2001: An Ace Squad-yssey – Part 31: Cherno’s Chance | @NTR9798

Hello! and welcome to another chapter in the journey of the CM01/02 misfits stuck in CM97/98 Land. Nick and his Aces have built up a healthy seven-point lead at the top of Serie A, but can they hold onto it with some massive games coming up? Over to Nick…

Here’s the current lay of the land. Juventus are on our coattails as you’d expect, but we have a rather nice lead over them at the minute…

But before we crack on with the league, there’s a European super cup to try and win. Atletico draw first blood, but we finally hit back after twelve attempts. The aptly-named Victor wins the leg for Atleti, but our away goal is useful.

It’s a seven-goal thriller at the San Siro against Inter. We lead 3-2 with 4 minutes to go, only for them to score two late goals to steal it. It’s harsh, but we’re saved by Juve losing to Lazio.

I was praying that Madeira’s injury wasn’t a bad one, but it’s not good news, and he’ll miss some big games. Time for Samba to step up.

We put in a thoroughly shocking performance at Lecce, and slip to our fourth league defeat in seven games and see our lead cut to just four points. If this is a sign of things to come without Madeira, then we’re in big big trouble.

I get a good response from the boys against Atalanta, as we grind out a much-needed win. Samba can’t hit a barn door, but thankfully Tsigalko still has his shooting boots. The defence is a concern, but as long as we keep outscoring teams, hopefully it won’t matter.

Tsigalko’s rested for the second leg with Atleti, and after an awful first half, Samba becomes a man possessed, and smashes in four second half goals. Aghahowa also chips in to leave Atletico stunned, and deliver more silverware!

Another European super cup final, another record low home attendance…

Our last game with Cremonese yielded eleven goals, but this time it’s quieter, but frustrating. We’re denied the win after a disallowed goal on 80 minutes, and Juve win again to further cut our lead to just two points, worrying times.

It’s a wasteful start against Piacenza, but Duff Man doesn’t f*ck about, and gets us off and running. Samba has nine shots, and only scores one, but it’s a welcome three points after a not particularly good recent run.

Bologna are always a potential banana skin, and we’re in control until the hour, but Said’s red proves to be the turning point as Kallon pulls two back. We just about hold on though, and are lucky to escape with the points.

We’re behind against Sampdoria, but Samba is on the rise, and smashes in a hat trick before Edmundo adds a late consolation. Juventus drew with Udinese, so our lead is back to four points for another week at least.

We lead 3-0 at Lazio, but they come back strongly in the second half and eventually get their reward. N’Diaye’s goal is timely, with the hosts all over us, but Prutton caps a shocking personal performance with a red card.

It’s champions league semi time, where we’re up against Monaco, and on the wrong end of a five-goal thriller. Conceding three away goals isn’t ideal, so we might just have to try and win by two goals in the second leg.

Now for our biggest game of the season, as we face Juventus. Win, and we’re seven points clear, lose and our lead will be just a point. Madeira is back, but only fit enough for the bench, while Vieri is suspended for them.

Tsigalko starts the party, and Aghahowa scores a penalty to give us a 2-0 half time lead. Samba smashes in his twelfth goal in ten games, and Hofland caps a fine performance and helps us keep our first clean sheet in five games, get in!!

We follow up one massive win with another. As good as Aghahowa has been, his aggression lets him down, and he’s off just before half time. However, our other hot head gets the only goal to secure three massive points.

I want to wrap Tsigalko and Madeira in cotton wool, so they’re on the bench for the second leg with Monaco, which ends all-square and we go out on away goals. Truth be told, I’m more gutted at the injuries than the loss.

The international break brings bad news, f*ck you, Portugal!

It’s probably just as well he’s injured, when will he learn?

This week’s last game is at home to Verona. We finish the match with thirteen shots on goal, and yep, you’ve guessed it, their keeper is man of the match, but we’re let off once again as Juve draw with Inter. Maybe this is our year.

So, with just seven games remaining, we hold a seven-point lead over Juve, but I’m staying well and truly grounded, because I’ve seen titles thrown away from better positions on this game. That said, I am over the moon.

Nothing is guaranteed in this game, but our run-in could be a lot worse, and the gods certainly seem to be on our side this season, with Juve uncharacteristically dropping points left, right, and centre.

With no cups or Europe to play for, it’s now all about one thing, knocking Juventus off their f*cking perch! Next week is the penultimate episode of this blog, so please do join us for the remaining seven games of what could be our first successful Serie A campaign so far. You won’t want to miss it. Ciao for now!

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