2001: An Ace Squad-yssey – Part 23: Drawing lots | @NTR9798

Hello! and welcome back to Italy for more fun and games with Nick and the CM01/02 Aces, who after a tactical tweak, managed to turn things around last week after an utterly terrible start to the season. Can they continue their resurgence this week?…

Here’s the table. We’ve done remarkably well to climb to third after such a horrendous start, but that’s all in the past now, so hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here on!

First up this week is the first of three meetings with Napoli. We’re slow out of the blocks to say the least, and don’t really get going until the second half, but still can’t find a goal in a highly uneventful and frustrating stalemate.

Nothing boils your piss like a super keeper display, and I watch on as Reggiana keeper Tiago saves shot after shot, but Madeira finally beats him after half an hour, and then adds a second on the hour to secure the points.

Bari are next to visit, and we’re without the suspended Tsigalko, so Lundén is up front, and Kerr in midfield. The latter enjoys himself “in the hole”, supplying an assist for substitute Samba after West’s early bullet header.

Transfer deadline day is here. Nikiforenko joins Ravenna on loan, and Juventus decide to add Ronaldo to their already-ridiculous attacking line, which is just great news for the rest of the league…

I’m expecting goals aplenty at Atalanta, but after a disallowed effort on 11 minutes, we proceed to create chance after chance, but can’t break the deadlock. On the plus side, that was our fifth straight clean sheet.

We’ve another early disallowed goal against Verona, but this time our pressure pays off, as big Taribo and our fictional firecracker put us two up before Lunden puts the icing on the Madeira cake.

Our second meeting with Napoli is in the Coppa Italia semis. Our run of clean sheets is broken, as Hofland gives away a penalty, which Totti converts, but Tsigalko gets us a vital away goal as it ends all-square.

I’m expecting a tough game away at eighth-placed Torino, but it’s unexpectedly easy. On a side note, does anyone else find it odd that besides the big boys, Torino are the only Serie A team with a background image?

When people now ask me if I like football, I say yes I do like football, but not Genoa, Genoa can f*ck off. We can’t afford too many more results like this, with Juve starting to pick up a bit of form.

Back to the cup, and while we have the upper hand against Napoli thanks to that away goal in the first leg, I’m weary as it stays goalless for most of the match, but Lundén settles the nerves and sees us into the final to face Lazio.

We’re two up in no time at the San Siro, but it quickly becomes clear that we’ve peaked too soon, as Milan begin to climb through the gears, and it’s another draw. They’re a point behind us, so at least it’s maintained the gap.

This is a nice little late birthday present…

Chiotis gets injured, and with Pinheiro out on loan, I’ve no sub goalie, so I’ll be wrapping Frey in cotton wool and praying to god that he stays fit.

Udinese stunned us last time with a late comeback, and It doesn’t start very well this time, but after the introduction of Källström and Robben, we stage a late rally, and turn the game on its head to serve up some revenge.

March is upon us, and so are the champions league quarter-finals. We got the kindest draw in Zaragoza, but it’s not as plain-sailing as I’d hoped, and in fairness, they do well to battle back from two down to level the tie. At least our goals are of the away variety…

Back in the league, it’s a nice solid away win at Cagliari. Nothing to see here, just the standard goals for Madeira and Tsigalko, which seem to come with every Aces ticket these days, I do feel sorry for poor old Cherno on the bench.

We’re behind early at Bologna, but battle back to snatch draw number seven of this week. Typically, Juventus choose this week to draw with Torino, which is annoying to say the least, but there is some good news, as Milan lose.

Finally this week is the second leg with Zaragoza. Lundén gets the only goal of the first half, but the second is much livelier, and we run riot with four more goals to seal a 7-3 aggregate win, and we’re into the semis.

And here’s another draw (of sorts). There aren’t any easy options here, and we get Ajax. I’m happy to avoid Barca, hopefully Juve can take care of them, but we’ve got to do our bit too, and I’m happy to have the away leg first.

So, here’s how the league table is looking with eight games remaining. We’re second, but the draws have virtually killed us, and we find ourselves seven points adrift from Juve. They do however still have to play Milan, Bologna, Fiorentina, Parma, Lazio, and ourselves, so you never know, there might still be hope yet…

That’s it for another week of hybrid champ action. Join us next time for the season finale. We’re still on course for the treble, but how many of those three trophies will we win? Find out next week, Ciao for now!

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