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Thread: The World of Football Management - Chapter 6 - Awesome Threesome

  1. #26
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    With the transfers concluded fairly quickly, time flew by before we were to face Penarol in my first game in the Copa Mercosur. My only disappointment was that the first game wasn't at home so that I could sample the famed La Bombonera atmosphere.

    Nevertheless, I was actually feeling in really good spirits as we travelled to Uruguay, Dave accompanying me once more. We'd worked on the system I'd eventually agreed on, the 4-1-3-2 where Olexandr Rykun had been told that he'd be acting as my key man in midfield, pulling the strings with Leandro Gracian and Juan Roman Riquelme supplying him. Rodrigo Palacio was tasked as the workhorse up front with Jose Gustavo Sand looking to convert any chances that came his way. The defence would be marshalled by Sebastian Battaglia and I had every confidence that Alain Goma would settle in well with Gabriel Paletta, who has a bright future ahead of him whilst both Hugo Ibarra and Claudio Morel Rodriguez would act attacking full-backs. I didn't even need to concern myself about Roberto Abbondanzieri, despite being 36 years of age, as he was still one of the best goalkeepers around.

    What is it about South American stadiums? I had been disappointed not to be at La Bombonera for my first game but Estadio Centenario still left me in awe as well, as an official attendance of 48,905 supporters watched us take them on in the Copa Mercosur.


    I suddenly worried that the atmosphere would have an adverse effect on the players but I needn't have worried. They were used to playing in stadiums like this in South America and they went about their business in the perfect manner, Sand opening the scoring on his debut after 31 minutes, assisted by Ibarra who'd drilled the ball into the box. Rykun had been involved too, spraying the ball 25 yards to his right for Ibarra to put the ball into the box in the first place. We absolutely dominated the game and I suddenly realised that I was in for a very enjoyable season after a few years of frustration. After the break, Sand worked up a chance but squared it for a tap in for Palacio to double our lead. My only disappointment is that we didn't quite manage a clean sheet as Penarol pulled one back in the 75th minute with only their second chance of the game, though they didn't worry us as we confirmed a 2:1 win.


    My starting eleven had been superb and I was delighted for Jose, who'd picked up the Man of the Match award for his part in the game, scoring and assisting the other goal. Both Alain and Olexandr had put in a great performance too and the plane home was in great spirits.

    We now had 12 days until the Argentine Premier Division got underway and I'd at last be able to witness the famous atmosphere exactly a month after being appointed. That gave us plenty of time to keep working on the formation although I was forced into two changes when Palacio bruised a rib in training whilst Paletta had strained a wrist. I did consider forcing Paletta to play but ultimately opted to bring Julio Cesar Caceres into the side along with Martin Palermo, who I hoped would still be up to scratch at 34 years of age.

    I certainly needn't have worried though as Palermo struck gold after 22 minutes assisted by Riquelme, two legends of Boca Juniors combining to hand me the perfect start in front of my own supporters. The provider then became the scorer as he carried the ball forward after a pass from Battaglia to try his luck from distance, leaving the Racing goalkeeper absolutely no chance. My only worry was that Goma, Rykun and Sand hadn't quite got involved yet but the latter was at it again, rising high to meet a Gracian cross to power home a header. 3:0 after only 39 minutes, I thought we'd go on to win the game at a canter but we conceded just before the break in disappointing fashion and the game petered out, 3:1 a great scoreline but personally, I was disappointed with the two centre-halves whilst Rykun had yet to earn himself an assist or score.


    Having played Racing on a Monday night, we were then travelling to Gimnasia (J) on the Sunday with both Paletta and Palacio restored straight back into the team. Once again, we stormed into a 3:0 lead with goals from Palacio, Sand and Gracian with the hosts absolutely blown away. Knowing that we were playing in the Copa Mercosur in three days time, Palermo came on to replace Sand to keep him fresh and we looked to see the game out a 3:0. But I was left flabbergasted as Gimnasia (J) scored twice in the last five minutes to make it 3:2. Goma had been superb and I was disappointed for him that he didn't get his first clean sheet. Ultimately, it was the trio of Abbondanzieri, Ibarra and Battaglia who'd switched off at the end of the game, thinking it was won!


    After three wins but failing to keep a clean sheet, I wondered if I should look to change things up as we welcomed Cerro Porteno of Paraguay to Argentina for the second of our group games in the Copa Mercosur. Fitness wise though, everybody looked OK and so I decided to give them another go. After all, we were dominating games and conjuring up plenty of chances but defensively, we needed to stay switched on for the full game.

    The decision paid off. At the fourth time of asking, Rykun had finally got started with his first goal, a brave header when the ball crossed low by Gracian towards the back post. To my delight, Sand was the man to get the second goal and after an hour, the two new faces combined with Rykun's cross into the box again being headed into the net by Sand! To top things off, we saw out the game to win 3:0 to get Goma that clean sheet!


    I sat down in my office in the stadium, reflecting on the month that had passed with Dave. Four matches, 11 goals and most importantly, victories in all of them.

    Jose Gustavo Sand had settled in straight away, scoring 5 goals in 4 games with an average rating of 9.00. He even had 1 assist and 2 man of the match awards to his name!

    My attacking midfielder had needed a few games to get himself going but once he did, Olexandr Rykun had been superb against Cerro Porteno. He hadn't put a foot wrong before then but I wanted to see him getting involved a bit more and he sure did that with his first goal and a first assist in his fourth start. Overall, he now had an average rating of 7.75.

    Alain Goma had the lowest average rating of the trio with 7.25 which is still good enough in my books. He just needed clean sheets to go with it and finally got one in our latest effort. He'd been monumental in two games with the only blemish on his copybook being the 3:1 win over Racing where he failed to even put in a single tackle. Fortunately, he'd put that right in the next two games!

    "I tell you what, Dave..." I said, as I supped an amaro, a bitter Argentine drink. "I'm glad you talked me into this!"
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  3. #27
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    Blinding start!

    Sand on

    Let's hope no injuries happen with these 3 players!

    Goma and Rykun doing well enough also (how many assists for Rykun?)

    assume you have them on FK's, Penno's etc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    My attacking midfielder had needed a few games to get himself going but once he did, Olexandr Rykun had been superb against Cerro Porteno. He hadn't put a foot wrong before then but I wanted to see him getting involved a bit more and he sure did that with his first goal and a first assist in his fourth start. Overall, he now had an average rating of 7.75.
    He only got his first assist in our last game.

    Hadn't thought of setting them on freekicks and penalties. Good tip!
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    After that impressive 3:0 win over Cerro Porteno, we had a long break until our next match which would be at home against San Martin (T). 18 days in fact! That gave me the opportunity to explore the area that I was now living in. It sure was colourful!

    I didn't let myself get too distracted though as the focus simply had to be on ensuring that my wonder trio of Goma, Rykun and Sand (GRS? SRG? RGS? RSG? GSR? SGR?) kept their bright start to the season and most especially, to get Rykun involved more in terms of conjuring up chances. Fitness wise, everyone was OK for the game and I couldn't be happier with the 2:0 result, Goma keeping a second consecutive clean sheet and Rykun getting his second goal for Boca! Sand hadn't managed a goal but he still recorded an 8 to keep up his average rating which now stood at 8.80!


    We then had only three days to prepare for the next Copa Mercosur group game and disaster struck. I was already aware that right-back and captain Hugo Ibarra would be suspended after picking up two yellow cards but Roberto Abbondanzieri had stretched awkwardly in saving a shot in training, injuring his groin and would now be out for 3 weeks. To make matters worse, Leandro Diaz had damaged a heel in the same session and would be out for 10 days although he wasn't as much a blow having only selected him from the bench twice.

    26 year old Pablo Migliore was called up to replace Abbondanzieri and Jose Maria Calvo took over from Ibarra, both playing for the first time this season. I must admit that I was worried given that we were playing Corinthians who were level on points with us in our group. After all, they had the legend that is Ronaldo up front! I needn't have worried too much though as Calvo himself got the first goal of the game after only 6 minutes before Sand doubled the lead a few minutes later. We then went 3:0 up through Riquelme by the 18th minute and Sand got a 4th after 34 minutes! It was a rout! I did worry that we'd switch off at the end but credit to the players, they saw the game through and recorded a fine 4:0 win


    Calvo had been superb in not only scoring a goal but chalking up an assist. But Hugo Ibarra was restored as captain for our away trip to Velez in the only change to the team. Velez were one to watch given that they were only two points behind in 4th place and were also unbeaten this season. To emphasise that point, they took the lead after just 5 minutes! Fortunately, we have Sand and we fought back to equalise in the 17th and Rodrigo Palacio turned the game around with the second goal two minutes later! But perhaps we missed our veteran goalkeeper as we always looked shaky at the back and Velez scored twice before half-time to make it 2:3. We had to dig deep in the second half to fight our way back into the game and we did it again as Sand crossed the ball in for Palacios to drill into the net and save a point.


    Perhaps understandably, the board were a little bit upset with that performance but I had no time to dwell on it. We were back in Copa Mercosur action with Penarol coming to town and I would be without Rykun for the first time as he'd bruised his thigh and would be out for a week! I also opted to rest Riquelme to save his legs for the league which saw a little shuffle in midfield as Leandro Gracian moved into the middle with Damian Diaz and Matias Nicolas Rodriguez on either side of him. The two 22 year old's grabbed their chance with both hands, each scoring in the first half with Diaz adding another in the second half.


    Next up, Godoy Cruz. We welcomed back Riquelme to the fold though Rykun wasn't back in training yet. Leandro Diaz had made a recovery from his own injury though and came straight into the side too as Rodriguez and Diaz dropped on to the bench. The game itself was tight but shouldn't have been. It took us until the 53rd minute to find a breakthrough with Goma actually creating the goal for Ibarra to put us ahead before the centre-back was withdrawn as a precaution. But we conceded in the 81st minute to their first attempt on target to be held for a second successive draw in the league, two draws that have been us drop to 3rd.


    Three days later, we played at home for a third time in a row and this time against River. Sebastian Battaglia and Gabriel Paletta were both rested along with Ibarra and Riquelme. With Abbondanzieri and Rykun both still injured, I was missing 6 players who'd ordinarily start for me as we crashed to a 2:0 defeat. Not even the efforts of Sand, who had 8 chances, 4 on target, could save me and this time, Rodrigo Palacio was injured!


    Was the honeymoon period over after losing my first game? Sand hadn't scored now for the past three games but thankfully, he'll be reunited once again with Rykun for our last game in a busy September schedule. Away at Huracan, those rested were put back in the team with Martin Palermo also starting in place of Palacio who is out for 10 days.

    The result was another frustrating defeat, confirmation indeed that the honeymoon period is over! We had twice as many chances as Huracan but were beaten by a solitary goal as Rykun struggled on his return to the side with Sand again trying his best but failing to find the net.


    I think the injury had disrupted the form that Rykun had built up, whilst Sand seems to have suffered in his absence too. Goma is still plodding along but the lack of clean sheets lately is a concern.





    We've now dropped to 7th, 7 points behind Estudiantes (LP). As far as I'm concerned, Roberto Abbondanzieri's return in a week's time along with Rodrigo Palacio couldn't come quick enough!

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  9. #30
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    Bit disappointed there wasnt more of a build up of the game v River - one of the worlds biggest!

    Have you prioritised cup or League or each game as it comes as league has suffered straight after cup games

    Need the 3 amigos to have an upturn in form but maybe other injured players back will help

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  11. #31
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    Just caught up on two updates.

    A flying start, but the injury streak is killing it. Seems like you only have 11 or 12 good players and the rest ain't good enough..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Bit disappointed there wasn’t more of a build up of the game v River - one of the worlds biggest!

    Have you prioritised cup or League or each game as it comes as league has suffered straight after cup games

    Need the 3 amigos to have an upturn in form but maybe other injured players back will help
    No prioritising, just played the best team available on the day really!

    Quote Originally Posted by GFRay View Post
    Just caught up on two updates.

    A flying start, but the injury streak is killing it. Seems like you only have 11 or 12 good players and the rest ain't good enough..
    Yeah preferred XI is really good but the depth in the squad is poor
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    After three games without a win, I think it'd be fair to say that the honeymoon period is now over! Prior to that run, we'd enjoyed an 8 game sequence without tasting defeat. I had pointed to a lack of depth in the squad as a reason for our sudden two defeats, having lost Olexandr Rykun, Roberto Abbondanzieri and Rodrigo Palacio to injury last month. Some may point out that I have 39 players in the squad but I'm talking about strength in depth. I know exactly who my best XI are but when some of those key players go missing, particularly Abbondanzieri, they are badly missed.

    Rykun had made a return in the last game at Huracan but was powerless to stop us from losing 1:0. As we prepared for our Copa Mercosur match against Cerro Porteno in Paraguay, Abbondanzieri and Palacio were both left behind as they had returned to light training but were not fit enough to partake in the game. The trip came just three days after the last game so there were some tired legs out there but I kept an unchanged side anyhow, withdrawing Juan Roman Riquelme, Rykun and Jose Gustavo Sand within 20 minutes of the second half. Thankfully, we'd had a fine start to the game with Alain Goma opening the scoring with his first goal for the club and Martin Palermo got the second goal. Midfielder Leandro Gracian grabbed himself a brace in the second half but we conceded in the 90th minute to throw away the chance to keep a clean sheet.


    We may have just lost the last two games in the league but certainly put on a show in the Copa Mercosur, qualifying with a game to spare without dropping a point!


    I'd hoped we'd at least have Abbondanzieri back for our next game, a home tie against Central who are 3 places below us in 13th. He and Palacio were both estimated to be only a few days away from full fitness so both sat out once more as I kept an unchanged side. Palermo and Hugo Ibarra didn't look 100% fit but I'd look at replacing them once they tired. Going into the game, I was aware that Sand hadn't scored in our last 5 games which is a worry, especially when he'd started so well, scoring 8 in his first 7 games! He didn't find the net against Central but did manage an assist as we won 5:0. Central didn't have a shot at all as Riquelme put us up 1:0 by half-time after which we ran riot, Rykun scoring and then assisting substitute Ricardo Daniel Noir whilst Leandro Diaz also came off the bench to score twice.


    That was a morale boosting win that took us from 10th to 7th before a tough looking away fixture at Independiente. Boosting us even further, Abbondanzieri and Palacio were both available for selection and went straight back into the side at the expense of Pablo Migliore and Palermo. This was a game where I expected Sand to end his 6 game unbeaten run but when we conceded after 2 minutes, it didn't look likely. I had hoped Abbondanzieri being back in the sticks would help us to tighten up but although Riquelme responded with a goal, we let a further two in before the break! For whatever reason, we just weren't at the races and I reluctantly withdrew Sand from action in the 81st minute in which he'd only managed one shot off target. The only bright side, if any, is that Rykun was the one who set up Riquelme for his 4th assist of the season.


    I was hoping that defeat was just a bad day at the office and despite the result, I kept the team unchanged for our final group game in the Copa Mercosur with the exception of Noir coming in for Palermo on the bench who was suspended after two yellow cards in the competition. Although it was a 'dead rubber' game, I was hoping it was one to rebuild some confidence and get Abbondanzieri and Palacio back up to speed after injury. A goal from Sand wouldn't be amiss either! I got exactly that as he scored the only goal of the game in the 27th minute and earned himself the man of the match award! The draw for the quarter final will send us back to Brazil, where we'll take on Sao Paulo.


    For the first time in a while, the team looked fully fit and raring to go as we prepared for three league games in a row, the first being against Banfield. With Palermo restored to the bench, I watched on as Sand and Rykun failed to score as they conjured up the first four chances between them. Then Banfied scored with their first chance! Riquelme kept us in it with his 5th strike just before the half-time whistle and we were denied not one, but two penalties in the second half! So when Riquelme struck once more, the celebrations on the bench were wild to say the least! But just a minute later, they were dampened as Sand was forced off injured!


    My worst fears were confirmed in the aftermath of the game as a scan showed that Sand had torn his groin muscle and would be out for three months! I was devastated, the man I had pinned my hopes on to score a bucketful of goals was now going to miss the next 11 games!


    How would we cope without the man who'd scored 9 in 16 starts for us, notching 4 assists as well? Veteran striker Palermo was drafted in as his replacement for our trip to Ginmasia (LP) but wasn't able to convert any of the three chances that came his way in a quiet match that only burst into life when Noir came off the bench to score in the 68th minute. Feeling as though we'd won the game with that eventual breakthrough, we conceded just a minute later! But that man Riquelme stepped up once more for us to score a much needed winner.


    A second away trip was on the cards next as we travelled to Arsenal de Sarandi knowing that a win could see us back up to 3rd place. The team was unchanged and we conceded first early on but Rykun thought he'd pulled us level only to see his header called offside which was just what I would have needed in Sand's absence. He wasn't able to score but Palacio turned it on to record himself a 7 minute hat-trick to blow the opponents away!


    Our final match of October was the first leg of the Quarter Final in the Copa Mercosur in Brazil. With only noe change to the team (Julio Cesar Caceres in for a suspended Gabriel Paletta), we fell behind yet again after 10 minutes but were handed a boost when Sao Paulo were reduced to 10 men four minutes later for shoving Caceres. They then did us another favour with an own goal to tie the game before Leandro Gracian put us ahead. Palacio then finished the job off in the second half and Rykun earned us a three goal advantage with our 4th goal in injury time!


    With another month done, we've managed to move up to 3rd place with four wins in October but that defeat to Independiente had cost us the chance of being 3rd.



    So how are my three signings doing after a busy month? Jose Gustavo Sand will obviously not be featuring for a while which is a huge blow for me. He'd not been having a great month before that, scoring just once and setting up a goal this month as his average rating dropped from 8.73 to 8.31. That won't be changing for a while!

    Thankfully though, Olexandr Rykun has improved. He's scored twice and set up two goals too as his average rating has gone from 7.50 to 7.63. He's certainly had to play in the shadows of Riquelme though!

    Alain Goma has gone from 7.36 to 7.21 as we have kept just two clean sheets this month, conceding in our last four games and shipping 8 overall in our 8 games. He has at least opened his account for us, scoring his first goal.



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  17. #34
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    Busy South American schedules. At least they're full of action all the time!

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    Good progress to climb league and near perfection in cup

    Sand injury is a gutter - surprised by his rating thouh TBH as I dint think he did that well

    Good Goma bags a goal but damn those late goals

    Hoping for more from Rykun - is he playmaker/free kick taker, corner taker and pen taker?

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    A blow to lose Sand for a few months, just when he may have been rediscovering his goal scoring touch, while Rykun seems to be coming on to a game, although Riquelme seems to be the man at the moment. Great work in the Mercosur too, that 4-1 win should definitely be one foot in the semis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrkh View Post
    Busy South American schedules. At least they're full of action all the time!
    Yeah, it's not the best of schedules when I want to get a settled XI going!

    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Good progress to climb league and near perfection in cup

    Sand injury is a gutter - surprised by his rating thouh TBH as I dint think he did that well

    Good Goma bags a goal but damn those late goals

    Hoping for more from Rykun - is he playmaker/free kick taker, corner taker and pen taker?
    Sand was superb when he joined us. Trailed off a little but still going to be a massive loss, particularly in terms of the challenge aspect to this story

    Rykun has now been set as playmaker and on set pieces. Never used them before so be interesting to see if it makes a difference now.

    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    A blow to lose Sand for a few months, just when he may have been rediscovering his goal scoring touch, while Rykun seems to be coming on to a game, although Riquelme seems to be the man at the moment. Great work in the Mercosur too, that 4-1 win should definitely be one foot in the semis.
    Would be nice to pick up a trophy to remember my time here!
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    It's been two weeks since we lost Jose Gustavo Sand to the torn groin muscle against Banfield and I have to be honest, I think it's turned life at Boca Juniors into a negative. Though the team had now recorded five wins in all competitions and had lost just once in eight games, I must admit that I wasn't enjoying my time in Argentina anymore. I had failed to really settle in and the blow of losing Sand as my main striker hadn't helped matters either.

    I did my best not to let that negativity in my mind transport itself on to the pitch. I knew I was only here for a season and it was supposed to be a career rebuilding exercise so all I could do was carry on and hopefully we'll pick up silverware in the Copa Mercosur. The league title itself looked far away with Estudiantes (LP) being 7 points ahead but anything could happen yet, particularly as the season is still in its early stages.

    Speaking of the Copa Mercosur, we were immediately thrust into the second leg having just ended October with a 4:1 win in Brazil. The team that started that game looked fit and ready to go though I did make a change as Gabriel Paletta returned to the team in place of Julio Cesar Caceres. I also risked upsetting Juan Roman Riquelme when announcing that Olexandr Rykun was to be our designated set piece and penalty taker from here on in. After all, without Sand, I needed Rykun to step up to the plate for the next three months! Rykun though, didn't make a massive impact on the game and we lost 1:0 with Sao Paulo scoring very much against the run of play when Rykun had been subbed off after 72 minutes.


    It's just as well that we won 4:1 in the first leg! The draw for the semi final will see us go back to Brazil as we'll take on Gremio. Meanwhile, I allowed Lucas Ezequiel Viatri to join Barcelona (ECU) for a fee of 2.4M. The 21 year old striker hadn't appeared for us this season and was unlikely to feature even despite Sand's absence, given that I saw him as a 6th choice striker.

    Moving on to the next match, it was an important one against Colon who were just a point and a place behind us in 5th. Leandro Gracian was the only player to be replaced after the Sao Paulo defeat and in came Leandro Diaz in his place. This was now a game in which I really needed Rykun to step up and he did just that, connecting beautifully with a Battaglia cross to put us ahead. Diaz and Rodrigo Palacio got another two goals to confirm a win though Rykun had nothing to do with either of them. Still, he got the man of the match award!


    Gracian was straight back into the team despite Diaz's goal against Colon as we travelled to Tigres, who were a lowly 17th. Paletta had also sprained his wrist in training which hands Caceres a start at centre-back too besides Alain Goma who looking very consistent at the moment. Picking up the man of the match award once more was Rykun who was truly relishing his role in the side at the moment, scoring with two drives into the net which is fast becoming a trademark of his!


    The media were surprisingly singling out Paletta for some stick, though he has an average rating of 6.78. It wasn't a concern for me so I put him straight back in for Caceres as we welcomed Gremio for the semi final of the Copa Mercosur. Palacio was forced to sit out with a one match ban though which meant I was missing both of my preferred strikers with 21 year old Ricardo Daniel Noir handed his first start of the season, having scored twice from 9 appearances from the bench. Both strikers got a goal for us, along with Riquelme, to help us win 3:0. Sadly, there was no goal nor assist from Rykun but Goma helps us to record a third clean sheet in a row.


    Paletta recorded a third 7 in a row against Gremio but that didn't stop the media from criticising him again, which I cannot understand. He stays in the team for the return leg in Brazil but Palacio is recalled in place of Noir up front. Just as we had done in the second leg against Sao Paulo, we struggled to find a way through but I was happy enough to pick up another clean sheet as we went through. A booking for Paletta won't help his defence against the media though!


    The final will be an all-Argentine affair as we are drawn against San Lorenzo who currently reside in 4th place, a point behind us. Meanwhile, a 6.75M bid from Inter for Palacio is rejected as is a 1.9M bid for Fabian Andres Vargas who is currently my understudy for Battaglia in defensive midfield.

    With 5 days to recover from the trip to Brazil, the team was unchanged for a trip to Lanus as we returned to league action. We fell behind early on but Rykun found the net with an equaliser. By half-time, Rykun had chalked up 6 shots but failed to score again but Martin Palermo did score to put us ahead. Rykun did have a hand in the next goal, with a shot that was parried into the path of Palacio who confirmed a 3:1 win.


    Just two days later, we hosted San Lorenzo in an early teaser for the Copa Mercosur final. But I rested Hugo Ibarra, Claudio Morel Rodriguez, Goma, Riquelme, Palacio, Palermo and Rykun after they had tired themselves out at Lanus. Some may say that they should have started given that we could have gone level with the league leaders. But I pointed out that we had another game scheduled just four games after this one so players needed a rest either way. I had faith in the replacements but was left frustrated when Leandro Diaz missed a penalty in the 9th minute. Juan Krupoviesa did give us the lead but it was cancelled out before the break. Diaz then made up for his spot kick miss by giving us a lead but again, San Lorenzo were able to cancel it out.


    For now, we would have to settle for being two points behind the leaders. It's much better than being 4th and 7 points behind though so it's been a massive month for Boca!


    It's fair to say that my mood had improved thanks to Olexandr Rykun! Scoring four goals to double his tally in a month as well as earning his first two man of the match awards had made a massive difference with Sand being out of action. The good news also was that Sand was now only a month away from a return to the team!

    As for Alain Goma, he had enjoyed a run of four clean sheets this month but his average rating had dropped ever so slightly. Hopefully he can keep it up in December though as we find out whether we will win the Copa Mercosur!



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  27. #39
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    A great month indeed, Rykun has certainly stepped up adding goals to his game, he could do with a few more assists though - no better time than the Copa Mercosur final to get them in!

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    • Dodgy link at top of page
    • WHAT A MONTH!
    • Brilliant stuff from Rykun just when you needed him to step up in Sand’s absence
    • Clean sheet points everywhere for Goma as well!
    • Right back in it for the League and flying in the cup comp as well!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    A great month indeed, Rykun has certainly stepped up adding goals to his game, he could do with a few more assists though - no better time than the Copa Mercosur final to get them in!
    Yeah, I'm surprised he doesn't have any assists after setting him as a playmaker and set piece taker! Just as well he's scored 4 goals instead!

    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    • Dodgy link at top of page
    • WHAT A MONTH!
    • Brilliant stuff from Rykun just when you needed him to step up in Sand’s absence
    • Clean sheet points everywhere for Goma as well!
    • Right back in it for the League and flying in the cup comp as well!
    Cheers mate, hadn't closed the img tag for the picture of Palacio! Fingers crossed we can do a 'Vipers' and catch up to 1st place in the next month
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    In comparison to a month ago, I certainly felt better about life at Boca after all. Olexandr Rykun had well and truly stepped up to the plate with a record of 8 goals and 4 assists now in 22 starts. Cheering me up even further was knowing that Jose Gustavo Sand was now only a month away from full fitness. We also had the opportunity this month to win my first piece of silverware in the Copa Mercosur final. Let's go!

    I'd made mass changes to preserve fitness in the team in our last game against San Lorenzo. The fringes had done well, earning a 2:2 draw in a game that they really should have won. We kick off December at Argentinos with 7 players returning to the starting eleven including Rykun himself. Hopes of Alain Goma building on last month's tally of 4 clean sheets were wrecked when the hosts opened the scoring after 19 minutes although Rykun himself equalised just a minute later. He struck again after half-time along with Martin Palermo but Argentinos pulled one back to make it 3:2. But the legend that is Juan Roman Riquelme got his 50th Boca goal to ensure the points were ours and Leandro Gracian rubbed salt in the wounds by scoring a late brace to make it 6:2!


    Now we had the first leg of the Copa Mercosur at home against the very team we drew 2:2 with most of the first team missing. The efforts of that 6:2 win saw Goma, Gracian and Riquelme rested for this one with Julio Cesar Caceres, Leandro Diaz and Matias Nicolas Rodriguez coming into the team in their place. A bit of a surprise to the fans I'm sure, but again, we were in action in just 3 games after this. With only 3 players missing this time in comparison to 7 in that 2:2 draw, I was confident enough of victory and Rodrigo Palacio got us going with the lead after only 2 minutes. Rykun was doing his best to pull the strings but San Lorenzo equalised and we again had to settle for a draw despite 16 shots to only their 3. This would be settled in the return leg!


    Back in league action 3 days later, the trio of Goma, Riquelme and Gracian were recalled but an injury to Hugo Ibarra and fatigue for Palacio saw starts for Jose Maria Calvo and Ricardo Daniel Noir. Despite being a full-back, Calvo scored his 2nd goal of the season in only his 4th start to put us ahead against Estudiantes (LP), who were top by only 2 points. But conceding in the second half stopped us from overtaking them and moving into 1st. The visitors struck again in the 90th minute but it was OK as Pablo Nicolas Mouche had given us a lead again in the 86th minute and one Rykun struck in the 87th!


    Meanwhile, an 8m bid from Inter spread over 6 months was rejected. Palacio has scored 12 in 22 so far and is going nowhere given he's my strike partner for Sand once he's fit!

    Back to the second leg of the Copa Mercosur, we needed to put in a better performance after drawing 1:1 at home and allowing San Lorenzo an away goal. Ibarra and Sand were the only players missing as I made one change with Palacio coming back in for Noir. With a much stronger team out there, I was confident of victory yet we fell behind right before half-time as San Lorenzo struck with their first shot of the game! We went back out for the second half and Rykun got us back in it within 10 minutes only for us to concede again a few minutes later. Despite starting the game as the stronger side, San Lorenzo just took over as we had a real off day with even Riquelme seeming out of sorts. A third goal killed us and the opportunity to win the Copa Mercosur was lost!


    Once again, Gabriel Paletta attracted criticism as he was failing to really impress with an average rating of 6.62 in 26 games. I wondered if he was struggling with playing on the left side of the centre-back duo and opted to swap him around with Goma for the next game though if my own signing started to struggle, I would swiftly change it back.

    Then came a surprise as we were to go to San Lorenzo and play in a 'Final Decider' which I thought we'd lost due to the 4:2 deficit on aggregate. How does this work then?! Either way, I was pleased to welcome back Ibarra to right-back in place of Calvo as the only change and could only hope we scored an early goal to put pressure on the hosts. However, they scored within minutes but thankfully the flag was raised for offside. Palermo then got us started in the 23rd minute but that man Paletta incurred my wrath for being sent off after a headbutt! Needing one goal, we were forced to play the rest of the 67 minutes with 10 men and ultimately, San Lorenzo found a way through in the 51st minute and then went ahead in the 55th. Amazingly though, Costel Morel Rodriguez scored his first goal for the club in the 67th minute whilst Battaglia found us a last minute winner!


    To me, that means we've lost with an aggregate of 6:5 in San Lorenzo's favour but...


    How does that work?!

    I suppose I shouldn't complain though! Meanwhile, with Riquelme rested and Leandro Diaz drafted in, we closed out the 'opening stage' with a 3:2 defeat at Newell's which was disappointing. We'd come from a goal down to lead the game though Palacio and Noir only for Newell's to put another two past us.


    It means we finished 3rd in the opening stage with Velez winning the title as they are 4 points ahead. Could we do better once we return for the 'Closing Stage' with a fully fit Sand?


    Sand was now only 2 weeks away from fitness and is all set to return for our only two fixtures in January! Meanwhile, Alain Goma has managed to maintain his average rating throughout December despite the team failing to pick up any clean sheets. Rykun has also kept us his good work as he weighed in with four more goals this month as well as an assist and a man of the match award.



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  34. #43
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    • Thumping win v Argentinos with Rykun on again!
    • Ugly 1st leg and looking at the player stats – you were fortunate to get that – they looked the better team? EDIT: Just seen the stats you mention - - looks like you had the majority of the game – funny how CM ratings works
    • Flurry of late goals v Estudiantes! An important win that!
    • FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU Inter – Palacio is staying!
    • Horror show in the 2nd leg where it looked like the lads just didn’t show up 
    • Revenge in the play off game though and what a MAD RULE
    • Understandable drop off v Newells but Rykun still puts in a fine performance
    • A good ‘ol effort in 2nd part climbing to 3rd and puts you in a good position for overall standings.
    • Only problem is conceding at least a goal a game…………….but it seems like that sort of league!
    • Very impressed with Goma given his age – great rating!
    • Rykun massively outperforming
    • The return of the SAND is nigh

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  36. #44
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    Nicely summed up

    Still can't get over how we ended up winning the Copa Mercosur!

    Delighted with Goma, just wish we'd shore up in defence a bit more. May see a difference in swapping Goma and Paletta around as the latter getting a lot of stick at the moment.

    Rykun Sure wasn't my first choice midfielder for this challenge but he's doing the job!

    Hopefully we can storm it in the second part of the season now with Sand back to full fitness and no distraction in the Copa Mercosur?
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    Well done on the Copa Mercosur win mate, thoroughly deserved

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    Was it? Must admit I've never seen it before though I'm not entirely sure I've even managed in Argentina before!
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    I remember something happening on one of the old Pass the Parcel saves, with a crazy competition I thought I'd lost on agg but was given the trophy, can't remember if it was in Argentina though.

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  42. #48
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    Ah yes, it was, wasn't it? Independiente!
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    We did manage them but I think it may have been when we played in either Japan or South Korea now I think about it.

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    "Well? What's the verdict?" I asked Jorge Batista as he examined Jose Gustavo Sand on the eve of our Inter-American Cup tie against Mexico's Pachuca. My striker had returned to training 18 days ago and hadn't reported any problems after his three months out of action but I still felt anxious as Batista took Sand through a check-up.

    "Jefe... He be OK!" said Batista in his broken English.

    "Excellent!" slapping Jose on the back. "You're starting tomorrow!" as Jose broke into a relieved smile.

    In some ways, the timing of the Winter break was perfect in Sand's rehabilitation from the torn groin muscle. We hadn't played for just over a month but I now had a squad of 38 players without a single injury to worry about. Alain Goma did worry me earlier on in the week through after landing on his wrist but fortunately, it was nothing more than a sprain and he too was fit to play against Pachuca.

    It'd been a very long month indeed during which I opted to go back home for Christmas. After 10 days in the UK, I returned to Argentina two weeks before our first game in January and sanctioned the departure of Pablo Nicolas Mouche to Cerro Porteno for 2.2M. I could have kept hold of him but in reality, he's 5th choice behind Ricardo Daniel Noir, Martin Palermo, Sand and Rodrigo Palacio with the latter again attracting a bid from Inter which I rejected. Mouche was unlucky though, he'd featured twice for me with one start and scored. But I made it clear early on who my preferred front two are and I wasn't going to change my mind midway through the season.


    In other news, a 15 year old centre-back called Juan Carlos Cardozo had come through the ranks who I handed a professional contract to but was unlikely to select him. I also tied down new deals for Matias Cahais, Julio Cesar Caceres and Fabian Andres Vargas even though I was only contracted to Boca for the current season. Better to have the players committed and focused only on their time on the pitch rather than thinking about the future and contracts.

    We flew out to Mexico and I was feeling very confident as we kicked off with my preferred XI. There was the one notable difference as Goma and Gabriel Paletta had swapped in the middle of defence for the first time. Hopefully it would lead to an increase in Paletta's performance and get the blood sucking media off his back! Most importantly, I didn't want to see a decline in Goma's performances either but felt he had the experience to cope with it. You could see that Sand was looking rusty as the game got underway with Olexandr Rykun being the man trying to make things happen. By half-time, he'd had 3 attempts but saw 2 on target saved. Meanwhile, Pachuca had taken the lead on the stroke of half-time! That didn't worry me too much as we had been the better team and felt we could still turn it around. The trouble is, Palacio was sent off within 7 minutes for a headbutt! But we surprised the odds by seeing Sand mark his return with a header to pull us level, his 10th of the season. But another blow followed as Juan Roman Riquelme was forced off with an injury and Pachuca restored the lead straight after! Being a man down had cost us and we had it all to do in the return leg at home.


    I issued Palacio a warning for his first red card of the season though inside I was seething with him. My main concern was over Riquelme though and it was bad. Batista confirmed that it was strained knee ligaments and that he'd be out for 3 weeks which will see the club talisman miss the return leg as well as the opening three games of the 'closing stage' in the league.

    As I have done 7 times before, I turned to Leandro Diaz to take over from Riquelme and had faith in him to do well. He'd already scored 4 times in those 7 starts as well as coming off the bench in 15 games. With Goma and Paletta registering an 8 and 7 respectively last time out, I kept them in their spots and hoped we'd do the business on our own territory to overturn the deficit against Pachuca. We did just that as Sand scored again as though he'd never been away, shooting from inside the box to open the scoring before converting a penalty that Rykun had won. I took him off as he tired in the second half and the rest of the team kept us ticking, an own goal making it 3:0 and Leandro Gracian making it 4! Typically, there'd be no clean sheet to overshadow the performance as Pachuca pulled one back but substitute Damian Diaz struck in the last minute to complete the rout!


    That's two cups that Boca have won and I was delighted, as it was great exposure for the folks back home as they can see that I was rebuilding my career, just as CMSG Ltd had advised! That brings January to an end as the two-legged Inter-American Cup were the only games on the agenda. I couldn't have asked for more as we picked up the cup and saw Sand make a goalscoring return to the team!

    Though Rykun's average rating had dropped, he did add an assist to his record for the season. Meanwhile, Goma's average rating had improved by 0.02 whilst Sand added three goals to his tally but his own tally also dropped by 0.09. I'm positive that they will go back up once we get back to regular action though.



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