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Bromley FC (...And the Rest of the World)

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Almost halfway through the season and still holding on. Might not have been the best start, but you're still a young team in the league. Staying up will be a good victory.

It wasnt a good start at all, but you are right, we are the youngest team in the league by far. Thats the aim right now, just surviving to play another season in the Premier League.

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Bromley December Update 2018/2019

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Overview

December 1st, 2018:Something had to give. We could not maintain our form in the Premier League in this manner and still expect to be safe come May. Two team meetings in a month did not seem to have the affect needed – in fact, the last one had gone terribly. I felt I was beginning to lose my grip on the squad. During training before the Norwich match, I was told that we were going to lose Lukas Kubik for five weeks. Great. At least I had local hero Ebby Harwood to slot in for him at left wing, although it was painfully obvious the 19 year old was not Premier League quality, not yet and most likely never, really. At least we made £4,040,000 profit in the month of November, and our training facilities’ upgrading was also completed.

Norwich were a spot below us, in 18th Place, but were tied on points with us – we both had seven. They were newly promoted, and their best player was Jay Rodriguez, a Championship hotshot who had done us in a few times before in the past. I still remember a game back in September of 2015, when he hit a brace against us – at that time, we were playing our first season in the Championship, and he had taken full advantage of it. Our last game against them, however, was in the FA Cup 6th Round last season, and we destroyed them 5-1 at our old ground, Hayes Lane. Both Emmanuel Musah and Kubik hit braces that day, and it was sweet revenge against a team that had given us a lot of trouble in the past. This time, again, it was an important match for both us – a win for them would push them past us into safety, while three points for us were vital at this point in ensuring ours, at least in the short term. There were no changes in my lineup except on the wings – Gilmar had returned from injury and was due to start on the right wing, while Harwood was replacing the injured Kubik on the left.

Another game, another uninspired, unmotivated, and frankly, downright depressing performance from the lads. We could not find a way to score against a torrid Norwich side. Young Kieran Holland was given the MotM – he did his job, I guess, getting a 7.2 AR with 10 Interceptions. That told you a lot about the game right there, the best player on the pitch getting only a 7.2 AR. Aston Villa won their game against Tottenham, incredibly, and pushed past us into 17th Place, relegating us to the drop zone. This was our ninth game in a row in the Premier League that we could not win, and I sat for a long time after the match, thinking about how I could get the results I needed. I sent my Assistant Manager Barry Moore to handle the press – I just could not face another question or snide remark about how we were underachieving. Moore had been with me since I first took over – he was on a month to month contract then, and all these years later, that is how he remains. The board will not let me pay him what he wants, and he won’t accept less. We’ve gotten this far with him as my No.2 man, so I was not about to tinker with what was working. As long as he was content to stay, and he seemed to be, I was not going to go look for another.

December 4th, 2018: The FA Cup Third Round draw was done today, and I was pleased with our draw. Our title defense would start in an easy manner, as we would either face BSN side Redditch or BSP side Walsall, depending on the result of that match. It is an away match, but I don’t suspect we will have much trouble putting either team away. If we do, I might have to reconsider my career choice.

December 5th, 2018: We got Redditch, who beat Walsall 3-2 at home.

December 6th, 2018:Now that we were officially in the drop zone, I had hoped it would create some sort of urgency with the boys. Our next match was at home against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League, and we needed just a draw to qualify to the next round. Our opponents were currently 3rd Place in the Spanish La Liga, so we were going up against a team that was in form. Our 1-0 victory in Madrid seemed like a lifetime ago at this point. I had no interest in facing the media, so I sent our Moore to do the job for me. They had Adem Ljajic, who was 6th in the La Liga with 7.68 AR, and tied for 2nd in Assists with 7 of his own. In other words, he was having a fantastic season.

Somehow, we pulled off a 1-0 victory thanks to a mistake by their GK, Sergio Asenjo, who was credited with an Own Goal. That meant we were through to the next round, and we had done so in comfortable fashion. Our form in Europe was fantastic – in seven games, we had lost once, to Montpelier at home. The French squad still topped the group, as they had defeated Neuchatel Xamax away from home, but we both had 12 points. Atletico Madrid were figured to be favorites to the top the group, but they were hugely disappointing. They lost two games to us, didn’t they? That had to be shame enough considering how we were playing lately. We set a new gate receipt high against them, though, registering an income of £600,000, which was £100,000 more than we had gotten against Tottenham previously.

December 9th, 2018: Last season, Wolves beat us once and we beat them once, both by 1-0 score lines. They were in 11th Place this year, and doing just about what the media predicted them to be doing. Manager Dave Jones was on a newly signed four year contract paying him £23,500 (I get paid £25,000, so there!), and had them playing some good defense – they had only conceded 19 goals all season. I was quite sure what to expect in terms of target men, as they did not seem to have anyone dangerous on the team, but then again, against us anyone could be. It was the usual buildup to the match, and there was not going to be any difference to the lineup that faced Madrid just a few days earlier, with the exception of left back Matthew Morgan, who had gashed him leg and was out for another ten days. I had decided young Marc Beard was going to get the start, and it was going to be his first league appearance of his career. How touching.

It was another thoroughly disappointing game as we lost 1-0 again unimpressive opposition. Why can’t we get it right? What is it that we have been missing? The only thing I knew was that we were now in 19th Place, three points behind Norwich and five behind Aston Villa in 17th Place. On top of that, our captain Elliot Law, who has also been one of our best players this season, picked up a groin strain and the physios informed me he was likely out for atleast five weeks. It was another long night of whiskey and dim lights in the office after we got back. For the first time this season, I began believing that relegation might be a real possibility.

December 12th, 2018: This was it, the match I was waiting for. I had circled on my calendar about a million times – 20th Place Reading at the Bromley Stadium. This was the match that had to bring us out of our funk – if we could not beat them, then what hope did we have against anyone else? This was, on paper, by far the easiest match of the season. I mean, this was a team that had conceded 48 and scored only 7 goals in 14 games! They were putting in a fantastic case for the ‘Worst Premier League Team of All-Time’, and were being especially convincing about it. This was a team that had been thrashed by Manchester United 8-0, by Fulham 6-0, and by Chelsea 5-1…ALL IN THE PAST MONTH! This had to be it, right? This had to be the game that ‘turned the corner’ for us, RIGHT!?

As it turns out, it was – or at least, it was the match that ended our ten game winless streak. The boys did it big, I mean REAL big, and came out 6-0 winners in an amazing match. By the end of it, my cigar had been lit and I was just enjoying the fans rocking the stadium to bits. Jan Hendrik Ihm scored a hat-trick and won the MotM, but the truth was, all of them had a cracking game. Gilmar handed out a ridiculous 4 assists, and Musah, Gaucho, and Alexandre scored the other 3 goals. Tricio kept that clean sheet, and I was especially proud of that. For the first time in months, I went home, got in the shower, and dozed off without a care in the world. The nightmare was over. It had to be.

December 16th, 2018: We were approaching the final stretch of the season, and with was loads of games. Today, however, we faced West Brom, who were in 14th Place. Luckily for us, Shane Long, who had scored 9 goals in 10 appearances, was still recovering from his injury, so their main threat was unavailable. I was still on a bit of a high from our 6-0 demolition of Reading, and I was keen to follow that up with another victory. Morale took an incredible turn for the better after that match, and I must have smoked about ten victory cigars since, but it was game time now, and West Brom were capable opposition. We had lost to weaker teams before the Reading match, but it was time to truly prove to ourselves that we had ‘turned the corner’.

After a dismal first half, my halftime speech (complete with flipping tables and throwing chairs) must have worked, because the boys came back from a one goal deficit and won the match 3-1. Ihm, Ott, and Musah all scored, but the match was not without its price – it seems we just could not be allowed to enjoy it. Both Gilmar and Ihm were ruled out for next five weeks, the former with shin splits and the latter with a twisted ankle. They joined Tete, Law, Kubik, and Morgan on the injured list, although the last two were close to returning. Still, we were now out of the relegation zone and all the way up to 15th Place, albeit only one point ahead of Aston Villa in 18th Place, and tied with Cardiff and, remarkably, Fulham with fourteen points.

December 17th, 2018: Read about Palermo appointing a new chairman today – Giovanni Tedesco is his name. He took over from Maurizio Zamparini in an internal promotion. Not a bad club – they finished in 6th Place last year, and were in the Europa League like us. The paper stated that the club was worth about £40,500,000, though they had a loan debt of £43,500,000, so…yeah. Might have some work to do when it comes to the finances there.

In other news, both Kubik and Morgan were deemed fit for the next match – our luck seems to be turning around! We had Montpelier, but given that we had already qualified, I was not too fussed about it.

December 20th, 2018: Montpelier today – we traveled to France, but I was insistent that the boys should just take it easy and not exert themselves too much. In terms of qualification, it was a meaningless game, and we had no rivalry with the French side to make it personal. I was keen on getting in, finishing up the ninety minutes, and getting out.

We played a decent game, with Jeremie Ott getting a brace. It took Montpelier until the 96th to finally defeat us, winning 3-2. As I said before, I was not too bothered, and was just happy everyone came away injury-free and relatively fit. Ott won the MotM, getting an 8.8 AR in the process. The brace brought his total goals scored in the competition to a respectable 4 goals.

December 21st, 2018: The Europa League First Knockout Round draw was today, and we were lucky to draw Danish side OB from a very strong pool. They had a good run in the mid-2010s, capturing the Danish Superliga title in 2013 and 2014, but they had fallen off a bit since then. I figured it was very possible we could defeat them – they didn’t look much better than us on paper, anyway. If we managed to defeat them, then either Palermo of Swiss side Basel would be waiting for us. The other notable ties were: Roma vs. Bayern (nice!), Celtic vs. Chelsea, Schalke vs. Arsenal, and Dortmund vs. FC Twente.

December 23rd, 2018: Away to Everton at Goodison Park today – definitely not the easiest of matches. They were in 10th Place, but they were one of the top defensive teams in the Premier League, having only conceded 17 goals. Their offense was nothing to write home about, but still, this was a different team than the one we put five goals in against last season. I still get goosebumps thinking about that game – Harwood had been magnificent that day, scoring a brace and generally making the Everton defense look bad. Still, they did beat us before that 3-1 at home, so there was that, also. Anyway, I had to start 17 year old Djuro Ivelj because of the injuries – Kubik was on the bench, ready to come on in the second half. Ivelj was playing in his first ever league game, so we gave him a small round of applause in the locker room before heading out on to the pitch.

It was not a match we played well in, and our injury situation turned into an injury crisis – Ebby Harwood suffered a hip injury that was going to leave him out of the lineup for three months, while Musah pulled him hamstring, ruling him out until late January. The good news was that we drew the match 1-1, with the striker making his debut also scoring in it – Ivelj decided he wanted to be a Bromley hero from the very first game, and so he did. We earned ourselves a potentially crucial point away to Everton.

December 24th, 2018: I was offered £5,000,000 + 10% of Next Sale clause for Jeremie Ott by Deportivo today, and I accepted. He’s a talented 21 year old, but the money was good, and seeing how I signed him for Free in the summer, he would turn us a tidy profit for six months of work. He was my fourth choice striker and had already made some noise about not seeing enough first team action, so it seemed like a good deal to me. Now it is up to the player to agree to terms with them – hopefully, he will.

December 26th, 2018:Anfield, Liverpool. The League Cup Quarter-Finals. That’s what our match was today – this was not a competition I was giving too much attention to, but now that we’ve reached this stage, it was impossible not to. Unbelievably, we came away with a 3-2 victory, although their striker Rino Tedesco won the MotM after hitting a brace against us. Not to belittle the League Cup, but I would gladly trade this victory for a similar one in the Premier League at this stage. Ott scored, too – it could be his last goal for the club as he is currently considering the offer from Deportivo. We were going to face Manchester City in the Semi-Finals of the League Cup after this spectacular away win.

December 29th, 2018: The end of the year was nearing, and we had two games in three days. Our first was today against struggling Fulham, a team that finished 7th Place last year but was two spots ahead of us in 15th Place this season. The difference between us was one point, so a positive result would see us jump past them into 15th Place. Of course, we lost both matches to them last season, including 3-0 at home. This year, their best player was a Congolese midfielder by the name of Cedric, who had 6 goals and 7 assists so far. I did not know quite what to expect, from both them and us. We looked to have gotten over our dry spell, and our captain Elliot Law was back from injury to boost. I was hoping we could get a result at Craven Cottage, and we got it, defeating them 2-1. Law and benchwarmer Diego were the goalscorers, giving us three points.

December 31st, 2018: The final game of the season, away to one of the most destructive forces in football – Tottenham. Fortunately for us, neither Salomon Rondon and Edinson Cavani were both on the injured list, and without them, we managed to hold them to a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane. After going on a ten game winless streak, we were now on a five game unbeaten streak. How quickly things change – we were in 15th Place, three points off of the relegation zone with a game at hand. Not only that, our first game in 2019 was to be against Cardiff at home, so there was a good chance we would put further distance between us and that wretched 18th Place. As it had it, this as a great way to bid 2018 goodbye.

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Picked up some decent results there. Thought you may have pulled a bit further away from the relegation zone. I think you have a chance of progressing in Europe against the Danes too. Keep it up :thup:

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Picked up some decent results there. Thought you may have pulled a bit further away from the relegation zone. I think you have a chance of progressing in Europe against the Danes too. Keep it up :thup:

The Reading match was the definite catalyst behind the dramatic change in form - after that win, we seem to be rolling despite our injuries.

I got lucky with my Europa League draw, I believe - I have two winnable rounds on paper in the 1st and 2nd Rounds.

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Looks like you're starting to turn things around now :thup:

I'm just wondering if the Europa League fixtures were putting a bit of a burden on the squad, and the league form was suffering a bit as a result of this.

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Looks like progress will be a little slower in the PL.

Yes, there has not been much improvement this year over last, but just surviving will be victory in itself :)

Good luck against City!

Thanks, although we got dominated!

Looks like you're starting to turn things around now :thup:

I'm just wondering if the Europa League fixtures were putting a bit of a burden on the squad, and the league form was suffering a bit as a result of this.

It could be, although our form in Europe has been very good. Thankfully, our bad spell ended with our 6-0 thrashing of Reading!

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WORLD AWARDS

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Mario Gotze (Career)

Accomplishments: German Bundesliga 2018 title, World Cup 2018 title

The 26 year German midfielder asserted himself as the best in the world after winning the Bundesliga yet again, and for his exploits for his national team on their run to the World Cup title in Russia. It is no coincidence that Dortmund’s domination of the German Bundesliga has come with the emergence of one of the most talented players in the history of the country – since becoming a starter for his club in 2010, the player has gone on to lead Dortmund to six Bundesliga titles (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018). He has failed to register double digits in assists just once during that span, in 2016/2017, and has never recorded below 7.68 AR. In fact, one can argue that only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been more impressive since the beginning of the decade in terms of accomplishments, but as of today, there can be no argument who the best player in the world is – the German is just entering the prime of his career, and one would assume he would have at least one more chance to win another World Cup title, something neither Ronaldo or Messi, for all their greatness, were able to accomplish.

Eden Hazard (Career)

Accomplishments: English Premier League 2018 (title), World Cup 2018 Quarter-Finalist

The 28 year old Manchester United left winger was named the 2018 Premier League Players’ Player of the Year after setting a career high in assists, delivering 18 of them in the league. His Belgian national team was amongst the neutral favorites at the World Cup, falling in the Quarter-Finals to eventual finalists Brazil, and Hazard was selected to the World Cup Dream Team. Manchester United’s capture of the English Premier League was the second straight year Hazard was crowned one of the champions of the England. This season, his 15 assists has him on pace to break the Premier League record in the category by a far margin. His superior technical ability is second to only perhaps Gotze, and the £34,000,000 Manchester United paid for him in 2013 has been money well spent.

Jack Wilshere (Career)

Accomplishments: English Premier League 2018 (title), World Cup 2018 3rd Place

A surprise second runner-up, the 27 year old English midfielder no less deserved it thanks to his exploits this season in both the Premier League and the World Cup. Inexplicably sold by Arsenal to Manchester United for £18,750,000 during the middle of the 2017/18, he has become a superstar with his new team. He was a key figure for England during the World Cup, where they had their best finish since 1966 when they won the competition on home soil.

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Bromley January Update 2018/2019

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Overview

January 1st, 2019: Today marked the beginning of a new year, and with it comes the signing of Marcelo Gallardo. We paid Colo Colo £1,000,000 for the right winger after glowing scouting reports from both my scouts in South America. They claim he has the potential to be great at the position, so I listened and pulled off all the stops to get him. His technical ability is already immense at such a young age, but he certainly needs work on other aspects of his game, from what I saw. He has little pace, and for all his technical prowess, does not seem to have too much of a creative gene. He only just turned 18, however, so he has years of development in front of him.

MATCHDAY – January 5th, 2019: Our first match of the new year was at home against struggling Cardiff, and I was eager to take the form we ended 2018 with over into 2019. Our opponents were in the relegation zone, struggling to survive the drop as we were, and they had won only 3 of their 20 games this season. I made sure the boys knew what was expected of them going into the match, and although we only won 1-0, it was a game we dominated from start to finish. We had 67% of the possession, 19 shots compared to their 3, and MotM Kieran Holland playing perhaps the best game of his young career, scoring the goal and getting an 8.8 AR. He really was coming along, young Kieran, and he was still just short of his 18th birthday.

MATCHDAY – January 9th, 2019: The Manchester City owners were a fickle bunch – just two years after hiring Andre Villas-Boas to replace Alan Shearer (who won them the title in 2015, by the way), all we’ve heard all season long was how his job was on the line. Granted, for a team paying a world record of £130,000,000 in yearly salaries (no other club on the planet had crossed the £100m mark), more was expected than the 5th Place they currently sat in. The 32 year old Brazilian Hulk was having an incredible season, and they had the best defense in the league, conceding only 11 goals in their 20 matches. They had a game at hand against three of the top four, and a win against us would send them into 2nd Place, just three points behind leaders and champions and sworn enemies, Manchester United. So…Villas-Boas was not doing such a bad job, after all, but you would not know it from all the reports about his impending sacking.

We came away with a predictable 2-0 loss, although I cannot really fault the boys. Our injury crisis was deep, and I was playing 16 and 17 year old kids who were completely out of their depth against the former Premier League champions. They popped back up to 2nd Place in the table, although I have a feeling even that is not good enough for the Manchester City board. This was not the end of our confrontations with City, however – we had to face them in about a week’s time in the League Cup, this time at Bromley Stadium.

MATCHDAY – January 12th, 2019: No surprises here as we defeated Redditch 2-0 in the FA Cup Third Round. The boys did the job required, but poor Redditch were just classes below in terms of football ability. It was only a few short years ago we were in the same league as them, but here we are, Premier League heavyweights, earning our merits in Europe and beyond. How times have changed!

MATCHDAY – January 15th, 2019: Not only was this the first leg of the League Cup Semi-Finals matchup with Manchester City, but it was also my 400th game as manager of Bromley. The media decided to make this into a story – had they not written about it, I would not have known. Bromley Stadium was expected to be at maximum capacity for the first time, which was great news. This was the furthest we had ever gotten in the League Cup, and Manchester City were sure to be crowd pleasers in the way they played their football.

They embarrassed us 3-0 in front of our sellout home crowd, and we played terrible. Some papers in the media were trying to make this out to be some sort of new rivalry because of the number of games we were playing them this month, but it was anything but. The boys did not show up to play, and their professionalism and class shone throughout the match. We can only hope to emulate how well they play together, and I hope the boys learned a few things from them today.

MATCHDAY – January 19th, 2019: Today we were away to Southampton, and I was looking forward to putting the Manchester City result behind us. It was important for us to continue with our solid Premier League form, and Southampton were a good place to do so. They had conceded 37 goals and scored only 15 in the league this season, and they were sitting one place ahead of us in 14th Place. A victory against them would send us all the way up to 12th Place – I very much wanted that. My team was started to get over its injuries, and Lukas Kubik was going to be starting on the left today, while Ihm was going to play alongside Law up front. Gilmar and Musah were on the bench, as their conditioning was not quite there yet – in the Brazilian’s place on the right wing, I was playing my new Chilean signing Marcelo Gallardo.

We somehow blew a 2-0 lead in the last 30 minutes of the game, and Southampton came back and won it 3-2. What a terrible second half of the second half. I was so disappointed in the boys I did not even both talking to them after the match – just how do you concede 3 goals in the last 30 minutes of the match in such an important game?! It was unacceptable and inexcusable. We had a golden opportunity that was gift wrapped to us, and we failed to make it count. Thoroughly disappointed.

MATCHDAY – January 26th, 2019: After two consecutive losses, it was good to get back to winning ways as we did against Sunderland, defeating them 2-1 at the Bromley Stadium. Emmanuel Musah hit a fantastic brace that each side of halftime, although the last ten minutes were a bit of a downer – Gilmar got himself sent off and new kid Marcelo Gallardo scored an own goal deep in extra-time, just before the final whistle. Still, I cannot complain – it was a good performance overall, and we put another three points between us and the drop zone. We now had a game at hand and were six points clear of Aston Villa, sandwiched in between Wolves in front of us and West Brom below us. I was impressed with how Mario Ortega was performing, as he was consistently giving us solid performances and good tackle ratings despite his age.

MATCHDAY – January 29th, 2019: Honestly, I was not expecting much from us as we travelled to Manchester City for the second leg of our League Cup Semi-Finals matchup, but we came away 2-1 victors, surprisingly. We lost 4-2 on aggregate as we had been embarrassed at home by them, but Lukas Kubik and Elliot Law both delivered goals after Nasri had scored for them, and this time, we embarrassed them in front of their home fans. I was proud of our performance, especially as we exited the competition with our heads held high – we had gotten further than anyone had expected and given one of the top teams in the country a real run for their money, at least in the second leg of the tie. Manchester City would meet Fulham, who defeated Everton in the other Semi-Finals matchup, in the League Cup Finals.

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AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS 2019 – Tunisia

GROUP A

Egypt, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, DR Congo

OVERVIEW: The champions began their title defense against one of the most storied teams in the history of the competition, Egypt, and it was the North Africans that came out victorious, defeating the Ivory Coast 3-1. The West Africans defeated Guinea-Bissau but could only draw against World Cup 2018 participants DR Congo; it was just enough to qualify alongside Egypt to the Quarter-Finals. The Egyptians had arguably the best performer in the Group Stages in Manchester United’s 21 year old defender, Mohamed Ateya, and also the tournament’s second leading scorer with 4 goals in the Group Stages, Sayed El Desouky.

GROUP B

Cameroon, South Africa, Guinea, Sierra Leone

OVERVIEW: Both the 2015 and 2013 African Cup of Nations champions, Cameroon and South Africa, respectively, qualified out of Group B, with the former taking all nine points from their three games. That included an impressive 2-1 victory over the 2nd Placed team – Sierra Leone, the Cinderella story of the 2013 ANC tournament, did not manage to record a single point, losing all three of their matches. Manchester United’s South Africa midfielder Andile Jali was joint assists leader with 4 assists, and was one of the tournament’s top performers in the Group Stages, while Cameroon’s Yannick Ndjeng was tied for third best scorer with 3 goals.

GROUP C

Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya

OVERVIEW: The hosts barely made it out of the Group Stages, joining top placed Algeria only after recording a better goal difference than their rivals Morocco, who finished 4th Place in the 2017 ANC in Libya. Newcomers Kenya recorded a single point in a draw against Morocco, and were highly unimpressive in their first ANC appearance of the decade. Algeria’s Brahim Boudebouda recorded 4 assists in the Group Stages, tied for top in the tournament with South Africa’s Andile Jali going into the Knockout Rounds.

GROUP D

Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, Congo

OVERVIEW: A very tough group, it was Africa’s only representative in the Quarter-Finals of the World Cup 2018, Nigeria, who were eliminated alongside Congo. Mali and Ghana were highly impressive in the Group Stages, despite the latter conceding 6 goals, half of which came in a 3-2 loss to the former. Mali’s Sambou Yatabare hit 4 goals against Congo, and was the tournament’s leading goalscorer going into the Knockout Rounds with 5 goals total, while Ghana’s Jordan Ayew hit a sensational hat-trick against Nigeria and was one of the tournament’s best performers in the Group Stages.

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Quarter-Finals

South Africa vs. Mali

Stade Olympique, Sousse (Att: 22,065): Mali were perhaps the most impressive team going into the Quarter-Finals, and they were facing the 2013 ANC champions, South Africa. Mali had made the Finals of the 2012 ANC, eventually losing to Ghana, and since then, they have had mixed results in the tournament. For all the firepower they displayed in the Group Stages, Mali could not find the net against the South Africans, and ended up losing 2-0 thanks to a fantastic brace from Bhongolwethu Jayiya, Shalke’s right winger.

South Africa: 2 (Jayiya 2)

Mali: 0

Tunisia vs. Ghana

Ariana Community Stadium, Ariana (Att: 59,050): The hosts, who had won the tournament just once (2004), where facing against one of the most successful teams in the history of the ANC – the West African nation of Ghana had won the tournament a total of 5 times, most recently in 2012. Since then, they have had three consecutive Quarter-Finals exits, and were hoping to change that pattern against the hosts in this matchup. That is exactly what they did, as they defeated Tunisia 2-1, although the score line did not suggest just how much better the Ghanaians were in this match. Still, they got the result they needed, with with Andre Ayew, the captain of the squad, winning the MotM.

Ghana: 2 (Asamoah, A. Ayew)

Tunisia: 1 (Chermiti)

Ivory Coast vs. Egypt

Stade Olympique de Rades, Rades (Att: 42,362): The record holders for most titles in the competition, Egypt, faced up against the current champions of the continent. The Egyptians had faced the Ivory Coast earlier in the Group Stages (bug??) and won 3-1, and were hoping to repeat that feat once again. They had lost to Morocco in the Quarter-Finals of the 2017 ANC in Libya, and were now hoping to go a step further at the expense of the champions. That is what they did, as they defeated the Ivory Coast 2-1, with another goal from Sayed El Desouky and a MotM performance from Youssef Gaafar. Africa was to have a new champions, and Egypt were looking a good a side as any to win their 8th title in the tournament’s history.

Egypt: 2 (Osman, El Desouky)

Ivory Coast: 1 (L. Traore)

Cameroon vs. Algeria

Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet, Monastir (Att: 19,532): The 2015 ANC champions, Cameroon, faced Algeria, who had lost to South Africa in the 2017 Quarter-Finals. Cameroon had failed to qualify out of the Group Stages in 2017, and were hoping to make things right this time around. There were no surprises as Cameroon defeated the North Africans 2-1, with Sebastien Bassong claiming a goal and the MotM award. They would face their rivals Ghana in the Semi-Finals next, with both teams aspiring to reclaim a title they both felt they deserved.

Cameroon: 2 (Ndjeng, Bassong)

Algeria: 1 (Belkalem)

Semi-Finals

South Africa vs. Egypt

Ariana Community Stadium, Ariana (Att: 59,050): Out of the remaining four teams, Egypt seemed to be the favorites thanks to the young talent they possessed on their squad. The South Africans, however, featured a number of names that played in Europe at top clubs, and had experience on their side. It was Bhongolwethu Jayiya who played the hero again, scoring the only goal of the game, and giving South Africa the victory. The 2013 ANC champions were heading back to the Finals for the first time in six years, and deserved to do so, after they dominated the match against the younger Egyptian side.

South Africa: 1 (Jayiya)

Egypt: 0

Cameroon vs. Ghana

Stade Olympique de Rades, Rades (Att: 42,362): Both teams came into the Semi-Finals matchup on the back of their legacies as African giants in football, and both were looking to add to their impressive resumes in the competition. It was Ghana who would win 3-1, with a brace from their young central defender David Yeboah and Jordan Ayew’s 4th goal in the tournament. Ghana would face South Africa in an epic Finals showdown, and with both teams featuring numerous players in the European leagues, it promised to be an exciting and entertaining match.

Ghana: 3 (Yeboah 2, J. Ayew)

Cameroon: 1 (Ndjeng)

Finals

Ghana vs. South Africa

Stade Olympique de Rades, Rades (Att: 60,000): South Africa were after their third title in their history, while the Ghanaians were attempting to capture their sixth title. It promised to be a great match between the two teams that had the biggest names in the tournament, and some of the most successful players in the European leagues. It was to be Ghana’s night, as they would grab an empathic victory against South Africa, defeating them 3-0 – 22 year old defender David Yeboah hit another brace, bringing his total to 4 goals in the tournament, and Jordan Ayew scored his 5th goal of the tournament. Ghana captured their sixth title, and Yeboah propelled himself to new heights after his display in the tournament.

Ghana: 3 (Yeboah 2, J. Ayew)

South Africa: 0

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Awards

Best Player

Jordan Ayew (6 Appearances, 5 Goals, 1 Assist, 7.73): Although a case can be made for his teammate David Yeboah, it had to go to Ayew after his stellar performances throughout the tournament. From his hat-trick against bitter rivals Nigeria in the Group Stages, to his all important goals in the Semi-Finals and the Finals, Ayew proved his worth to his nation, and showed why he was considered one of Africa’s biggest stars. Note: FM decided Sambou Yatabere was the Best Player, which is a personal pet peeve I have against the game – its ability to name random players as Best Players of tournaments when they’ve played like one great game and their team got eliminated in the Second Round. Anyway, Jordan Ayew is the tournament’s best player.

Best Goalkeeper

Itumeleng Khune (5 Appearances, 7 Goals Conceded, 2 Clean Sheets, 6.92): South Africa’s 31 year old goalkeeper has spent his entire career at South African club Kaizer Chiefs, and the Finals were his 100th cap for his nation. Unfortunately, he conceded 3 goals in that match and South Africa lost, but that took nothing away from the great performances he had given his nation throughout the tournament.t

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Having a solild season so far. Hopefully you achieve Premier League survival again :thup:

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Having a solild season so far. Hopefully you achieve Premier League survival again :thup:

Its looking likely! Ive got the Europa League match against OB coming up, so thats also exciting :)

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Looking at the Best XI for the Cup of Nations there, it seems like Yatabere still had a good competition for his four matches. Might a few good players :)

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Looking at the Best XI for the Cup of Nations there, it seems like Yatabere still had a good competition for his four matches. Might a few good players :)

Yatabere had a game against Congo where he scored 4 goals, and although he was solid in his other 3 games, he was certainly nothing special. Mali were knocked out in the Quarter-Finals, while Jordan Ayew scored just as many goals, had a better AR, AND won the title. There is no doubt who should be Best Player, in my opinion! Unfortunately, SI never seem to fix this lingering problem of certain awards being given out to undeserving players - the German Bundesliga Striker of the Year award in my save seems to take the most average striker in the league every year!

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Survival looks certain now. :thup:

How is Gallardo doing development wise, have you seen signs of improvement yet? I would have been reluctant to sign him. Techincally he is very good but needs too much work in other areas. His lack of pace and natural fitness would be a worry for me. Mentally I think he can develop okay but not sure his physical attributes will improve too much. £1m isn't too much of a gamble though and you will probably get the money back if it doesn't work out.

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Well, if he had cost me more than £1m I certainly would have been hesitant, but I like the potential and promise he brings. He's only been at the club one month, but due to injuries, hes already seen quite a bit of action. Below is Gallardo when I first signed him, and how is he is now:

Gallardo upon signing

Gallardo in Mid-February

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Looking good so far,can't say I'm too surprised with how the African Cup of Nations finished up.

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Looking good so far,can't say I'm too surprised with how the African Cup of Nations finished up.

Yes, unlike years past, there was no real surprises in the Semi-Finals, although the African teams that qualified for the World Cup 2018 were a shock - and they did not fare too well in the ANC 2019 tournament :)

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Looking like another good season in avoiding relegation is likely.

Good luck against OB, always exciting to be in Europe.

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bromleyfc.png

Bromley February Update 2018/2019

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Overview

MATCHDAY – February 2nd, 2019: The FA Cup Fourth Round was upon us, and our opponents were Tottenham, a team we had somehow done reasonably well against. Just over a month ago, we drew them 0-0 at White Hart Lane, the location of this match, and one can’t easily forget our sensational 1-0 victory against them last season. There was not much we could against Edinson Cavani and his team, however, as the Uruguayan scored a brace to go along with a Porvaldur Magnusson own goal. Elliot Law got a consolation for us, but we had failed in our defense of the FA Cup, falling it an obviously better team in the Fourth Round.

MATCHDAY – February 5th, 2019: Reading had not seen their fortunes improve since we spanked them 6-0 a month and a half ago – they were still bottom of the league with only 9 points, having conceded a ridiculous 69 goals. We were going to the Madejski Stadium this time, but I expected a full three points from the boys, and nothing less would do. It proved to be a lot more difficult than I had hoped, but a brace by Jan Hendrik Ihm sealed the 2-1 victory for us, as we pushed through to 13th Place on the back of the new three points we had gathered.

MATCHDAY – February 10th, 2019: We were home against Aston Villa, a team that continued to struggle under new manager Abdelzaher El Saka, dropping into the relegation zone in 18th Place. They started the season under Alan Shearer, but after getting them in a relegation battle, he was sacked towards the end of October. Our match at the beginning of October ended in a 1-1 draw, but I was looking for three points at home against this struggling side. It was to be the same result today at the Bromley Stadium, ending with a 1-1 draw. I was probably a lot more disappointed with result than my counterpart, who got his team out of the relegation zone with the one point they picked up. Jan Hendrik Ihm scored for us, again, bringing his total to 8 goals in the league this season.

February 12th, 2019: Extended Brian Barrett’s loan to Mansfield today for another three months – he was getting a lot of playing time, and it seemed to be benefiting him. He was part of the 2015 youth intake from our academy.

February 16th, 2019: We had Liverpool at Anfield today, not a match I was looking forward to, honestly. We had beaten them 3-2 in the League Cup Quarter-Finals at their home ground, but I could not see us repeating that feat. I was right, as we lost 3-1 in a match that could have easily seen them score five. Our only goal was an own goal, and we lost Porvaldur Magnusson for three months at least thanks to a torn harmstring. Not a good day.

February 17th, 2019: Woke up to a message from the Ivory Coast FA today – they wanted me to replace Francois Zahoui as their head coach. Tempting offer, especially as I have lived most of my life in West Africa (Liberia, Ghana), but alas, I just did not have the time to come and go. My focus was Bromley, so sadly I had to decline.

MATCHDAY – February 19th, 2019: Our quest for European glory continued today, with the first leg of our tie against Danish club OB scheduled for today at Bromley Stadium. Our opponents were not doing especially well in the Danish Superliga (4th Place), and they did not seem to have any real scoring threats on their team, either. Their best player was 28 year old Danish right back Jesper Boge, but he did not look anything as good as the players we faced all season long in the Premier League. I was silently optimistic.

It could not have gone any better for us – we scored three first half goals (two from Ihm and one from Simu), and never looked back. Although we did not score another goal in the second half, we still dominated it the way we had done the first. The end result was 3-1, as they got a goal on a counter-attack in the 72nd minute. From what I had seen, though, we were as good as through to the next round – they simply did not have the quality to compete with us over ninety minutes.

MATCHDAY – February 22nd, 2019: Today we were facing the two time defending champions Manchester United – that is, the team with the two best players in the Premier League at the moment (Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney), the leading goalscorer in the Premier League with 27 goals (Hernandez), and the leading assist man in the Premier League (Eden Hazard). Although they only had a three point lead on Arsenal, this was far and wide the best team in the league this season. Their manager, Ricardo Moniz, had fallen into a beautiful situation and had made the best of it.

We ended up losing, but we played well and were unlucky not to take anything away from this game. They only won 1-0 thanks to South African Andile Jali poking one in rather luckily, and the boys gave the champions their all, and for the most part, were their equals. It was encouraging seeing the effort from the team – if they can go toe to toe with the very best in the league, there was no reason not to think that, with a season or two under their belts, these very same boys would be at the very least a top ten side.

MATCHDAY – February 25th, 2019: For the second game in a row, we hosted one of the Manchester giants at the Bromley Stadium. This time, it was Manchester City, who were 4th Place in the Premier League. For the amount of money they were spending on transfers and salaries, that was very disappointing. Their manager Andre Villas-Boas had somehow survived so far, but since the beginning of the season, there has been rumors of his sacking. Hulk was having another fantastic season, scoring 14 goals in his 21 appearances, and also delivering 8 assists. He was our main threat, in my eyes. After the good performance we put up against the champions, I was hoping we would carry that form into the game today.

We played even better than we did against Manchester United, and came away with a fantastic 1-0 victory. Our goal was scored by Gilmar, but perhaps our best player on the day was our 20 year old GK Tricio, who made countless saves, including an 83rd penalty kick that assured us of the three points. Certainly, the boys proved their capabilities today, and we pushed past Wolves into 12th Place. Safety is all but assured not, and I am breathing a little easier every game.

Andre Villas-Boas was sacked immediately after the game, with the Manchester City owner claiming that it simply was not working out between the two anymore. What was surprising was the hint that they would be seeking to hire me for the job! Of course, I immediately and furiously denied the rumors, and if truth be told, I had no interest in leaving Bromley.

MATCHDAY – February 28th, 2019: The second leg of the Europa League clash against Danish side OB was upon, and with a 3-1 win at home earlier this month, I was expecting us to qualify to the Second Knockout Round with ease. It was a highly entertaining match which we ended up winning 4-3, with two late goals from Lukas Kubik in the final ten minutes, including a last minute winner. He won the MotM, and we were through to the next round against Basel, surprisingly, who had defeated the bigger Palermo in their tie. We won our tie against OB by a 7-4 aggregate.

February 29th, 2019: Interesting news today – Manchester City hired Frank de Boer as their new manager, which marked the second time in a row they have snatched Arsenal’s manager away from them. His predecessor, Andre Villas-Boas, was snatched from Arsenal in March 2017, and it was the man they sacked, Alan Shearer, who took his place at the London club. Arsenal must be just a little bit pissed off at Manchester City considering they were doing well under de Boer (2nd Place) – apparently, Man City are paying him £70,000 per week!

Also in managerial news, German giants Bayern Munich sacked Mons Ivar Mjelde – the Norwegian had been on the job since November 2017, and led Bayern Munich to a 2nd Place finish in the 2017/18 season. He had not done so well this year, however, as Bayern were in 4th Place. The German club’s boards are known to be especially ruthless, and it did not come as a surprise to me that they let him go, especially after he failed to lead them out of the Champions League Group Stages.

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League form looking a bit patchy, but you're still winning when you need to, and a great result over Man City too :thup:

The games against OB went well, by the looks of things. Certainly a good couple of games for the neutrals!

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League form looking a bit patchy, but you're still winning when you need to, and a great result over Man City too :thup:

The games against OB went well, by the looks of things. Certainly a good couple of games for the neutrals!

Yes, could not have wished for better in Europe so far! We've had winnable games, and we've gone out and done the job expected of us. It was great getting that victory over Man City, especially after the three defeats we suffered from them earlier!

You can hopefully make a push up the table towards the end of the year :thup:

Hopefully - I want us to aim for a top ten finish. It looks possible, but we'll have to really get results to make it happen :)

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Yeah...not a year for youth I guess...

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So much for an easy tie - the Swiss taught us a footballing lesson in Basel, and even at the Bromley Stadium, we only looked decent for the last 45 minutes. I honestly thought we had a great chance of advancing, and Im thoroughly disappointed we could not get past them.

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Didn't see that 4-1 result coming at all, looks like they dominated that game.

Still, at least you look comfortable in the League.

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CHAMPIONS CUP 2018/2019

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Second Round

Porto vs. Manchester United (1-8)

First Leg – Estadio do Dragao, Porto (Att: 50,948): Runners-up in the Portuguese Premier Division last year and currently in 4th Place, FC Porto were not having the best of seasons. On the other hand, two time defending English Premier League champions Manchester United were currently on track to win their third straight title in a row. The difference in talent and form was evident as the visitors ran away 4-0 winners, embarrassing Porto in front of their home fans. Belgian midfield superstar Eden Hazard won the MotM after delivering 2 assists and recording an 8.8 AR.

Porto: 0

Manchester United: 4 (Coste, Hernandez, Ateya, Jones)

Second Leg – Old Trafford, Manchester (Att: 91,415: There was not much to say here, really – the tie was already over before the second leg began, but Manchester United were seemingly out to make a point, defeating Porto 4-1 on home ground. Darren Fletcher nailed a brace to sink Porto, and the English club won on aggregate by a huge 8-1.

Manchester United: 4 (Fletcher 2, Badelj, Valencia)

Porto: 1 (Lucas)

Sevilla vs. Marseille (3-4)

First Leg – Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Sevilla (Att: 45,889): Sevilla finished 3rd in the Spanish La Liga last season, but were struggling to retain that form this year, and were in 6th Place currently. Their opponents Marseille were faring even worse, however, as they were in 7th Place in the French Ligue 1 despite having the highest salary roll in the league. Despite having most of the possession (57%), the French side could not turn that into opportunity, and the Spanish side won 2-1.

Sevilla: 2 (Negredo, Dede)

Marseille: 1 (L. Traore)

Second Leg – Stade Velodrome, Marseille (Att: 66,366): The French club made it right, defeating Sevilla 3-1, although it took extra-time to separate the two sides. After ending with a 2-1 result in the first ninety minutes – the same result the first leg ended in – Younes Belhanda scored his second goal of the game in the 113th minute to give Marseille the lead for good, and send them packing into the Quarter-Finals.

Marseille: 3 (Belhanda 2, J. Ayew)

Sevilla: 1 (Fortounis)

CSKA Moscow vs. Real Madrid (5-3)

First Leg – CSKA-Peschanoye, Moscow(Att: 35,000): The 2017 Champions League champions, Real Madrid, were eager to get back the title they lost to Lyonnais last year, while the Russian champions had been one of the more surprising teams in the Champions League this decade, getting to the Finals in 2012 and to the Semi-Finals in 2016. The home side would bring forward another surprise, defeating the favorites in the tie 2-1 despite conceding first. Madrid defenderNicolas Nkoulou won the MotM, getting an outstanding 9 Interceptions and finishing with an 8.2 AR for the losing side.

CSKA Moscow: 2 (Irkin, Ponedelnik)

Real Madrid: 1 (Di Maria)

Second Leg – Santiago Bernabau, Madrid (Att: 89,274): CSKA Moscow had constantly been one of the most surprising teams in the competition over the past decade, and this tie was no different. Having taken a 2-1 lead at home, they came into Madrid and finished the job, defeating the Spanish giants in their home ground 3-2. It was a very even game, but the difference was Nikolay Ponedelnik[/b] – the 22 year old striker hit a brace that sent Real Madrid reeling. They had no answer for the young star, and CSKA Moscow was again on the giving end of a huge upset.

Real Madrid: 2

CSKA Moscow: 3

Manchester City vs. Lyonnais (1-1, Manchester City won on away goals)

First Leg – City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester (Att: ): The defending Champions League champions travelled to Manchester City, who had lost to Sampdoria in last year’s edition of the competition. Both teams were one of the favorites to win the title, and this matchup certainly was one of the most anticipated in the Second Round. Alas, the match itself failed to live up to its billing, as it finished with a bore 0-0 draw. Manchester City captain and central defender Vincent Kompany was crowned MotM in this dull game.

Manchester City: 0

Lyonnais: 0

Second Leg – Stade de Lumieres, Lyon (Att: 61,556): After the 0-0 draw in Manchester, Lyon came into the match set on attacking from the very beginning, which is exactly what they did. In fact, Manchester City had just two shots on goal the entire match, but their first one was also the first goal of the match, scored by 24 year old Iranian striker Ahmad Ansarifard[/b]. It took just two minutes for Lyonnais to respond through Ishak Belfodil, but those were to be the only two goals of the game, regardless of how hard the defending champions tried. In the end, Manchester City defeated the French club on away goals, and made sure that the competition would see a new champion in May.

Lyonnais: 1 (Belfodil)

Manchester City: 1 (Ansarifard)

Liverpool vs. Inter Milan (2-6)

First Leg – Anfield, Liverpool (Att: 45,362): The defending Serie A champions, Inter Milan, had won that title four times this decade, but had not seen that success translate into European glory. They last captured the Champions League title in 2010, but since then, have only qualified to the competition’s Quarter-Finals round twice. Liverpool have had a bit of a rollercoaster decade, having only qualified to the Champions League twice before this year in the past nine seasons, losing in the Quarter-Finals to eventual champions Lyonnais. It was the Italians, however, who would be the happier side coming out of this match, which ended in a 2-2 draw. Liverpool were the better team by a considerable margin, but Inter Milan managed to hit them for two goals despite only having 4 shots on goal. £35,500,000 man Vladimir Weiss won the MotM, scoring a goal and recording an 8.4 AR.

Liverpool: 2 (Weiss, Carroll)

Inter Milan: 2 (Gutierrez, Bell)

Second Leg – Giuseppe Meazza, Milan (Att: 78,452): After an even first leg, Inter Milan asserted their dominance at home, defeating Liverpool 4-0, making a mockery of the assumption that the two teams were equal. Norwegian right back Ruben Jenssen won the MotM, scoring a goal, but most of the credit has to go to Felipe Anderson. A Brazilian hero in last year’s World Cup, he has arguably been Inter Milan’s most important player this season, and he showed why by scoring a brace against the English club.

Inter Milan: 4 (Anderson 2, Doumbia, Jenssen)

Liverpool: 0

Malaga vs. AEK (6-0)

First Leg – La Rosaleda, Malaga (Att: 28,963): At the time of this match, Malaga were shockingly top of the Spanish La Liga. They had qualified to the Champions League for the third year in a row, although this was the first year that they had moved past the Group Stages. AEK had captured the Greek Superleague for the first time in five years, and their advancement to the Second Round of the Champions League was the first time they had done so in numerous years. The Spanish club showed why they were ahead of clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona in their domestic league, defeating the Greeks 3-0, with Peruvian striker Andy Polo hitting a brace to go along with £10,000,000 signing Thiago from Juventus. Malaga owned 65% of the possession, and although neither team had many chances on goal, the Spanish club made the most of it while AEK were wasteful.

Malaga: 3 (Polo 2, Thiago)

AEK: 0

Second Leg – OAKA Spyros Louis, Athens (Att: 63,419): No surprises here as Malaga made short work of a vastly inferior AEK team, defeating them 3-0 away from home and 6-0 on aggregate. Thiago did not score this time for the Spanish club, but he did win the MotM, giving out an assist and recording an 8.2 AR. AEK played well in the first half, but lost touch in the second, as Malaga scored all three of their goals in the last forty-five minutes.

AEK: 0

Malaga: 3 (Tiote, Ferreyra, Chu-Young)

Fiorentina vs. Paris Saint-Germain (4-2)

First Leg – (Att: ): This was a promising matchup, with the defending French Ligue 1 champions taking on the 2015 Champions League winners. Paris Saint-Germain were running away with their domestic competition this season, as well, while Fiorentina were 3rd in the Serie A, only four points off of the top. What was thought to be a close game ended up being a lopsided victory for the home side, who had a brace from young French striker Joffrey Berthet[/b]. Fiorentina were the more efficient team in front of the goal in what was, in actually, an even match in terms of possession and chances.

Fiorentina: 3 (Berthet (2), Babacar)

Paris Saint-Germain: 0

Second Leg – Parc de Princes, Paris (Att: 51,659): After taking a beating in Italy, Paris Saint-Germain looked like a team that did not quite believe in its ability in the second leg. This was especially true after Fiorentina scored the first goal in the match through their Emirati midfielder Amer Abdulrahman in the 31st minute, which meant PSG would have to score four goals in order to win the tie. They could only get two, despite the heroics of MotM Javier Pastore, and what was looking like a season the French club could really make some noise in Europe turned out to be false hope. Fiorentina advanced to the Quarter-Finals with poise.

Paris Saint-Germain: 2 (Pastore, Gameiro)

Fiorentina: 1 (Abdulrahman)

Tottenham vs. Barcelona (3-4)

First Leg – White Hart Lane, London (Att: 36,310): Perhaps the biggest tie of the Second Round, it was the Spanish La Liga champions (also known as the team of the decade or the greatest club side ever assembled), against the squad that lost in two consecutive Champions League Finals in 2016 and 2017, the former being against Barcelona. The Spanish side did their best in their quest to recapture a title they have basically owned the past ten years, defeating Tottenham away from home 2-1. Two goals came in the last couple of minutes of the match, first an equalizer by Tottenham, and then MotM Cesc Fabregas winner just a minute later in the 90th minute.

Tottenham: 1 (Huddlestone)

Barcelona: 2 (Dzagoev, Fabregas)

Second Leg – Nou Camp, Barcelona (Att: 98,077): Two goals by £12,000,000 new signing Andriy Yarmolenko before the ten minute mark had the Tottenham faithful believing they would get by the Spanish champions, and for a while it looked like it would be the case. However, Bojan struck in the 57th minute to equalize the tie, and just three minutes later, Alexis Sanchez nailed the goal would send Barcelona through to the Quarter-Finals. Portuguese midfielder Josue, who had joined Barcelona last season for £8,500,000 from Everton, won the MotM thanks to his two assists. It was a bitter loss for Tottenham, who would have felt they had done enough to beat the Spanish club.

Barcelona: 2 (Bojan, Sanchez)

Tottenham: 2 (Yarmolenko 2)

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The Basel result was certainly a shock. Didn't think it would be a formality but also didn't see them putting four past you.

Kourouma is an interesting prospect. Some good techincal attributes for a 15yr old. I also like the high determination as I think it's important for development. I think he could develop into a decent prospect.

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Thanks for commenting, ShyBaldBuddhist and City2000!

The Basel result was certainly a shocker for me - they have talent on their side that I just did not see. The 4-1 result was an eye-opener.

As for Kourouma, he reminds me of Marcelo Gallardo, the 18 year old Chilean who I signed for £1,000,000 in January. They seem to have the same strengths, although I can only hope Kourouma develops those high level of attributes Gallardo has.

Cheick Kourouma

Marcelo Gallardo

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I think Kourouma will become better than Gallardo. He is three years younger and there is already not much between them physically and mentally. The technical attributes will improve in no time. I always think youngsters with high mental attributes are a much better prospect.

Hope they both do the business though :thup:

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I think Kourouma will become better than Gallardo. He is three years younger and there is already not much between them physically and mentally. The technical attributes will improve in no time. I always think youngsters with high mental attributes are a much better prospect.

Hope they both do the business though :thup:

I do hope so! I wasnt so impressed when I first saw him, but if he improves fast, he definitely could be useful in the future :)

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I'm surprised you got a work permit for a 15 year old from Guinea. Surely that breaks all the British employment laws! Has he got a European second nationality?

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Now things are getting more challenging.
I'm surprised you got a work permit for a 15 year old from Guinea. Surely that breaks all the British employment laws! Has he got a European second nationality?

Yes indeed, deltablue - we have not seen any improvement really from last season. We might actually finish lower in the Premier League than our debut season!

AK22, I think you mean Cheick Kourouma - he is actually part of my youth intake this year, and he has an English nationality as well :)

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CHAMPIONS CUP 2018/2019

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QUARTER-FINALS

Inter Milan vs. Manchester City (3-2)

First Leg – Giuseppe Meazza, Milan (Att: 80,018): This was perhaps the biggest match in terms of club pedigree the Quarter-Finals had to offer, although Manchester City were struggling in the English Premier League, currently finding themselves in 6th Place. It was not the case for the defending Serie A champions, who looked increasingly likely to capture their second straight title in a row. Despite their domestic forms, Inter Milan were second best throughout this match, and were lucky to come out 2-1 winners. Vincent Kompany’s own goal was unlucky, conceding it right before the halftime whistle, and Milan Djuric capitalized on a chance given to him to give his squad the victory. The best player of the match was Manchester City’s goalscorer, Hulk, who unfortunately was injured in the 31st minute – he should be ready for the second leg of this tie.

Inter Milan: 2 (Kompany O.G, Djuric)

Manchester City: 1 (Hulk)

Second Leg – City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester (Att: 47,405): Manchester City, despite losing in Italy in the first leg, were considered the better team in the match, and were rightfully considered so in the second leg, as well. However, this has just not been a season to remember for the English side – not only were they faltering in the English Premier League, but they lost this tie in the most heart-breaking of circumstances. A Stefan Bell own goal gave them an early lead in the 5th minute, and considering they held 59% of the possession while only allowing Inter Milan 2 shots on target, it seemed that Manchester City were going to advance on away goals. That is, until the dying seconds of the match, when Ahmed Khalil hit a scorcher from just inside the box, relaying a Djuric pass with one touch right into Joe Hart’s goal. There is no more painful to exit a competition that was being looked upon by the Manchester City faithful as their last chance at some silverware this season, but that was not their fate. Inter Milan advanced in the most undeserving of circumstances.

Manchester City: 1 (Stefan Bell O.G)

Inter Milan: 1 (Khalil)

Malaga vs. Barcelona (3-5)

First Leg – La Rosaleda, Malaga (Att: 28,963): The all-Spanish Quarter-Finals between Malaga (currently 3rd in La Liga) and Barcelona (defending La Liga champions and currently 1st) was an exciting one. It was the all-conquering team of the 2010s facing up against the team that had slowly built its way up and now could count itself as one of Europe’s top clubs. Barcelona were beaten Finalists last season, the first time in their history they had failed to lift the trophy once they had gotten to the final match in the Champions League. Malaga were in the stage of the competition for the first time in their history, led by manager Roberto Donadoni, who some were proclaiming to be one of the best in the world. He again surprised everyone, leading his Malaga side to a 2-1 victory over the Spanish champions, thanks to a fantastic brace from young Brazilian striker Eduardo – the 22 year old had now found the net 6 times total in the competition. It was Barcelona who struck first, however, through Portuguese midfielder Josue, but for the majority of the match, they were second best. They would have to do a lot better at home to overcome this resilient Malaga side.

Malaga: 2 (Eduardo 2)

Barcelona: 1 (Josue)

Second Leg – Nou Camp, Barcelona (Att: 101,244): Despite having been defeated in the first leg of the tie, there was few who doubted that Barcelona would put Malaga aside and advance to the Semi-Finals. Indeed, Barcelona showed their class and provided further evidence of their absolute greatness, with Cesc Fabregas hitting a brace alongside football legend Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez. Malaga’s early goal celebrations were short lived, as Barcelona turned up the intensity – the ended up with 60% of the possession, and their Shots/On Target ratio was 22/9 – Malaga’s was 5/2. It was clear by the end of the game which was the better side, and there was no denying Barcelona’s return to the Semi-Finals. Their quest to reclaim the title they had made their own throughout the last ten years continued.

Barcelona: 4 (Fabregas 2, Messi, Sanchez)

Malaga: 1 (Chu-Young)

Fiorentina vs. CSKA Moscow (3-5)

First Leg – Artemio Franchi, Florence (Att: 40,429): Both these teams were solid and both of them were considered overachievers. CSKA Moscow surprised the world when it advanced to the 2013 Champions League Finals before falling to Barcelona, while Fiorentina shocked the world when they defeated Chelsea in the 2015 Champions League Finals in Lisbon, Portugal. CSKA Moscow were the defending Russian champions, and were looking likely to achieve that feat again, while Fiorentina were still in 3rd Place in the Serie A. These two teams had actually met twice before, the the 2016/17 Champions League Group D – CSKA Moscow won both those matches, including a 4-2 victory at home. It was a highly entertaining match, and Fiorentina recorded their first win against CSKA Moscow, defeating them 3-2. The Italian side actually went into the second half down 2-0, after a Nikolay Ponedelnik goal and a Neto own goal, but three goals in the final forty-five minutes gave Fiorentina the important victory. The MotM was 21 year old French striker Joffrey Berthet – he was a player who had really come along this season and was finally starting to fulfill the potential so many people saw in him.

Fiorentina: 3 (Enrique, Babacar, Berthet)

CSKA Moscow: 2 (Ponedelnik, Neto O.G)

Second Leg – CSKA-Peschanoye, Moscow (Att: 35,000): While many drool over the talent of Nikolay Ponedelnik,and rightfully so, it was his less talented but more experienced partner up front who sent Fiorentina to their Champions League grave. Tomas Necid has not always been the most consistent of figures for his club, but the past couple of years has seen his form return to him. The 29 year old Czech put forward one of the most famous performances in the history of the club, scoring a sensational hat-trick that was very representative of Moscow’s utter domination of the game. They had 57% of the possession, and their Shots/On Target ratio was 15/7, compared to Fiorentina’s dismal 2/0. Simply put, the Moscow side deserved to return to the Semi-Finals for the third time this decade, exceeding all expectations and proving once and for all that they were, indeed, one of the top teams in Europe.

CSKA Moscow: 3 (Necid 3)

Fiorentina: 0

Manchester United vs. Marseille (1-4)

First Leg – Old Trafford, Manchester (Att: 94,196): While Manchester City and Inter Milan were the biggest match in terms of names, this tie had the potential to be the most entertaining one because of the sheer offensive talent available on both sides. Manchester United were no strangers to the competition or its Knockout Rounds, and second year manager Ricardo Moniz was hoping to do what his predecessors Manuel Pellegrini and Martin Jol could not – win the Champions League title. Since 2010, they had failed to advance to the Semi-Finals only twice – in 2015 when they failed to qualify, and in 2016, when they fell to Arsenal in the Quarter-Finals. They were two time defending English Premier League champions, and were likely to make it three in a row this year. By form alone, Manchester United were perhaps the finest team on the planet this season. Marseille, who captured the French Ligue 1 title in 2016, were in 4th Place in their domestic league and not quite in the form they had hoped to be in. They had faced Manchester United before in the 2014 Champions League Quarter-Finals, losing both matches and the tie. Despite the promise of an uptempo, attacking game, the match was everything but that – in fact, Marseille failed to get a single target on goal. Manchester United fared better, but could only convert one, as their leading goalscorer Javier Hernandez gave them the 1-0 victory in an anti-climactic game.

Manchester United: 1 (Hernandez)

Marseille: 0

Second Leg – Stade Velodrome, Marseille (Att: 67,000): Marseille have always been known as a team with talent that can beat the best of teams on its day, but surely no one could have predicted what transpired at the Stade Velodrome in the second leg of this time. Eden Hazard’s injury in the 9th minute surely played a part, but it was Jordan Ayew’s brilliance that was the primary reason Marseille shocked Manchester United, and the world, defeating them 4-0 in an extremely lopsided match. Ayew had hit a hat-trick by the 57th minute, and the team that was perhaps considered the favorites to finally take home the Champions League title were completely outplayed by their French counterparts. The brilliance of Ayew cannot be understated – the 27 year old Ghanaian striker has become a legend at Marseille, and with good cause. Putting aside the 56% possession, which was surely helped by Hazard’s absence, Marseille’s Shots/On Target ratio was 21/8 – Manchester United’s was a completely uncharacteristic 4/1. Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, the latter whom was the English Premier League leading goalscorer and both whom were two of the best performing players in their domestic league, were made irrelevant by Marseille defense, led by the Domenico Criscito, who converted the penalty that was Marseille’s fourth goal. Marseille would now meet Barcelona in what promised to be a most entertaining Semi-Finals showdown.

Marseille: 4 (Ayew 3, Criscito)

Manchester United: 0

2019championscupsemifin.jpg

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Barca-Inter final perhaps?

Just cant bet against Barcelona - Im getting soooo sick of them :)

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CHAMPIONS CUP 2018/2019

10gd1f8.png

SEMI-FINALS

Marseille vs. Barcelona (4-6)

First Leg – Stade Velodrome, Marseille (Att: 67,000): Barcelona’s quest to make it title number eight had it facing Marseille, the team that disposed of what many people thought were the favorites to win the competition, Manchester United. Jordan Ayew was at his spectacular best when the French squad defeated the English champions 4-0 in Marseille, and that result surely did not go amiss by Barcelona’s manager Roberto Mancini. His counterpart, Lucien Favre had been hired in 2016 to replace Didier Deschamps, and the club had yet to win a championship under him. Barcelona stood in the way – this was pretty much the same Barcelona team that had been featuring for the past ten years, led by Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, and Gerard Pique. Their most important signing of the past few years, Alan Dzagoev, however, was slowly becoming the team’s most important player. It was the Russian who would score the last goal of the game and win the MotM – his goal was also the equalizer for Barcelona as the match ended 2-2. As usual, Ayew hit the net for Marseille, but the disappointment was evident – the French side were hoping to come away from their home match victorious, but once again, Barcelona defied the odds and got two crucial goals.

Marseille: 2 (Ayew, Crisetig)

Barcelona: 2 (Sanchez, Dzagoev)

Second Leg – Nou Camp, Barcelona (Att: 103,949): Barcelona went into this match knowing they were facing and equal, and what transpired was one of the most dramatic matches in recent memory. Going into the final seconds of the match, Marseille were up 2-1 and looked like they were heading to their first Finals appearance since 1992, but Barcelona captain Cesc Fabregas had other ideas. He played a breath-taking pass through four defenders to substitute Romuald Mballa, who slotted it past the Steve Mandanda to send the match into extra-time. The stadium was rocking, and Marseille were absolutely deflated. Bojan and Fabregas scored in the first extra-time to send Barcelona to their second straight Champions League Finals – it seems this team was just destined to get to that stage. Marseille had done all it could, but after conceding that last second goal, they lost all hope. Barcelona smelt blood and struck, and that was that. The Catalans are heading to the Finals to face an impressive Inter Milan team in what promises to be a fantastic match.

Barcelona: 4 (Bojan 2, Mballa, Fabregas)

Marseille: 2 (Traore, Belhanda)

CSKA Moscow vs. Inter Milan (0-2)

First Leg – CSKA-Poschanoye, Moscow (Att: 35,000): For the past ten years, there has been no more surprising team in the competition than CSKA Moscow. They reached the Finals against Barcelona in 2013, and made the Semi-Finals on two other occasions, including this one. Not bad for a team that people usually overlook. Manager Leonid ****skiy has overseen all those achievements, having taken over the reigns in October of 2009, and not enough credit has been given to the man. He has overhauled his team and kept them competitive – where they once relied on the likes of Vagner Love, Alan Dzagoev, and Seydou Doumbia, they now had Nikolay Ponedelnik, Wanderley, and Keysuki Honda. They had won the Russian Premier Division five times in the last eight years, and were on course to win their second consecutive title. Inter Milan were undoubtedly the most talented team in Italy, whether it was talent of the players or of the their manager, Nicolo Frustalupi. He had taken over the job after serving as the assistant manager for former boss Giuseppe Baresi – after he was fired, Frustalupi took over and never looked back. He has won three Serie A titles since then, but had not since that success spill over into European competitions. In fact, this was the first time ever that he had led the team into the Semi-Finals of the Champions League. With the likes of Felipe Anderson, whose performances in the World Cup 2018 and this season has seen him propelled into a world superstar, Jack Collison, and Stefan Bell, Inter Milan definitely had the talent to win the whole competition in its ranks. The two teams ended playing each other out in the first leg of the tie, which ended in a dull 0-0 draw. Inter Milan were especially wasteful, with a Shots/On Target ratio of 16/2, while CSKA Moscow seemed content to sit back and try to live off of counter-attacks. In the end, neither team had a single chance that really threatened the other’s goal, and sadly, what promised to be an entertaining affair ended up being a drab match.

CSKA Moscow: 0

Inter Milan: 0

Second Leg – Giuseppe Meazza, Milan (Att: 79,526): One day after retaining the Serie A title, Inter Milan sealed their trip to Istanbul to take part in the Champions League Finals. The second leg of their tie against CSKA Moscow ended before the 15th minute, as Inter Milan hit two quick goals very early in the match, and then turned their defensive intensity up. They did not allow a single shot on goal for the opponents, and although they did not have many chances of their own afterwards, they did not need to. Inter Milan have been in spectacular form through their European campaign this year, conceding only 6 goals in their 12 matches, and failing to lose a single game. CSKA Moscow were simply outplayed over the two ties, although both matches failed to live up to expectations in terms of entertainment. Inter Milan’s Brazilian central defender Rafael Toloi won the MotM, getting 8 interceptions and recording 7.7 AR. Inter Milan return to the Champions League Finals for the first time since winning the competition in 2010.

Inter Milan: 2 (Doumbia, Correa)

CSKA Moscow: 0

2019championscupfinals.jpg

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FC Twente defeated Arsenal in the Euro Cup Finals - Basel, the team that beat us, lost in the Semi-Finals to the new Champions!

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FC Twente defeated Arsenal in the Euro Cup Finals - Basel, the team that beat us, lost in the Semi-Finals to the new Champions!

Go Twente :D Nice to see them doing something outside of my game universe.

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Apparently, this young GK from my 2015 youth intake is the "next David Seaman"! I dont see it - but could be worth putting him in as the No.2 keeper.

2019endbrianbarrett.jpg

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Go Twente :D Nice to see them doing something outside of my game universe.

Haha, I totally put that up because of your save! When I saw them beat Arsenal, I nearly went into their manager information to check and see if it was you! Its Gertjan Verbeek, formerly of AZ (he left there in 2013). He took over in 2015, and I must say, he's done well so far - he won the Eredivisie in 2018, although he came in 3rd Place this year. In addition to the Euro Cup, he also brought home the Dutch came this season :)

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WHat was it with OM scoring 4 goals? :D

Lol, I just noticed that! Against Man Utd, they scored them all in one game - I was actually looking forward to seeing them beat Barcelona, but there is no stopping the "greatest club ever assembled." Younes Belhanda and Jordan Ayew, ESPECIALLY Jordan Ayew, have become world superstars in my save :)

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The board just hit me with this little bit of information - didnt even request it! I hope it doesnt cut into my transfer budget, though!

2019endstadiumexpansion.jpg

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With Barrett I see a bit of potential there but not David Seaman quality. Techincally he's quite good with good poisitioning and concentration. If he improves a bit physically I think he can make it. Send him out on loan again as I think first team football will really help him to develop. As your new head scout I'll give him 1.5* CA and 4* PA :D

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