CM World Leagues: A Sao Paulo Story – part 9

Rob is back to kick off another week for us here at It’s the end of the third season in the World League and Sao Paulo are well placed to reach the big time. It’s a question of when, not if…

Welcome to the final third of the season, there is a fair bit to get through, 16 league games and matches in both the League and FA Cup. Our main aim is obviously promotion to the big time, the International Premier League but we will be fielding full strength teams in both cups as we try and make an impression.

Our first match is against South American rivals and Premier League big boys Boca Juniors. A home tie gives us the best chance of making it through but after 15 minutes our hopes are dentend as we go 0-1 down. Christer George gets the equaliser just before half time but we can’t kick on, we edged a close game but a replay is our only reward.

Brondby and Harry Kewell are our next opponents in the league, Christer, Fowler and Pirri are all on the score sheet however it’s not all plain sailing, Pirri’s injury is going to keep him out for three months, his assists have been vital this season, Joao Pinto will need to step up.

Midweek and it’s our FA Cup 4th round replay against Boca at the Bombonera, the first game was close but this one is a spanking. We only manage one shot on target to their six, 0-2 flatters us.

From one Premier League team to another, this time it’s Dortmund in the League Cup Semi Final. The first leg is at Westfalenstadion is going all our way until a crazy four minutes and three goals later sees the score go from a comfortable 2-0 lead to a tense 3-2. We muddle through the last 20 minutes to hold on, three away goals is a big positive.

Ten days later it’s the return leg and another five goal thriller, fortunately we score them all. Abel Xavier even makes up for the own goal ten days ago. We are going to Wembley!

From the high of the cup to the three days ago it’s back to business in the league. AIK don’t bring much to the table and despite scoring first with their only shot on target we come back for a win.

As we push through it’s a third home match in a row, Lothar Matthaus brings his Racing Santander side over to Brazil. Again we conceded first to but Christer Geroge is making the most of his extra game time as is Joao Pinto.

Off to France for a weekend fixture against Racing Club Lens if we win here and results go our way we could secure a playoff spot with twelve games left to play. Denilson and Christer score two goals in two minutes straight after half time which is enough for the win. A quick check and I can confirm we are at least in the playoffs.

As we move into March we travel from France to Italy to play promotion hopefuls Bologna. Their front two of Kennet Andersson and Bobbie Baggio just aren’t firing and thanks to another two goals in two minutes, this time from Denilson and da Costa we have it all wrapped up by half time.

A third away match in a row, this time in Portugal. Boavista are chasing a playoff spot and their striker and captain Emilson Jacare is on fire, scoring a hattrick. It’s a great game for the neutral as we come from behind three times, Doni getting the vital equaliser in the 72nd minute. Djalminha was getting a bit more game time due to Pirri’s injury but he is now out for three months too.

We get a full week off and before the next game at home to Anderlecht. It’s a dominant display as we go 3-0 up before the half hour mark. After that Anderlecht’s keeper Zvonko Milojevic plays a blinder to keep the score respectable.

As we move past mid March the Champions League semi finals draw is announced and there is a little surprise. Norwegian side Barnsley have made it through and face Boca Juniors. Barnsley were one of the teams moved out of England to this little experiment work, life in Norway has clearly been good for them. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed for them.

Back to Sao Paulo and we face an actual Norwegian side, Brann, Mons-Ivar Mjelde is getting on a bit but still manages to get on the score sheet for a consolation goal. Brann actually dominated this match, we only had three shots on target but scored them all. Annoyingly Onopko is injured again!

A sunny Sunday at the end of March and we head to Wembley to face Bayern Munich in the League Cup Final. Bayern have assembled an interesting team, they are captained by Dion Dublin at centre back and Paul Scholes is up front with Giovane Elber, they even have Roy Keane and Keith Gillespie on the bench. Scholes chose to join Bayern over us at the beginning of this season so this is personal (it’s not but that’s what I tell the lads, for motivation). Fowler pounces on a mistake and makes it 1-0 in the 27th minute. The game is pretty tight but we looked to have sealed the win when Denilson scores in the 78th minute however Elber gets one back a minute later and it is a tense final few minutes until Doni scores in the 86th minute to seal the victory, we a League Cup Champions.

Aprils rolls around and we have an away match in Brazil against Vasco, they have unfortunately struggled since “Sir” Bobby retired at the end of last season. We are flying high after our cup win and make it 3-0 before half time, Joao adds another in the second half for an easy win.

Staying in Brazil we are back at home against Leverkusen. They are third in the league and a win or draw here will be enough for us to secure automatic promotion. Leverkusen have set up for a 0-0 draw which given the circumstances seems an odd approach fortunately Fowler gets a goal just before half time and that is enough.

With automatic promotion secured our next goal in winning the championship. There are six games left and we are 16 points clear of Corinthians in second so a win in our next match against FC Twente is all we need. Another team visit the Morumbi with little to no intention of trying to win. We manage to get two goals before a 84th minute strike by De Witte make it look closer than it ever was. It doesn’t matter though as the win is enough, we are the Champions!

I’ll move quickly through the last five games of the season now the championship is all wrapped up. First we travel to Elland Road to face Leeds. Darren Huckerby is back from his holiday in Milan and for 10 minutes it looks like his goal will rescue a point for Leeds, Pirri and Christer have other ideas.

From Leeds on Saturday to Sao Paulo on Monday, Panathinaikos have Warren Barton and Heening Berg and Francis Benali in defence but they can’t do anything against Denilson and Christer.

Neil Lennon’s Cologne side are brushed aside in the next match, Christer on a good run, that’s five goals in three games.

A single goal from Denilson is the difference between us and Stromsgodset.

The final match of the season is another Monday game and we sign off the season in style. Neil Cox’s sending off in the 37th minute doesn’t help Bolton and deep forwards Pirri and da Costa score the goals.

The final table looks like this, two teams with over 100 points. 40 wins in 46 games is good going, we will need to carry this forward, I want to be competing at the top straight away.

A quick run through the team stats;



Average rating (ignore Molnar, he only played two or three games)

These are the other teams that had winning seasons, adding some silverware to their trophy cabinets in the 1999/00 season.

English International League

League Cup: Sao Paulo

FA Cup: Athletic Bilbao, good to see the Basque Boys hitting the big time

Premier League: Bayern Munich (this makes the League cup win even better) I checked the league table and it was a three way tie at the top!

Div 1: Sao Paulo

Div 2: Velez Sarsfield

Div 3: Partizan

Italian International League

Coppa Italia: Juve win on away goals against Barca

Serie A: Juventus a second title in a row secures the League and Cup double for the Old Lady

Serie B: Sevilla

Spanish International League

Copa del Rey: Lazio beat Auxerre 1:0

Primera Division: Inter Milan

Segunda Division: Sheffield Wednesday

International (European) Trophies

UEFA Cup: Inter with a 2:1 over Parma, who needs Darren Huckerby!

Cup Winners Cup: Dortmund a 1:0 win over Lazio

Champions League: Man Utd make up for last years loss by beating league rivals Boca in the final 1:0.

European Championships are won by France in a humdinger of a match against Italy, Florian Maurice’s extra time penalty sealing the win. Italy were 3:1 up with 15 minutes to play despite being a man down but let it all slip away.

That brings season three to a close. We have made it to the top division of the English international league and I’m looking forward to season four.

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