2001: An Ace Squad-yssey – Part 24: Arise, Sir Maximus | @NTR9798

Hello, and welcome to the final part of season four with the CM01/02 Aces, who are in with a shot of winning the treble, which is sure to not go down well in the CM97/98 world. Can they do it? Over to Nick…

With just eight league games remaining, we find ourselves seven points behind Juve, so it’s looking pretty ominous, but you never know.

We start with a visit from Fiorentina. We’re 2-0 up at half time, but Zandona is up to his old tricks, and keeps six more efforts out. Hersi’s red is the last major action as the Viola fail to capitalise on their man advantage.

Next is the champions league semi first leg with Ajax. Most of their original squad remain, and they’ve added Jonk, Cocu, Bergkamp, and a souped-up Van Bommel. We come from behind to win, with Barca and Juve playing out a goalless thriller in the other game.

Back in the league, it’s a frustrating afternoon at Parma. Tsigalko misses a sitter near the end, as we spurn the chance to close the gap on Juve as they draw with Milan. Bollocks!

Next is the cup final first leg with Lazio. I hate Marchegiani at the best of times, but he further underlines his c*nt status by saving a penalty. We do however finally beat him to take a slender advantage into the second leg.

Three days later we’re playing them in the league. Robben comes off the bench and has a big impact, assisting one of three second half goals as we dominate in front of our fans.

Suspended Madeira sits out the second leg with Ajax, who are the better side, but we hold on to go through to face Barca in the final. The whole team definitely owe Seb Frey a pint…

A win in Turin is essential if we still have title ambitions, but despite a valiant effort the old lady stands firm, and all but ends our challenge for another year.

Lazio annoyingly turn the cup final around. We have more shots on target and an away goal, but It’s not enough. We’ve already won the cup though, so it’s not the end of the world.

We’re in control against Sampdoria, but they equalise late with their only shot on target all match. According to the board, it’s an abysmal result, which is a tad harsh seeing that they were top of the league not long ago.

That result sees Juve crowned champions, so our silverware hopes now rest with the champions league, but we still need to make sure of second spot in the league.

Inter may now be Ronaldo-less, but they have a souped-up Luca Toni, who strikes late to deny us more points. We’ve a goal disallowed on 84 just to rub salt in the wound and cap a miserable day at the San Siro.

Napoli are next. Madeira strikes early, but we waste chance after chance after chance, and concede another late goal, but the CM gods are smiling on us, as Milan lose and Atalanta draw to confirm us as runners-up.

I hate playing Barcelona at the best of times, but after six games without a win, we’re not on the best form, and now have to face them in a Champions League final. They dominate first half possession, and have more chances than us, but Tsigalko gives us a half time lead.

We’re under the cosh in the second half, and Barca win a penalty, but Frey palms it away! I’m nervous of an equaliser, and although I often curse Tsigalko for his wastefulness, all is forgiven as he gets his and our second with eight minutes left, and I can finally relax.

European champions at the first time of asking, get the f*ck in there!!!

Relegated Reggiana are last up in the league, and the second string get a game. It remains goalless for ages, and then sub Madeira scores with his first touch, and Robben and Kerr chip in as we sign off with a win.

Another season, another £5.4m in the bank.

Here’s the final table. Piacenza, Roma, Venezia, and Empoli will replace Genoa, Cagliari, Udinese and Reggiana next season. We did great to finish runners-up in the end after the horrendous start we had, but considering we were right in the mix, to finish seventeen points behind Juventus is very disappointing. I’m no quitter though, and I have faith in my boys, so we’ll keep trying.

Elsewhere, São Paulo won the World Club Cup, the Italian sides dominated the European cups, as Milan won the Cup Winners Cup, Atalanta the UEFA Cup, Juventus the European Super Cup, and did someone say Champions League?

In England, Man Utd won the premier league again, Arsenal won the FA Cup, Leeds the League Cup, and in Spain, Barcelona won the league, and Atletico Madrid the Copa Del Rey.

Here’s how the player stats ended up. There’s no doubt where our main supply of goals and assists come from, so I pray that Tsigalko or Madeira never get a long-term injury.

At the awards, Madeira is Serie A top scorer with a whopping 45 goals, and is quite rightly named the football writers’ player of the year.

So that’s it for another season, we’ve ticked another trophy off the list, and now have the Serie B, Coppa Italia and Champions League trophies in the cabinet. Join us next week as we embark on the 2001/02 season, which my players should be more than used to… Ciao!

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