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About BadManager

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  • About Me
    Canberra, Australia


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    Cricket, Australian Football (as in AFL), FM (duh)
  1. [FM12] From Hopeless Case to Lost Cause

    May 2024 S.P.A.L. / San Marino Serie B / Europe S.P.A.L. (10th 12-14-10) v Crotone (17-13-6) – Serie B, Game 37 of 42 [0:0 draw in Game 16] I could not find a workable combination in this match. At no time did we find a way forward, much less a real chance on goal. We conceded twice as well, once through sloppiness and once from a well placed free kick which also should have been stopped. There were some questions over handball on the first goal but it looked clean to me; and even if there was an arm involved the lobbed ball should have been stopped. Reggina (15th 14-3-20) v S.P.A.L. (10th 12-14-11) – Serie B, Game 38 of 42 [2:2 draw in Game 17] We again struggled to find a path toward the opponent’s goal, the lack of height or strength in the forward structure was really hurting. [FM crash, lost 2-0] Reggina (15th 14-3-20) v S.P.A.L. (10th 12-14-11) – Serie B, Game 38 of 42 [2:2 draw in Game 17] [Replayed after crash] Very much against the run of play, Kolaric made an intercept, waited on the ball for a long time, then went long to a running Lertua who managed to put it past the goalie. We had a lead from no play whatsoever. An hour into the game and Lertua had a second. After a slow, steady build-up he decided to fire from the edge of the area and got lucky. The ball struck the crossbar and the goalkeeper’s hand in that order. We held on despite ourselves. I sort of feel a biut of a cheat claiming the points; but I guess it is consistent with losing points due to FM crashes earlier in the season. You guys can judge. Damir Kolaric will miss the remainder of the season, after spraining an ankle. That leaves Giacomelli as left back, and removes the flexibility of playing Kolaric in defence or on a wing. Wow, Reggina got destroyed in the Friday night game, 7-1 to another mid-table side. S.P.A.L. (10th 13-14-11) v Pavia (22nd 5-9-24) – Serie B, Game 39 of 42 [4:1 win in Game 18] Pavia were already confirmed for relegation, eight points adrift from 21st they were almost guaranteed a last placed finish. Francomacarro made a return to the starting eleven, having been rested mid-week. Urbani, however, began on the pine again. [And FM crashed again, after an unconvincing 2-0 win : its looking like I will see out this season and end the career there] S.P.A.L. (10th 13-14-11) v Pavia (22nd 5-9-24) – Serie B, Game 39 of 42 [4:1 win in Game 18] Same selection notes as above. An odd opening goal. Francomacarro running down the right almost to the corner flag, then along the line, a cross to nobody was intercepted by a defender who passed to a teammate who knocked it to Francomacarro on the post as the goalkeeper stood still. It took until 77 minutes for a second to come, Lertua very open, shooting from 25 yards and finding the target. Lertua might just have ensured he stays next season (if I play next season). It had been that he and Accetta were going to be on the market, but with improved form and Mendicino’s retirement Lertua might be worth retaining. Cagliari (1st 24-6-9) v S.P.A.L. (10th 14-14-11) – Serie B, Game 40 of 42 [1:0 win in Game 19] Urbani started, and Mendicino was back as well. Valdivia was also available, but not picked for this game. He is a loaner, and might not play again. Within 140 second, Djurikin had scored for the table toppers; and that was his 30th for the season. The two guys I had specifically set to mark were both directly involved with the goal. After 16 minutes we drew level, Francomacarro seeing Pendola coming in off the right, and the latter slotting under the diving goalkeeper’s right arm. And then, a lead. I thought Mendicini was offside and was the goalscorer, the goal stood and was credited as an own goal against the defender who challenged Mendicino. Ten minutes into the second half Cagliari made it 2-2 with an amazing rocket header from the corner. None of my players can get that much power by boot. The crowd were unhappy when Francomacarro restored our lead. At the start, as expected, it looked that we would get slaughtered. In the end, we had the better of the luck; but any of the three results would have been a fair reflection of play. It also put Lecce on top, who I have been telling the media would win when they ask. Spain, France and the Czech Republic all had Under23 jobs available just before the Olympics. Tempting but I did not apply. S.P.A.L. (10th 15-14-11) v Siena (3rd 21-13-6) – Serie B, Game 41 of 42 [2:1 loss in Game 20] Amazingly, with two games to go we could make playoffs by winning both and getting lucky in other results to finish 6th. A win would also ensure there would be playoffs, as Siena would not be able to get more than 8 points ahead of fourth placed Crotone. Impossible, but a dream. A horrible start, the first real action of the match ended with a long ball headed home directly for Siena. And four minutes later it was 2-0 as our defence could not track players or ball, allowing an open player an easy shot. Mendicino’s cross almost set Francmacarro up, but the latter’s slide just pushed the ball against the upright. Just as we started pressing hard, we gave up a third sloppily, Giacomelli got to a corner but couldn’t control the ball and sent it backwards into the net. There is one simple difference why Siena are going to Serie A (probably) and we are not. Siena take their chances, we created just as many and in every aspect except finishing them we were at least as good. 3-0 is a bad way to bring the run to a halt though. So many teams with so much to play for in the final match. The title and other automatic promotion spot are both up for grabs, a playoff will eventuate but those sides (probably) set. At the opther end our oppnents, Juve Stabia, can ensure a relegation playoff if they win. A loss and they definitely go down. The NACL finished early in the month, and European Champs League later. North American Champions League ============================================================== |Previous Years | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2012 |FC Dallas (USA) 2 |Colorado (USA) 0 | |2013 |Xolos Tiajuana (Mexico) 3|Chivas (Mexico) 1 | |2014 |America (Mexico) 5|Monterrey (Mexico) 0 | |2015 |New York (USA) 3 a |Seattle (USA) 3 | |2016 |America (Mexico) 4 |New York (USA) 0 | |2017 |Cruz Azul (Mexico) 3 |America (Mexico) 2 | |2018 |America (Mexico) 4 |Pumas (Mexico) 3 | |2019 |Monterrey (Mexico) 5 |Cruz Azul (Mexico) 0 | |2020 |Monterrey (Mexico) 5 |America (Mexico) 3 | |2021 |Necaxa (Mexico) 7 |DC United (USA) 1 | |2022 |New York (USA) 4 |Monterrey (Mexico) 2 | |2023 |Monterrey (Mexico) 4 |Saprissa (Costa Rica)1 | |============================================================| |2024 North American Champions League | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | | | |America (Mexico) 1 4 5 | |Alajulense (Costa Rica) 2 1 3 | | | |Chivas (Mexico) 2 5 7 | |Tauro (Panama) 0 2 2 | | | |Real Salt Lake (USA) 1 2 3 | |Tigres (Mexico) 3 1 4 | | | |Saprissa (Costa Rica) 3 1 4 | |Seattle (USA) 3 3 6 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | | | |America (Mexico) 4 2 6 | |Seattle (USA) 2 3 5 | | | |Tigres (Mexico) 0 0 0 | |Chivas (Mexico) 0 1 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2024 North American Champions League Final | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |America (Mexico) 3 1 4 | |Chivas (Mexico) 2 2 4 away gls| ============================================================== European Champions League ============================================================== |Previous Years | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2011/12|FC Barcelona (Spain) 6 | | |Arsenal (England) 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2012/13|Manchester United (England) 3 | | |Manchester City (England) 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2013/14|FC Barcelona (Spain) 3 | | |Olypique Lyonnais (France) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2014/15|Manchester United (England) 2 | | |FC Barcelona (Spain) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2015/16|FC Barcelona (Spain) 2 | | |FCP (Portugal) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2016/17|Manchester City (England) 3 | | |Paris-St Germain (France) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2017/18|Chelsea (England) 3 | | |A.C. Milan (Italy) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2018/19|Manchester City (England) 2 penalties | | |Chelsea (England) 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2019/20|Manchester City (England) 3 | | |Manchester United (England) 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2020/21|FC Bayern Munchen (Germany) 1 penalties | | |Manchester City (England) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2021/22|FC Bayern Munchen (Germany) 2 | | |Manchester United (England) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2022/23|Olympique de Marseilles (France) 4 | | |Borussia Dortmund (Germany) 0 | |============================================================| |2023/24 European Champions League | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |Juventus (Italy) 1 0 3 | |Atletico Madrid (Spain) 2 1 1 | | | |Olympique Lyonnais (France) 3 1 1 | |FC Barcelona (Spain) 0 3 4 | | | |Arsenal (England) 3 1 4 | |FC Bayern Munchen (Germany) 1 3 4 pens | | | |Chelsea (England) 2 1 3 | |Real Madrid (Spain) 3 1 4 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi-Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |FC Bayern Munchen (Germany) 3 0 3 | |Real Madrid (Spain) 1 4 5 | | | |Olympique Lyonnais (France) 0 2 2 away gls| |Atletico Madrid (Spain) 0 2 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2024 European Champions League Final | | HT FT ET Pen | |Olympique Lyonnais (France) 2 3 | |Real Madrid (Spain) 1 2 | ==============================================================
  2. After 10 years with FM, my first career update

    Those injuries aren't ideal, but if you keep up the qualifying form in the Cup itself things are looking bright. The group looks kind. Sure, a game or two might not be easy, but World Cup matches aren't supposed to be easy. They really are almost friendlies with meaning, before the knockout stuff and things get real. Qualifying from the group should be a given, 9 points not a given but probable.
  3. [FM12] From Hopeless Case to Lost Cause

    April 2024 S.P.A.L. / San Marino Serie B / Europe S.P.A.L. (10th 11-11-10) v Pescara (14th 11-6-15) - Serie B, Game 33 of 42 [3:2 loss in Game 12] With Francomacarro out, I brought Cyril Durand in a little early and playing as a striker rather than his usual attacking mid position. No high balls, please. We were by far the better team for the whole ninety minutes. But the shot-taking, wow. Some were from distance, not huge, but understandable. Many were not, and just one on target from 13 is pretty bad. Nil-all is not what some of the team deserved, but those up forward certainly deserved no more than that. On the plus side, our first sell-out of the season. All 8455 seats taken, that's 8455 frustrated fans. Mendicino missed the next game thanks to his yellow card count. Vicenza (11th 10-14-9) v S.P.A.L. (10th 11-12-10) - Serie B, Game 34 of 42 [1:1 draw in Game 13] This game started with chances at both ends, no way would this be another scoreless match. Yet it took half an hour for the first to come, Lertua breaking a 1000+ minute goal drought, his selection over Accetta was based on match fitness not scoring record. Vicenza were looking better around the ground though. Five minutes later Durand slid in on what appeared to be a poorly hit ball, just edging out a defender looking to clear and we went two up. The second half was a much quieter affair, which we controlled without either side really looking in danger of scoring. Which, with a two goal lead, was fine by me. Along with his first goal Lertua picked up his fourth yellow, as did under-performing midfielder Lascano. To cut the midfield deeper, Urbani will now miss three weeks. He hurt himself in a tackle during that match. As it turns out Lascano would have missed anyway, he took a short term injury at training. S.P.A.L. (10th 12-12-10) v Frosinone (8th 13-15-6) - Serie B, Game 35 of 42 [4:0 loss in Game 14] - televised Probably no team this season has so thoroughly put us to the sword in every facet of the game. This team genuinely scares me. And without Urbani or Francomacarro, any hope of midfield competitiveness or scoring a goal seemed dead before we started. We had to make sure mistakes were kept to a minimum, and actually did a fairly good job of controlling the ball early. Alkmost half an hour in we took a lead. Quadrelli scoring directly from a free kick, apparently his first goal for us which surprises me a little. I know I normally have him set to reduce the amount of shiots he takes because he is poor at it, but assumed he had scored at some point. Nearing half time, long free kick over our defence, opponent runs on unmarked, heads home, old story, 1-1. For most of the second half we looked the better team. Then Mendicino was brutally brought down and with Valdivia tired the side had to be changed around considerably. In the end, 1-1 was perhaps a little disappointing given how much of the game we controlled. But we didn't really look like scoring, so its a fair reflection. Valdivia will miss three weeks, and Mendicino four. This makes any planned forward structure hard to maintain. Catania (6th 16-9-10) v S.P.A.L. (10th 12-13-10) - - Serie B, Game 36 of 42 [4:1 loss in Game 15] Catania may be playing for a playoff spot, depending on what happens at 3rd and 4th. I'm just playing to remain top half. The side available, or at least then one chosen, was way off the pace. The defence, however, held strong for a half even with a lot shots taken by Catania; and we went to the break level. Most shots were not from particularly dangerous positions and were under pressure. The second half followed the same pattern as the first, except Mbiakop was forced to make more saves. Nil-all was an absolute steal. Francomacarro is back in full training, it might be a while before he can see out 90 minutes though. We seem destined for mid-table, unless things fall apart again in the remaining six games.
  4. After 10 years with FM, my first career update

    Nice start in international management, and Roma can't say you didn't leave them in good shape. Very good shape indeed.
  5. [FM12] From Hopeless Case to Lost Cause

    March 2024 S.P.A.L. / San Marino Serie B / Europe The first three games of the month should have been nine points, against 21st, 20th and 19th. That was always likely to end up being two points, given the inability to take the easy wins. But, before that, a San Marino home friendly against Cambodia. We gave up an early own goal, then took the whole match to draw back level. I was hoping to see who would stand up when not against a vastly superior side and a result is possible. I found nobody. 1-1. Virtus Lanciano (21st 6-6-16) v S.P.A.L. (12th 9-9-10) - Serie B, Game 29 of 42 [1:0 win in Game 8] This was a really poor quality game. Our hosts were well on top despite playing rubbish football,so I tried upping the tempo, to see if we could break down their slow play. Durand got the score, but wasn't fully fit after taking a knock in the opening moments. It was two in quick succession, Mendicino slid in on an opponent, won the ball, and went on a half pitch solo run taking the shot with goalie starting to come off his line and caught in no-man's land. Mendicino had two after 78 minutes, heading home a floated chip from Valdivia. And quickly 3-1, Mabiakop brought off his line almost closed down the shot, it ricocheted to an unprepared Kolaric and from him into goal. A couple of managers, from French Ligue 2, have been spotted looking at Cyril Durand over the past few games. They may be disappointed by his injury, he would have missed the next game through reaching the yellow card limit anyway but may be out for four weeks. Defender/defensive-mid Luzi looks set to be out for two months. By the time he gets match fitness back he might not play again this season. S.P.A.L. (11th 10-9-10) v Padova (20th 5-5-17) - Serie B, Game 30 of 42 [3:1 win in Game 9] – televised We got out to 3-0 lead, ended up with a 3-2 win, and FM crashed again. I suspect this career may be drawing to close through FM instability. S.P.A.L. (11th 10-9-10) v Padova (20th 5-5-17) - Serie B, Game 30 of 42 [3:1 win in Game 9] – televised So, try again. We put pressure on them early, but failed to get a shot on target of sic in a row. Of course, when Padova were prevented with a free kick it curled and dipped to go in. We had some luck ten minutes later, Urbani trying a little pass in the area, it was deflected back to him and he knocked it home. And in the 40th an lnlucky deflection fell to Padova's Madrigali, who finished sending us down 1-2. And very quickly it should have been 1-3. 2-2 after an hour. Francomacarro took a long ball and ran up the wing with it, then cut inside and passed off to Mendicino for a simple finish. We really should have won that, but just didn't produce the polish. Valdivia had a stinker, and needs to fire with Durand out. Youth intake announced. There is not a lot of promise there if the assistant's summaries are anything to go by. Grossetto (19th 8-7-15) v S.P.A.L. (11th 10-10-10) - Serie B, Game 31 of 42 [3:0 win in Game 10] Seasons don't get much more “meh” than over halfway through, with wins, draws and losses all level. Is a 12-12-12 finish with a zero goal difference on the way? The hosts were coming off a 3-0 win over Torino, so could not be taken lightly despite their position on the table. We got an early goal against the trend of play, Mendicino is retiring but I may need to ask him to reconsider now he has found form again. Grossetto were committing fouls everywhere, with no card. And then suddenly, midfield with the ball well away, one of their players slid in studs up and a straight red the result. Grossetti were showing glimpses of how they beat Torino, and after the break a superb free kick to head combination made scores level. It dodn't take long for Mendicino to get us back the lead, although credit really belonged to the long pass by Mbamba. And Francomacarro finished a quick counter move for 3-1 as Quadrelli came off due to a knock. Mbamba will miss the next game. And I asked Mendicino to reconsider retirement. I expect he won't play a lot of games next year, but his form right now suggests he might still play a role. His pace has been shown up on occasion, but once form returned his skill has made up for that. First time round, now began a sequence of seven winless game. I need to do better this time against those teams. Torino (3rd 16-7-8) v S.P.A.L. (11th 11-10-10) - Serie B, Game 32 of 42 [2:1 loss in Game 11] The way Torino started it was hard to believe they were in a mini-form slump. They were everywhere on the field, at times I wasn't sure we had put any players out there. But we got to half time unscathed. A lot of our players had done a lot of chasing, and the whole side was exhausted as the game went into its final 15 minutes. Plus, Francmacarro had been subbed off through injury. We've certainly had games where we were outplayed even worse, but that was definitely a bonus point. The physio report on Francomacarro was not good, out for 4-5 weeks. Overall, not too bad a month and we sit around mid-table. Climbing any further looks difficult, and it won't take much to drop back to 17th. At least relegation should not be an issue any more.
  6. After 10 years with FM, my first career update

    Fair enough, I would probably do the same at a big (or moderate) nation for the story narrative. At a tiny nation, not so much; I think it can still happen with very small countries.
  7. [FM17] Hastings United - starting from Lvl 22 (++Difficulty)

    That's disappointing, but more importantly I'm sure everyone hopes you are over the illness.
  8. After 10 years with FM, my first career update

    Its a shame you fell back and couldn't really push for the title. But CL next season is huge, and a Euro cup win would be a nice piece of silverware to mark the season with.
  9. [FM12] From Hopeless Case to Lost Cause

    February 2024 S.P.A.L. / San Marino Serie B / Europe Speaking of Empoli's cup run S.P.A.L. (17th 7-7-9) v Empoli (4th 11-9-3) - Serie B, Game 24 of 42 [0:0 in Game 3] The old “can't win if you can't score” seemed to be coming back. We had good shots early, but failed to actually put them in the net. Empoli looked jut as dangerous from far fewer chances, under more pressure and in worse positions. We finally broke through early in the second half, with Mendicino running on to the loose ball. Or, so I thought, the assistant was having none of it and his flag was up. 57 in, for sure, Durand with the strike crafted by Pendola down the right. He was abysmal early in the season, but seems to have got used to his surroundings now and getting regular game time again. Nine minutes later, terrible pass from Kolaric inboard missed Perez and allowed an Empoli striker to run in to equalise. And just a few minutes after that, Francomacarro was backed up against the end line, squirted the ball back to Durand who fired away for his second. The 2-2 equaliser was amazingly horrid. With Mbiakop having saved and ended up in the goals himself, Giacomelli attempted to clear the rebound, but Luzi was in the way and Mbiakop couldn't get back over the line before the ball. After 81 minutes, we took a lead for the third time. A splendid through ball to Francomacarro who almost went the left upright again. So, how would we blow it now? Empoli went a man down on 88 minutes, surely setting us up for a cruel loss. But, no, after what for an hour looked like a scoreless draw, five goals came; and a win. Apparently that makes Cyril Durand the club's all time record goalscorer with 72. And Mendicino has announced his retirement at the end of the season. Fair enough. Mendicino's likely replacement next season, or soon after, is out for two months after being injured in the under 20s game. Bologna (9th 10-6-8) v S.P.A.L. (14th 8-7-9) - Serie B, Game 25 of 42 [1:1 in Game 4] A short turn-around for this med-week game against one of our rivals. An early free kick, an early goal down. It was well taken, but nevertheless annoying. Eight minutes in, Mendicino wins a penalty for us. Which is the only way we could possibly hope to score, we we're knocking the ball around well in the opponent's area but not opening up clear chances. Willy Urbani scores, its level on the board but we're being outplayed. Amazing stuff 17 minutes in, Mendicino passing it in from the left is normal enough, Urbani scoring in general play is not (good player, but set to rarely shoot) – and a lead in these circumstances is rare. 65 in Bologna drew level, through a goal that looked clearly offside to me. Not by a lot, but he was definitely offside when the ball was played. Nice finish though, and it counted. With the same starting eleven as Saturday, at around 80 minutes I made three subs to get fresh legs on the park. Making all three was clearly a risk with any injuries, but we did have a sustaoned period with the ball around their goal afterwards. Sadly that period amounted to nothing except a string of corners and a couple of close calls. S.P.A.L. (13th 8-8-9) v Cesena (11th 10-3-12) - Serie B, Game 26 of 42 [1:0 win in Game 5] Match postponed due to snow. Sassuolo (11th 9-6-10) v S.P.A.L. (15th 8-8-9) - Serie B, Game 26 of 42 [1:0 loss in Game 6] Thanks to the postponed game we had a week and half off. Both teams were slow and deliberate in the build-ups, all amounting to nothing. Sassuolo made the first fast break, and went one up as a result. Our tackling had been horrible, including two missed challenges at the start of that bit of play. 34 minutes in Sassuolo score again, this time for us. A cross to Francomacarro's head was cut off, but only for the defender to miscue and knock it in for us. Only for Saauolo to take the lead again, Mbiakop stopped the one on one coming off his line but no defenders got back to clean up the rebound. The second half was even, but without score or opportunity. So, do I keep my job? S.P.A.L. (16th 8-8-10) v Cesena (12th 10-4-12) - Serie B, Game 27 of 42 [1:0 win in Game 5] Early days, we took control and for once were not outnumbered every time the ball got near goal. It took 17 minutes before two short passes inside resulted in a Francomacarro tap-in despite having two defenders hanging off him. Five minutes later Mendicino dod what I had been wanting all season, cut inside from the left win, found a way through, shot and scored. Durand had taken a knock, and Pendola forced off, but Cyril still provided the corner for Francomacarro's second. Corner, head, net, 3-0 in first half stoppage time. Giacomelli was brought down inside the box after a corner he took had been cleared back to him. Francomacrro put it wide, blowing a simple hattrick chance. We forced their goalkeeper into two brilliant saves, but failed to score again. Instead dropping one in stoppage time. Pendola out for perhaps five weeks, leaving Valdivia to start on the right. S.P.A.L. (12th 9-8-10) v Salerno (15th 8-9-10) - Serie B, Game 28 of 42 [1:0 loss in Game 7] After every win, we play badly. We really needed to do better here and somewhat solidify ourselves back near mid-table. Mbiakop played his 100th league match, and Urbani his 100th for S.P.A.L. After almost having the perfect opening, but narrowly missing, we conceded in poor fashion. I was impressed by Piccini's second and third efforts when brought down, and then about 30 seconds later disappointed by his failure to tackle an opponent who ran clean past him opening up a simple counter and a resulting goal. After numerous should-have-done-but-didn't moments, we finally got back on level terms late in the half. There was a long, unchallenged run from Valdivia where he crossed and found Mendicino's head. That one lapse, initially from Piccini, cost us badly in a game where we were by far the better team. As I forgot the January screenshot, those fixtures are included here.
  10. [FM12] From Hopeless Case to Lost Cause

    January 2024 S.P.A.L. / San Marino Serie B / Europe I really don't like co-ownership, but a £425k offer from Bari for Mbiakop and he would remain our player for the duration is tempting. From the player's perspective it opens up a possible to move to Serie A later. And we would have time to find a replacement, if needed by then. I tried to up the initial fee and Bari withdrew. A similar offer was made for Lukas Dams, but I rejected that one outright. He has been improving a lot and getting regular game time, I think he can be quite valuable to this club. Colapitero is on his way to league rivals Frosinone, whose two goalkeepers are both over 30. Bacchetti approached asking for a contract termination. At £3.5k its probably worth removing a potential morale headache. He played 30 games for us last season, but only managed four very near halfway this season. S.P.A.L. (16th 6-6-8) v Juve Stabia (13th 6-8-6) – Serie B, game 21 of 42 The first half was all about us attacking and not scoring. There weren't many chances, but almost all were good ones that could have been scored from. I made some changes at half time to try and get more attack happening, instead Juve got on top and started pushing a now weakened, though not undermanned, defence. We got back on top when I set instructions more attacking again, but no score came. Difficult result to take to be honest, everything except the scoreboard said “comfortable win”. S.P.A.L. (16th 6-7-8) v Lecce (3rd 12-4-5) - Serie B, Game 22 of 42 [1:1 in Game 1] Chances both ways early, Perez hhitting the crossbar from a headed corner. We were first to score, again a corner. This time Luzi volleyed home for his first S.P.A.L. goal. Durand came off injured shortly afterwards, I replaced the attacking mid with a defensive mid. Its a long way out, but we have a lead, can make subs later if necessary and still have reasonably attacking instructions. Just as I was thinking we had got away with it, 86 minutes gone, a bad error left a Lecce striker one on one with Mbiakop. He was soundly beaten and spralwed on the ground nowhere near the path of the ball as it came off the upright and back into play. In the end we did hold on, despite Lecce clearly holding sway late. The media are starting to speculate this could be my last game in charge, the board are getting trigger happy apparently. Ascoli (10th 9-5-8) v S.P.A.L. (15th 7-7-8) [0:1 loss in Game 2] Despite his injury, Cyril Durand remained available and was picked. Valdivia came on to the bench, as Durand might not see out 90 minutes. Ascoli pressed hard, and an unfortunate own goal (crossbar, goalie's heel, net) was the result. The pattern remained much the same despite some tweaks here and there. And early in the second half it became 2-0, this time our defence wasn't caught out of position, it was just outplayed by a pinpoint cross. A move from Kolaric out of defence to the left win paid off, he pulled one back with 62 minutes played. Francomacarro with the assist. It was only our second real chance of the game. As stoppage time begins any hope of heroics is sunk, a mid-range effort struck hard for 3-1. The second half wasn't that bad, when compared to the first anyway. But the game was deservedly lost. In the cup, right at the end of the month, Serie B's Empoli continue their run; they knocked out AC Milan to advance to the semis. Order restored in the CWC, with the European cluib coming out on top. Club World Championship ============================================================== |Previous Years | |2011 |FC Barcelona (Spain) 2 |Santos (Brazil) 0| |2012 |FC Barcelona (Spain) 4 |Boca Juniors (Argentina) 0| |2013 |Manchester United (Eng)3 |ES Tunis (Tunisia) 1| |2014 |FC Barcelona (Spain) 2 |ES Tunis (Tuniaia) 0| |2015 |Manchester United (Eng)3 |Corinthians (Brazil) 0| |2016 |FC Barcelona (Spain) 4 |Flamengo (Brazil) 0| |2017 |Manchester City (Eng) 5 |Raja Casablancs (Mor.) 0| |2018 |Chelsea (England) 3 |Sao Paulo (Brazil) 1| |2019 |Manchester City (Eng) 4 |Corinthians (Brazil) 3| |2020 |Manchester City (Eng) 3 |Boca Juniors (Argentina) 0| |2021 |Bayern Munchen (Ger) 2 |Boca Juniors (Argentina) 1| |2022 |Sao Paulo (Brazil) 2 |Bayern Munchen (Germany) 1| |============================================================| |2023 Club World Championship | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | |Raja Casablanca (Morocco) 0 | |Asante Kotoko (Ghana) 2 | | | |Seongnam (South Korea) 1 | |Monterrey (Mexico) 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Fifth Placed Playoff | |Seongnam (South Korea) 3 | |Raja Casablanca (Morocco) 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi-Finals | |Asante Kotoko (Ghana) 0 | |Corinthians (Brazil) 2 | | | |Monterrey (Mexico) 0 | |Olympique de Marsreilles (France) 3 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Third Placed Playoff | |Asante Kotojo (Ghana) 2 pens | |Monterrey (Mexico) 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 Club World Championship Final | | HT FT ET Pen | |Olympique de Marseilles (France) 2 3 | |Corinthians (Brazil) 1 1 | ==============================================================
  11. [FM12] From Hopeless Case to Lost Cause

    December 2023 S.P.A.L. / San Marino Italian Serie B / Europe Its hardly a surprise to see the confidence update showing a lack of confidence from the board. I share that feeling. S.P.A.L. (17th 4-5-7) v Reggina (14th 6-0-10) – Serie B, Game 17 of 42 There were some good early signs, the ball at the right end of the pitch and us actually getting some half decent shots away rather than blazing blindly. I thought Francomacarro was in after about 8 minutes, a superb through ball which he ran on to but just nudged slightly wide. A couple of minutes later, time in the opposition area was rewarded with Iachettini nodding one home form a corner. We had a few more good looking moves, but not with that sustained pressure around the goal as each was cleared after a reasonable but not great attempt was made. A second came with just over an hour played, Francomacarro seemed to have been under pressure but knocked the ball on intelligently to put the defender on the wrong foot and then slid it past the goalie's left hand and just inside the right upright. Twenty shots to seven, but perhaps a more telling stat was seven clear cut chances to zero. 2-0 could, perhaps should, have been much more. But right now, three points and playing well is more than enough. ------ And then FM crashed before the option to save was available ------ S.P.A.L. (17th 4-5-7) v Reggina (14th 6-0-10) – Serie B, Game 17 of 42 (after FM crash) An early goal with Francomacarro getting through a defender and then beating the goalkeeper by just sneaking the ball in off the far upright. Four minutes into the match and a second goal, but this one was for Reggina. Just sloppy and left the man too open. Francomacrro got a second 13 minutes in to regain the lead, burning off three chasing defenders and again putting it in from the left upright. Almost an hour in Reggina drew level again, Bonassi in goal because of Mbiakop's poor form missing one he should have stopped. Reggina were probably marginally the better side by this point. Francomacarro put in a diving header from a long free kick that came so close as stoppage time began. 2-2. Quadrelli had come back into the starting eleven in recent times, but the youngster copped a three week injury in that game. Pavia (18th 4-4-9) v S.P.A.L. (17th 4-6-7) – Serie B, Game 18 of 42 Free, head, goal, one down, eight minutes. Straight up the middle, and to Durand who used having the whole goal face to go for to get it past their keeper. We were back on level terms 15 minutes in. And playing the undersized Durand had looked shaky in the opening minutes, Pavia dominating the air. Ten minutes in to the second half, Francomacarro took a knock. It looked like he could play on, but well under full fitness. I need to double check Durand's height, he scored a second. This time from the head, left unmarked on a long free kick. Anmd it became 3-1 not long after, Mendicino putting in a long ground ball for Francomacarro rather than his usual run and wasted finish. Francomacarro made no mistake, he is loving the left upright at the moment. And he also had a brace, scoring again in stoppage time. 4-1 flattered us, but we did deserve the points after a shaky start. News came through that Randall Pena, who I had evry early in my career and his, retired at the age of 29. The former Costa Rica captain twice played in runners-up sides in the Gold Cup. Two Central American nations Cups were his only silverware. He's not available to hire as staff. In other news, San Marino dropped ten places to 151st in the world. Only two non-Serie A sides have made it to the first round proper of the Italian Cup. Empoli and SerieC1A's Modena. How much did we need that win? This much. S.P.A.L. (16th 5-6-7) v Cagliari (1st 11-2-5) – Serie B, Game 19 of 42 As expected Cagliari utterly dominated possession, but we held our own in terms of creating chances. The table leaders didn't have a shot on target in the opening half. Except the shot at Francomacarro who went down shortly before the break. That didn't stop him almost putting a goal up immediately on resumption. His shot again came off the left upright, this time not in, and Iachettini managed to nod home the rebound instead. 75 in, Cagliari truly opened us up for the first time but the point blank **** was sent high and wide. With under a minute to play Urbani received a yellow card, I think that means he has hit the limit. But we held on for a win. Honestly, a draw would also have been a fair result, but Cagliari did not turn their general dominance into chances of any sort. Indeed, Willy Urbani did hit the yellow card limit. Siena (2nd 10-7-2) v S.P.A.L. (14th 6-6-7) – Serie B, Game 20 of 42 Siena started out well on top, but we worked ourselves into the game so play was almost on level terms twenty minutes in. Then, we were given hope, Siena down to ten men just 30 minutes played thanks to a second yellow. Shortly before half time we got in front through Durand, Giacomelli had comer up from defence and fed the ball in from the left. But that was nullified in the few remaining minutes, and 1-1 at the half. Despite the numerical advantage, both sides were pushing but it looked like a draw was in order. Until Siena broke through in the 84th minute. Any of the three results would have been fair, but to lose when we did was disheartening. With the transfer window opening up fior a month, I'm not sure if I will be doing any business. There is a young uncontracted Greek midfielder who I think could be very handy but I'd need to sell someone to stay under the wage budget. There are a couple of sale options, Loris Bacchetti asked to be put on the transfer list as he isn't getting games this year, as did Antonio Accetta. Dennis Rimondi and Francisco Lascano have both been disappointing. I have Virta as a developing goalkeeper, so don't need Sabino Colapietro; and his 33 years are starting to show on Mendicino. I don't think I'll be too active in most of those cases but if bids come in, they will be looked at. Player awards announced ============================================================================================================ | |Golden Ball |World Player of the Year | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2011|Lionel Messi |Lionel Messi | | |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2012|Lionel Messi |Lionel Messi | | |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2013|Cristiano Ronaldo |Mario Gotze | | |Real Madrid(ESP) / Portugal |Borrusia Dortmund (GER) / Germany | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2014|Lionel Messi |Lionel Messi | | |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2015|Lionel Messi |Lionel Messi | | |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2016|Lionel Messi |Lionel Messi | | |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2017|Lionel Messi |Lionel Messi | | |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2018|Cristiano Ronaldo |Cristiano Ronaldo | | |Real Madrid (ESP) / Portugal |Real Madrid (ESP) / Portugal | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2019|Lionel Messi |Lionel Messi | | |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2020|Lionel Messi |Lionel Messi | | |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina |FC Barcelona(ESP) / Argentina | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2021|Lucas Makhoba |Lucas Makhoba | | |FC Bayern Munchen (GER) / South Africa |FC Bayern Munchen (GER) / South Africa | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2022|Antoine Greizman |Antoine Greizman | | |Manchester United (ENG) / France |Manchester United (ENG) / France | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2023|Vinicius |Thiago | | |FC Internazionale (ITA) / Brazil |FC Barcelona (ESP) / Spain | ============================================================================================================
  12. [FM12] From Hopeless Case to Lost Cause

    November 2023 S.P.A.L. / San Marino Italian Serie B / Europe Pescara (20th 2-1-8) v S.P.A.L. (14th 4-3-4) – Serie B, Game 12 of 42 We utterly dominated early, and Accetta gained the reward with the opening goal nine minutes in. By that point, any of about three attempts could have scored. Yet, somehow two minutes later scores were level again, the first time Pescara had really seen the ball for more than a few seconds at a time. And by the 13 minute mark we had fallen behind, all our defence and midfield pulled over to our left, Pescara had three players running down our right with nobody within 40 metres, switched play and waltzed in. We got back on level terms after 38, but the spirit had clearly gone from the players. The tackling had stopped, the passing was missing easy target by half a pitch width, everything was off. Mendicino was forced off, with Valdivia taking his place on the left; not Valdivia's best position. Mbamba topped off a poor game giving up a penalty, it was just there and just inside the box; but a penalty. Pescara scored, and we were staring down the barrel of losing to 20th and doing so on merit after a blistering start. Its fair to say I was furious with the team after that, and having started so well. S.P.A.L. (15th 4-3-5) v Vicenza (16th 3-5-4) – Serie B, Game 13 of 42 A short break might be a good thing after that, playing on the Tuesday. We fell behind early. There's not much you can do with a well placed, fast, low ball directly onto a striker's head. We had two there to challenge him, but just outdone. We were being done in the air all over the park, despite having the possession, I was forced to tell the players to go short after starting out wanting to go direct. Eventually we pulled level again, Durand putting the ball ahead of a stationary Accetta and forcing him to run. Accetta and right back Piccinni got injured in quick succession to start the second half. On the plus side, it gave Francomacarro his first decent amount of game time since returning. Stats suggest we were the better side, but the shot count (21-7, on target just 5-1) was grossly inflated by players taking wild shots with no chance. Urbani especially wasteful. Two really good chances to gain six points in total have come to just one point. Accetta will miss up to two months, which at the start of the season would not have bothered me that much. He's not very good, but has been OK recently. Frosinone (11th 4-6-3) v S.P.A.L. (14th 4-4-5) – Serie B, Game 14 of 42 We fell behind early, the defence sat back trying to position themselves but never made a move and the Frosinone attacking players just did as they pleased. Half an hour in it just got worse. I made a few changes to plug a gap and started playing a defensive mid. It didn't help, he was run around and a well hit shot was completely unstopped by Mbiakop in goal. He got both hands there and decided the ball wasn't something he was interested in. And it was three before the break, a complete hack of a long shot but on target despite itself and neatly into the top right corner. I'd like to think we were better in the second half. The truth is we were just luckier and only conceded one more. Statistically, it didn't look like a 4-0 drubbing. On balance of actual play, it could have been ten. S.P.A.L. (15th 4-4-6) v Catania (4th 8-2-4) – Serie B, Game 15 of 42 Well, its time to resign. One early goal against through simply superior play. A second just before the half thriough simeply inferior play on out part. I really can't do a thing right in my second season at a club this career. Not long after the break it was three nil. I don't think I'm doing that much wrong, but morale has hit badly and no player is doing anything. Good players are not trying, bad players are just bad. A fourth came because the whole of the defence decided that if in the open their only option was to pass to opposition strikers. We pulled one back after 85 minutes, Francomacarro getting on the board to save the idea of playing a zero striker formation next match. There weren't any more positives in San Marino's crushing 3-0 friendly loss to Luxembourg. There weren't quite as many negatives though. I held a team meeting at the club. Most players responded positively, but a couple had morale drop further. If things don't turn soon, and they won't, I see little point staying at the club. Another international friendly, and San Marino got through a half against Denmark conceding just one goal. The second half, after giving up six in the first. Crotone (4th 8-5-2) v S.P.A.L. (15th 4-4-7) – Serie B, Game 16 of 42 We had very little of the ball, even less of the attack (partly because I told them to be defensive), and were decisively outplayed. But at least there was some scrambling in defence, and we held on for a lucky scoreless draw. What a horrid month 0-2-3, and 4-12 on goals. Champions Leagues of Africa and Asia finished up. In Asia, an east Asian side actually did well; something of a rarity with middle eastern clubs dominant. African Champions League ============================================================== |Previous Years | |2011 |USM Alger (Algeria) 4 |Raja Casablanca (Morocco)1| |2012 |Al-Ahly (Egypt) 5 |ASEC Mimosas(Ivory Coast)1| |2013 |ASEC Mimomas (Ivory C) 5 |Zamalek (Egypt) 4| |2014 |ES Tunis (Tunisia) 3a|Enyimba (Nigeria) 3| |2015 |Al-Ahly (Egypt) 4 |Supersport Utd (S.Africa)3| |2016 |Raja Casablanca (Mor.) 3 |Al-Ahly (Egypt) 3| |2017 |Al-Ahly (Egypt) 4 |Wydad Casablanca (Mor.) 1| |2018 |Al-Ahly (Egypt) 4 |Wydad Casablanca (Mor.) 1| |2019 |Wydad Casablanca (Mor) 4 |Al-Ahly (Egypt) 3| |2020 |Enyimba (Nigeria) 1 |Raja Casablanca (Mor.) 0| |2021 |Zamalek (Egypt) 3 |Heartland (Nigeria) 1| |2022 |Zamalek (Egypt) 4 |Al-Ahly (Egypt) 3| |============================================================| |2023 African Champions League | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi-Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |Al-Ahly (Egypt) 0 1 1 | |Raja Casablanca (Morocco) 3 1 4 | | | |ES Tunis (Tunisia) 3 0 3 | |Asante Kotoko (Ghana) 1 2 3 away gls| |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 African Champions League Final | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |Raja Casablanca (Morocco) 4 0 4 | |Asante Kotoko (Ghana) 0 3 3 | ============================================================== Asian Champions League ============================================================== |Previous Years | |2012 |Persepolia (Iran) 1 |Eseghal (Iran) 0 | |2013 |Suwon (South Korea) 1 |Al-Wahda (UAE) 0 | |2014 |Al Hilal (UAE) 2p |Lekhwiya (Qatar) 2 | |2015 |Al-Ittihad (Saudi Ar.) 4 |Al-Ettifaq (Saudi Ar.) 0 | |2016 |Al-Ittihad (Saudi Ar.) 4 |Al-Ettifaq (Saudi Ar.) 0 | |2017 |Al-Shabab (Saudi Ar.) 3 |Osaka AC (Japan) 1 | |2018 |Lekhwiya (Qatar) 2 |Al-Father (Saudi Ar.) 1 | |2019 |Al-Ettifaq (Saudi Ar.) 2 |Al-Ittihad (Saudi Ar.) 0 | |2020 |Al-Gharrafa (Qatar) 3 |Lekhwiya (Qatar) 0 | |2021 |Al-Shabab (Saudi Ar.) 2 |Seongnam (Sth Korea) 1 | |2022 |Saba Qon (Iran) 2 |Al=Qadidiyah )Saudi Ar)0 | |============================================================| |2023 Asian Champions League | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |Al-Shabab (Saudi Arabia) 2 0 2 | |Lekhwiya (Qatar) 2 0 2 away gls| | | |Okayama FC (Japan) 2 0 2 | |Al-Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) 3 1 4 | | | |Persepolis (Iran) 2 2 4 | |Gangwon (South Korea) 0 0 0 | | | |Seomgnam (South Korea) 2 3 5 | |Osaka AC (Japan) 0 2 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi-Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |Al-Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) 1 1 2 | |Persepolis (Iran) 0 1 1 | | | |Seongnam (South Korea) 3 1 4 | |Lekhwiya (Qatar) 1 2 3 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 Asian Champions League Final | | HT FT ET Pen | |Seongnam (South Korea) 1 2 2 4 | |Al-Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) 2 2 2 3 | ==============================================================
  13. [FM12] From Hopeless Case to Lost Cause

    October 2023 S.P.A.L. Italian Serie B Salerno (15th 2-1-3) v S.P.A.L. (17th 1-3-2) – Serie B, Game 7 of 42 We just couldn't get the ball early on. Possession was almost equal but only from us rebounding out of our own area to watch it come back inj again. So it was no surprise to go one down after 19 minutes, through a chip and header. As the half wopre on the gap between the sides just got worse, though thankfully the score didn't. We did actually have a half-chance or two in the second, though Salerno were still the better side. Again, the lack of firepower left us with no hope of clawing anything back. Extremely disappointing result. S.P.A.L. (18th 1-3-3) v Virtus Lanciano (10th 1-1-5) – Serie B, Game 8 of 42 We had a week and half's break before this game, so no excuses on the fitness front. Perez was suspended, and Francoamacarro still unavailable but they were the only missing players. Mendicino was brought back after missing games due to dismal form, but other strikers were also dismal. The early game was going our way, without goal scoring opportunities, until Iachetinni was injured forcing a change in defence. It alsmot cist us, the shorter Giacomelli was outheaded by about a foot, but the easy chance went over the top. We made so many runs in the second half, especially once Valdivia came on and controlled the right. But nobody could successfully cross. In the 88th minute, we got lucky. A somewhat dubious penalty given, on a cross that was no threat to anything. And Willy Urbani scored. Then right on stoppage time, Mbambo picked up a red and gave away a free just outside the box. Mbiakop held the shot. Not the way I wanted, but we got the three points. Iachetinni will miss three weeks, Mbamba suspended. That's a shake-up to our defence I could do without. Not surprisingly, players are starting to get concerned about under-performance. About time. And I'm back at San Marino. This time in the senior role. I took over with one game to play in the Euro qualifiers, with the micro-nation way out of contention. With just Sweden to go, I don't think much good will happen in that match. There will then be a year before World Cup qualifiers begin, in a group with Cyprus, Holland Hungary, Iceland and Russia. Padova (14th 3-2-3) v S.P.A.L. (18th 2-3-3) – televised – Serie B, Game 9 of 42 Adding to the defensive issues, Kolaric way away with the Slovenian under-21s. That still left Giacomelli, Perez, Dams and Piccini as a back four; Piccini the only real weakness in there except if Giacomelli has to compete in the air. For much of the first half we looked the better side, without any pentration. When Padvoa had brief periods of control, however, the looked really dangerous. We scored early ion the second, Pendola's cross to Mendicino was shot at goal, and knocked in by a Padova defender. We seem to be developing a habit of the last defender brining down players just outside the box, Perez sent off a few minutes after our goal. Mbiakop got his gloves on the kick, but it went in anyway. 1-1. I switched back to a defensive mindset, just hoping to hold out with ten men. And we actually scored, Urbani found a slightly offside Pendola who almost put the simple shot over the top but instead put us 2-1 up. I don't think the home fans were very happy. 88 minutes in, Giacomelli found Dams with a free kick from very wide on the right near the corner and Dams tapped home for 3-1. Sweden (2nd 6-1-2) v San Marino (5th 2-0-7) – Euro Qualifying Group A, Game 10 of 10 There was nothing to be gained here, coming off a 6-0 loss to Liechtenstein last match all I was looking for was to limit the damage. Anything single figures would a win. My first full international is not going to make for good statistics. Our line-up is dictated largely by the lack of decent players for an under 15s side. All out defence. We kicked off and maintained possession for 9 seconds. We almost conceded after 35 seconds. Harsh from the ref, central defender Zanotti did his job well I thought, but the ref decided on a spot kick. 3:40 gone, 1-0 down. Half way through the half it was 4-0, so 16-0 was about what to expect. Seven-zip at the half. The gulf in class is amazing. That said, even these guys should be able to do better than they are managing sometimes. Any hope of the second half being less embarrassing disappeared within two minutes, 8-0. And apart from the first goal, when we concede we concede a few in a row before a ten minute lull. Nine by the 50 minute mark. What is the biggest loss in Euro qualifying history? After the tenth was scored we actually managed a reasonably lengthy period without conceding. And the eleventh, when it came, was deemed offside to retain a ten goal gap at 88 minutes. Instead the eleventh came in stoppage time. I hope there are better players in the pool and previous management just did a woeful job picking the squad. Still, a year to pick up the pieces and not be embarrassed too much in WC qualifying. S.P.A.L. (14th 3-3-3) v Grossetto (18th 3-1-5) – Serie B, Game 10 of 42 We had the first five shots of the game, but even in that period Grossetto without taking a shot looked more likely to actually score. And when they did get their first shots away, they required good saves to keep out. Waste after waste ensued until Pendola fired from just inside the area on the right and we went one up nearing half time. That seemed to open something up, Mendicino doubled the lead in stoppage time. He had gone on some good, but ultimately fruitless runs on the left wing, and the goal capped off a good half. We had some luck in the second half, what looked a possible penalty not called and a ver out of position goalkeeper well beaten with the ball lobbed inches wide. Valdivia came on about 75 minutes in to get some game time back into him, and Mbamba came off through a knock at the same time. Eighty in we got a penalty awarded our way, just as Grossetto started controlling the game. Urbani slotted home to surely seal the points. Francomacarro's long awaited return came after 85 minutes, he did nothing but a few minutes game time is valuable at this point. 3-0 was not as impressive as it looks, but its a big climb up the table. S.P.A.L. (10th 4-3-3) v Torino (11th 4-2-3) – Serie B, Game 11 of 42 Eight minutes in and we were on the board, Mendicino finding a way to sent Durand through, he started as an attacking mid with Valdivcia still starting on the bench. We were mostly controlling play, however when Lertua was stripped of the ball Torino went end to end to equalise in the 28th. After 67 we went a man up, Davi having brought down Durand. Despite pressing hard, we failed to capitalise. In fact, we fell behind with just three minutes plus stoppage to play. A very disappointing result from a reasonably good game. Playing Lertua was a mistake, but not what cost the match. Eight of eleven goals have gome in the past five games, three from the first six. The month's bookends were not good, but there were signs of improvment. Unfortunately, we're heading intyo mid-season where I traditionally have a slump. Before the Grossetto game, nobody in the squad had scored more than once in the league.
  14. [FM12] From Hopeless Case to Lost Cause

    Sepember 2023 S.P.A.L. Italian Serie B Lecce (predicted 4th) v S.P.A.L. (predicted 10th) – Serie B, Game 1 of 42 Oh, dear. We were murdered from start to finish. And had the injuries to show that was only a slight exaggeration in the literal sense as well. Lecce had all the ball and we were very lucky to still be at nil-all when Francomacarro went down on 42 minutes. We came out firing after the break and managed our first shot of the game. That was quickly followed by letting in the first goal of the game, one of the best players in the league Immobile got away from the marking set on him and headed in a long free kick. We then lost both Cyril Durand and Emanuele Quadrelli to vicious tackles. Somehow, in the 94th minute Mendicino put home a long strike from the left to draw level. A lucky point, but at how much cost. A lot. Francomacarro will miss around two months, maybe slightly less. The other players injured during the match should be available. S.P.A.L. v Ascoli (predicted 5th) – Serie B, Game 2 of 42 There wasn’t much difference between the sides early, but once Ascoli go an all too easy opening goal from a corner they took charge. Our midfield is really lacking, Urbani is great but can’t do it all on his own. Even after Ascoli were down to ten men we could not string passes together or make any sort of moves. One point in two games against sides expected to finish towards the top isn’t terrible, its obviously not good either, but the nature of the games has me worried. Empoli (predicted 1st) v S.P.A.L. – Serie B, Game 3 of 42 If the media is near the money, it doesn’t get any easier. With Francmacarro out and fixture congestion meaning I started a very tired Urbani on the bench I was hoping to sit back, and not concede for 60-65 minutes before bringing Urbani on, changing focus, and seeing if we could do something. We did that, and Urbani came on to replace an injured Durand 64 minutes in. That left us with a bung formation though. We didn’t look like making a breakthrough, but nor did Empoli and a scoreless draw was fine in the circumstances. We picked up a promising 19 year old Turkish midfielder during the week. He’s here on a three year deal, so hopefully will develop with first team football. He and Quadrelli will probably swap in and out a lot. S.P.A.L. v Bologna (predicted 7th) – Serie B, Game 4 of 42 – televised We created one excellent opportunity on the counter very early, but Lertua was a split second too slow to pass to Mendicino. It was Lertua again who made the break a couple of minutes later. This time he got the ball to early, and Durand ran past for Mendicino, then slotted home an advantage against a fierce rival team. Fifteen minutes in Quadrelli was hammered in the back, and Bologna went a man down with a straight red. That somehow seemed to settle Bologna, they took more care with their passes and slower build-ups that were harder to cut off. Just as I was thinking the three points would consolation for not being able press home a numerical advantage we conceded. 1-1 after 87 minutes. We didn’t do a lot wrong, they just got their most skilled players combining with their best skills and opened the whole goalmouth. I just can’t find avenues to goal, which is going to make wins hard to get. Cesena (11th 2-1-1, predicted 12th) v S.P.A.L. – Serie B, Game 5 of 42 Valdivia is available again, but I started him on the bench to ease him back into things. Lertua had three good chances early on, two who pinged straight at the goalkeeper and one he decided the corner flag made a better target than the net. It was amazingly bad with the full goalmouth to aim at from close range. After 35 we did score, a Perez header from a corner. Mbiakop was called on and made a great save on 65 minutes to maintain the lead, at least temporarily. Mbamba was getting tired, but the ref was card-happy and I was reluctant to bring on the occasionally fiery (and less skilled) Piccini to replace him. Valdivia came on after 70, an underperforming Mendicino came to the bench and Durand went forward. In the end, while we deserved the early lead I’m not so sure we deserved the win. Cesena came close a few times in the final 30 minutes. During the week, we signed another midfielder. This time a proven mid-career player. I think his wage is above his worth really, but we needed somebody else in there with Urbani as the youngsters just aren’t cutting it. Twenty-six-year-old Ecuadorian international Francisco Lascano joins until 2025 after six years in Spain. This must be the last signing; I’m getting close to the wage budget now. S.P.A.L. v Sassuolo (9th 2-2-1, predicted 15th) This is a concerning match-up, given we can’t score and Saasuolo enter the game as the second highest scoring team in the early stages of the season. Frowny face. We dominated for 43 minutes, without looking like scoring because we like to send the ball to the moon or just not take a shot at all. Sassuolo make one foray, our defence runs away from the ball and lets them in easily. From that point on neither team tries anything. Pathetic. I’m on the brink of resigning. As if to taunt me with the way we can’t finish anything, this side would miss twenty penalties in a row right now, Mendicino wins goal of the month. Not a good opening month. On the plus side, we have conceded equal fewest in the league, with some luck involved, Lecce could easily have been 3-0 defeat. We are also the equal least potent in attack. I do tend to build my teams from defence but this is a serious concern.
  15. [FM12] From Hopeless Case to Lost Cause

    July-August 2023 (off-season part two) S.P.A.L. Italian Serie B With out of contract, and traded, players having left, there was £11k per week in the wage budget at the start of the month. I'm reluctant to use all of that, as we only make small monthly profits. To use anything above last season could see losses being made instead and with the match day revenue already close to maxing out I can't rely on bigger income. I was offered an extra year on my contract, which had a year to run. This is with quite a big pay rise. Accepted. The media have us predicted to finish tenth, and the bookies had us 40/1 for promotion. So, they recognise improvement but don't quite expect us to repeat last year's finish. That's probably fair enough, anything above mid-table would be a bonus. Why can't my scouts find any wingers? Surely somewhere in Europe somebody affordable plays on the wing. Particularly the right, Mendicino can go to the left and someone else can fill a striker sport; or Francamacarro can play as a sole striker. Another central mid and a better backup striker would be handy too. Friendlies: Bologna (Serie B, predicted 7th) – 3:3 – the defence was leaky when Bologna had chances, but good at limiting the number of chances Fiorentina (Serie A, predicted 5th) – 0:2 – crushed all over the park, but at least we made a very good team work for their goals Juventus (Serie A, predicted 2nd) – 0:3 – we may as well make money from friendlies Bari (Serie A, predicted 16th) – 2:2 – Bari maybe slightly better, but Francomacarro brace gives false hope (the only kind of hope) Siracusa (Serie C2/B, predicted 4th) – 3:0 – intended as a morale booster, showed up the forward structure is failing as it was 1:0 for about 80 minutes Ternana (Serie C1/B, predicted 8th) –3:0 – always in control without being spectacular, started with near first team, bulk substitution and finished with near reserves Expectations League Board – mid-table Media – 10th Me – top half-chances Cup Board – 3rd qualifying round Me – 4th qualifying round, 1st round proper if draw is kind S.P.A.L. (Serie B expected 10th) v Triestina (Serie C1/A, expected 2nd) – Italian Cup 2nd Qualifying Round Our cup opponents finished last in Serie B last season, and won 4-0 against another Serie C1 side in the previous round. So, they aren’t that far off our level. No excuses, but it was not going to be as easy as it may have looked. Debutants, starting eleven: Constant Mbiakop, 21yo Cameroonian goalkeeper Steve Loic Mbamba, 26yo, Cameroonian defender, starting right back Lukas Dams, 18yo German defender, starting defensive mid Luis Jose Valdivia, 19yp Spanish attacking mid or wing, on loan from Poli Ejido, starting as central attacking mid All except perhaps Dams I expect to play every just about available game. Bench debuts, brought in to enable a wider formation: Giuseppe Pendola, 27yo Italian right wing Dennis Rimondini, 18yo Italian left wing Somehow, despite the ball being in the opposition’s third all night we never looked like scoring. We did have a disallowed goal on 20 minutes, but I thought the decision was correct. When Valdivia got injured at around the 80 minute mark, I swapped formations and brought the debutants off the bench. After 90 minutes, still scoreless. Sure enough, on 99 minutes with Triestina barely making a play, they score the game-breaker. Giacomelli, who usually odes a fair job filling in for Kolaric, missed his challenge; Mbiakop missed the ball on a ver saveable shot. Controlling possession, controlling field position, it all means nothing if you don’t score and the opposition does. Out of the cup early in an embarrassing result, yet a game we looked by far the better side in except if there was a net nearby. Early signs are my second season curse is going to continue. Valdivia will miss 4-5 weeks, possibly giving Cyril Durand time back in the first team. Brescia come in with a co-owner offer for Perez. £500k now and £1m at any time to buy out the other half - or both teams at season’s end. (Or, I might be able to cheat and delay for a year again which is how we kept Urbani.) I don’t want to let him go, but suspect he will be unhappy if I don’t accept a Serie A bid. And, potentially, that is quite a bit of money for a club this size. So, reluctantly I accept, hoping it ends up being a free half-million and we keep Perez. Given our struggles in friendlies and the cup game with turning control into goal, I switched the team preparation to focus on attacking movement. The same day as the Perez co-ownership deal is confirmed, news that Jetko scored on debut in Spain. And the fans are out in force over the Perez deal. I can’t blame them really. If we lose him for just the £500k its probably under value. The player himself is thrilled. I agreed to send 20-year-old reserve striker Mario Rencricca on loan to a Serie C side. He wants to go on loan to get first team football, but he rejected the deal. Go figure. Nothing special in the build up to the league beginning. All the deals and those who walked out That leaves me with almost £6k a week before I hit the wage budget. In some ways that's a waste, but it might be a handy buffer for the unexpected too. Quadrelli is probably my biggest question mark in the starting eleven right now. He might not be up to the job on a consistent basis just yet. I'm really expecting Mbiakop to be a fantastic inclusion, the young Virta is project player to hopefully eventually take over in goal. Mbamba is probably our best defender now, playing centre or right; and right back was a problem for us last season. I think we're a better team than last season, despite the big loss of Jetko, but that doesn't necessarily mean better results will automatically come. The Cup game is a huge wake-up call in that regard. With options for left and right wings, the formations we are training have more flexibility this season. Lots of international action. North and South America, plus Asia. Asian Cup ============================================================== |Previous Years | |============================================================| |2015 |Saudi Arabia 2 |South Korea 0 | |2019 |Saudi Arabia 2 |Qatar 1 | |============================================================| |2023 Asian Cup | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Group A GD Pts |Group B GD Pts | |China +4 9 |Uzbekistan +5 7 | |Syria +1 6 |Saudi Arabia +1 5 | |South Korea -2 1 |Iraq -1 4 | |North Korea -3 1 |Jordan -5 0 | | | | |Group C GD Pts |Group D GD Pts | |Australia +3 6 |Japan +9 9 | |Qatar +3 6 |Iran +4 6 | |Oman 0 6 |Bahrain -4 1 | |Kuwait -6 0 |Tajikistan -9 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | | | |Syria 0 |China 3 | |Australia 6 |Qatar 1 | | | | |Saudi Arabia 2 |Uzbekistan 1 pens | |Japan 0 |Iran 1 | |----------------------------------------------------------- | |Semi Finals | | | |Australia 0 |China 0 | |Saudi Arabia 0 pens |Unzbekistan 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Third Placed Playoff | | | |Australia 1 | |China 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 ASIAN CUP FINAL | | HT FT ET Pens | |Uzbekistan 1 1 1 2 | |Saudi Arabia 1 1 1 4 | ============================================================== Saudi Arabia's third straight title and the second time in a row they have knocked Australia out in the semis. 2023 Gold Cup ============================================================== |Previous Years | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2013 |Jamaica 1 |Mexico 0 | |2015 |Mexico 2 |Costa Rica 1 | |2017 |U.S.A. 1 |Mexico 0 | |2019 |Mexico 1 |Costa Rica 0 | |2021 |Mexico 2 |Honduras 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | |Trinidad & Tobago 1 |Guatemala 1 | |Honduras 2 et |Jamaica 1 pens | | | | |Panama 1 |Costa Rica 0 | |U.S.A. 5 |Mexico 3 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi Finals | | | |U.S.A. 4 |Guatemala 0 | |Honduras 0 |Mexico 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 GOLD CUP FINAL | | HT FT ET Pen | |Mexico 1 2 | |U.S.A. 1 1 | ============================================================== Mexico also go three in a row. But again they fall short as an invitiational to the Copa America Copa America ============================================================== |Previous Years | |------------------------------------------------------------| | 2015 | Uruguay 1 | Colombia 0 | | 2019 | Argentina 1 | Mexico 0 | ============================================================== |2023 Copa America | |Group A GD Pts | |PERU +5 9 | |VENEZUALA +4 6 | |Ecuador -4 1 | |Bolivia -5 1 | | | |Group B GD Pts | |BRAZIL +5 9 | |COLOMBIA 0 4 | |U.S.A. -1 2 | |Paraguay -4 1 | | | |Group C GD Pts | |ARGENTINA +2 7 | |MEXICO +1 6 | |URUGUAY -1 2 | |Chile -2 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | | | |Peru 1 |Uruguay 0 | |U.S.A. 2 |Brazil 1 | | | | |Argentina 0 |Venezuela 2 | |Colombia 1 |Mexico 4 | |----------------------------------------------------------- | |Semi Finals | | | |Brazil 3 |Colombia 1 | |U.S.A. 0 |Mexico 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Third Placed Playoff | | | |Colombia 1 | |U.S.A. 3 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 COPA AMERICA FINAL | | HT FT ET Pens | |Brazil 2 5 | |Mexico 1 1 | ==============================================================