Football Manager: Chapter III, Final Match(es) Day
In Germany FC Bayern showed why they are the greatest team in the country as they won the title for a 7th straight time beating #3 place RB Leipzig. Leverkusen were #1 at the start of the day but crumbled under pressure as they lost from Braunschweig.
In England we scored 1–0 after 15 minutes. Despite being outnumbered in midfield Dybala managed to sneak a pass to Oli who only needed to tap it in. As we got closer to half time City grew stronger win challenges on players. In a counter attack from us some one touch passes put Dybala in front of the keeper, but his shot hit the woodwork and then bounced in front of the line away from goal. Just before half time City managed to draw as a cross was not properly picked up and the initial shot was block landing in Aguero’s path, he only needed a simple kick to tap it in.
After the break things remained even till the 65th minute as Sanchez played a lofted pass to Oli who managed to hold off his defender before releasing a devastating shot to put us up 2–1. Oli almost made it a hat trick lofted through pass put him in the keepers path again, only this time he shot the ball over. In injury time another combination of the three forwards gave Dybala the chance to go head to head with the keeper as he finished it nicely to make it 3–1 putting us clear for the win.
Liverpool overtook Tottenham to reclaim 4th place who lost to Bournemouth.
In Portugal Benfica held on and won to win the title after two years of a Sporting dominance. While in Turkey Besiktas did the same as they drew to break a two year dominance of Fenerbahce.
After the loss against us City managed to win the Euro League with an impressive 4–0
There was a scare at the training ground as Ox picked up an thigh injury, this just days before the FA Cup final.
We arrived at Wembly and preparations went smooth. It was now up to the team to win it.
A promising start was not turned into one with goals for us. The most dangerous moment came at the 14 minue mark when a counter attack from Liverpool saw 5–6 players rush into the box before Kos cleared the cross. Later Özil launched Sanchez for a one on one with Loris Karius who managed to turn the ball for a corner, close call! We had another chance as Oli hit the bar but the lead finally came when Bellerin crossed the ball to Oli who scored with a nice volley. Sanchez seemed to have caught the taste of delivering lofted passes as he played on into the middle for Oli to finish as he held off his defender. He came close to a hat trick in the 39th minute as he shot it straight at the keeper who pounced it away.
In the second half Lallana gave Liverpool a lifeline as a deflected shot came into his pas as he was able to shoot it in the top corner. Quickly after that a through pass saw Firmino score as while the defence was asleep. Liverpool came close to the 3–2 when a header was headed over. We had been helpless the entire second half as Liverpool dominated us.
Nothing appeared to have changed in extra time as we struggled to not only hold the ball but break off Liverpool their attacks. In the second half of extra time a counter attack send Dybala clear at goal as he managed to score. Liverpool launched an attack quickly after that where Cech was able to convert the ball on two occasions as we held on. Bellerin put in a cross but Oli was not able to connect, with one minute left both sides were playing nervously. As we launched an attack the referee blew his whistle to call it an end. We had done it again!
In Italy Inter had finally managed to break the Juventus’s stranglehold on the Serie A.
Two days before the Champions League final Dybala got injured. Had my decision to have a high intensity training worked against me? Supporters were devastated.
Prior to the match Zindane praised me in a press conference and I thanked him for it but pressed that the result of the match will be more important.
I chose to play 4–2–3–1 as that was the last formation Real played against and drew against. For the first 10 minutes things were balanced till Ronaldo received a ball in the box and was able to score from a quick turn. We were behind and they were continuing to pile attacks on us. Minutes later we lost Oli to an injury, though he persisted he could continue I was not willing to take the risk.
We got lucky when Modric missed a clear cut chance as we found it hard to get forward. At halftime I told the team they didn’t look like they wanted to win. Seeing how our chances were slim I changed to 4–3–3 in the hope this would force a reaction from the players, it did nothing. My forwards all looked nervous or frustrated as they launched long ball after long ball. The frustration could be tasted as Kos made a late challenge on Ronaldo as the tried to break free on the flank. He was lucky to get yellow. Before we knew it the referee had blown his whistle and Real players were flooding the pitch. I looked with disappointment at the scoreboard.
There were some surprised looks as the stats showed we had more possession and shots on target.
Arsene informed me we had received the £3,5 million bonus in the Xhaka deal for Real winning the Champions League, it was bittersweet.
As our bags were loaded onto the bus I finished signing some autographs before getting on the bus taking a look at the sky and mumbling
Next year it will be ours
( The Book of Gooner follows the career of a long time Championship/Football Manager player )