deltablue

[FM11]Deltablue Rising II: Delta's Darlings.

1,143 posts in this topic

Summer 2034

I was right about lack of money, after setting expectations (top half, which was a very risky move) and budgets I only had 65k, and less that 1kpw to play with. However I saw that as a positive, either I’d find players worthy of spending that on, or I’d be able to enjoy the benefits of a more settled (and developed) squad, ideally both. There was always going to be one new arrival, a Ghanaian winger (who was actually my first choice signing ahead of Tetteh, who I initially went for as I wouldn’t have to wait a year, then decided to sign this chap as well when other clubs showed interest.

It was just as well that I did go for him, as our financial situation very much changed when a 625k bid for Tetteh from Romania was accepted by the board, which admittedly I saw coming in January when I was getting strong 6-figure bids for him. Still it was a good deal given not only did we have his compatriot now, but Petrus has been strong enough last year to keep him out of the side quite a lot, so we were hardly weakened on the pitch. For the most part, even being able to target more expensive players didn’t throw up too much, though there were a couple I went for, as well as going to Africa again, even though that meant being over the limit of how many non-eu players I could have in a match-squad, as we were at the limit of 5, even though there would be age-enforced waits for a couple of them. In the end there were a few new signings coming in during the first few weeks of the season, enough to add plenty more potential without overdoing the changes.

Abbey

Abdul

Amoako

Drahno

Stochl

Transfers

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Didn't do too bad during the season and 6th place could give you some good foundation to build upon.Made some nice transfers as well during pre-season and good luck in the new season.

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Zilina is a powerhouse! Still a mid-table finish so something to work with )

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Abbey looks like quite an impressive player.

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Your African connections are really paying off then. Hopefully you can push on this season with the new signings.

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Didn't do too bad during the season and 6th place could give you some good foundation to build upon.Made some nice transfers as well during pre-season and good luck in the new season.

Thanks, the potential in this side is now considerable, though clearly may take a while to be realized.

Zilina is a powerhouse! Still a mid-table finish so something to work with )

So far it's proving hard to build on it, hopefully I can hold on enough to see if we can. Even in a best-case future scenario Zilina will be tough to compete with.

Abbey looks like quite an impressive player.

He is indeed, far from the only one.

Your African connections are really paying off then. Hopefully you can push on this season with the new signings.

Still need a bit of gelling time with a side only just getting over last year's massive influx, might be able to get those players even if I wasn't Ghana manager but it probably helps a little.

Jul/Aug 2034

Senec 0-0 Michalovce (D1)

International call ups played havoc with my selection plans (mostly up front, which made me very glad for having too many forwards in the squad) for the opening game, at Senec. That explained why we managed the not-inconsiderable achievement of being second best in a lifeless first half. We had a burst of life at the beginning of the second half, before they applied the pressure, and I was glad to get a point in a tricky away start.

Michalovce 2-2 Presov (D1)

We had everyone back for a bit of a test against Presov. If nothing else we were definitely capable of resisting pressure. We somehow survived a first-half-long siege of Bubenko’s goal. In the second half, Takang gave us a 52nd minute lead. 5 minutes later he restored our lead after they equalized. We were so close to holding out to a win, but having battered on our door almost all game, I couldn’t begrudge them the equalizer they got with a couple of minutes left, as by rights they should have won easily.

Slovan Bratislava 1-1 Michalovce (D1)

Slovan weren’t going to be a bundle of laughs either. The game started in familiar fashion, though we did managed to have a good spell of our own before the break. Takang gave us the lead after 51 minutes, but like against Presov, we couldn’t hold out forever, conceding an equalizer with 10 minutes left, and being lucky to hold on for a point. We had none of that resilience at Kosice, going down in the second minute, and being three behind at half-time. We were rather better in the second half, but only managed a Duris goal after 82 minutes.

Michalovce 3-2 Banska Bystrica (D1)

The first game after everyone arrived was Banska Bystrica, and we needed to win a couple soon or my ‘raising expectations to top half’ gamble would well see me fired soon. It was the first game all season where we weren’t on the back foot. Quite the reverse in fact. However chance after chance came and went and it was almost inevitable that they’d be the ones taking the lead, which they did in the 33rd minute. They suddenly took control and got another 10 minutes later! I couldn’t believe this was happening to me!!!!! We finally scored from Takang in the 49th minute, but had to face a bit more pressure before we started attacking again. The Cameroonian couldn’t be accused of not doing his bit, as he equalized in the 71st minute with his 5th goal in 4 league games so far, and Duris gave us a winner in the 79th minute. Fully deserved but very nearly thrown completely away.

Zilina 4-0 Michalovce (D1)

I was hoping we’d be able to go on a good run, but that would have to wait until after we went to Zilina. They had only won 3 of 5 so far, and were in the middle of a CL tie with Sheriff. Predictably that didn’t help us one bit as they dominated again. They took the lead after 15 minutes, getting another a few minutes from half-time after having one disallowed. We actually showed quite a bit of life in the second half, and this was far from our worst showing against them, but it wasn’t saying much as they picked us off with a couple of goals. Thankfully we had a few more manageable games coming as we desperately needed them.

League Table

Sept 2034

Burundi 1-3 Ghana (ACNQ)

Before that, Ghana had a routine trip to Burundi. However it wasn’t so routine as it seemed when they took the lead after 9 minutes. While we kept pushing to equalize, they had chances to get another. Thankfully young forward Mohammed scored just 12 seconds into the second half to level it, Gyamfi gave us the lead in the 58th minute, and another Mohammed goal wrapped up a 3-1 win that set us on course to qualify if we could beat Kenya at home in October, and given we dominated the away game (albeit scandalously losing 1-0) I felt we’d do that.

Vranov 0-2 Michalovce (D1)

We really needed to take advantage of a trip to bottom side Vranov who had just 1 point), followed by Ruzomberok at home and another trip to the promoted side, Zlate Moravce, to get a couple of wins at least or I’d be in serious trouble. I was very relieved when Abbey gave us the lead in the 16th minute, having already had a number of chances and been worried that ‘sod’s law’ would strike yet again. We weren’t very safe until Duris got another late in the first half. Very little happened in the second half until the last 15 minutes when we both had a few chances.

Michalovce 0-0 Ruzomberok (D1)

Against Ruzomberok, we had a numerical advantage for almost all of the match, but failed to do much to take advantage until late on, so it wasn’t too surprising that we failed to get a win.

Zlate Moravce 0-7 Michalovce (D1)

Even when beating Presov we hadn’t really been firing very well, but thankfully that changed when we went to Zlate Moravce. Vyborny gave us the lead in the 8th minute, followed by Kessou after half an hour. Before halftime Takang m ade it three, then had a shot deflected into the net for an own-goal. Takang dominated the second half. He got his second goal in the 54th minute, completed a hat-trick with a penalty 5 minutes later, and got a 4th in the 66th minute. It was a pity we eased off after that or we’d probably have gotten a couple more. Otherwise it’s fair to say that even against relatively weak opponents, 7-0 away was an excellent result, indeed the club’s record win.

Ziar nad Hronom 0-3 Michalovce (SC)

We went to Ziar nad Hronom in the first cup game. Duris scored after 3 minutes. We had another disallowed before Duris got another in the 22nd minute. Amoako headed in his first goal to make it 3-0, but we couldn’t get any more in the second half despite being very much on top.

Michalovce 1-2 Trnava (D1)

Trnava, again mid-table rivals, would be trickier, especially with Takang and Abbey absent on international duty. Kessou scored a penalty in the 4th minute, but we couldn't stay on top for long. They equalized in the 8th minute, and we were fairly lifeless afterwards, conceding a costy Trnava winner in the 55th minute.

League Table

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I'd like to say you're improving, but I'm not sure that you are!

At least you've got a positive goal difference, I suppose! :)

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I'd like to say you're improving, but I'm not sure that you are!

At least you've got a positive goal difference, I suppose! :)

I know what you mean, but probably shouldn't read too much into our top-half finish last time since we moved up into 6th with just 4 points from the last 5 games, which really boggles the mind. Plus having started really badly and not had much of a good run to really make up for it that well. This season at least seems more solid and consistent, so if we do repeat last season's finish I feel it would be on the back of a far stronger showing. Plus managed to get the result against Nitra (in a very similar game) that we couldn't against Trnava, which went a long way to making up for it.

Edit: Just had quite an amazing month!

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Your away form seems better than your home.

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Your away form seems better than your home.

Having the 2 worst teams in the league away (plus a non-league side in the cup) may help make it look better. Actually been reasonably lucky with the fixture list as they make up 2 of the sides we have to play away twice (along with Slovan and Zilina who we wouldn't get anything from anyway), while we have second home games against sides who may well be mid-table rivals, and where it would make a massive difference.

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Interested to see how you progress with Michalovce remember managing them for a couple of years in a save in FM11

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Interested to see how you progress with Michalovce remember managing them for a couple of years in a save in FM11

Very well for now. This has been a most excellent couple of months, and probably the most positive update I've done for some time.

Oct 2034

Michalovce 3-1 Nitra (D1)

We needed to make up ground against Nitra, especially as they were occupying the all-important (for my job security) 6th spot on goal difference from us. Duris was injured, but Takang and Abbey were back, and it was the latter whose cross was converted by Kessou after 6 minutes. Like against Trnava, it looked as good as it was likely to get as the rest of the half was one-way traffic, though while they equalized, we managed to avoid going behind. The second half was quieter, but then we took control in the second half. Abbey set Kessou up again in the 68th minute, then made it a hat-trick of assists 4 minutes later when setting up Gabriel. They pushed hard again with a few minute left but were unlikely to get a point, and didn’t even get a goal back.

Ghana 8-2 Kenya (ACNQ)

The judgement day against Kenya arrived. The maths was simple. Win and we top the group, with equal or better head-to-head and better goal-difference. We owed them twice over for the defeat in the World Cup qualifiers a year ago, and earlier this year when they scraped victory in a game we dominated. Boy did we pay them back! We were just as dominant in the first half was we had been in Kenya, this time getting the goals to go with it. Frimpong scored in the 6th minute, the 21yr old Feyenoord forward, who shone at the last ACN, getting another in the 10th minute. Taylor made it 3-0 after just 12 minutes. Having got his first pair of goals on his debut against Burundi, Mohammed got another here in the 23rd minute to give us a 4th. They started coming to life late in the half, getting a goal back a few minutes from half-time, and were pretty strong in the second half, but our goals kept coming. Frimpong completed his hat-trick in the 47th minute, and own-goal arrived in the 54th minute, then Mohammed completed his own hat-trick (taking him to 5 in just 2 international appearances) with a pair of goals in 5 minutes before the 70 minute mark. They got a second goal (which they had been threatening for a while) in the 84th minute, but that took nothing away from the fact that we had well and truely crushed them in a most satisfying revenge win.

Final Group Table

Michalovce 2-0 Senec (D1)

Back in Slovakia, we had a few of the trickier games again in the league. Senec had been early pacesetters, and still sat in a relatively strong 4th. Abbey headed us into a 5th minute lead. Although we didn’t face the pressure that other teams had thrown at us, occasional chances for each side left me very on edge. We were a bit more comfortable in the second half, but tension wasn’t relieved until Gabriel gave us a winner in the 77th minute, which took us up into a short-lived 4th, and I felt I could breathe a little easier.

Michalovce 2-0 Moldova (SC)

In the next round of the cup we were at home to Moldova. We were slow and steady rather than overwhelmingly good. We had plenty of chances but only scored from Gabriel and Takeng midway through the first half.

Presov 3-5 Michalovce (D1)

Trips to Presov and Slovan in the league were expected to knock us down a bit. We actually started well and Gabriel (assisted by Abbey) gave us an 8th minute lead. We kept up the pressure and Amoako made it 2-0 a few minutes later, which I was definitely not expecting. It looked like they’d start to come back, but Takeng made it three after 20 minutes! This at a side who I felt weren’t much easier than Slovan and Zilina. They weren’t too much of a threat for the rest of the half, though did have a goal disallowed right before the break. Gabriel extended the lead in the 56th minute, and having come on for an injured Takang, Bilek (who had been very poor this season so far) added a 5th in the 68th minute. They very nearly spoiled the party, getting a very quick pair of goals around the 75 minute mark, getting a third in the 85th minute, and coming very close to more, which took quite a bit of a shine off it having been 5-0 up, but it was still an excellent victory as I wasn’t expecting to be able to get close to beating the top few sides yet, especially away, and in such style. Like against Senec, we replaced them, in 3rd! Well I was right about not being 4th for long. I’ve had worse months.

After that I got a staggering offer from Fehervar, 3rd in Hungary. 4.8M transfer budget, 86kpw (8 times what I have here) wage budget, but while I knew it wouldn’t be too hard to have a tempting offer (and I was linked to many bigger and better places quite a lot now), and how long I’d stay at Michalovce was an open question (especially with such an obstacle to trophies as Zilina), now was definitely not when I fancied leaving, plenty of time to chase that sort of thing whenever I was more open to it. It hadn’t been easy going so far but I definitely feel I made the right choice of club, having gathered an incredibly promising young side, which was just starting to burst into life (though probably only sporadically at first), I was very excited about the future, and seeing what we could do, I was definitely staying for a while, whoever came in with an offer.

League Table

Nov/Dec 2034

Slovan 2-1 Michalovce (D1)

Slovan would be another matter entirely. They were a full 8 points ahead, level with the all-powerful Zilina at the top. Gabriel seemed keen to upset the predictions yet again when he scored after 10 minutes. We were never going to go 5-0 up again, as though we did have some more chances, they made a better go at fighting back, and the scores were level at the break. It looked like we’d hold out in the second half, but Valenta’s injury gave us a defensive hole that they finally took advantage of to get a winner right at the end, though such a narrow defeat at theirs wasn’t too much of a disappointment.

Senec 0-2 Michalovce (SC QF)

Senec were the first top flight side I’d face in the cup, and we went to theirs for the first leg of the quarter final. We were nursing no fewer than three central defensive injuries. We kept it pretty even in a tough first half, but Duris (back from injury) gave us the lead after an hour, and we were looking more comfortable when Abdul gave us a second in stoppage time, something that meant we were now looking very good to progress into the semis, given I thought Senec would be far more difficult to beat.

Michalovce 2-2 Kosice (D1)

Kosice were far tougher. We were on top in the first half but had a goal disallowed after half an hour. Predictably they headed in a goal early in the second half, but Duris levelled it in the 55th minute. An own goal in the 79th minute seemed to have cost us the game but Duris saved a point in the 84th minute, though I felt we should have had all three.

Banska Bystrica 2-3 Michalovce (D1)

A trip to Banska Bystrica was another game that had the potential to go wrong, especially as our keeper Bubenko was injured until the Winter Break, though we had a pretty good backup. Duris joined him on the injury list a few minutes in, then they took the lead after 15 minutes. We fought back, and Takang levelled it before the break. They were 7th, so the result would determine the top half cushion we had, currently 5 points. Orsula headed us into the lead 10 minutes into the second half. They were a strong threat. A Takang penalty extended the lead in the 69th minute, but they got one back almost immediately and it was tough holding out for the three points.

Michalovce 5-4 Zilina (D1)

One thing we probably couldn’t count on was getting anything against Zilina, but we had a good go, Kessou giving us a 3rd minute lead. They were slow in responding, and Gabriel got another in the 15th minute. We were up for more, Abbey getting a third after half an hour. However they had scored more in all our encounters so far, not even then did I feel safe and they suddenly reverted to type, not helped by young keeper Duga not being up to the task the way Bubenko might have been, getting a goal back immediately, a second shortly after, and equalizing before the break. I still wasn’t giving up. We kept the second half quiet for a while. They took the lead in the 68th minute, but it wasn’t over, and Vyborny headed in an equalizer in the 74th minute. With 5 minutes left, Abbey gave us the most incredible win. The win gave us our first points against Zilina, done in an epic game. Even had we eventually lost I’d have considered it a warning shot that we were no longer easy points even for them, we made an even bigger point by winning. Doing it at theirs would be another matter entirely, but this was the latest and best of a few epic results the past couple of months.

Michalovce 2-1 (4-1) Senec (SC QF)

We followed that up with the home leg against Senec. The game started quietly, but Gabriel extended our aggregate lead after 25 minutes. They got a goal back in the 63rd minute, but Vyborny gave us the win in the 79th minute, sending us to the semi finals. We drew second division Spartak Myjava, while the other semi final saw Presov face Ruzomberok, making it likely we’d have a rematch of last season’s final, a game I felt we would have much more of a chance in this time, but that was a matter for another day.

Ruzomberok 4-3 Michalovce (D1)

Not for the first time, we weren’t at our best when we went to Ruzomberok. Gabriel gave us a 12th minute lead, but the defence wasn’t having a good day, and they had a 2-1 lead at the break. We clawed it back, Gabriel and a Takang penalty put us ahead by the 71st minute, but they equalized, and after Abbey went off injured (don’t worry, he was ok afterwards), they got a winner, a sign that as much as we had improved of late we were still vulnerable in what should be comfortable games.

Michalovce 2-1 Vranov (D1)

The last game before the Winter break was Vranev at home, bottom with just 5 points. Gabriel gave us the lead in the 9th minute, but if I was expecting a big win (and I was), I was to be very disappointed. After we missed a number of chances, they started to threaten up until half-time. Gabriel extended the lead from a 49th minute penalty. They were far quieter until late on. They got a goal back after 77 minutes, and actually pushed hard enough that I wasn’t disappointed at the lack of a big win as I was relieved we didn’t slip up.

League Table

Well AK22, I think you can say we're improving now. And I should just say that Abbey's been an utter star, with 4 goals and 11 assists in 15 league games, and 3 more assists in 4 cup games.

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Good start to the season, keep going like this and Europe is a possibility. Fantastic win over Zilina, would have been a tense game to watch.

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Good start to the season, keep going like this and Europe is a possibility. Fantastic win over Zilina, would have been a tense game to watch.

I wasn't thinking about it too much but now you mention it... Looks tight for 4th at the moment, especially as we'll probably drop more silly points, but if we can we should do it, I reckon we'd beat Ruzomberok if we got them in the final, would have a chance if it was Presov and even if we lose to them (though not Ruzomberok), 4th in the league would be enough, but still a couple of strong 'ifs' both in league and cup. As for Zilina, I was almost too excited to be tense like I was for a few other games (The Senec league win being one of the strongest examples oddly enough).

For some games (especially the eventful ones), I update as I go along (which probably showed in the first line of that report, as I wasn't expecting our good start to be anything more than a good bit of early fight), and after we went 5-4 up I initially wrote 'but I wasn't expecting it to last long the way Duga was playing', however our young backup keeper getting better for the final minutes, and no more goals meant I was able to change that. I was expecting to lose when they equalized, let alone took the lead (which is probably why I wasn't so tense, compared to games I felt we needed or were expected to win) but also felt 'Come on, lets have a good go' at the same time. I could go on longer about that win, it was just amazing.

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Nice win against Zilina! They are dominating in my save as well, six titles in a row now - only Nitra has been able to stop them once. They made it thrice into the CL group stage and are able to financially overpower every other team.

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Nice win against Zilina! They are dominating in my save as well, six titles in a row now - only Nitra has been able to stop them once. They made it thrice into the CL group stage and are able to financially overpower every other team.

Not quite at '23 in a row' levels yet. Presov's 2011 win (which would have been the first in-game season) being the only thing preventing it from being a run of 25 since 2010. Slovan pushing them hard but as they're only a point ahead because we beat Zilina I still feel it's likely to be 24.

Nice improvement there and a great way to end qualifying with Ghana.

No kidding. Couldn't have been more satisfying. Good ACN as well.

ACN 2035

I wasn’t short on things to do over the winter break. Firstly I ended up renewing the contracts of far more players than I needed to, and there were a few players I fancied securing on pre-contract deals, though had to be careful not to overdo it. There as compensation to be paid in a few cases, but while it wasn’t small change, it was still fairly small. I had nothing to grab him and felt someone else would before the summer. Unsurprisingly I had been fielding bids for Abbey, and I would be amazed if he was still here at the end of the summer. Malaga and Chelsea raised the bid bar to 400k, then Monaco to 500k (his current value gradually rising to 160k at this point) very early on in January, and I hoped I’d least keep him for the season. I must admit I was very much looking forward to the windfall I’d get when he went, but otherwise you just don’t let a player like that go voluntarily. I’m generally supportive of board interference for that reason, to counter my incredible stubbornness in selling and providing great financial benefits. I was thinking of trying to set his asking price very high, but I wouldn’t be able to keep him for long (Takang as well) if I tried so might as well let someone pay a large sum for him.

There was also the ACN. Even matching our appearance in the final last time would he hard, let alone winning it, given that aside from the final Kenya game we had been unimpressive for the past 2 years, plus holders Egypt (always very strong in the competition anyway) were now the hosts, and pretty clear favourites. In our group we had Sudan, Mali and South Africa, all beatable but not necessarily easily.

Ghana 6-3 South Africa (ACN)

South Africa were first, and unsurprisingly I made no changes from the side that hammered Kenya, with the exception of an injury sustained by a young winger who was making his (excellent) debut in that game. Having starred 2 years ago (and I made a massive mistake not putting him back in after his injury afterwards until more injuries let him back in last autumn), Frimpong took just 6 minutes to score in this tournament. They tried to come back but Frimpong got another just 6 more minutes later. They quickly got a goal back but right-winger Diallo made it 3-1 in the 22nd minute. We had another disallowed 5 minutes later, but kept piling on the pressure. Taylor got a long-awaited 4th in a 55th minute. Mohammed joined his strike partner on the scoresheet (the 22yr old’s 6th goal in his 3rd appearance) in the 68th minute. They started fighting back more, getting a second goal a couple of minutes later, and a third after Frimpong completed his hat-trick, so it didn’t quite look as big a win as it could have, but nevertheless it was a fantastic opening win against a side I thought would give us problems. The one cloud being that both Mohammed and Frimpong got booked so we may well be without one or both when we’d need them later on.

Ghana 4-1 Mali (ACN)

Mali still had one of the best forwards in the world, though the rest of the side, while still pretty good, wasn’t anywhere near as strong. They took the lead in the 6th minute. Frimpoing equalized a few minutes later, then had one ruled out in the unlucky 13th minute. We failed to do too much more in the first half, but more than made up for it in the second. Frimpong finally got the chance to give us the lead in the 51st minute, completed his second hat-trick in as many games in the 76th minute, and if that wasn’t enough, got his and our 4th near the end. With the other 2 group games having been draws, that meant we were already guaranteed top spot with our 2 wins.

Ghana 2-1 Sudan (ACN)

We faced Sudan (who had surprisingly drawn both game so far) already knowing we’d play Morocco in the Quarter-finals. Sudan actually had some strong players, but was had Frimpong, who gave us the lead with his 8th goal of the tournament (the record is 10, which he could very well beat or at least match) after 10 minutes. We couldn’t really push on, and instead they had a number of chances, eventually equalizing in the 76th minute. However I very much wanted a 100% group record, especially in contrast to no one else winning a game, which would make it even more commanding, and so did the players as we resumed the offensive for the rest of the game, Gyamfi (who also got booked in the first game, and as clear first-choice left winger was another player I was worried would be suspended when we needed him) gave us that win in the 84th minute. Great stuff so far this tournament.

Ghana 3-2 Morocco (ACN QF)

Morocco seemed like manageable opposition, but I already knew beforehand that if we beat them we’d face Egypt, which I wouldn’t be looking forward to. Morocco were tough themselves, taking the lead in the middle of the first half. Mohammed grabbed an equalized on the cusp of half-time. That gave us the confidence to push forwards, Mohammed’s second goal 5 minutes into the second half gave us the lead. They equalized in the 66th minute, and I feared they’d go on to win, but Frimpong gave us a 76th minute lead, and we held out against tremendous pressure, squeaking through.

Ghana 2-1 (aet) Egypt (ACN SF)

Unfortunately when it came to Egypt not only would Taylor and Frimpong serve suspensions, but Gyamfi was injured, making an already tough task far worse. However they weren’t as dangerous as I thought I’d be for a lot of the match, however it wasn’t that easy keeping them at bay until we suddenly burst into life late on. In extra-time Diallo gave us the lead, and Eshun (in for Frimpong) extended it around half-time. They got a goal back with 8 minutes left but a strong rearguard performance sent us through to the final.

Ghana 0-1 Nigeria (ACN Final)

The final was against Nigeria. Michalovce had beaten Wisla in a friendly the previous day which helped my mood even more. They were very much on top in the first half. They took the lead after 20 minutes, and had 2 goals disallowed in the following 15 minutes. We improved a little in the second half, but after 12 goals in 6 internationals this season, Frimpong’s finishing deserted him, and again we had to settle for being runners up to a side that definitely deserved victory. On the plus side, as well as having been a great showing, we moved to 16th in the World rankings, compared to around 60th when I took over, and 30th before the tournament.

ACN Group Table

ACN Knockouts

Meanwhile, just in case I haven’t done so (since I rarely to with international player), here's Frimpong. Not quite as good as the best players at a lot of other national sides (we lack world-class players but have very good strength in depth, and a few future stars), but his record's excellent enough. A downside of this U21’s thing is it means hardly any opportunities to sign former or international favourites. Chances are that before he starts declining I’ll be somewhere I could attract him to (it certainly wouldn’t be in Slovakia) and would otherwise be very much wanting to get him. He’s turning into that sort of player that I feel massively in love with (in a footballing way of course). Luciani at Dortmund was the last major one though there were a few Sportist players that mildly qualified, and some of my Michalovce side are definitely heading that way, especially Abbey and Duris (who will last far longer).

Frimpong

During the ACN, I lost Takang to Feyenoord (where he would partner my Ghana star Frimpong) for 650k, but there were 2 positive things about that. After a fantastic start he’d been more patchy than Abbey so not so much of a loss, plus it meant that having used up all the remaining transfer budget on the pre-contract compensation, I was now able to go for a 17yr old Ghanaian defender who would already be easily our best when he came, and would quickly become an international regular under me, a very fortuitous development as one of my first choice international defenders was retiring, and my former Sportist player Boateng (the other first choice) was 33 now. How time flies. This 17yr old, Donkor, was just that good, and for just 45k it was probably one of the best deals I’ll ever make. Plus we were able to keep Abbey for now.

Donkor

Oh and just before the league resumed (which is where I've stopped), I got an offer from Zilina of all people. 6M transfer budget, 155kpw wages (using 117kpw), in contrast with what was an initial 129k transfer budget here (and that with a lot of budget adjustment), 12.1kpw wage budget (using 11.6kpw) here at Michalovce. Just the fact that it's 'same nation' rules that out, and as I wanted to stay at least another full season, there wasn't even a twinge of 'wish I could take it'.

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Shame on losing in the Final but overall a good tournament.

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Good showing with Ghana and unlucky on losing in the final.Nice to see improvements with Michalovce.

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Much better! You are definitely improving now ;):D

Very much, will be interesting comparing this season's points total to last to see just by how much. 6th to 4th won't look like a big improvement but the points will probably show otherwise. By itself, the fact that last year's tally was equalled with a third of the season left is a good sign, as long as things don't drop off too bad after, and so far they haven't much.

Shame on losing in the Final but overall a good tournament.

Yep, but better than expected, that said after 2 final defeats I'm definitely in the mood for third time lucky in the next one, no matter how tough the competition.

Good showing with Ghana and unlucky on losing in the final.Nice to see improvements with Michalovce.

Like Egypt 2 years ago, they were definitely worthy winners on the night, unfortunately for us, so not too many complaints, aside from it being one of what's becoming a regular series of near-misses. Not had the best of luck in finals recently. This being the second ACN final defeat in a row, added to last season's Slovakian cup final defeat, and could well be heading for another this time, though seriously up for breaking the run of defeats soon. There was also the playoff final with Brighton a while back.

Internationals taking a back seat for now, with no World Cup (or qualifiers) coming up there should only be three competitive games until next summer, and none until the autumn.

Mar 2035

Trnava 1-2 Michalovce (D1)

Going to Trnava was a tricky way to resume after the winter break, not helpful was a Kovac own goal after 3 minutes. We were very lacklustre, but Boateng (who due to the ‘5 non-eu players in a match squad’ rule and the consistency of the regulars hadn’t even made the bench this season until Takang’s departure restored him to favour now) equalized right before half-time. The second half was a fairly dull affair, with occasional chances for each side, but in stoppage time Abbey’s cross found Duris who gave us a surprise winner.

Michalovce 4-2 Zlate Moravce (D1)

We were very much expecting to build on that against a Zlate Moravce side who hadn’t won a single match this season, though had enough draws to avoid being bottom. It took us time to get going, but after 20 minutes we got a quick brace from Duris and Abbey. Amoako made it three before Duris got his second goal late in the first half. We dropped off pretty badly in the second half, they got a pair of goals with around 15 minutes left, perhaps taking advantage of Bubenko getting an early knock, but they were very unlikely to cost us any points.

Nitra 1-2 Michalovce (D1)

I had a slight problem regarding Bubenko’s injury as a) he would be out for almost 2 weeks, though would just miss a trip to Nitra which wasn’t great but far from the worst game to miss him and b) as I was getting a new young keeper in the summer, I took advantage of interest to sell the backup, Duga, who I hadn’t expected to need so soon after last time. As it happened, the 17yr old I plucked from the youth sides did a pretty good job, having made a couple of saves before Kessou’s penalty after 20 minutes. Not everyone was doing that well, Abbey being a very surprising culprit, but in a tense second half, it was Yakubu’s 70th minute goal that gave us a win. We had also matched last season’s points tally with a full third of the season left.

Michalovce 2-2 Presov (D1)

The next two games were very important for me. They were home games against Presov and Slovan. The first were just 2 points ahead in 3rd, which would guarantee European football. While I wasn’t expecting to get it I wanted to have a strong chance. Slovan were 4 points clear of Zilina, but while it wasn’t the most important thing in the world, I was thinking how satisfying it would be if we were the ones to break their run of titles, which we couldn’t very well do if Slovan did so. Bubenko was just about back, but Abbey and Yakubu were absent at internationals. We were up against it from early on, but after they took the lead after half an hour, Kessou quickly equalized. We were able to hold them off in the second half, surprisingly taking a late lead through Amoako. However we weren’t going to be that lucky and unsurprisingly an equalizer wasn’t long coming.

League Table

Apr 2035

Michalovce 1-0 Slovan Bratislava (D1)

Interestingly Ghana played Slovakia (sadly losing 3-2) before we played Slovan, and in the game itself Hanousek (probably the most disappointing of all our forwards and at the bottom of what had been a very long list since he joined almost 2 years ago) gave us a shock lead in the 10th minute, his first goal for the club in his 10th appearance. We weren’t facing a hailstorm of chances but still was tough after that, and we got the win, our 5th in the past 6 games.

Senec 2-2 Michalovce (D1)

Before we went to Senec, I found out that Abbey was out for a few weeks just as he was due to return from international duty, and going behind in the 11th minute, in a game I felt might be difficult, didn't improve my confidence. It took us most of the half to do anything, but when we did, Petrus equalized 5 minutes from the break. Duris gave us the lead in the 62nd minute, but our bright spots were few and far between, and after they equalized, a draw was about right a result as the undefeated run continued.

Myjava 1-2 Michalovce (SC Semi)

We went to Myjava in the first leg of the cup semi. They started stronger, but Petrus gave us the lead in the 23rd minute, with Yakubu having another disallowed. A penalty levelled the scored in the 57th minute, but Yakubu gave us a winner with a penalty of our own 5 minutes later, putting us in a great position with the home leg to go.

Kosice 3-2 Michalovce (D1)

We went behind early on at Kosice, but Amoako and Kessou put us 2-1 up by half-time. However midway through the second half we had a penalty claim turned down. I had a feeling they’d equalize after that, sods law applying regularly in this game, and sure enough they did so with 15 minutes left, but I didn’t expect them to chip Bubenko at the end to get a winner, giving us our first defeat in 8.

Michalovce 2-1 Banska Bystrica (D1)

We hoped to bounce back against Banska Bystrica, especially as they were just behind us (though admitedly with a 7 point gap) in the league. In the 4th minute, Petrus (perhaps mindful that Abbey was returning to fitness) set up Duris. We kept up pressure for a bit then they started coming back, with a disallowed goal midway through the half. They did equalize soon after the break, but Orsula (oddly playing not in defence but in midfield after a few injuries in my ‘defensive’ midfielder slot) restored the lead. Yakubu had a goal disallowed which made for a tough end to the game as they hammered on the door to equalize, but thankfully we held out. This took us 10 points ahead of them with 6 games left, almost ensuring we’d be 4th, though we still had a chance of catching Presov 4 points ahead.

Michalovce 4-2 (6-3) Myjava (SC Semi)

The month ended on two very different games, the first was the home leg against Myjava. Duris paid Petrus back for the assist against Banska by setting the winger up in the 8th minute. They were still far from beaten, and peppered us with a number of first half chances before fading away. A Yakubu penalty in the 54th minute made it look comfortable, but suddenly they really stepped up the pressure again, getting 2 goals back. Just as it looked close, we put them in their place with a Petrus goal following on almost immediately, and Duris securing our passage to the final in the last minute. We’d face a rematch with Presov. That meant we’d almost certainly be in Europe next year as even if we lost the final we’d have the last European spot by finishing 4th, which was near-certain now.

Zilina 4-2 Michalovce (D1)

We had to go to Zilina next, despite our epic victory last time we met, they were still massive favourites, especially as in the past month the title-race tide had turned dramatically and they looked good for number 24 in a row. They scored after just 18 seconds, and pounded us for more. But normal service wasn’t resumed, at least not yet. Petrus (justifying my decision to keep him in instead of restoring Abbey) set Kessou up to equalize in the 15th minute. They retook the lead in the 20th minute, their pressure paying off when they got another 5 minutes later. They eased off a bit after that, but not so much that they couldn’t have got a 4th goal before the break. We had some chances in the second half, but they hit us with that 4th goal in the 69th minute, before Kessou headed in a second for us, which couldn’t cover up that we’d been properly taken apart once again. Still we’d progressed far from that 7-0 in our first encounter. A win for Presov meant 4th looked like where were pretty sure to finish.

League Table

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Solid couple of months there delta and good work getting to the Final :thup:.

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Solid couple of months there delta and good work getting to the Final :thup:.

Thanks, turned out better this time. 100% record for the rest of the season without a goal conceded! Admitedly Presov in the final was the only remotely challenging opponent.

May/June 2035

Michalovce 3-0 Ruzomberok (D1)

Kovac got us off to a good start against Ruzomberok, heading us into the lead after 6 minutes. By the 12th minute Petrus has assisted an own-goal and got in the scoresheet himself. Given the trouble they caused last time (being the last team we lost to before the 8-match unbeaten run, even more unlikely than the fact that it was Kosice that ended it), I was surprised they were this easy, though we relaxed a bit, not getting more goals.

Presov 0-1 Michalovce (SC Final)

It was good preparation for our second cup final against Presov. It was far from a classic. We had a couple of early chances, then were on the back foot for most of the first half. We burst into life again before the break, and Abdul gave us the lead just before the half-time whistle. The second half was us under pressure throughout, and they had an equalizer ruled out. We also had Stochl and Duris going off injured, but held out to win.

It was fantastic for a number of reasons. Firstly it was a the club’s first major trophy, always a nice achievement for a club and manager. Secondly it was a revenge win over the side the beat us in last year’s final. Thirdly, given my recent record with finals it was great to win one at last. Fourthly, the match engine gave Presov the home weighting and as they were one of the strongest sides in the country, it was another side we could beat the likes of them on a more regular basis, which we needed to in order to challenge for the title soon. Fifthly, it guaranteed European football, though by the time we reached the final that was pretty much certain, and finally it was just my second trophy in the career.

Vranov 0-2 Michalovce (D1)

After that, we could now relax. At relegation-bound (probably) Vranov, we took it easy, perhaps a bit much, but Yakubu and Gabriel gave is a 2-0 lead in the first half. They had the (few) second half chances. The win guaranteed 4th (at least, 3rd wasn’t out of the question).

Zlate Moravce 0-1 Michalovce (D1)

We continued the lackadaisical approach at Zlate Moravce. For such a poor side they had a number of chances, perhaps even the upper hand, but Petrus gave us a win in the 83rd minute.

Michalovce 2-0 Nitra (D1)

We had 2 winnable home games left, and with Presov 2 points ahead, 3rd was still achievable. Against Nitra, an own-goal gave us the lead in the 21st minute. Kovac headed in another 5 minutes later. We remained firmly on top, though had another disallowed near the end.

Michalovce 1-0 Trnava (D1)

The last game was against Trnava. The main event in the first half was Duris pouncing on a rebound of his own shot to score in the 25th minute. In the second half they pushed back rather strongly, and it probably epitomised our season that this win, like so many others, was pretty hard fought rather than being comfortably on top that much.

Final League Table

I was very worried early in the season, a slow start combined with my raising of expectations to ‘top half’ looked like cutting short my Slovakian stay, but we quickly found our stride, despite the occasional slip against teams we should have beaten. We had a cup to our name now, looking forward to a a (brief) European run. 6th to 4th didn’t seem like much, but 41 points (which would only be enough for 8th this year) to 64 definitely was, compared to finishing 10th with 31 points after my first match 2 years ago.

This time last year I identified Presov, Slovan and especially Zilina, as the three sides that seemed too far ahead. This season we beat all of them at least once in the league. I felt that if we could avoid a slow start next season, we could be challengers, though whether we’d win was another matter entirely. If I felt Zilina were too far ahead, I might be leaving in a couple of years, but unlikely before then plenty of time to see how things go.

Squad Stats

Cup Final

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Good improvement on last season and congrats on winning the cup.

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Frimpong the striker looks pretty #Dench. Very nice to see an improvement in domestic competition, especially the cup win which should bring you some fun/cash in Europe if you get to the group stages of Europa League.

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Decent improvement this season. Hopefully the European draw is kind to you.

Given we entered in the Third Qualifying round, it wasn't.

Good improvement on last season and congrats on winning the cup.

Cheers, probably more to come soon as well.

Frimpong the striker looks pretty #Dench. Very nice to see an improvement in domestic competition, especially the cup win which should bring you some fun/cash in Europe if you get to the group stages of Europa League.

Dench? Not expecting too much from Europe.

Summer 2035

The first item on the agenda was Abbey. I expected a large bid for him to be accepted, but if it wasn’t, do I sell now or let him run his contract down? Petrus had done a great job after coming in for him, and we were getting a few more non-eu players (being already over the limit for how many we could have in a match squad) so there were positives, but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that our chances were far better with him, so on the off-chance that it would be up to me, I was leaning towards it, plus the Tetteh and Takang sales last season meant that although we weren’t rolling in money, we weren’t doing too bad. In the end we were still in June when Evian had an 800k bid accepted, and I was actually rather happy. He would develop a lot better there, as much as I did my best, and that would only benefit me as Ghana manager.

We would already have a few newcomers, from a couple more of Africa’s best and brightest to a few frees. That looked like being it. I had 350k to spend on more, a fraction of the money we had in the bank now (1.6M), so I decided to use some of it in other ways, asking the board to improve our training facilities, which they agreed to. Shortly after the season started I decided to do something that was either incredibly far-sighted or incredibly stupid. I was tempted by the relatively few strong prospects I found, and they were indeed a promising bunch even compared to a lot of my previous signings, so I decided to go for them including a double raid on Senec. We now had a first team squad of 34 players, and as a lot of those I’d get rid of were on very little, I decided against trying to offload some for very little wage bill change, and take advantage of the great squad depth until contracts ran out.

In terms of expectations, the board wanted top half, and while I felt we could get a European place again, I decided not to risk raising them like last year, which was very nearly so costly. One thing I did notice in the fixture list was that we had 2 home games against Zilina and Presov for the first time (though not Slovan), which if we did find ourselves in the mix at the top might be very useful.

Baran

Capko

Helcelet

Kovanic

Mballa

Transfers

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Excellent cup win! Should be able to give the top three a decent run for their money next season now.

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Well done on reaching Europe, time to work on cracking the top 3! Capko and Mballa look like they could be decent players in a few years time.

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Congrats on reaching Europe and on the cup victory!

Cheers, was a great feeling.

Excellent cup win! Should be able to give the top three a decent run for their money next season now.

I intend to be in it.

Well done on reaching Europe, time to work on cracking the top 3! Capko and Mballa look like they could be decent players in a few years time.

True, but even at the time I was thinking 'I bet by getting quite a few players in now I'm damaging our chances this year', but aside from a slight stumble, and the fact we're way behind Zilina already, I think I'm getting away with that and can reap the rewards soon.

July 2035

Zilina 0-1 Michalovce (SSC)

The season started just a month after the end of the last one, with the Super cup against Zilina, an interesting test. They had a slight upper hand in the first half, but otherwise deliberately ignoring that it was them who we were facing seemed to work, as we no longer lived in fear. They had a goal disallowed in the 65th minute, and we took advantage when Kessou headed us into the lead with 10 minutes left. They had another goal disallowed afterwards, amidst great pressure, but otherwise it appeared that the chasm between our sides a couple of years ago has shrunk to very little, especially when you take into account them having the ‘home’ weighting making it an unofficial away win.

Petzalka 0-4 Michalovce (D1)

The first league game was at promoted Petrzalka. Yakubu set us on our way with a penalty after 11 minutes. However they were pretty tough for the rest of the half and should have drawn level at least. That very much changed in the second half, after Yakubu extended the lead in the 54th minute. We were all over them. Vagner set up Duris in the 58th minute, and Petrus showed how little we missed Abbey with our 4th goal in the 88th minute.

Michalovce 2-1 Zlate Moravce (D1)

Valenta headed us into the lead in the 4th minute against Zlate Moravce. However we couldn’t build on that, later conceding an equalizer, the first competitive goal we had conceded since the defeat to Zilina in April. Duris restored the advantage early in the second half, and it was amazing that we didn’t get more, such did we batter at their door.

Kosice 3-1 Michalovce (D1)

Things did not go so well at Kosice. They took the lead in the 8th minute, and had no difficulty getting a couple more before half-time as we were having a major off-day. We tried to fight back in the second half, and with better finishing (and a penalty that was denied) we might have come close to a point, instead having to settle for a single Kessou goal in the 57th minute.

League Table

Aug 2035

Brondby 5-2 Michalovce (EL)

We entered the European arena with a trip to Brondby. We made a good start but soon were pegged back, and went behind after half an hour. A corner was bundled in to quickly equalize. They retook the lead at the beginning of the second half, getting a third in the 68th minute. Yakubu gave us another back, which would have given us a decent chance, but the defence collapsed and we conceded two more. Early form was still stuttering.

Michalovce 2-2 Ruzomberok (D1)

We went behind against Ruzomberok in the 24th minute, Duris equalizing in the 37th. They retook the lead right before the break, Duris levelling it again a couple of minutes after. We thought we had the lead from a third Duris goal but it was disallowed so we had to settle for a point.

Michalovce 1-2 (3-7) Brondby (EL)

Our slim hopes against Brondby quickly vanished when they took the lead in the 8th minute, then got another. For a side that had 8 clean sheets in a row before Zlate Moravce, we were sure shipping a load now. After an hour, Duris got one back, but as much as we pushed we couldn’t even level the scores on the night. While I wasn’t expecting to beat them, I thought we’d put up a far better fight than we did.

Slovan 1-0 Michalovce (D1)

For the trip to Slovan, I took advantage of an injury to Yakubu to put our new Cameroonian keeper Mballa in the side, as Bubenko had been moaning for a while about wanting a move to a bigger club (given he was 32, and only had a few Slovakia caps from the past couple of years, as good as he was he wasn’t a prime candidate for such a demand), was probably going to be released after this season anyway, just did a U-turn on demanding to be listed, and I just wanted to teach him a lesson. He hadn’t been as big a culprit as the defenders for recent form, but would have done better on a lot of other days. We were very much on the receiving end of a lot of pressure. A controversial penalty in the 40th minute gave them the lead, and it was a relief that it wasn’t more, especially after Abdul got sent off. Not a great day.

Michalovce 3-2 Trnava (D1)

We found the going difficult against Trnava as well, going behind in the 21st minute. Duris equalized 20 minutes later but we were behind again after an hour, and it looked like being worse. Yakubu made it 2-2 with 6 minutes left, and we went for a winner, which after being denied a penalty, we got from a Yakubu chip in stoppage time, a goal that was the difference between 8th and 3rd as things stood.

Banska Bystrica 3-5 Michalovce (D1)

Banska Bystrica had better odds than we did of the title, so I was a bit worried when I went to theirs. We were quietly on top for the first 25 minutes, Duris and Kessou giving us a 2-goal lead. They quickly grabbed 2 goals in the next 6 minutes as yet again the entire back 4 decided to switch off. We moved quickly to restore the lead. Kessou scored a few minutes from half-time, then a penalty in stoppage time. Duris got his second goal in the 53rd minute, and the game was fairly quiet aside from a predictable late push from them, which gave them a third goal with 10 minutes left.

League Table

Sept 2035

Michalovce 2-2 Zilina (D1)

Zilina were already building up a lead, and we needed to avoid letting them extent it when we played them at home. We probed each other in the first half, and they had the edge, reflected by them taking the lead in the 39th minute. We had the occasional chance to equalize, and were rewarded by an own-goal in the 83rd minute. They restored the lead just after, but Donkor headed us an equalizer in the last minute.

Michalovce 3-1 Presov (D1

Petrus set us on our way against Presov with a goal in the 2nd minute. In the 21st, Bilek set up Yakubu, who returned the favour as we got a third in the last minute before half-time. We looked capable of getting a 4th for a lot of the second half before they had some late pressure which gave them a consolation.

Senec 2-3 Michalovce (D1)

We went to Senec (who had started very strongly, like last season) without either right back being fit. They took the lead after half an hour, but Bilek levelled it instantly, getting another 5 minutes later. The Czech was wanted by Zilina which was a surprise as he had only had occasional and mostly unimpressive runs in the side, but he was on fire this time. We were far from comfortable, and they levelled it early in the second half but late on we really turned the heat up, Bilek completing a hat-trick in the 72nd minute, and we kept at it until the end.

Turc. Teplice 0-5 Michalovce (SC)

We started our cup defence at Turcianske Teplice. We weren’t at our best, but Abdul gave us the lead in the 20th minute. A Donkor penalty extended it in the 32nd minute, followed shortly by Yakubu, who grabbed another just after half-time. Bilek gave us a last goal 15 minutes from time.

Michalovce 0-0 Nitra (D1)

Nitra caused us a load of problems in the next game. Late in the first half we gradually turned the tide of chances, keeping up a (slight) upper hand in the second half, despite Duris going off injured less than 20 minutes after coming on (having recently recovered from another), but couldn’t quite snatch a winner.

League Table

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Oct 2035

Michalovce 2-1 Petrzalka (D1)

Yakubu gave us the lead against Petrzalka, but superiority did not lead to more goals until Sterba headed in on the hour mark, and it was just as well that he did as they sneaked a late goal back.

Zlate Moravce 0-0 Michalovce (D1)

At Zlate Moravce we had a mild upper hand throughout the game, but lacked too much imagination and had to settle for 0-0.

Michalovce 1-0 Petrzalka (SC)

We were at home to Petrzalka in the next cup match. Yakubu scored in the 8th minute, and while it was a game that should have seen another goal from us, it was still a simple victory.

Michalovce 4-3 Kosice (D1) 100th Michalovce game!

I faced my 100th Michalovce game (though it felt like I’d been here longer) against Kosice. It had been a dull month, but it ended in style. They had a lot of early chances, giving us so much trouble, but we survived to take the lead through Bilek in the 13th minute, and with the game turned around, Kessou extended the lead before the break. Donkor (scoring from open play, oddly for a defender) made it 3-0 after an hour, and though they quickly got one back, Bilek made it 4-1 in the 68th minute. We did our level best to throw it away, and they got a pair of goals in 10 minutes as they made it 4-3 by the 86th minute, but the win was ours in this landmark game. Here’s to the next 100 games in Slovakia, and chances are I’ll actually hit that one.

Suitors were circling, having just been linked to a Turkish PL job, the strongest league yet, though Portugal, Russia and Belgium came later, plus Athletic and Betis, which while struggling in the Adelante would be great places. However being favourite didn’t mean there were actual offers (though I still had a few of those), and even if there was one I wouldn’t take it right now. However it was a useful indicator of what I could get whenever I left, and the outlook was very good indeed. I keep thinking about whether to go beyond the next year or 2, with a squad now overloading with great youngsters, a lot of whom doing very well, if we could at least keep being challengers on a regular basis I was far better off staying (maybe winning the cup more times even if we couldn’t topple Zilina) until something very big came along, so I could still stick around with a side that looked like having a great future and who I had become very fond of for a long time yet.

League Table

Nov/Dec 2035

Ruzonberok 2-2 Michalovce (D1)

We had to go to bogey side Ruzomberok, who were always way down in the bottom half of the table but often held or beat us. The first half could have gone either way, but they snatched the lead at the end. Petrus equalized in the 48th minute. Amoako headed us into the lead in the 70th minute, but we had to settle for a point as they equalized immediately.

Trnava 4-3 Michalovce (SC QF)

We had two trips to Trnava, starting with the first leg of the cup quarter-final. Amoako gave us the lead after 20 minutes, but we were slightly lucky to still have it at half-time. The second half went back and forth. They equalized in the 52nd minute and Kessou restored the lead in the 60th. They equalized again in the 69th with Baran making it 3-2 just afterwards. However the defence slipped up badly, and not only did they equalize in the 81st minute but immediately got a winner from a Valenta own-goal. However away goals and home leg meant we were very much still in it.

Trnava 1-3 Michalovce (D1)

Things weren’t much better early on in the league game. They took the lead in the 8th minute, and while we had a few chances, they were looking far more likely to get another before Bilek equalized in the 34th minute, leading to a flurry of chances at both ends. Donkor headed us into the lead in the 58th minute, from a cross from Petrus (who also assisted the Bilek goal), and we had little trouble from them after that. Valenta even scored (in the right goal) in stoppage time.

Michalovce 2-1 Slovan Bratislava (D1)

Slovan had fallen a bit since last year, so it wasn’t as hard. Petrus scored after half an hour, with Bilek adding another 10 minutes later. They got a goal back just before half-time. The second half was rather edgy but we managed to get the win. Plus I got my first interest from the Portuguese Premier League.

Peter Duris 5-0 (8-4) Trnava (SC QF)

We needed a win in the second leg against Trnava. We pushed pretty hard but had no luck in the second half. That all changed when Duris came on at half-time. Last time he returned from injury he was off again within 20 minutes. Trnava wished there was a repeat. After 5 minutes he got a hat-trick, quickly followed by a 4th, and a 5th in the 71st minute. I was very lucky to inherit him as a 17yr old when I arrived, he’d been regular star ever since, and I will probably marry him before I leave Slovakia. In the summer Scunthorpe submitted a 100k bid that was about 1/5 of his face value, and I wanted to commit their manager into an insane asylum. Anyway as regards the cup, the semi final lineup (which has a couple of lower-league or bottom-half sides in on a regular basis) was the strongest for a while. Ourselves vs Slovan and Zilina vs Banska (1st v 3rd), so we couldn’t be sure of anything.

Michalovce 1-1 Banska Bystrica (D1)

Speaking of Banska Bystrica, we had them next. After an early burst of ambition, we were quickly forced into retreat as they attacked strongly, having a goal disallowed before they took the lead in the 28th minute. We were a bit better in the second half but would have ended up empty handed if it wasn’t for an 84th minute Yakubu penalty.

Zilina 4-1 Michalovce (D1)

That draw meant that we were not unbeaten in 13 league games, stretching back to mid-august (and we were now entering December), but I doubted that it would survive a trip to Zilina, which was also the last game before the winter break. Before that, Frankfurt raised the ‘linked-with’ bar even higher to the Bundesliga, struggling, but still. When Zilina scored in the 7th minute, I expected it wouldn’t go well. Sure enough they extended it after half an hour. Duris got a goal back in the 48th minute but that was a brief respite as it took just 5 minutes for them to get a 3rd, then later a 4th.

League Table

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Mar 2036

Presov 2-2 Michalovce (D1)

After a quiet winter (with only some contracts renewed as people would be let go), we returned at Presov. We went behind very early on, and faced a number of chances as they looked for another. We had a brief period of relief late in the half where Yakubu equalized. He had a few chances to get another in the second half, before they reapplied the pressure. Vyborny headed in a free-kick with a few minutes left, but they got a stoppage time goal so we didn’t quite escape with a win.

Michalovce 3-0 Senec (D1)

Bubenko was injured for a few weeks before we played Senec but this time I wasn’t too concerned, as Mballa made another early appearance prior to taking over full-time next season, his previous run having been cut short due to injury. Yakubu scored in the first minute. It looked like they hit back immediately, but we struck in the counter from Duris in the third minute. The rest of the game was fairly even, and they were good value for a goal, but instead Donkor gave us another after 70 minutes.

Nitra 0-2 Michalovce (D1) 800th career game!

A trip to Nitra was my 800th career match. They were second-bottom but gave us a lot of trouble. We found it hard to get anywhere, while they were firmly on top enough that on a less solid day (which happened alot) we would have headed to defeat. However Duris struck from nowhere to score in the 75th minute, and almost 10 minutes later Valenta headed in to give us a most unlikely 2-0 win.

Petrzalka 1-2 Michalovce (D1)

Bottom side Petrzalka was just as troublesome in our next trip. Maybe not as threatening but just as stubborn. However they did take the lead in the 71st minute. An embarrassing result was averted as Drahno (getting a run-out on the wing) got his first goal for the club in the 80th minute, followed a few minutes later by Valenta in a very lucky escape.

Kosice 2-3 Michalovce (D1)

They luck seemed to have run out at Kosice as they took a 16th minute lead, and looked for another. An own goal levelled it 11 minutes later, and suddenly the boot was on the other foot as we pushed to take the lead, despite Duris (the better performing of the 2 forwards) going off injured, getting it in the 41st minute from Amoako. The raced out of the blocks in the second half, getting a quick equalizer, and little went on in the second half so suggest the score would change, but Bilek gave us a winner in the 81st minute. That said they had the usual AI late surge so it was tight at the end.

Michalovce 3-0 Zlate Moravce (D1)

It was nice to have a more comfortable time of it at home to Zlate Moravce. Yakubu gave us the lead in the 9th minute, followed shortly by Kessou. Yakubu had another disallowed later in the half, but in the second half Drahno scored in the 63rd minute to give us the 3-0 win.

League Table

Apr 2036

Michalovce 2-0 Ruzomberok (D1)

We even found Ruzomberok surprisingly comfortable. Bilek gave us an early lead in the 18th minute, getting another in the second half, though there was some late pressure to survive.

Slovan Bratislava 1-1 Michalovce (SC Semi)

Like with Trnava in the autumn, we had a double away trip to Slovan Bratislava, starting with the first leg of the cup semi. Donkor had been sold to Sheriff for 800k, but as he’d been out recently after a brief injury, it didn’t bother us too much. The first half was lifeless, which as the away side benefited us. We gave the game some chances early in the second half before they took the lead in the 52nd minute. We managed to level it from Baran 10 minutes later, and keep it that as which kept us in a good position.

Slovan Bratislava 0-0 Michalovce (D1)

The league game was similarly uninteresting, with the occasional chance for each side. It gradually sped up in the second half, but neither side could get a sustained period of pressure going and it was a dull draw.

Michalovce 1-1 Trnava (D1)

Bilek scored after just 14 seconds against Trnava, but the more we tried and failed to get a second goal, the more I felt they would snatch an equalizer, and they did so after 78 minutes. We pushed to grab a winner but it wasn’t coming today.

Michalovce 2-0 (3-1) Slovan Bratislava (SC Semi)

We faced the second leg against Slovan. We hoped to build on the away draw and beat them this time, but they gave us a lot of pressure early on, just one goal would wipe out our away goals advantage and put far more pressure on us to come back and win. We soon took control but only occasionally looked like scoring for the rest of the half. Amoako headed in a goal in the 49th minute, but it was still a close tie. We faced a lot of pressure in the second half, but you could hear the relief when Petrus gave us another with 10 minutes left, meaning I’d taken the side to the final in all three full seasons so far. However we would have to face Zilina.

Banska Bystrica 1-1 Michalovce (D1)

With a top 3 finish almost assured, we had a great chance to pretty much secure 2nd if we beat Banska (currently in 3rd), who would be then 9 points behind with 4 games to go, and even a draw would keep them well behind. It didn’t start well when we went behind to a very questionable goal. They were able to keep us in check until late on when we rushed forwards, and thought we had an equalizer from Yakubu in the 84th minute, only to see it chalked off just as questionably as theirs was allowed. Valenta still gave us the point we needed in the last minute.

League Table

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May 2036

Michalovce 1-1 Zilina (D1)

Zilina at home would be an interesting test ahead of the cup final. They had just clinched their 25th title in a row, which was a relief as it wouldn’t be great having them do it against us, especially in front of their own fans. They scored in the second minute, but the 2 positives were that we were mostly alright, and we stopped it getting worse. Valenta headed in an equalizer that stunned even our own fans with 10 minutes left, and a flurry of chances came and went for each side as we both chased a winner. The post-match reaction showed a surprisingly good relationship between myself and my Zilina counterpart.

Michalovce 2-0 Presov (D1)

We were reasonably on top in the first half against Presov. Yakubu went off injured in the 27th minute, then an own-goal gave us the lead 10 minutes later. We upped the pressure in the second half, and with 5 minutes left, one of our corners was knocked in by the same player who own-goaled earlier (and was probably heading for the reserves), though that doesn’t change the fact that we very much deserved the 2-0 win, securing a great 2nd place.

Senec 2-1 Michalovce (D1)

The penultimate game (and last before the cup final) was at Senec. We were undefeated competitively since the Zilina trip in December, but that ended here. A shockingly poor start gave them a 2 goal lead after 25 minutes. We very much improved but for all our hammering we couldn’t get anything until the break. Just as it looked like we had quietened down, Bilek finally got a goal back in the 64th minute, but as much as we tried we didn’t get the equalizer I felt we should have managed.

Michalovce 2-5 Zilina (SC Final)

In the cup final, we started well, Duris giving us the lead in the 20th minute. However they were bound to hit back. They equalized 30 minutes later, taking the lead just before the break. The defence collapsed in the second half, they quickly got a third, and it was amazing that it took almost 20 minutes to concede more, by which point Valenta had pulled a goal back, but one they did, they followed it up to win 5-2.

Michalovce 2-1 Nitra (D1)

We ended the season at home to Nitra. Things didn’t look like ending to well when they took the lead in the 22nd minute, but Duris equalized just before the break. Vyborny headed in a free-kick to give us the lead in the 53rd minute, and we managed to keep them from being any sort of threat afterwards.

Final League Table

It had been a pretty good year. We stumbled a bit early on, but even had we not, Zilina were having an excellent season even by their standards we would have to have been near-perfect to get close anyway, so while we had perhaps dropped some points we shouldn’t have, among otherwise having been able to beat most of the other sides on a regular basis, it didn’t change anything. In a nation with one side so dominant, being second-best was almost a title in itself. After a lot of transfers last summer, the bar was now high enough that there weren’t going to be so many players I wanted out there anymore, so with much improve squad stability we still had much more to offer.

Now was where things got very tricky indeed. During the later part of the season I had taken a look at the winning margins of all Zilina’s titles of this current run so far, which made interesting but daunting reading. There were a few fairly low numbers, but a clear majority (especially after the early titles) were in double figures, there were 4 20’s, with 26-point margins coming up twice, and it average out at a margin of 12.5 points a season. Add on this season’s 18 point margin and we could very well round that up to being on average 13 points clear a season! It was an interesting challenge, and there would be no shame if we couldn’t do it. I had 2 years left on my contract, and while I had no solid plans to leave after that, it would encourage more offers (as opposed to just being the favourite) and if we were still far off Zilina I might (but still might not) be tempted. But two years is a very long time so we’ll see.

Squad Stats

June 2036

Internationals returned to the fore for the first time in over a year, with the second stage of the World Cup qualifiers. It seemed odd that I had been at Ghana for over 5 years now. We were in a group with Djibouti, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. The latter had some very strong players, so wouldn’t be too easy, while the other two would pose no problems. Having missed out on the last World Cup, I was eager to make the next one, and this was the first of two group stages I needed to get through to do so.

Ghana 5-1 Burkina Faso (WCQ)

Burkina Faso at home were first, a good chance to show them who’s boss. A few members of my regular side since I took over were either retired or getting on a bit, so I had a few younger players in (with more changes due over the next few years), and former Michalovce players Abbey and Donkor were given their debuts, not necessarily the strongest choices but close enough not to make a difference. From the start we pounded them with chances, Frimpong giving us a 10th minute lead. That brought them to life as they really pushed for a bit but Eshun extended the lead in the 25th minute. They was the cue for some more pressure, during which they got a goal back, but Owusu restored the 2-goal margin before the break, and in a less-hectic second half, Frimpong got another pair of goals in the 58th and 81st minutes to complete a hat-trick and a very strong win.

Sierra Leone 1-5 Ghana (WCQ)

Things were just as easy in Sierra Leone. After a number of chances, Gyamfi gave us the lead in the 20th minute. They surprisingly equalized almost instantly, but we were always going to be retaking the lead before too long, which we did though Abbey in the 31st minute, Eshun extending the lead 8 minutes later. Eshun got another goal in the 50th minute, and we could have had a couple more in the half if Frimpong hadn’t been having a major off-day. However Abbey did make it 5-1 with a couple of minutes left.

Ghana 6-1 Djibouti (WCQ)

The Djibouti game was my 50th for Ghana. It wasn’t quite the party I’d been expecting. For the first half an hour we wasted chances like Suarez on heat. They suddenly headed in a corner to take the lead, with just about their only chance of the game. Donkor managed to play them at that game, equalizing just before the break. We stepped up to the plate much better. Frimpong managed to wake up after a game and half of being rubbish, giving us the lead in the 58th minute, then setting up Eshun in the 67th minute. We were now more comfortable. Eshun got another a few minutes later, followed by Frimpong in the 83th minute, and Donkor completed the trio of braces in the last minute. How apt that he’d get his first pair of international goals in the game after his former club teammate Abbey got his first two.

Burkina Faso 2-1 Ghana (WCQ)

We had the return in Burkina Faso. They came out extremely strongly, scoring in the middle of the first half, just after having a goal disallowed. Eshun soon equalized, but we were still very much on the back foot. We really turned up the pressure in the second half, but paid for a lot of wastefulness when they had the late advantage, getting a winner, but I already knew we’d stay on top, and with the expected wins from the other two games, would still top the group regardless.

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Congrats on qualifying for the Europa League!

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Great season! It looks as though Zilina will be tough to catch at the top, though if you can cut down the draws a bit and they slip up, anything is can happen next season

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Just read up on this. Congrats on qualifying for Europe! I'm impressed you've been able to do so well with the challenges you've been following in your carerr. Well done :thup:

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Congrats on a pretty amazing season,shame to see Zilina are as dominate as ever.

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Fantastic stuff, really looking forward to seeing how you do next season.

It's so tricky sometimes to compete on multiple fronts with small teams and small budgets but hopefully you can make some impact in Europe.

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Congrats on qualifying for the Europa League!
Great season! It looks as though Zilina will be tough to catch at the top, though if you can cut down the draws a bit and they slip up, anything is can happen next season
Just read up on this. Congrats on qualifying for Europe! I'm impressed you've been able to do so well with the challenges you've been following in your carerr. Well done :thup:
Excellent season fella.
Congrats on a pretty amazing season,shame to see Zilina are as dominate as ever.
Fantastic stuff, really looking forward to seeing how you do next season.

It's so tricky sometimes to compete on multiple fronts with small teams and small budgets but hopefully you can make some impact in Europe.

Thanks all. Thankfully Zilina aren't always that good (though they're always very strong), so hopefully if we do manage to avoid getting as many draws we'll have an opening. They certainly didn't make a difference this time so no point worrying about that until it does. Europe is always going to be tough, even in the Europa League 3rd qualifying round, as a non-seeded team there are a number of stronger sides we're likely to face. Been a good start so far this season, so daring to dream that 25 in a row is all Zilina are getting.

Summer 2036

I was unsurprisingly keen to at least chase Zilina this year, I had a large budget (over 1M, and 15kpw, which wasn’t large but a good increase from before), to do it with. However I wasn’t too interested in getting loads of players in any more, instead there would be a bit of a cull of an overlarge squad, which would include a few players (like Bubenko, Gabriel and Toth) who had been very useful in pulling through while a lot of the youngsters found their feet, and it was a bit of a gamble letting them go. Plus some younger players who no longer had as much potential. In return, I suddenly had a far wider selection of players to sign, previously being reduced to West and Central Africans, Czechs and Slovaks, I now had players from other countries being willing to move, though a great increase in the level of talent available came with higher prices that we could cover but prevented a considerable squad improvement, which I actually saw as a good thing as getting in many new players would be counter-productive right now.

In the end I made a move for two players, where we needed them. The first was for the right wing, where Petrus was doing a good job but lacked true star quality. The second was at left-back where we weren’t quite so bad, but I’d found a very strong player who I felt it was worth paying 950k for. Controversial, just like when I paid 35M for a defender at Dortmund, which definitely raised a few eyebrows among a few of you, but worked out very well, and as a left-back if he played anywhere near as well as I hoped he would, he would have quite an impact both with attacking and defending. Plus just like I needed all the quality I could get to chase the CL in Germany, gunning for Zilina was no simpler a task. Aside from that, the main achievement was rationalizing the squad from 34 players last year to 24.

Ivanovic

Vagner

Transfers

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Jul 2036

Dubnica 3-7 Michalovce (D1)

There had been no movements in by the time we went to Dubnica in the first game, however with Mballa already established in goal in the spring, Kocian at left-back and Kovanic as the ball-winner (both 18 but looking pretty good) gave us a couple of changes from last year’s side. It was a rather messy start as they took the lead in the second minute. Duris equalized a couple of minutes later, but we still had a tough task, only grabbing the lead from Petrus just before the break. Amoako gave us a 3rd in the 63rd minute before they got another goal back. Duris got another pair in the 60’s (taking him to 4 for the game) before they got a 3rd, and Yakubu rounded off an incredible 7-3 win with 10 minutes left.

Michalovce 3-0 Nitra (D1)

Duris gave us the lead in the 11th minute against Nitra, but after we missed a penalty we had great difficulty turning pressure into more goals. Amoako eventually got it in the 61st minute, followed in the 83rd minute by Kessou’s penalty. They had been pretty lively and got a late consolation.

Slovan Bratislava 0-1 Michalovce (D1)

A trip to Slovan started out in the way that they always seemed to, with rather dull first halves followed by things getting a bit more lively after the break. In this case it was Duris giving us the lead at the start of the second half. We kept up reasonable pressure, and they started getting more chances as the game wore on, but it was best described as ‘casual’ rather than dull or exciting.

Michalovce 2-2 Omonoia Nicosia (EL)

The Europa League draw threw up Omonoia Nicosia. They looked far too strong, which seemed confirmed by the fact that we were 2-0 down after 10 minutes of the home leg. We mounted a bit of a second-half fightback. Duris scored in the 61st minute, followed by Petrus 10 minutes later, and we had more than enough pressure to get a winner.

League Table

Aug 2036

Michalovce 3-2 Senec (D1)

Senec had made their usual strong start. We were the only two sides to have won all three games so far (Zilina had been held at Petrzalka, rather odd points to drop), but that would chance when we met in the next game. We were the better side early on, Bilek giving us the lead after 20 minutes. They hit back with an equalizer in the 38th minute, but brand new signing Vagner bundled the ball in a few minutes before the break. They equalized again in the 70th minute, and it looked like we’d have to settle for that, but Duris gave us a winner with a couple of minutes left, and we survived Vavra getting a straight red in stoppage time (turning 4 minutes into 7).

Omonoia Nicosia 1-1 (a3-3) Michalovce (EL)

Returning to Europe, even had we got a winner at home, I suspected that we would have lost by too much in Cyprus anyway, or at best their two away goals would be crucial. I was wrong on all but the last count. The lack of pressure enabled us to bomb forward freely, and Duris gave us the lead so in the 21st minute. They hit back almost immediately, but we still gave as good as we got in terms of chances. It wasn’t quite enough. 1-1 sent them through on away goals, but compared to our terrible showing last year against a Brondby side of similar strength to Omonoia, it was improvement.

Michalovce 2-1 Banska Bystrica (D1)

Against Banska, Farkas gave us the lead in the 20th minute, Valenta heading in another shortly before the break. They got one back in the first minute of the second half, and really pushed hard to equalize. We might have got a 3rd, which would have eased the nerves considerably, but Bilek was falling well short of last season’s form so far this year (and Yakubu was away on international duty, I couldn’t wait until he turned too old for the youth sides so we wouldn’t have that problem, as I wouldn’t be calling him up for the senior side), but we hung on to make it 5 wins from 5 so far.

Trnava 1-1 Michalovce (D1)

At Trnava, we had a far stronger challenge. We were on the back foot from the start, but after half an hour an own-goal gave us the lead. A win would have been amazingly lucky, and with things not much better, they equalized in the 69th minute.

Kosice 1-2 Michalovce (D1)

Things were also a bit tricky at Kosice. Duris gave us a 20th minute lead, but it was very tight, and just before half-time, Ivanovic went off injured (for about a month), the Farkas received a straight red. Duris’ second goal in the 46th minute gave us breathing space, and while they got a goal back in the 56th minute, and always threatened to equalize, we still gave them plenty of pressure to keep the heat off, and get the win.

Michalovce 2-0 Presov (D1)

At home to Presov, we were frustrated that pushing hard wasn’t getting us anywhere. Valenta finally gave us the lead at the beginning of the second half, and we never let off the throttle, Duris giving us a late second. Next up was Zilina at home...

League Table

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great start to the season, hopefully you can really challenge Zilina for the title this year!

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Excellent start to the season!

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Strong start to the season!
great start to the season, hopefully you can really challenge Zilina for the title this year!
Excellent start to the season!

Indeed it has, and the news has been getting better so far.

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Much, much better - well done!

Now, don't get a nose bleed ;):D

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Much, much better - well done!

Now, don't get a nose bleed ;):D

Woah! Its a long way down!!!!!

Sept 2036

Ghana 8-0 Sierra Leone (WCQ)

First was a Ghana home game with Sierra Leone. Taylor gave us the lead in the 10th minute, and when Eshun made it 2-0 in the 27th minute, the floodgates opened. Within 10 minutes, and own-goal, and a Frimpong effort, made it 4-0. Eshun got another goal in the 42nd minute. The first 15 minutes of the second half gave us another three Eshun goals to complete a dominant win.

Michalovce 5-2 Zilina (D1)

The Zilina games were critical, they were too strong to be able to count on dropping points much, or getting anything at theirs (where they'd beaten us comfortably every time), so we had to make our two home games with them count. They put a bit of pressure on us with a few early chances, but Abdul gave us the lead in the 18th minute. We had a few chances each before Bilek extended the lead in the 31st minute. The game quietened down a bit, with a couple of chances for us, but right before half-time, a penalty gave them a goal back. Bilek got another goal in the 50th minute, but 5 minutes later another Zilina penalty made it 3-2, and I was worried they’d come back to snatch a point. However they didn’t cause us as many problems as I feared. Duris extended the lead in the 68th minute, and as we took control, Valenta headed in a corner 10 minutes later. We kept it up for a bit, then faced the usual spell of pressure, but they didn’t get anything. We moved 5 points clear, but I expected them to keep winning most games so we weren’t that much more comfortable. Duris was out for a few weeks after sustaining a knock against Zilina, but by now Bilek was back on song.

Petrzalka 1-6 Michalovce (D1)

The first exchanges at Petrzalka were even, and after we took control, finishing was lacking until Yakubu got a quick brace after half an hour. Bilek scored in the 40th minute, followed by Amoako in the 58th. They got a goal back, but Kovanic extended the lead in the 69th minute, and at the end, Bilek set up Yakubu to finish off a 6-1 win, and this while Zilina (who had been behind for some time) were being held at Kosice. I was far more confident about 7 points being enough of a margin than 5.

Bardejov 1-6 Michalovce (SC)

Our first cup game was at second division Bardejov. It was even more comfortable than I expected. Yakubu scored after 10 minutes, followed shortly by Bilek. Yakubu got another after half an hour. Vagner and Valenta had made it 5-0 by the 62nd minute, and though they got a goal back, Yakubu finished off his second hat-trick (though he had just one goal before that) and our second 6-1 win in a row.

Michalovce 2-2 Ruzomberok (D1)

I very much hoped that bogey-side Ruzomberok wouldn’t be a problem this season, especially as they were bottom without a win. As usual they were tough going, but Bilek gave us the lead in the 28th minute. After a lot of chances, Farkas extended the lead in the 70th minute, but they got a quick pair of goals in the last few minutes to grab a very annoying draw. Thankfully Zilina were held as well, as I disliked Ruzomberok enough as it was. However if we kept dropping points they would close in fast.

League Table

Oct 2036

Michalovce 1-0 Dubnica (D1)

Dubnica at home should have been comfortable. We certainly had plenty of chances, but only scored after 70 minutes from Bilek. They had a few chances that could have cost us a couple of points but we managed to get a less-than-convincing win.

Djibouti 0-6 Ghana (WCQ)

After that I had my last Ghana qualifier at Djibouti. I had decided to restore Owusu to the front line as Frimpong’s regular partner (despite Eshun’s great form), having finally moved out of Saudi Arabia to become a star at Lyon, and he repaid me with a hat-trick within the first half an hour. Gyamfi finally gave us a 4th goal just before the break. In the second half, Frimpong got a pair of goals to round off a strong group stage, sending us through to the final stage next year, as well as the ACN, where despite the heavy competition I knew we had a good chance to. The Qualifiers wouldn’t be so easy, Nigeria (who beat us in the last ACN final) were in our group, though Uganda and DR Congo weren’t so bad.

Final Group Table

Nitra 3-2 Michalovce (D1)

Going to Nitra, I had a suspicion that it was a potential banana skin, and it didn’t help that they took the lead in the 4th minute. Bilek levelled it in the 18th minute, after we already had an equalizer disallowed. The ref didn’t endear himself to us any more when turning down a penalty appeal among a number of chances we had to take the lead in the rest of the half. As we failed to find our groove in the second half, the odds of them snatching the lead significantly shortened. Instead Petrus gave us the lead in the 65th minute, but they levelled it 5 minutes later, and seriously went for a winner, which unfortunately they got in the dying minutes, giving us our first defeat in 14 games, and a few of the trickier games coming up.

Moldava 0-4 Michalovce (SC)

The cup seemed an easier proposition as Zilina had been knocked out already before we went to Moldava in the next round. Petrus scored in the first minute. They had a equalizer disallowed before Bilek extended it in the 15th minute. Yakubu followed that up in the 23rd. The first minute of the second half was Bilek get another. Yakubu had a 5th disallowed on the hour mark.

Michalovce 2-1 Slovan Bratislava (D1)

We needed to bounce back against Slovan, as Zilina had won the previous day to close the gap (hopefully briefly) to a point. We both had good chanced before Yakubu gave us the lead in the 22nd minute. We had 2 more disallowed, from Bilek after 35 minute, and Yakubu after 50. A Kessou penalty soon gave us the at second goal at last, but they started pushing hard. They got a goal back with 10 minutes, but our win cost their manager his job.

League Table

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A good run of form and a pretty emphatic win over Zilina :thup:

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Some cracking results there. Good work :thup:.

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