Champions League Manager 97/98 – Match Week 6 | @NTR9798

Hello and welcome to another Friday with the blog boys and their classic European giants. We’ve got eleven matches for you this week as the season reaches the quarter-way mark, so who will sit at the top of the pile after everyone has played everyone once?…

We start this week with some good news for Zak, who after guiding his team to the top of the table and remaining undefeated so far, won the September manager of the month award. Well done, Zak!

First on this week were Philip and Ross. Both teams had been going well, Ross was second, one point behind Zak, while Philip was sixth with a game in-hand on the five teams above him, and had only experienced his first taste of defeat last week. The fixture promised goals but delivered quite the opposite and despite 18 shots at goal in total, it finished 1-0 to the Spaniards thanks to a Bulgarian.

After such a quiet first match, it was only right that the second was a bit more lively. Red Star were managerless on the night as Rob couldn’t make it, but this didn’t faze them as they took an early lead through Savicevic. However, this was as good as it got for the Serbs as Bayern hit top gear and knocked them for six. Andrew was pleased with the win despite condemning his “bunch of frauds” for having 15 shots off target.

Third on were Matt and Nathan. Matt wasn’t in attendance this week but Nathan managed to drag himself to Turin to watch his injury-ravaged side, who were without four first team regulars, put up a good fight in what was another low-key affair, with Fabrizio Ravenelli’s strike just past half an hour proving to be enough to secure the points for the old lady.

Zak welcomed Dave in match number four. The Rossoneri took the lead on 25 minutes through Raducioiu, but it was short-lived as Casoni levelled 7 minutes later. My curses have become a regular occurrence in this blog so far, and this match was no exception as I acknowledged Zak’s request to make a substitution around 70 minutes but clicked done by mistake, which saw Paolo Maldini get injured, much to Dave’s disgust. On came Baresi, and he helped keep Marseille out for the remainder, as it ended all-square.

Next were myself and Dean. I’ve not gone into any match with confidence so far, and today was no different. The in-form Peter Van Vossen opened the scoring just before Illgner decided to get sent off and give away a penalty. I decided not to bring on a sub keeper, so Roberto Carlos donned the gloves and although he failed to keep Litmanen’s spot kick out, he went on to have a good game and my side were unlucky not to score in the end, but the silver lining is that I may have found a new formation to try.

So with the first round of games out the way, it was time for a mid-week catch-up game, as Nathan took on Philip. Barca had the better of the first half, but Nathan had Stefan Klos to thank for making several saves to keep the score at 0-0. Nathan did well to resist peer pressure in the second half and not being on his grey Scottish sub keeper, Barry Combe, who has no doubt become a cult hero in this series. There were no more goals and we witnessed a rate stalemate.

On to the second round of league matches, and Dean hosted Andrew. Van Vossen wasted little time in putting Ajax 2-0 up. The striker has impressed Dean so much that he said he’s going to buy a Van Vossen shirt, high praise indeed! Bayern managed one shot off target in the first half, which explained Elber’s rating of 4. I tried to be generous to the Brazilian and asked if he was injured, but Andrew said he was just shite. Bayern’s other Brazilian, the “useless FRL” Paulo Sergio did manage to score, but that man Van Vossen completed his hat trick shortly after to cap a 3-1 win for Ajax.

After failing to record a win in any of our matches so far this week, Nathan and myself were both keen to win this one. Although my strike force consists of Raul, Suker and Morientes, I’m not used to seeing too many goals, so you can imagine my joy when Suker put us ahead, but lead lasted less than a minute as Herrlich equalised immediately. Suker then made it a brace and we managed to hold onto the lead until the last quarter of an hour, but Herrlich ensured that my wait for a win continues for another week.

Ross and Dave were next, and after trailing by four goals at half time, two of which were in the same minute, all Dave had to say was “when’s Maldini back?” and brought on Galli for Baresi and requested that the latter be “taken out back and shot”. He also brought on Raducioiu for Lentini, and although the changes did the trick defensively, Milan didn’t manage to score, and Ross used the last half an hour as an opportunity for some squad rotation by bringing on Solskjaer, Sheringham and Nevland all together.

Zak said that he was hoping for Papin to do him a favour against Man Utd, but after watching Ross win, the pressure was back on Marseille in this all-Cornish clash with Matt. These two had already met in the League Cup, where Zak emerged victorious after a penalty shootout, and with two of the best keepers in the game, Barthez and Peruzzi going head to head, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there wouldn’t be many goals, but it turned out to be an eight-goal thriller and birthday boy Rudi Voller couldn’t prevent Zak from falling to his first defeat of the season.

Rob and Philip rounded off the evening. Rob had almost as many injuries as Nathan, and with him not in attendance, I had to use my better judgement to pick his team. Philip edged a quiet first half to lead 1-0. The second half started quietly, but after Andrew’s identification of Lou Macari in the background image, the game seemed to spring into action and there were six more goals to make the final score 5-2 to Philip. Savicevic suffered an injury late on which will see him out for a couple of weeks, which Rob is sure to be delighted about.

So after another week of shenanigans, Ross has climbed back to the summit and leads Deano on goal difference. With everyone having played each other once, we’re now a quarter of the way through the league season, and the table is starting to take shape. After Zak’s loss, no team is now undefeated, but there is one team still yet to register a win, but we won’t go into that. It’s looking pretty tight at the top though, and with so many unpredictable results, drama up to the final day of the season is hopefully guaranteed.

You can watch this week’s action or catch up with previous weeks by clicking here

So that brings another week to a close. You may have noticed me saying in the video that Van Vossen was a good-looking chap, well that’s because Andrew posted this in our group chat midway through the evening…

See you next week!

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