South American Journeyman Recap #9

How’s it going guys? Welcome to yet another edition of the #SouthAmericanJourneyman Monday Recap. I hope you’re all taking care, staying home, playing FM, watching old matches or just enjoying some family time through these hard times. Myself I’m just amazed at how have things changed in so little time with this save, let me tell you…

Hard to say goodbye…

There I was, thinking it was gonna all be smooth sailing… this is FM you fool!

So last time I was taking about how it was looking up for our guys at Confiança, we had qualified for the Copa do Nordeste quarters, we were comfortably top of the Serie C table… what could possibly go wrong?

Well, soon enough we faced trouble. Our win on the last Copa do Nordeste group stage match was only enough to clinch a 3rd place, which set up a match against Nautico. No biggie, we had these guys figured, we absolutely trashed them last time around them only surviving with a 2-1 win thanks to our terrible finishing and a defensive mistake, it could’ve as easily been a 4-1, 5-1, right? …right? What’s in the box? WHAT’S IN THE F*CKING BOX?

I’m gonna be a sore loser and claim they got it easier as they’re were slotted into the weaker group (only 1 Serie A side) which meant that while all their group Serie C and Regional pals were getting destroyed by the 3 top teams on our side (because there’s a funny rule by which you don’t face the teams on your group but rather the ones on the other) they got 2nd place with a measly 14 points which wouldn’t have managed 6th on our group, thus earning a home advantage they didn’t really deserve.

In any case, they never gave us a chance. Not sure even with a 2nd leg we would have been able to come back from it. Totally outplayed us on their way to getting killed 4-0 by Bahia in the Final (which oddly enough is played as a two legged affair).

But hey, at least we had promotion in the bag, right? I mean, America de Natal took advantage of the shock we had suffered at the cup and won a mud-fight where the team least shitty scrapped the result but after that July was as green and good as a broccoli…

Well, some of you might know that some time ago I wrote an long article about a man whom I admite who happens to be one of the most influential managers in the last 30 years or so, Marcelo Bielsa. For those unaware, there’s a long, full piece on my football blog on his work on the Argentina National Team on the road to the 2002 World Cup failure (and that team’s legacy) and a short(er) FM version which tries to apply some of that team’s tactical concepts to FM, which forms the basis of the tactic I’ve been using with Confiança.

If you read the article (or simply are an informed tactics nerd) you’ll know that here in Argentina the one thing most football fans hit us bielsistas with is his proven track record of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory; the man is a master of the bottle-job. And we’re his disciples.

An amazing record in the clutch drawing 3 of the last 4 put us at a big disadvantage. Particularly damning are a 0-0 vs bottom-placed Manaus which lost us the top spot and a 3-3 vs Sampaio Correa that ruled us out of contention for it. That way, last match of the “regular season” we faced a do-or-die matchup vs group winners Santa Cruz to try and at least keep 2nd place.

A great win coming from behind ensured a 2nd place spot finish, only missing out on the big prize by 1 point…that Sampaio Correa 88th minute goal sure tasted like sh*t. And somehow, a season of records became of my most bitter memories in FM… all that was golden turned out to be piss…

But hey, we may have to take the long road to it, but promotion was still within grasp, surely? We were matched up against Cuiabá…

Fresh of relegation last season, and absolute promotion favourites, their best player is worth more than the entire Confiança squad. Whomever does the matchups in Brazil hates my guts…

Even still, we marched on. An early penalty gave us the lead on the first leg away from home but they proved more than a force to be reckoned and clawed back to a 2-1 win. I was happy none the less. After the Nautico experience I was more than happy not to be blown out of the water by what was without a doubt a superior side. And we still had the second leg at the Baptistao, where we only had lost 1 match all year. A win and we would be promoted no matter what; oddly the later stages of the playoff (or the groups finishing position for that matter) play no part in the promotion, a win in the quarterfinals is all you need to reserve a spot on the big(ger) boys table.

I’ll show you the match stats and you tell me how it went…

Claiming I was “fmed” would be a bit of a stretch but we were clearly the superior side, and, in fact, we won. 1-0. With a goal at the 88th minute. Boy did I celebrate! Thank god for the away goals rule, Serie B here we go!

What you mean there’s no away goals rule? Well at least on extra-time we can… WE’RE GOING TO PENALTIES!? WHAT KIND OF JOKE IS THIS!? YOU DECIDE WHO’S GONNA HAVE THEIR ENTIRE SEASON BECOME A BIG PILE OF TURD ON PENALTIES!?

And so began the most excruciating 5 minutes of my FM life… every bit seeming designed to make it worse.

We go first, we score. Good.

They score, ok.

We miss. Bad

They score. Very bad.

We miss, again. Crap…

They score. There’s always next season.

We score. Just put me out of my misery.

They… MISS! Great save, overly expensive goalie of ours! (seriously he’s on like 190k a year, ffs)

We… score… ok, ok, maybe the goalie has another trick up his sleeve, we’re still in this!

They scored. The goalie went the right way at least.

I saved and closed the game immediately. Haven’t even done the press conference yet.

Our second(ish) season at Confiança draws to a close. Our contract is up this December and I don’t know whether to stay or go. I like the club but I’d prefer a bit more progress, and besides I don’t want to get too attached. The board have offered me a contract, but I was delaying talks until I knew if we were gonna be playing Serie B or stay where we were. Before any of that I have to put in order some contracts and build a team for next season, regardless of whether I’ll be managing it or not. For some bizarre reason I can’t offer new contracts to the clubs original players if it’s not for their original wages, so some are leaving and I can’t do much about it.

So after last episode’s joyfulness comes this pile of sadness and rainy sunday afternoons. If anything, it proves you can never truly tell what’s coming. So maybe, just maybe, our greatest season so far is just around the corner. We’ll have to go ahead and find out.

As always, thanks for reading, and take care!

Published by fromero92

Argentinian writer and journalist

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