In order to set up the mood for the upcoming competition, I'll live you guys this 2010 gem from Brazilian television. Any similarities with a song that you may know are a mere coincidence:
And in order to set up my mood, I went to the market to bring myself some gems to better strengthen our squad:
CB - Benjamín Kuscevic: brought from Universidad Católica for €1,7M, the 25 yo defender is a strong addition to the squad and will start right away.
RW - Leonel Vega: the 18 yo Peruvian was acquired for €500k from Alianza Lima and is a hot prospect for the future. The small kid compensates his size on his ability with a ball in his feet.
LB - Agustín Bindella: another player brought for €1,7M, this time from Quilmes, the 21 yo left back is a starting XI player with potential to grow much more. Another exciting signing that will start right away.
Copa Libertadores de América 2022 - Group Stage
Our campaign started off at home, playing our rivals to the group win, Atlético Nacional. With great control of possession, we managed to open a comfortable 2-0 win in the first half and control the pace of the match for the rest of the game.
The second match, against Táchira away from home, started with a Paradela's goal at the 17th minute and never stopped. Bruno Vides scored 4 and took over the top spot of the top scorers standings, and Lautaro Chávez came out of the bench to score two for himself, finishing off a destroying 8-0 win.
We player another piece of dominant football against Blooming, but not with the same efficiency. In the end, we grabbed a 4-1 win at home, with a hat-trick from Maxi Comba. As comfortable as a 4-1 win is, we scored 1 goal for each 10.25 shots.
The first game of the second turn was again against Blooming, this time in Santa Cruz de La Sierra, one of the few big cities in Bolivia that is not up on the mountains. As easy as it can be to control the match in matches like these, we opened 3, with a double from Vides. They still had time to blow our clean sheet, and Justiniano made 3-1 the final score.
At home against Táchira, another smashing win. Not as big, but the 5-0 scoreline gave us a massive advantage in the goal difference for the next match against Atlético Nacional. Chancalay scored twice, and the other goals were scored by our striker Maxi Cuadra, the right-back Rodrigo Rodríguez, and Bruno Vides, of course.
In the majestic Atanasio Girardot, in Medellín, Atlético Nacional had to beat us for more than 5 goals in order to take the group win. They went far from it, and we grabbed a 1-0 win with a solitary goal from José Paradela.
In the end, the groups ended up like this:
With 16 teams alive, the second round shapes up with all 8 Brazilian clubs still alive, 5 Argentine teams in the contention, with the rest being 2 Colombians and 1 Uruguayan, making a very concentrated knockout-round. As group winners, we can avoid tougher matches in the second round, dodging teams of the sorts of Grêmio, Santos, Flamengo, Palmeiras or River Plate.
The draw matched us with Millonarios, a Colombian side from Bogotá, with a slight altitude. The effects of the 2,400m altitude can be a slight migraine or brief shortages of breath. With the adequate physical prepare, we can outcome these challenges rather easily.
Superliga Argentina 2021/22 - Second Semester
A pretty solid exhibition, showing how our team has progressed during this three seasons. We started the semester (sort of) getting a revenge against Racing, and then getting a great sequence of 14 wins, 4 draws and 3 defeats in 21 games, with results like the perfect comeback against Chacarita, a frustrating draw against Aldosivi, another Vides' inspirational performance in the Clásico, a dominating victory over the traditional Rosario Central, and the win against a long-term relegated Unión.
San Esteban’s Clásico Platense count: 4-3-1
Superliga Argentina 2021/22 - Final Standings
Our great sequence was good enough to grant us a solid 4th place, and if given some extra rounds, we could even have taken River. Boca and Vélez had a thrilling fight for the title, but in the end Boca got away with it for a point (had they tied in points, an extra game would be played: in Argentine football, titles are never decided by other criterion). On the other end, the three teams relegated in the Promedio table coincided with the three teams at the bottom of the table, with a set of non-controversial well deserved relegations.
Even though we did not get the title, our deep lying playmaker Matías Miranda got away with the Man of the Season award, beating two Boca players for it. His solid exhibitions have been drawing attention from European clubs and he's not likely to stay for another season.
Around the World
As Daft Punk's Around the World plays on your head (if you know the song, it will, there is no fighting it), I will guide you through a journey around the interesting things that happened worldwide (at least on the leagues I loaded):
In 2021, Brazilians got it all. Atlético Mineiro ended their rival's Cruzeiro mockery by finally winning something for the second time, beating Palmeiras in the final. Santos, far away from the glories of Pelé, Robinho, or Neymar, got the Copa Sudamericana away from the hands of Vélez. None of the three mentioned Brazilian clubs won their league, finally won by Grêmio, ending a long streak of not winning the domestic league (having won the continental twice in the mean time, Liverpool style) since 1996.
Independiente won the Copa Argentina and got the spot of Argentina 2 for 2022 Copa Libertadores. In Chile, Deportes La Serena caused a major shock, winning the league out of nowhere, a massive achievement for a side not usually present in the first tier. Atlético Nacional was dominant in Colombia, winning both rounds.
In Europe, Chelsea broke Liverpool's streak, Juventus got the scudetto back, and Bayern didn't manage to get the 10th title in a row, with Dortmund f***ing finally getting it.
@Jack yes, I guess... But I think that starting next season we can start challenging for the title for good, as you may see why in the next episode
@ScottT I've had a connection flight in Bogotá for two hours when going to the beach and it was enough to cut my breath short. And they say that Bogotá is nothing compared with cities like Cusco, La Paz, and Potosí. Even teams from lower high-altitudes have problems playing there
And yep, we got really lucky with the group
@TheLFCFan well, it was a rough calendar as well for the start. We could have done better, of course, but the poor start was no surprise
@Zed the problem I have with FM in South America is that the game doesn't tell the whole story. Compare the results of the 2014, 2016 or 2017 Copa Libertadores in real life with the ones in the game and you'll see that the continent is far more complex than the Brazil-Argentina duality. There is a delightful intricacy of recent absurdities that only the contemporary (which is no more than a year and a half recent) inflow of money into Brazilian and Argentinean football is being capable of dissolving