CM World Leagues: A Sao Paulo Story – part 5

The games come thick and fast on the run into Christmas, something that is not helped by the fact we are competing in four competitions. The purchase of Fowler at the beginning of the season was the right thing to do, and though I feel bad for last year’s hero Kosta-D I remind myself there is no time for sentimentality in football.

Germinal Ekeren arrive in Sao Paulo for the Saturday game and despite the game being even, the score line is heavily in our favour. Richard Wright is growing in stature with every game and gets MOM for making five saves and keeping a clean sheet.

It wouldn’t be Champ Man without an odd transfer between two bitter rivals, in this case it is Stevie Mc rejecting Liverpool and also Dortmund in favour of Old Trafford. These transfers still make me laugh and are one of the many reasons I love the game.

I too have to let a player go, Barry Venison was always a squad player for me but he wants a little more before he calls time on his career so he is leaving Brazil and joining Rosenborg in Norway, I wish him the best of luck.

A second home game on the bounce and a second 3-0 win, this one is a lot more one sided but looked like being one of those games where you draw 0-0 or lose 0-1 until we break the deadlock in the final 20 minutes.

A weekend jaunt to the Netherlands to face Groningen. It’s a very open game with both teams having about close to ten shots on target, Richie Wright is again on fine form and the ever potent strike duo of Denilson and Fowler get the goals that secure a good away win.

I think we are becoming a little overpowered for the second division thanks to the type of players we can attract due to our high reputation. Our next game will be more of a test, we host Division 1 Coventry in the League Cup 3rd round. I’ve been reading the Miracle of Castel di Sangro (It’s really good, I’m definitely going to do a save with them soon) and I notice that Coventry have Joseph Addo in their ranks, he almost signed for Castel in the book, I won’t spoil it, just in case. Back to the game. Despite dominating the tie we are behind after 6 minutes and then Denilson scored a penalty in the 26th minute only for the ref to order it be retaken, the retake is saved and at half time we are still 0-1 down. It looks like we are going out until that lad Fowler finds the net twice in 5 minutes to send us through for a 4th round tie against Premier league Ajax!

After the drama of the League Cup we breeze through our home game against Ferencvaros, Nevland gets his first goal for the club, nobody has come in for him on loan yet so I’m giving him some time off the subs bench.

A quick trip across South America for the Windscreen Shield group game against Velez Sarsfield. I’m still playing my second eleven and they are still managed and captained by Steve Bruce. It’s a close game but Leon McKenzie makes the difference for them with a hat-trick. Other group results go our way so we have qualified for the knock-out stages, not what I really wanted but some more game time for the second stringers.

We bounce from cup to cup and non-league Halesowen visit the Morumbi for the 1st round of the FA Cup. I field my strongest side and we run riot, I felt a little sorry for Halesowen by the end. 2nd round here we come.

After back to back cup games it is Chaves next in the league. A very one sided affair ends in a straight forward win Marcio Santos gets a rare goal and Fowler scores either side of half time.

Across the Atlantic and to Upton Park. West Ham have appointed Tommy Svindal Larsen as their captain however Jiri Novotny and Ian Pearce are no match for Denilson who gets a first half hat trick taking the game away from the host and securing another victory.

As we move into late November last year’s star Kosta has grown fed up, I feel sad to let him go after an amazing 49 goals last year but he is fifth in the pecking order now behind Fowler, Denilson, Molnar and Nevland and rarely plays so I grant his transfer request.

It’s a rare week off before AaB come to Sampa. With fresh legs we score four before half time and MOM Cristiano Doni gets one more in the second half. I got Doni on a free because Atalanta didn’t get promoted, he has been brilliant in the centre mid role, a real gem of a find.

Wednesday night’s game is the Windscreen Shield 2nd round. Apart from captain Margas it is all change in a competition I’m not too bothered about, the 2nd eleven however are enjoying the adventure and Nevland and Carlos Miguel (who is being kept out by the previously mentioned Doni) get the goals to see us through.

It’s another set of back to back cup games, after Windscreen Shield victory on Wednesday it’s a home tie against non league Watford in round two of the FA Cup. Miguel makes an appearance for the injured Doni, typical that he gets injured after singing his praises. Miguel makes the most of the opportunity with two goals in two games, into the third round we go.

After the FA Cup win we have our third cup game in a week, a real testing tie against Premier League Ajax. They have added David Platt (capt) and Lee Clark to their squad to go along with the earlier purchases of Shearer and Julian Dicks. The first half is a tight game and I’m starting to believe we could get a win when Shearer smashes one in just before halftime. After the restart Shearer and Dani score within two minutes of each other and we are 0-3 down. Fowler and Emmers are having stinkers so I make a double change bringing Rio and Nevland on. We score two goals in six minutes giving us 20 to get the equaliser, we don’t. The stats say the game was close but going 0-3 down was always going to be tough to come back from.

Bit harsh from the board.

From the Netherlands we travel to Denmark and a league match against Herfolge. They made a strong start to the season but have fallen away slightly. They are really out of sorts today and only manage one wayward shot all match, not helped by going down to ten men in the 30th minute. Denilson gets the goals and we get the three points.

From Denmark we go back to Holland to face AZ Alkmaar. They too have a man sent off early however we don’t really take advantage going into the half only 1-0 up. AZ equalise in the 74th minute and it looks like one of those games. Just as I’m thinking Fowler has been quite recently he pops up in the 80th minute to get a vital goal and another three points.

The last game before Christmas day is back in Brazil, Doni returns from injury to get a 1-0 win. The third game in a row our opponents have had a man sent off in the first half.

The boxing day fixture is just up the coast against Bobby’s Vasco da Gama side. He has strengthened since our last encounter adding Juan Veron and Tijani Babangida. I’m expecting a tough game but after a few low scoring games recently we turn on the afterburners and absolutely smoke them, it’s 3-0 after 12 minutes and that man Doni adds a fourth in the second half. Bobby’s got some work to do to get them a playoff spot.

A new year and the beginning of January is FA Cup third round time. A home tie against Cesena who are division rivals and also the team we beat to win our first trophy the Auto Windscreen Shield. There is another sending off for our opponents, their keeper Saul Santarelli given his marching order in the 30th minute and we breeze into the 4th round.

After the first eleven’s FA Cup win on Saturday the second eleven face Hajduk Split in the Windscreen Shield quarter finals. A strong performance by Miklos Molnar and despite not focusing on this competition we are into the semi finals.

The games keep coming in January and Fowler starts to find some form again after what seemed like a quiet period. A hat trick against Utrecht in a six goal thriller.

Estrela Amadora are our next opponents as we look to avenge our only loss of the season so far. We run out 2-0 winners but without the heroics of their keeper Paulo Xavier it would have been a lot more.

Crystal Palace are next up and another straightforward win thanks to Pirri and Denilson.

The end of January and the FA Cup fourth round. We are in Norway to play Brann, they have Mons-Ivar Mjelde who is a really good striker but they just don’t turn up and Fowler, Denilson and Molnar all get two goals, Molnar scores his in the last 18 minutes of the game.

Our midweek game is the Windscreen Shield Area Semi against AEK Athen. I’ve started to believe my second string can get the job done and go all the way to the final however in the 20th minute that bubble bursts as De Souza and Livett each score to make it 0-2 at half time. We come back strong after the break and get the match back to 2-2 and I start to believe again. Unfortunately Neil Alexander (who) is a man possessed and in the 73th minute we concede against the run of play and that as they say is that.

As January draws to a close so does this update, the final game is away to St. Pauli. It is business as usual in the league as we run out 5-2 winners.

After 30 league games we are flying, and it seems a little too strong for the second division having won 29 and lost only one, scoring over 100 goals in the process. Those 100 goals are thanks to the excellent contributions of Fowler and Denilson who have each scored over 40.

In the next update we will have the final 15 games in the league and the hopeful continuation of our FA Cup run.

Leave a Reply