Hello once again, and welcome to match week 3 of the most prestigious club competition in CM9798 Land. The League (or Coca-Cola) Cup matches are coming thick and fast at the minute and we begin with the 3rd round matches followed by the 4th round of league matches.
Dean got us off and running as he hosted Alloa, who went 40 minutes without conceding but the relentless Ajax pressure paid off as Overmars and Finidi gave them a 2-0 half time lead. Dean brought my boy Martijn Reuser on for the 2nd half and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands to make it 3-0. An Alloa goal followed after their only effort on target, but it was straightforward stuff for Ajax in the end, and they could even afford for Clarence Seedorf to miss a penalty late on.
Next, Andrew took his second string to Falkirk, who were without star defender Kevin James. The hosts started brightly but Bayern led 2-0 against the run of play at half time. Idris Elba and Jens Jeremies traded goals before Falkirk had one chalked off on 66. Salihamidzic and Elba got their second goals of the game, but despite Falkirk finishing the game with more shots on goal, it was Andrew’s “bunch of players playing out of position with a striker on the wing and a forward at left back” who made it through to the quarter-finals where they’ll face Dean’s Dutchmen.
Nathan’s Dortmund faced Livingston in an all yellow and black affair. The visitors lost Riedle to injury after a quarter of an hour, but his strike partner Jovan Kirovski put them ahead 4 minutes later and it stayed 1-0 until the break after a tight first 45 minutes. The second half was relatively quiet and it looked to be finishing 1-0 but my commentator’s curse struck again as Kirovski made it 2-0 just before the final whistle. With Riedle’s injury, Nathan said he’ll have to “wrap Kirovski in cotton wool” and who can blame him when his only other options are Tanko, Chapuisat and Herrlich?
Ross’ table-topping Man Utd hosted St. Mirren. Ross decided to change his entire back three for this one, with Gary Neville, Brown and Berg coming in for Stam, Johnsen and Phil Neville. He also decided to “save Teddy” in favour of Dwight Yorke. David Beckham’s early goal was the only highlight of a fairly uneventful first half. Erik Nevland doubled the hosts’ advantage early in the second half, but the highlight of the half was probably Ross deciding to give Raimond Van der Gouw a run out for the remaining half an hour of a comfortable 2-0 win. Ross will travel to Dortmund to take on Nathan in the quarter-finals
The only all-premier league tie saw Zak take on Matt. After a cagey opening, Matt must have been relieved for it to be goalless at the break and had Peruzzi to thank for saving everything, including a penalty from Boksic. Zak had left Rudi Völler on the bench but gave in and brought him on for the last 20 minutes. Despite chances either way the game finished 0-0 and was the first blank of the season so far. After a further 30 goalless minutes the game went to penalties. Both managers had agreed to have their keepers take penalty number 5, and although they both successfully converted, Conte’s earlier miss meant that Zak went through.
Dave welcomed Clydebank to the San Siro to face his Milan side, and his decision to include Florin Raducioiu ahead of Jean Pierre Papin paid dividends as the Romanian grabbed a brace after Simone’s earlier strike to give his side a 3-0 half time advantage. The Rossoneri consolidated their lead in the second half and Raducioiu rounded off his day by adding the man of the match award to his brace to give Dave food for thought. Milan will face the only non-premier league side left in the competition, the mighty Raith Rovers.
Philip also had a cup game, but it had to be rescheduled due to his champions league qualifying match with Banik Ostrava. Panic not though, you can see how he got on in the final game of this episode.
So on to the league action, starting with Dean’s Ajax vs Dave’s Milan. Marc Overmars got his second and third goals of the week to put Ajax 2 up at the interval. Milan looked like pulling one back, but the “fucking dick Van der Sar” wouldn’t get out of the way, much to Dave’s frustration. Jari Litmanen piled more misery on Dave in the second half with a brace, and by the time Papin and Simone put on a late show, the damage was already done and the points went to Dean. Dave was optimistic despite defeat though, and said that his “cup team” could “beat Clydebank and Raith Rovers all day long”.
Second on were Nathan and Rob. Rob wasn’t in attendance this week, but he had sent me his tactics and lineup beforehand, while Nathan’s only change was Tanko in for the injured Riedle. After a couple of early Red Star chances, Nathan found himself 3-0 up at half time through Kirovski, Möller and Tanko. Nathan said that he was “as happy as he had been so far in this series” and decided not to make any changes at half time. Savicevic made up for a poor first half showing by converting a penalty, and although four goals were shared in a more even second half, it wasn’t enough for Red Star and Nathan recorded his first win of the season.
Philip’s first game of the night came at the Stadio Delle Alpi against Matt’s Old Lady. Some of Matt’s ageing back line were tired, so he made a few changes with Torricelli, Tacchinardi and Sorin coming in for Ferrara, Vierchowod and Porrini. Philip’s only change was Stoichkov for Pinilla. The first half was a stalemate with just one shot on target between the two sides, and the second half brought more chances for both sides before the deadlock was finally broken on 73 minutes by Barca captain Jose Bakero. Philip had a second hoal disallowed 10 minutes later, but wasn’t to be denied a second time as Stoichkov made it 2-0 right at the end to cap an impressive away win for Philip, who scooped the August manager of the month award.
Both Zak and Ross were undefeated going into this match, so neither wanted to give an inch. Zak offered Völler a reprieve up front and also brought in Angloma and Vazquez, while Ross reverted to his normal back three of Stam, Johnsen and Phil Neville and brought Sheringham back in for Nevland. United led through Beckham’s second goal in two games, but it was honours even at half time after Boksic’s equaliser. Zak’s faith in Völler was rewarded on the hour, and then disaster struck for Ross as Schmeichel was sent off. Ross took Andrew’s advice and put Phil Neville in goal and it was all downhill from there as Boksic converted his penalty and score two more to emphatically send Ross to his first defeat.
The wins for Dortmund and Barcelona meant that my Real Madrid side were now the only side not to record a victory so far, so I was hoping to change that against Andrew, who said he’d played 20 games against my side in practice and lost the vast majority. Andrew changed his entire team for this match and said he was still “expecting to get lashed”, I however wasn’t as confident. It was goalless first half in which my side had the lion’s share of chances, but we couldn’t put them away. Giovane Elber struck to give Bayern the lead just after the restart, and although we pressed for an equaliser, Bayern stood strong and held on for their second win while handing me my second defeat.
Now to tie up the one remaining loose end in the cup, as Barcelona took on East Fife, a side that Philip confessed he’d never heard of, but when they equalised after Txiki Beguiristain’s early strike, Dean said “you have now!”. The first half ended all-square, and Andrew took great delight in shouting “manager of the month my arse!”. The second half was a bit more straightforward, with 3 more goals for Barca, and another for East Fife’s Gilbert Allan, who Dean said would “tell his grandkids about this day”. Philip will face Zak in the quarter-finals.
So as another week draws to a close, Ross still leads the way, but his lead has been cut to just a single point with Zak now breathing down his neck. 3rd to 6th is tight between Matt, Dean, Andrew and Philip, and Nathan, Rob and Dave are all tied on 3 points, and then there’s my Real Madrid side, who are rock bottom with no wins and just 2 points, but it’s early days yet (I’ll keep telling myself that anyway).
Mr. Bell very kindly let me use his Zoom account, so we can now do the video in one part, which is much easier, so click the link below to watch this week’s action.
Imagine if you will, a small black and white striped square appearing in the top corner of your screen, indicating the end of the show is nigh and the adverts are on their way, so we’ll see you next week for more fun and games!