2001: An Ace Squad-yssey – Part 26: Super Sergey | @NTR9798

Hello once again! and welcome back to the season where Nick’s bunch of CM01/02 ringers first made their names. They’re already champions of Europe, but can they now secure the world crown as well?…

Our first opponents this week are Torino, who are top of the league under Mauro Sandreani. Their keeper is being annoying, so it’s nice to see him score an own goal, and the win means we’re now just two points behind them.

Europe next, and Celtic. We’re fortunate to lead at half time, as they have more chances, but we take it up a gear in the second half and cruise to victory, with super Sergey, Duff man and Madeira adding to Tsigalko’s earlier strike.

Roma have just returned to Serie A after their surprise relegation. It doesn’t take long to break the deadlock, and it’s 3-0 at half time. They put up more of a fight in the second half, and Frey saves a penalty, but it’s another win.

Milan are up next in the cup. Duff man scores his second own goal of the season to give them the lead. Selakovic pulls one back, and we press for an equaliser to send us through but it never comes and we’re out. Oh well.

We go ahead against new leaders Verona, with Nikiforenko’s third goal in four games, but a couple of Spaniards help them to victory, as their Basque boy, Nagore gets the winner, and their regen keeper, Herrera has a blinder…

Brøndby are up next in our champions league group. We’re in control for pretty much the whole match, but I have no words for what happens in the last twenty minutes, and it’s a third straight defeat in all competitions.

Poor old Parma are on the receiving end of a backlash as we return to winning ways, but no sooner had he returned from his last injury, Selakovic is stretchered off again, and is now out for a month.

I’ve given Bakircioglü more game time over the last season or so, but he’s just not doing it for whatever reason, so I let him join Bologna on loan.

We’re in front at Piacenza, but then lose Frey to injury on 25 mins, so on comes Chiotis. They’ve a goal disallowed on 86, but it ends 3-0. Juventus annoyingly make easy work of Verona and climb to the top of the table

After losing to Brøndby, we really need to beat Villa, as they’re only two points behind us with one match left after this. Chiotis is man of the match, but we slip to defeat, and qualification is now out of our hands after looking a cert.

We quickly turn our attentions to São Paulo, and the World Club Cup. I’m expecting a squad of greys, but am surprised to see hardly any, and they have Luzhny, Artur, Kanu, Donizete, and Titi Camara in their ranks. For us, Frey is only 77% fit, but I risk him, and Robben is in for the suspended Hersi.

I’m tearing my hair out as we get to half time goalless after wasting a dozen chances, but what hair I have left survives in the second half, as after waiting all match for a goal, two come along at once, and then Tsigalko puts the cherry on top as we’re crowned world champions – yes!

We have the chance to briefly go top if we beat Napoli in the only midweek Serie A game. It’s a relatively quiet first half, but we deservedly lead at the break. Simone sets the nerves jangling with thirteen minutes to go, but we see it out to go top.

There are two annoying things about this game with Bari, the first is obviously the result, and the second is that Juventus decide to draw with Piacenza, just f*cking perfect.

Our last champions league group game is Celtic. We have to win and hope Brøndby get a result off Villa. Despite Larsson deciding to give us a scare with a hat trick, we just sneak it, and Villa and Brøndby draw 0-0, so we’re through to face Benfica in the quarter finals!

Big Taribo will be gutted with this on his first appearance in a while…

We dominate Empoli from the first whistle to the last, with no fewer than thirty shots at goal. Samba scores after coming on as a sub, and recently had his first England call-up. Could we finally be seeing his potential?

And then a welcome bit of news, which shows that things are going in the right direction…

Last up is the first of a double-header with Milan, who are ninth but I’m not buying it. It’s 3-0 at half time, and I’m not getting carried away because I’ve seen bigger leads thrown away. It ends 4-0, but it could have easily been double that but for Stefan Klos.

Juve drew with Bari, so we’re top at half way, but they still have that game in hand, and we play them in our next league game, so that’s sure to be huge. Torino have dropped off, but Verona are still up there, so credit to them.

So that’s another week done, join us again next week for that champions league quarter final with Benfica, and the European super cup final against Milan, as well as some huge league games, as we play all of the six teams below us. Ciao for now!

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