Happy Monday! Our very own Bez, Rob Tait, is here to bring you the end of season two as Sao Paulo continue to smash up Division 2. Promotion is a formality for Rob but the real question is how many will Denilson and Fowler bag?
At the end of part five we had completed 30 league games, we’re 20 points clear at the top of the table and Fowler and Denilson had already scored over 40 league goals each, I’m interested to see how many they can get by the end of the season and also how far we can get in the FA Cup.
Grasshopper of Zurich visit the Morumbi at the start of February and despite Denilson missing a penalty we run out comfortable winners. 75,000 fans are now watching us in league two but the stadium is still only half full!
Neville Southall is player manager of Turkish side Genclerbirligi and there must be a keeper crisis as he is playing himself in goal at 39. Having said that we have 12 shots on target but only score four and he gets a rating of nine. I’m waiting for you to regenerate Big Nev.
Saturday 13th February 1999, FA Cup 5th round, we have not been given the nicest of ties, in fact it’s probably the worst draw we could have got, away to Man Red Utd. I wanted to see how good we are compared to the best and the answer is not great. We are battered from the first minute to the last. Despite all this we go in 1-0 up at half time thanks to our only shot by Robbie Fowler. It looks like we might get a reverse Champ Man until the 57th minute when Brian Laudrup equalises. I’ll take a draw and a home replay, but it all falls apart in the 82nd and 83rd minutes when Bergkamp and Giggs finish us off.
After FA Cup disappointment Dick Last and his Norrkoping side come over to Brazil for a league game. Dickie Last makes up for his poor performance the last time we played them with a MOM display here and it looks like a draw is on the cards till young da Costa pops up in the 83rd minute with a strike out of nowhere to win the game. With that victory we secure a playoff place before the end of February.
Three days later we are at the Municipal de Chaves. I’ve recalled Nevland from loan as he isn’t getting any game time so he gets a spot on the bench. We dominate the game with Fowler getting a first half hat trick taking his goal tally to 50 for the season. Doni keeps getting goals from his CM role and Denilson scores a couple to stay in the hunt for the Sao Paulo golden boot and League two top scorer, just behind Fowler.
Back to Brazil on Saturday and an away game against Bryan Robson’s Corinthians side. They are 2nd in the league and looking for automatic promotion for the second year in a row. Bryan Robson has managed to sign Dejan Savicevic from AC Milan and he is the creative spark that Corinthians need to inflict a rare defeat. Nevland with a consolation goal but too little too late and our second loss of the season. Despite the loss, other results mean that we have secured automatic promotion before March.
A week later Cesena make the journey to Sao Paulo. Pirri is suspended and so Miklos Molnar gets a rare start up front with Fowler. This really is a game of two halves, the first is electric with six goals the second is a dull and goalless affair. Molnar’s hat trick is the difference maker. 132,000 fans flocked to the Morunbi after our automatic promotion last week.
Brescia try to shut up shop against us at the Mario Rigamonti, they almost pull it off too before Fowler pops up in the 72nd minute to get the only goal of the game and a step closer to the division two championship.
Some sad news for young Rio, with promotion already secured the lads get a little over excited in training. Nine months with a broken leg, Rio is a good centre back option who can also play in the hole just in front of the defense. He will be missed.
Promotion hunting Derby are our next opponents, they are looking to secure a playoff spot and set up in a very defensive formation that I believe is called parking the bus. Their plans are spoilt by one of my favourite new discoveries Cristiano Doni and they can’t adjust, it’s another 1-0 win.
The international break brings some good news for young Richie Wright as he wins his first cap in a European Championships qualifier against Cyprus, let’s assume his rating of five is more to do with Cyprus not having any shots that an actual bad performance on his part. Glen does seem to have selected an experimental side for the game.
Richie makes it four clean sheets in a row for him and another 1-0 victory for us when we play Merida away. Molnar getting a game due to Denilson’s suspension gets the only goal of the match.
The win at Merida gives us enough points to win the league. We have been mighty this year and I can’t help it might not be so easy after all the last two seasons have been against the bottom 48 teams in this 172 team experiment. I’m thinking Margas might need replacing as club captain and some more cover in the attacking midfield, but anyway no need to worry about that now, we will just enjoy the victory.
I’ll move quickly now through the final games before a little round up of season two. We finally stop winning 1-0 when LA Galaxy come to town.
We score another five goals against Germinal Ekeren, as we give up with defense now we are champions.
It’s another five goals as Denilson and Fowler trade blows for the golden boot.
Only the three goals against Ferencvaros.
Another clean sheet and both Fowler and Denilson on the score sheet again.
Denilson looks like he is going to pip Fowler at the post and take the top scorer award. Fowler has been less prolific recently.
The final game of the season is a dull 0-0, out only draw of the season. Here are the team stats.
Assists, attacking midfielders da Costa and Pirri making 57 goals between them and Doni with 16 from centre midfield.
Goals, Denilson and Fowler both in the 50’s but Denilson with three more in the end. Doni with 15 goals, why have I never had this guy before? Denilson has scored 100 goals in two seasons.
These are the other teams that had winning seasons, adding some silverware to their trophy cabinets.
English International League
League Cup: Ajax who beat last years winners Boca Juniors 1-0
FA Cup: Man Utd, again a 2:0 win against Dortmund
Premier League: Man Utd for the second year in a row
Div 1: Coventry who won Division 2 last year head up to the Premier league
Div 2: São Paulo
Div 3: Steve Bruce’s Velez Sarsfield
Italian International League
Coppa Italia: Barcelona
Serie A: Juventus dethrone last years surprise winner Marseille
Serie B: Atalanta
Spanish International League
Copa del Rey: Atletico a 1-0 win over PSG
Primera Division: Real Madrid for the second year in a row
Segunda Division: Valladolid
International (European) Trophies
UEFA Cup: Atletico with a 2-1 win over Bayern, Bayern’s strike force of Dublin and Big Dunc just couldn’t do the business.
Cup Winners Cup: Lazio with a 2-1 win against Spanish side Salamanca who now play their football in Germany, a finalist outside of the big three leagues.
Champions League: Real Madrid again, this time a 2-1 win against Man Utd
Man Utd and Real Madrid seem to be the dominant forces on the World Leagues scene over the past two years, makes my 1-3 loss in the FA Cup 5th round feel more acceptable. I’m off to the close season to try and strengthen a little before we try and do a Coventry.