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The Red Journey

A story where take a club from one of Europe's lower leagues to make them a worldwide force to be reckoned with!
Started on 8 April 2014 by TVDLC123
Latest Reply on 11 July 2014 by Justice
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@Josh - Thanks, it was a great season in the league for us!
@Pauker - Hopefully, the cup shouldn't be too hard, Europe might be a bit trickier though :P

Unstoppable Red Star clinch narrow victory to progress into the final

Red Star Belgrade are giants in their own country, but in Europe, no-one gave them the slightest chance, even of progressing past the early qualifying rounds. A good run attracted some attention, but still, their chances looked bleak. Despite all the odds being against them, the Serbian side battled through countless tough draws and lots of late winners, to make it through to the final of the Europa League 2014, after they triumphed over Real Sociedad in an extremely exciting tie, which they won on the away goals rule. An incredible achievement as it is, and one that will be remembered, by not only their fans, but followers of the tournament as a whole, they will be turning their attention towards the final, where they will face German giants Schalke who beat Dynamo Kiev in the other semi-final, as they will play one last match to cap off an astonishing campaign.

The first leg of their semi-final was held in Spain, as the favourites looked to finish the tie off before the return trip to Belgrade. Their start exemplified this, as, after some good early pushing, striker Agirretxe found himself in a great position on the edge of the box, and he hit a thumping effort past Bajkovic to give his side the lead, much to the disappointment of Red Star, who though the goal was offside. As the 27 year old carted off in celebration, the Serbian side knew they would now be facing a steep uphill challenge. The Spanish side looked to remain comfortable, solid defensively, while continuing to trouble their opposition on the attack. Winger Griezmann looked especially dangerous, coming in off his flank, and soon began running rings around young full back Petkovic. Red Star went into the half time break relieved that they were only behind by 1. In the 2nd half however, they looked like a totally new team, and they quickly managed to level the game up, as Milunovic switched the ball into the path of Onyilo, who calmly finished to get his side a crucial away goal. Sociedad replied well to this setback, pushing forward quickly, and Red Star had to be alert not to concede on several occasions. It was a defensively mix-up however which eventually led to the Spanish side’s 2nd, as a ball in from Agirretxe was not dealt by anyone and somehow found its way into the back of the net, in the 67th minute. Just three minutes later, the score was 3-1, as Kovacevic’s challenge on Javi Ros was deemed a foul, and a penalty was given. Agirretxe scored to complete his hat trick, while Red Star furiously complained against the decision, with replays showing Ros dived. Despite feeling very hard done by, they did not let this get to them, and held their ground, looking to at least give themselves a small chance in the 2nd leg. They did not expect however, when, in the 91st minute, a Savicevic clearance found Onyilo who took it in his stride, smashing a powerful volley into the goal, with virtually the last kick of the game. The first leg ended 3-2 to Sociedad, but Red Star still had it all to play for in the second leg.

When the sides met again in Belgrade, Red Star were without striker Onyilo, who was injured. The omens did not look for the home side, and the match started similarly to the first leg, with an early chance converted by Prieto who connected with a great diving header to put his side in the driving seat, as now Red Star would have to score two. With immense support from their fans, getting the first of these goals was not to be a problem, as Pecnik hit a deep cross into the box and Filip Kasalica finished off the move with a goal, to put his side right back in for contention. Even without Onyilo, the Serbian’s looked very capable in attack, testing Bravo on several occasions. The most notable of these came in the 27th minute, when Kasalica picked the ball up on the wing, cut inside and beat two defenders, before striking a sweet shot, which was only denied by the fingertips of the diving goalkeeper. It was a moment in the 37th minute however, which would turn out to be the most important moment of this tie, after Ninkovic, from 30 yards, hit a curling long shot, which clipped the inside of the woodwork, and went in, sending the home supporters into delirium. Sociedad complained for a foul earlier in the play, but it was to no avail, as the goal stood, and Red Star brought the tie to 4-4 on aggregate, with them progressing on away goals. As the second half started, Sociedad knew they had to score, and so they immediately threw all their men forward. Prieto continued to be their main attacking threat, with his creativity the heartbeat of the Spanish side. He managed to create their best chance, playing a clever through ball into Agirretxe, who was unable to beat Bajkovic with his tame effort. As the match went into its closing stages, the game turned up several paces, with some of the season defining moments for both clubs. First, in the 85th minute, Ninkovic led a quick break for his team, and picked out Kasalica, who squeezed a shot past Bravo and into the back of the net, but the goal was unrightfully disallowed. This made Red Star furious, as they saw that as the moment which would have sent them through. Instead, in added time, a Griezmann corner found Agirretxe on the edge of the box, and he shot a ferocious shot on target. With every Red Star fan holding their breath, goalkeeper Bajkovic dived up towards his right, and with the very tip of his fingers, pushed the ball past the post. The corner came to nothing, and as the final whistle blew, Red Star fans, players, and critics alike, all knew they had witnessed something special, as the Serbian side moved into the final.
Fantastic! Good luck in the final, you can do it! :D
Great victory, your run has been amazing and I'm sure you'll finish it off in style with a win in the final!
Good luck and bring back the trophy ;)
@Walter - Thanks, I'm hoping I can pull off one more upset this season :P
@Pompey - Thanks, the run has been incredible, especially since I didn't expect to get past the first qualifying round :P

April Monthly Review


The penultimate month of a great campaign for Red Star saw the side set up what could potentially be one of the best seasons in the club’s long history. Opening the month they faced Anji in two legs, eventually beating them to progress in the Europa League. In between the two legs they beat Radnicki 1923, thanks to a good individual performance from Darko Lazic. Next came the widely anticipated Eternal Derby against Partizan, which they narrowly manage much to the joy of their fans. After a win in the second leg of the Serbian Cup semi-final, they pulled off a win against Rad which secured them their first league title in 6 years. Coming off the back of this great achievement, they faced Real Sociedad in their most important game of the season, in the Europa League semi-final. Despite losing the first leg, they came back after a win against Novi Pazar in the league to beat the Spanish side in the 2nd leg, and they won the tie on away goals, to move into an unprecedented Europa League final.

League Table

Another perfect showing in their 4 league games this season saw the Belgrade side clinch the league title with 7 games to go, and now, with 2 games in hand over 2nd place, hold an astonishing 20 point lead. Still unbeaten, they will hope to continue that, and even go on and beat the record for the most points scored in the league of 80 set by Partizan. It looks to be a tight finish for the race for European football, with Rad, Vojvodina, Jagodina and Partizan currently the favourites. OFK Beograd and Donji remain in the automatic relegation zone, however either of them could make a late push for survival. Napredak and Javor’s low goal difference could be their Achilles heel as the season draws to a close in its final month.


Another impressive month in all competition see’s the club’s star players continue to shine in what, for many of them, has been their breakout season. Unsurprisingly, Filip Kasalica is still at the top of both the domestic and European goal scoring charts, with his incredible tall of 15 in the Europa League look to place him as the tournament’s highest scorer. In Serbia, he is almost certainly got his hands on the best player of the year award, and he has already been attracting attention from foreign clubs. Attacking midfielder Ninkovic also looks to end up as the highest assister in Europe, with his only competition coming from Schalke winger Julian Draxler who is one behind him. In the league he is tied for first, alongside the likes of team mate Nejc Pecnik, on 10.

Player of the Month

The attacking parts of this team have continued to shine, but this month’s award will go again to another defender, with young Peruvian Miguel Araujo taking home the Player of the Month. At just 19, he has established himself alongside Darko Lazic to form a formidable, young partnership at the back, and one that looks to be fruitful for many years to come. His performances this month have been solid, but it is the value of his goals which gives him this award. With 5 goals to his name while playing at centre back, he scored some of the most crucial of these this month, most notably, the only goal of the game with a penalty against Rad, which won his side the league title. At a young age, he has already broken into his national side, and with great potential, he can go on to become a club legend here at Red Star.
Peruvians always deliver (I think) ;) Another fantastic month of football, can't wait for the final!
Great update Tanay! Lots of detail which I like. :D
2014-06-26 03:37#181470 Pauker : WE NEED THAT FINAL UPDATE!
Great update, plenty of detail and some excellent results!
Congrats on winning the league title, its been a great season so hopefully you can round it off in style with a win in the EL final.
Just like everyone else, I am looking forward to the update buddy :D
@Walter - :P He had been a wall, really young as well, looking forward to seeing how he'll develop.
@Josh - Thanks, if you liked that level of update, wait for the final ;P
@Pauker - Patience is a virtue. :)
@Pompey - Thanks, it really has been a great season, hope it will live up to your expectation.

Europa League Final 2014

Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen to the Europa League 2014 Final, here in Italy, at the world renowned Juventus Stadium. We are about to witness the best two teams of this year’s competition, go head to head one last time, to see who can lift this infamous trophy. Firstly, there is the German side Schalke. After finishing 5th in the league, and being knocked out of their domestic cup early, this is their only chance for silverware this season, and Die Konigsblauen will be desperate to secure an expected win for them here. They possess a great, fresh team, with the likes of strong defender Benedikt Howedes, top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and exciting prospects Julian Draxler and Timo Werner. Their road here was rocky, after they came third in their Champions League group, they moved into the Europa League knockout stages, beating Anderlecht on away goals, then overcoming Galatasaray in a high scoring tie, before beating Dynamo Kiev 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.

The other side participating in this year’s final is Serbian side Red Star Belgrade. Unlike Schalke, they have already won their league and their domestic cup, so winning here would mark one of the best season’s in the club’s history. Led by the stunning striking force of Ifeanyi Onyilo and Filip Kasalica, they have not been shy when it comes to putting the ball into the back of the net, with Kasalica looking set to take home the award for the top scorer. This was hugely down to Milos Ninkovic, who will most likely win the top assister in the competition. Their road here was much harder, after they started in only the Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round, and getting some of the toughest draws in the whole tournament, facing, and beating the likes of Udinese, Spartak Moscov, Swansea, Saint-Etienne and Sevilla on their way to the knockout stages. Then, after a tight win against Zenit, they destroyed Anji in the quarter finals, before beating Spanish giants Real Sociedad on away goals to get into the final. For a side which many weren’t expecting to get past the qualifying rounds, reaching this stage was totally unprecedented and thoroughly unexpected, so a win here would be incredible.

Enough with the pre talk though, I will hand over to your commentators for this evening as the players are about to kick off!

4 min - An interception from Red Star’s defence leads to the first corner of the game, but Goretzka’s resulting effort is wayward as the ball goes out of play.

5 min – Farfan gets the first big chance, as he fires an effort from just outside the box wide.

15 min – Farfan again looking dangerous, this time his in swinging cross is met by Szalai, forcing a save from Bajkovic.

20 min – Schalke continuing to dominate the early stages, Hoger and Goretzka linking up to form a chance, but it comes to nothing as Red Star clear.

30 min – Goretzka getting more and more involved, a quick one two gave him the chance to shot from distance, but it is high. Schalke relentlessly pushing forward, not giving Red Star a chance to counter.

35 min – Another good chance on the flanks, as Aogo powers past Mijailovic, who makes a desperate challenge, conceding a corner. With the German’s strength from set plays, that is not something Red Star want to be doing often.

36 min – The corner proves that point, as it finds Howedes, who connects well with the header, but Bajkovic sees it past his post. A let-off.

38 min – GOAL!!!! Totally against the run of play, Mijailovic clears to ball onto the right hand side, and Savicevic gets to it quickly, holds up the play while his team mates advance, before playing a great, high ball over the defence, into the path of Milunovic, who sped past the defence and hit a powerful effort into the back of the net. What a way, and what a time to score your first goal of the season.

41 min – Nearly another in quick succession, another clever pass finds Vesovic, and after some great dribbling from the right back, he drags his shot wide, much to the relief of the Schalke defence, who need to sure up.

45 min – Almost a response just before the break, Farfan, who has been Schalke’s most influential player this half, picks out Draxler, who takes a good touch before shooting, but the ball clips the crossbar and goes out of play.

HALFTIME A good half for Red Star, who have not only managed to keep Schalke out, but have also gone and scored, and they know, that if they keep a clean sheet, they will win the Europa League. All the pressure on their defence.

47 min – A good start to the half from Schalke, Szalai beats his man to a header at the near post, and Bajkovic had to dive to keep it out.

52 min – First real sign of the competition’s top scorer, Filip Kasalica, who has looked isolated at times, with all the defending his side have had to do. He certainly showed his paces here though, as he links up with Savicevic, before taking it past another defender, but his shot only hit the side netting.

60 min – GOAL! Schalke are level, as Red Star hearts are broken! Aogo, using his speed and power, burst down the wing, hit a great cross towards to edge on the area for Werner, who had no trouble placing a shot one on one past Bajkovic to make the game all level. It is anyone’s game now, but the tide is with Schalke.

63 min – After a few substitutions, Pecnik made space for himself, but he couldn’t restore his sides lead, firing his shot off target.

67 min – Neustadter tried the spectacular and it almost paid off, as his long range volley skimming the top of the bar on the way.

73 min – A plethora of corners for Red Star, and one almost connects, with only a Howedes block preventing Milunovic from scoring. The heat is turning up as we enter the last 15 minutes.

81 min – Schalke remind Red Star of their potency from corners, this time Matip coming close. Red Star need to solve that problem.

83 min – PENALTY NOT GIVEN! A big moment of controversy late on, as Schalke players, led by Boateng, furiously protest over a tackle made by Lazic inside the box, but the ref waves it away, and seemingly from the replays, rightly.

88 min – So close for Red Star! Savicevic, who had been one of their best players this game, directing a header just a few inches away from goal.

90+2 min – The last minute of added time almost resulted in a goal, but Szalai missed with a late chance, and we will be going into extra time. How important could that miss prove to be.

FT 1-1 Extra Time Needed

92 min – Boateng testing Bajkovic and gets a corner for his troubles, another chance for Schalke to test Red Star in the air.

96 min – The corner came to nothing, but on the break, a looping ball from full back Petkovic confuses the defence and Kovacevic’s volley is just wide.

103 min – Schalke again coming very close, Ushida this time, hitting a vicious effort from the right, and it is just tipped over.

105 min – Half Time in ET.

109 min – DISALLOWED GOAL! Red Star fans and players are absolutely fuming, as after Petkovic takes advantage of a mess in the Schalke box to put the ball into the back of the net, the goal is disallowed due to a foul committed by the player.

114 min – All the tired legs are really showing, as a slow cross is not dealt with and Werner almost puts his side ahead.

120+1 min – Savicevic is fouled near the half way line, and extra time draws to a close. This pinnacle of exciting, thrilling and hair-raising finals, will go to penalties.

GOAL! Savicevic tucks the opening penalty away. 1-0

GOAL! Aogo was calm and composed as he sent Bajkovic the wrong way. 1-1

GOAL! No trouble for Kasalica in putting his spot kick away. 2-1

MISS! Boateng never looked confident, and his penalty was pushed away easily by the keeper. 2-1

GOAL! Captain Mijailovic struck a great penalty to give his side the advantage. 3-1

GOAL! Hoger keeps Schalke in it, a confident strike. 3-2

GOAL! Bajkovic steps up, and beats his opposite number. 4-2

MISS!!!!!! Werner has had his penalty saved by the hero of the night Bajkovic, and that means that Red Star Belgrade are the winners of the Europa League 2014! What an amazing game, with an equally amazing conclusion, and as the Serbian side celebrate one of the greatest moments in their history, Schalke are left heart-broken, wondering what could have been. A terrific way to end a terrific tournament, it is farewell from me, commiserations to Schalke, but the utmost congratulations to Red Star Belgrade, Europa League 2014 Champions.

Great update Tanay, really enjoyed reading it!
It was a great win too, and it rounds off a truly incredible season for you!
You have done a magnificent job, and as tough as it may seem I'm sure you can do even better next season ;)

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