiente's Fleita to Lecaros for a volley to score. The header was missed by Duarte but Independiente were finding their feet.

Two quick yellows from Independiente's Velez meant that we had a man advantage in the 67th minute. We went defensive to hold the lead until Independiente had a counter attack and men forward for Alvarez to score. Alvarez was the unfortunate player to miss his penalty and we scored all five to win the penalty shootout.

It's not that many fixtures until Boca in the Copa Libertadores but that will be the next update.

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Second Leg Comeback Gives Gimnasia (Mendoza) a Semi-Final Spot

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It was an expectedly difficult tie against Boca Juniors. We weren't great in the opening 25 minutes of the Home leg where Boca Juniors scored 2 goals. We were better for the rest of the game and a draw felt viable but the only goal we got was in the 61st minute through Maxi Diaz. We knew what we had to do in the second leg and winning by 2 goals would be ideal. An 11th minute shot from Cordoba went in off the post to equalise the tie. It was great since we were also the better team at the time. Throughout the first half, it became more even but on the 40th minute mark, Dominguez gets the other side of his man during a long goal kick and scores to make it 2-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.

Heading into the later stages of the game, Boca realised what the situation was. They began to pile on the pressure and in the 83rd minute, Boca's left back Luna does a fantastic through ball from deep for Batalla to score. We were about to go and close the game out but this changed everything. A minute later, in the kickoff highlight, the Boca keeper cleared it as far as Lopez Rinaldi for a pass to Alvarez. Alvarez does a fantastic through ball for Dominguez to run from deep and meet and score. From there, we were able to close out the game.

Atletico Miniero lost on penalties for a group stage rematch against Gimnasia (LP). They were tight games in the group stage and the league game we played was a draw. This could also go either way but I'm quietly confident.

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We played three league games and won all of them. We were fantastic against Velez and Newell's before a comfortable performance against Lanus. It feels like we can really do this. Especially as River struggled slightly with a draw against Estudiantes and a loss to Independiente whilst also being knocked out on penalties in the Copa Libertadores to them. Despite being 4 points ahead of River Plate and 9 ahead of Boca, we can't let up just yet. We're playing well but a continued drop in form for River Plate would be great.

I'll return in October for the Quarter Final of the Copa Argentina against Huracan. By then, we'll know if we're in the final of the Copa Libertadores and in a position to win the title. We have potential banana peel games and an away game against River Plate.

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Gimnasia (Mendoza) Play All Argentine Copa Libertadores Final

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It was a frustrating first leg. We were dominant and had a man advantage. With a 1-0 lead, I went aggressive to try and extend that lead late on. Frustratingly, it had the opposite effect as they scored a 94th minute equaliser. I'm confident we should win away but it's more of a case of how we should. Fortunately, it doesn't matter with a comfortable game supplemented by a Diaz double for a 3-1 win on aggregate. It's a fantastic result and I feel like we can win it.

But it means that to win the Copa Argentina and the Copa Libertadores, we have to beat Huracan.

Spoiler

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In a Copa Libertadores Final preview, we played Huracan in the Quarter Finals of the Copa Argentina. Gomez and Galarza were out due to International duty with Colombia and Paraguay. It wasn't an easy game. Both teams deserved a penalty shootout at the very minimum. However, Maxi Diaz, scored the only goal of the game 6 minutes after half time. We're in the Copa Argentina Semi Final where we play Velez.

The other game is Newell's and Vila Dalmine. I'd have rather played Newell's for a more easy Semi Final but the final would be deserved. If it wasn't already, we've already played teams such as Independiente and Huracan. Reaching a final means we had to beat another big team. That's after beating Boca and Gimnasia (LP) in the Copa Libertadores. We're not getting easy runs in these competitions.

Spoiler

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Not being in the Copa Libertadores really helped River Plate in these fixtures. However, it doesn't excuse losing against Belgrano. We should have beaten them comfortably but we just didn't and I can't explain how. Copa Libertadores hangovers explain the draw against Godoy Cruz and the poor loss to River Plate. A fully fresh River Plate side played us who needed to rotate with the difficulty of fixture congestion because of our success. 5-1 is a frustrating result and they didn't deserve it. We even took the lead on the 7th minute but our rotation and lack of freshness in the rotated players hurt us.

Being tied on points with River Plate, we just need to not mess up. We don't have massive games outside of Independiente so they should be winnable. We've played well enough to progress in these competitions against difficult opposition. Rosario, Patronato and Banfield should be a walkover.

I don't know when I'll return. After the Copa Libertadores is a definite as that deserves their own post.

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Posted (edited)

GIMNASIA (MENDOZA) WIN THE COPA LIBERTADORES!

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It was a tight, but nervy affair. As expected, both teams were settling themselves in so the first half turned into more of a stalemate with few chances. Settling the nerves meant it was even at half time. It was even until the 57th minute where Cordoba intercepted the ball with only the defence, Dominguez and Diaz ahead of him. Cordoba chose a low through ball to Dominguez where he was one on one, made no mistake and scored past the keeper. Only 8 minutes later, in the 65th, Ossa crossed into Carabali to equalise.

It was frustrating but we had the potential and fight. Frustratingly, we lost Funes to injury which hurt our chances slightly but a red card for Zuleta for a last man foul on Dominguez gave us a man advantage. It would help for penalties but we didn't need it. In the 89th minute, a passing triangle from Dominguez to Gomez to Alvarez let Dominguez run free and Alvarez passed for another clear, one on one chance which he would score.

We were slightly nervy as we closed the game out with 6 minutes of added time but we didn't need to be. We are Copa Libertadores champions.

Now we have one game we have to win to give River Plate no chance at the title. We play Rosario who are 20th. They won against Newell's to relegate them. Rosario are already relegated. It should be a walkover and a party. Otherwise, we rely on River Plate to fail to win. Then we play Vila Dalmine for a potential Domestic Double.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

GIMNASIA (MENDOZA) WIN THE DOMESTIC DOUBLE!

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Sometimes, you look at a fixture like this and hope it doesn't produce a banana skin result. Fortunately, those nerves eased when Diaz scored in the 3rd minute followed by a 7th minute goal from Cordoba. They brought one back in the 11th minute to end a frantic start to the game. It was nervy since River Plate were winning against Velez and it didn't seem like they'd throw that result away. Fortunately, a goal on the stroke of half time from Gomez made it 3-1 at half time. Dominguez made it 4 in the 65th minute and Hidalgo made it 5 in the 84th.

We're league champions. We had to win and did emphatically.

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The first half was incredible in the cup win over Vila Dalmine. It took 19 minutes until Funes slotted one home before Dominguez was handed the ball from Cordoba to blast it into the back of the net. They got a goal back in the 36th minute through Tinari before Diaz rounded his keeper on the stroke of half time for a third. The second half was quiet until the 90th minute where they had a chance and a player free on the line in a goalmouth scramble to make it 3-2. They didn't get another goal and we are Copa Argentina winners.

That's me out of Gimnasia (Mendoza). Hopefully, they don't get gutted too much in January and the following years to keep up the success but I'm done here. There's no reason for me to stay. It's just about finding that next step. I've done well here. Bringing them from the Primera Nacional to the Liga Profesional then the Copa Sudamericana then a quadruple including the Recopa Sudamericana.

In terms of the next step, I'm not entirely sure. What I could do is wait until the World Cup for openings. There aren't any National Teams open I would likely take to any competition. What I could do is wait until the end of the American season to see if an MLS job comes up to go as the underdog continentally against Mexican sides. That would be fascinating in a weird and unusual league for squad registration.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 7/32
40 minutes ago, corinthiano said:

Amazing season in Argentina, congratulations on taking a team outside of Buenos Aires to the top!

Yeah. I built the team well. Lots of guys on frees and End of Contracts. Though crucial signings for money pushed us over the line and created the core players in the team. There's a lot of potential to sell for big money and I wouldn't be surprised if they do. Especially with a reputation boost from winning the league and Copa Libertadores. It was just a small window of opportunity for that team to succeed. Hopefully, they sell for big money and take advantage of the upgraded facilities. 

I've simmed to January so far and they've listed a number of backups so hopefully, they won't gut the team too quickly. I upgraded a load of facilities and got a stadium expansion to about 14,000. They could do with a new, and bigger, stadium to bring more money in since that became the limiting factor. We were just bleeding money throughout and big teams hadn't realised the amount of money they could sign our players for yet. £10m for a player is still game changing for that club.

I've added about three players to my list to watch. Ever Gomez was standout in defensive midfield at 22. It would amaze me if he never gets to Europe. Maximillain Diaz is another on the wing and up front. I tried to sell him to a couple of clubs in Spain last year for some extra funds since he's 23. The same goes for Nicolas Cordoba and Alejandro Fossati. Cordoba's 21 and was a key player at points this season and the same for Fossati. I can see a reasonably sized club taking a chance on them.

In South Africa, I signed a player for £200k from Jomo Cosmos and then sold him for £325k to Juventus with a 50% sell on clause. They sold him to Bristol City in the Premier League for £11.5m where he was sold to West Ham and has been a regular starter for a few years now. That's the kind of level I'm expecting those guys reach.

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Posted (edited)

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When I joined this club, they had nothing. Their Wiki says they have a few regional cups and titles but nothing beyond that. They had a massive history and we joined them in 2029 with the club at 121 years old. They had not much and had clear areas to improve.

We fought well in the first season and we made our way out of the relegation zone. I got the best out of the players we had to fight through 2029 and 2030 to achieve promotion in the second season. It took until the inter-league playoff where we defeated a poor Argentinos Juniors 4-0 to be promoted. It was comfortable after the disappointment of losing the Primera Nacional playoffs.

In our first season in the Liga Profesional de Futbol, we struggled for parts but we weren't as bad as the odds showed. We lost form and were in the relegation zone until we came back and made the Copa Sudamericana in 2031. We sold Guakinchay and Tello in January. Key signings which brought in money to create a plan for us. Signing kids and high ability for low wages. Brian Funes was one of those who came in on a free after we looked at him for a loan a year and a half before. He joined on loan but a mistake in the loan contract meant he was recalled. It was frustrating since he was fantastic for us. A real upgrade in a key position and his second loan was much better on our finances.

It was fantastic but financial issues meant we had to look for budget signings and one of those were Colombian Julio Dominguez. He joined for the 2032 season and was spectacular. For a while, he dominated the scoring charts despite the tactic not being high-scoring at the time. Another signing was Felix Galarza. The Paraguayan was signed for £5k. A real budget signing who was promoted to starter for the final season when Cordero left the club. He became a standout player and has definitely been worth that £5k we paid. 

Our centre back position essentially became Uruguayan focused. Duarte had joined whilst we were winning the African Championship of Nations with Senegal B. He was signed for £71k and became a key player when we joined. He never left the starting position and became the backup right back when it was necessary. Nelson Sierra joined from Liverpool (in Uruguay) for £1.2m. He's a fantastic young player who should be a profit for the club. In his first season, he was a key starter. Always looking for a deal, I continued the Uruguayan trend at Centre Back with the signing of Alejandro Fossati for the 2032 season from Danubio. For him, £625k was a fantastic investment into the club and showed how I wanted to improve the team. He should bring a profit when they sell him to a bigger, maybe European, club.

In 2031, we signed Hugo Messi for our Goalkeeping position for £750k. This prompted the sale of an unhappy Tello the next year for £2.9m. A healthy investment into the club and prompted the purchase of a further improvement in Cabrera from New England. He was an upgrade when it felt like Messi should be better. Although he cost a maximum of £2.5m, he was definitely a fantastic buy. At the moment, he's on the fringes of the Argentinian National Team with a call up as a replacement in the final season.

Funes represented an upgrade at Central Midfield when I waited for him to come in on a free. In that time, I continued to look for fantastic, bargain buys. One of those included Ever Gomez from America de Cali in July 2032. Since he joined, he was a star. Immediately, he was on the level I wanted for this team and to win the Copa Libertadores. His penalties, corners and free kicks were great. Although they were matched later on, he was a key player who should move to Europe in a big money move. He could win the UEFA Champions League or Europa League and he should. He's not at the absolute top level yet but I know he can fit in. The final piece of the puzzle was signed in 2032, as well. Nicolas Cordoba is on Funes' level and could do the same as Ever Gomez. We signed him from Instituto as a £2.6m signing as a statement of intent. He's the type of player this type of club should be hoovering up. Throughout his season with the club, he was crucial with fantastic assists from open play and scored a number of key goals.

Despite transitioning from Wingers to a more central play, we had key players there. Nicolas Romano was a fantastic player who is at the club in real life from their youth development as was Tello. He was a fantastic servant for the club and would have suited the Sergio Perez role in the centre of midfield. However, £1.3m isn't money we should turn down for a player. Especially when Romano was starting to age and lose that key pace. His replacement was Sergio Perez. (his real name) An Argentinian regen who was solid on the wing but we converted to midfield since his physicals and experience suited constant running in the midfield and being creative. Despite being the less exciting of the midfield quartet, he provided key assists and was crucial in our Quadruple winning season. For the big name, we signed Maximiliano Diaz for £2.7m. The plan was to flip that for the £7m release clause whilst he was struggling in a Winger position. I just couldn't find a position for him to perform for a few seasons. He wasn't bad in any way. It just felt like we weren't getting the most out of him. When we switched to the central formation, he was Dominguez's partner having been an Inside Forward. That's where he starred. The central and offensive focused role really suited him and ensured he'd score goal after goal. Usually, if Dominguez couldn't find a goal, he could and that was crucial across our competitions.

For the next club, it's about waiting for the right opportunity. I'm open to managing an MLS club to win the CONCACAF Champions League against Mexican giants or going to Asia where we take on nations like China and South Korea. With the 2034 World Cup, there is the opportunity to wait until then for the right opportunity to win something with a Nation. I don't want to go to a big team since I don't want to wait 4 years for another World Cup which counts out South America and Europe. The next plan will be Asia or North America. The question is whether I go for a club or a nation.

In terms of the long-term, I might go and add another stipulation for some more unique clubs in Germany and Spain. The idea is to go for an East German club for a first win for an East German club in the Bundesliga. It would add something interesting to the challenge. For Spain, the plan could be to go to the African clubs. The options for this are UD Melilla and UD Ceuta. They're both currently in the Segunda Division RFEF so it would be a slightly bigger challenge. I've already taken Racing Santander to the Champions League on this game so it shouldn't be too much of an extension.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Welcome to Mexico. Welcome to Mineros!

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We've found an opportunity that suited me. Mineros are moving to a new, 38,245 seater stadium in 2036. What better way to christen that stadium than to make them a fantastic Liga MX side? They have recent success in the league so it's possible to get promoted quickly however we do that. In the Apertura, they were unbeaten before losing in the Semi Final to Tecos 3-2 on aggregate. Somehow, they were second in the Apertura league to a Queretaro team who beat them by 4 points. This is a team that can get North America done quickly and it wouldn't surprise me if we do. The manager was sacked after a poor run in the Clausura where they massively lost form and hadn't won since the end of January and we're going into April. Fortunately, the schedule isn't as congested as other leagues but the Liga BBVA MX has a lot of competitions for us to win.

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With three games to go, this is how the Liga BBVA Expansion MX stands. The season preview has us in second behind Queretaro and we have a few players in the Dream XI. We're likely to qualify for the Closing Stage Preliminary Round unless we somehow get 4th but that's really unlikely with three games to go. I feel like we can win the Clausura despite being 11th. Our team is good enough and I tend to overperform the odds. I feel like we should win this more than an absolute underdog performance. Queretaro are also underperforming in the Clausura so hopefully, we can overcome the Average Points for a potential promotion. I checked the league rules and it doesn't say how to be promoted. Relegation is through Average Points.

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Frustrating but Promising Run Gives Mineros A Chance into 2034/35

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Yes, we lost to Altenos Tepa but it was an outlier. We lost 3-1 but we were dominant but couldn't get a shot on target whilst they converted theirs. It's frustrating but it shows how good we can be in such a short period of time. In terms of the other games, we were better and it shows how we will be promoted quickly. Against Morelia, we were the better team but just didn't take our chances. Any games we lose with this team in the Expansion league will be underdog wins because we're not the underdogs in this league. We've come into this league with a solid squad.

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2034/35 Season Preview

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So we're regarded as the favourites for the league but the focus should be the Average Points. Being a relegated side, Dorados go above us as are Universidad de Guadalajara. A good season according to expectations should mean we're promoted but the manager's poor form has definitely affected our Average Points here. I'm assuming that the team topping the Average Points is promoted as that's the case with Queretaro last season. I'll keep track of this at the halfway stage to see how the team is performing and how possible it is to surpass those two teams. Hopefully, we do win in this league as much as the Preview says to get promoted to where it really counts and face those American sides in the CONCACAF Champions League.

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Top of the Table Halfway Through the Apertura

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We're playing pretty well and we're on top in every game. Every game we lose I'm frustrated because we're not winning as I know it's a missed opportunity. I don't want to have that banana peel of dominating but missing out on Average Points. Yes, it would help us for next season but I think we should be in the Liga BBVA MX next season. Every single game, we've been the better team and deserved to win. There hasn't been a game where this team hasn't turned up. Chances just didn't convert on the day when we lost. Against better teams, I think we should win more comfortably as they're more scared. We saw that against Atlante who we beat 6-1. We got another 6-1 win against a struggling team in Altenos Tepa who we lost to in the Clausura Preliminary Round.

In terms of signings, I focused on younger players and focused on signing those the club can sell long term. For example, somebody from the NYCFC Academy popped up on our Scouting List and we signed him immediately. His improvement was expected to be good and he was cheap. Even if he developed to become a backup player, he'd add something to the squad. As it stands, he's an 18 year old in our Starting XI. We've got a few of those with one of those at the club before I joined. The regulations for the league required Mexican, Under 23 players with a limit of 8 players Over 24.

What I've discovered is that Average Points only matters for relegation. To be promoted, if this thread is correct, we have to win the Final between the Winners of the Apertura and Clausura. Checking Queretaro's last season, that makes sense as to how we get promoted.

In the Mexican Cup, we won our first two games of the Group Stage against Tigres and Tapatio. 

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

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