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Jbc's Pentagon Challenge

Hoping to complete my first pentagon and thought it would be fun to share the journey!
Started on 30 May 2020 by Jbc199923
Latest Reply on 3 September 2020 by Jbc199923
Yes! I agree, you certainly have to be one of the favourites now after that win. Also has to be a massive confidence booster that you can beat the best teams in the continent.
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 4 – Update 4

After our progression into the Champions league quarter finals in the last update, we now had 2 months to prepare to focus on the league and cup before the tie at the end of August.

Our first game was a cup tie against Chongqing Lifan, a game that went the distance with a heavily rotated side and we progressed in the lottery of penalties meaning we would face Jiangsu Suning in the semi finals.

We then faced Chongqing again in the league as we were hoping to get our league form back on track. We took the lead just after half time with another goal from Chen Yun, however Chongqing struck back just after the half hour mark to make it 1-1, before a 92nd minute winner against the run of play to condemn us to our third defeat of the season.

A crushing blow to our season which meant we slipped off top spot, but with another game against Henan just 3 days after I was hoping for a quick response. And the players looked motivated to put things right with goals from Bing Zhu and Rafaelzinho putting us 2-0 up after 24 minutes. Henan pulled one back just before half time, however our superior performance game me confidence going into the second half. But how wrong was I? Henan seemed to have 13 men on the pitch in the second half and struck twice, including another 92nd minute winner to ensure we faced back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.

Our next game was against rivals Beijing and we managed to sneak a point in a 1-1 draw, before back-to-back wins over Meizhou Hakka and Qingdao put us back on track. Another draw against struggling Dalian Pro put us on the back foot again before a massive 5-0 demolition of Shandong with goals from Li Qi, Ma Jin (2), Rafaelzinho and Bing Zhu securing the 3 points.

At this point we found out that our Champions League opponents would be Wuhan Zall, currently sitting 4th in the league. A decent draw for us as I feel very confident that we progress into the semi-finals.

With that knowledge our attention began to turn as we slipped to another draw against Changchun before a horrific display in the cup against Jiangsu Suning, falling to a 4-0 defeat with all 4 goals coming in the first half. We did pick up another win against Hebei just days before our crucial first leg against Wuhan Zall, which I was hoping would give us confidence going into the game.

Being at home in the first leg I was hoping to take a comfortable lead into the second game and Bing Zhu started us off well with a goal inside 5 minutes, before Rafaelzinho made it 2-0 on 17 minutes. Wuhan pulled one back just after half time before Chen Yun, the man for the big occasion, restored our 2 goal cushion. A 2 goal lead going into the second leg would have been massive, but an extremely late goal from Wuhan in the 94th minute put a little bit of doubt into my mind.

Another draw in the league followed as we round up today's fixtures, leaving the second leg on a cliff-hanger for the next update!

Some pretty dreadful league form with just 4 wins from our 10 games leaves us a massive 6 points behind Guangzhou in first place. Like I said before, the league was not my main focus this year, however we dropped so many points at the start of this update when we didn’t even have any distractions so I am a little disappointed.

Squad review
Bing Zhu has continued his crazy form and now has 23 goals in all competitions. I did actually get a permanent offer accepted for him, but he turned us down, instead opting to join us on loan again next year, regardless of if I am still here.

Rafaelzinho is just 1 goal away from 20 goals this year and Ma Jin has surpassed the 10 goal mark as well – a slightly disappointing year for him this time around.

The real man of the moment is Chen Yun, who has come from absolutely nowhere to be our joint top assist maker and 4th highest scorer with 6 goals and 10 assists. Not only has he been performing well, but he has also been turning up in the big games, which is all the more important.

A pretty disappointing update overall, some bad league form and defeat in the FA Cup, but we do at least have a slender lead going into the second leg of our Champions League quarter final with Wuhan Zall.

*Make sure you come back tomorrow to see if we can progress through the Champions League! Thanks for reading and commenting*
Could have perhaps done without the late goal as a two goal cushion would have been excellent. At least you go into the second leg knowing you have control.
Ouch, thats been a tough two months. At least you have the advantage in the Champions League, but conceding those two goals isn't the best. Going to take a massive defensive effort in the second leg.
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 4 – Update 5

With a slender lead going into the second leg of the Champions League quarter final, all eyes turned to Wuhan for the second leg of a massive all Chinese tie. The Chinese Super League has seemingly slipped from our grasp after some poor form in the last update, so the Champions League is now the best chance of us winning a trophy this year.

Our first game of this update was an away league game against Jiangsu Suning, the same team that demolished us 4-0 in the FA Cup semi final just a few weeks previously. I was hoping for some revenge as well as a good result to give us some momentum going into the Champions League second leg, however we fell to another disappointing defeat, meaning we now trail top spot by 9 points with just 6 games to go.

Next up was our massive Champions League game away from home to Wuhan Zall, with a 1 goal lead in our favour. With Wuhan holding 2 away goals from the first leg I knew we couldn’t risk going behind, so we started on the front foot with centre back Zhu Chenjie heading home from a corner after just 11 minutes. That goal meant Wuhan now needed 2 goals to progress, so we switched to a more defensive formation and looked to hold out for the rest of the game. And despite an early second half goal from Wuhan we clung on to reach the semi-finals!

With progression secured we drew local rivals Beijing Guoan as our semi-final opponents in what was sure to be a fiery two-legged affair.

After our draw against Wuhan we faced two more league games before the first leg of our tie against Beijing, both ending in bore 0-0 draws meaning any chance at the league title was effectively over.

The first leg of the semi-final did at least offer a bit more excitement with Beijing taking the lead twice in their home stadium, but goals from Bing Zhu and a late equaliser from Ma Jin ensured we came away the better of the two teams, given that we held 2 away goals!

Two more leg games took place before the second leg of the semi-final as we faced Shanghai SIPG, falling to another disappointing defeat (1-2), before we finally won in the league for the first time in 6 games with a 2-1 victory over Zhejiang Greentown. This was actually a crucial win as defeat would have seen us inexplicably drop out of the top 4.

But once more our attentions returned to the Champions League as we welcomed Beijing for the second leg of the semi-finals. Victory or a low scoring draw would ensure we progressed to the final and Ma Jin got us off to a great start inside 8 minutes, meaning Beijing would have to score at least 2 goals to win the tie now.

And with that knowledge they came on strong after our goal and looked a real threat, so we switched to play on the counter attack for the second half. The move paid off as after 15 minutes of pressure following half time, we broke away on a lethal attack with Niu Shuai sweeping home just his second goal of the season to make it 2-0. Beijing continued to push forwards, still needing 2 goals to go to extra time, but we killed off the tie with a third goal in the 85th minute to secure our place in our first ever Champions League final!

The final was due to take place over 2 legs in a months’ time and we would be facing Al-Ittihad Club from Saudi Arabia. Having looked at their squad I am quietly confident that we could be ticking off the first leg of our pentagon at the end of this season.

Overall, some shocking league form, but some crucial progression through the Champions League where we will be partaking in the final in the next update!

After taking just 5 points from 5 games we have fallen to 3rd place in the league – almost falling out of the top 4 had we not won our last game. With 2 games to go we just need 1 win to ensure we finish in the top 4 this year.

Squad performance
It’s been a bit of a disappointing update in terms of player and team performance, but Bing Zhu has continued his great first season with the club, now reaching 25 goals this season, closely followed by Rafaelzinho on 20 and Ma Jin, who has now got 15 goals.

Both fullbacks have performed well going forward recently, with Li Qi and Hang Hui now having 12 and 11 goal contributions respectively.

As mentioned, a poor update in terms of the league with the players seemingly focused on the Champions League games over the past couple of months. That being said, we have secured a shot at our first Champions league win, going into the final as favourites which is reassuring. A very nervy and exciting time to be around the club, but I am looking forward to the final and potentially moving to a new continent next season!

*Make sure you come back tomorrow when we will be competing in our first ever Champions League final! Let me know your predictions going into the game. Thanks for reading!*
Get in! I predict a 3-1 for you! Just caught up and looking forward to more!
2020-07-09 18:41#275932 MidKnightDreary : Get in! I predict a 3-1 for you! Just caught up and looking forward to more!

I hope you are right! Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to enjoy the adventure :)
A massive opportunity for you to tick off one of the legs of the journey. Best of luck!
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 4 – Update 6

Its Champions League final day! The first leg of the pentagon challenge could be crossed off today if we can beat Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Ittihad over two legs. The time for talking is over - lets see how we got on…

There were a couple of league games remaining before the final and we managed to round off our season in decent form with a win and a draw, meaning we secured 3rd place in the league and Champions League football for another season.

Congratulations to Guangzhou who have blown away the competition with year and finished a massive 11 points ahead of us. Overall, a fairly poor year from us considering we were the reigning champions, but a win in the Champion League would make sure this season would go down in history nonetheless.

Champions League final
The first leg of the final was taking place at our Water Drop stadium, not the best as I would prefer to go away from home first, however it did give us the chance to get a lead in the first leg before travelling across the continent in a weeks’ time. There was a sell-out crowd for the game and things got off to an exciting start with both teams going out to attack from the off.

The first big chance of the game fell to Al-Ittihad as we gifted them a silly penalty after just 14 minutes and gave them a great chance at getting a cheap away goal. Jadsom stepped up for them, but he was no match for Hu Shuo who dived brilliantly to his right hand side to keep the ball out of the net! And the penalty seemed bring us to life as we sucker punched Al-Ittihad on the break just 2 minutes later with Bing Zhu sweeping home from a deadly cross.

The goal seemed to take the life out of our opposition, and we began to dominate proceedings and could have scored 2 or 3 more times before the break. I was delighted with our performance and the player went out for the second half in high spirits, giving the 60,000 fans in attendance more to cheer when Niu Shuai doubled our lead midway through the second half. At 2-0 Al-Ittihad knew they had to try and grab an away goal, but our defensive solidity proved too strong as we ran out winners by 2 goals to nil.

After the game I was confident that we could secure the cup in the second leg, until I realised that we would be missing 4 first team players for the second leg! Centre back Zhu Chenjie and midfielders Saeter and Ibanez were all suspended after picking up too many yellow cards throughout the tournament. With Gojak also not registered, all of our best midfield 3 were unavailable to call on in the biggest game of my career.

With a heavily weakened side for the second leg I was worried that our two goal lead might not be enough, and this worry was not helped when just 3 minutes into the second leg, Al-Ittihad took the lead through some sloppy defending to make it 2-1 on aggregate. Luckily, we still had our superstar strike force available and Rafaelzinho eased the nerves just 4 minutes later, scoring a massive away goal, meaning that Al-Ittihad now needed to score another 3 goals on the night to overcome the 3-1 deficit.

This didn’t seem to phase our Saudi Arabian opponents as they scored again on 21 minutes to make it 3-2 on aggregate and our weaknesses were continuing to be exposed whenever they came forward. At half time I made the decision to fight fire with fire as our attack was our only area that was at full strength and we managed to push back the waves of attacks at the start of the second period. And as we approached the final 15 minutes Al-Ittihad’s efforts became desperate and they began to throw bodies forward in search of the 2 goals that they needed. However, with their defence exposed we managed to wrap us to tie with a second goal from Rafaelzinho with 77 minutes on the clock!

We had done it – the Asian Champions League title was ours!! One continent crossed off the list with 4 more to go!

Squad performance
Overall a very interesting season, and one I will never forget with our historic first Champions League win! I think we have been quite lucky considering how poor our league season has been, but clearly the players were focused on winning the biggest prize in Asia and who can blame them?

Once again an incredible first season for Bing Zhu with 28 goals in 39 starts. For a new player so come in a force their way into the team, considering how good Rafaelzinho and Ma Jin have been is pretty remarkable and I’m very happy that he is tied down for at least one more year. Rafaelzinho and Ma Jin have continued to have solid seasons yet again with a combined 38 goals this year, a truly incredible partnership over the years I have been here.

I would have to say one of my players of the season, particularly the second half, has got to be Chen Yun. Brought in as a back-up to our midfield trio, he has actually managed to force his way into the starting lineup, scoring some crucial goals this season, including the winner in extra time against Western Sydney Wanderers. Overall, he has recorded 6 goals and a massive 10 assists in his 25 starts this year and has also managed to force his way back into the Chinese national team squad.

Finally, another shout out to our fantastic fullbacks who seem to have had a competition going for the most goals and assists for the past few years now. Remarkably, both Li Qi and Tang Hui have both finished this year with 4 goals and 9 assists. They are so crucial to the way we play and I think their importance often goes unnoticed at times – definitely two of my favourite players during my time here.

The Fans Player of the Season award has actually been given to Saeter, who I also think has had a fantastic year. Another player who seemed to be in the shadow of Ibanez and Gojak, but has flourished this year with the highest number of assists (12) and 5 goals to go with that.

A fantastic end to the season, and to my time here in China as I will be resigning shortly (given that I have nothing further to achieve in Asia. I would have considered staying to compete in the Club World Cup (as the winner of the Champions League in each continent participates in this), however the new style competition has come into effect now, meaning that this only takes place once every 4 years so I have decided to resign now. To be honest, I am still amazed we managed to get through the final with some many key players out, but I couldn’t be more happy that we did!

*My next update will be an overview of my time with Tiajin TEDA, a fantastic journey over 3 years to get to be Champions of Asia! I will once again be selecting my 2 favourite players from my time in China – let me know who you would select! Thanks for reading!*
Massive congratulations on the first one being ticked off. Even better achievement considering the sheer amount of missing players.

I wonder where you end up now...
2020-07-10 20:32#276000 TheLFCFan : Massive congratulations on the first one being ticked off. Even better achievement considering the sheer amount of missing players.

I wonder where you end up now...

Thank you! I know, I couldnt believe it when I saw that!! Any guesses?
Congratulations! I think Rafaelzinho has to be one of the two names included from your time in Asia. He's been a key player for you.
2020-07-11 14:08#276037 ScottT : Congratulations! I think Rafaelzinho has to be one of the two names included from your time in Asia. He's been a key player for you.

Thanks! He has been fantastic, but he definitely has some stiff competition!
Tianjin TEDA – Overview


Just to confirm that I have now left Tianjin after our Champions League success in the last update. Once again, I leave with a heavy heart after the successes we have had together, but it is now time to leave in search of my next Champions League title.

To be honest, when I joined Tianjin TEDA, I didn’t feel like we would be able to win the Champions League and saw it more as a stepping stone up to one of the better teams in South Korea or Australia. But in the 3 and a half years that I have spent here we have won everything there is to win in China and created one of the best teams in the country.
A brief overview of my time at the club is as follows:
  • When I joined the club half way through the 2024 season Tianjin were in the thick of a relegation battle, sitting in 12th place, just 4 points above the relegation zone. With a few signings during the mid-season window we managed to stabilise and push up the table, finishing a respectable 10th place.
  • In our second season, we brought in a good number of Chinese players, due to the limit on foreign players, and were able to push up the table again, finishing a fantastic 3rd meaning we qualified for the Champions League group stage
  • Our third season started in disappointment as we crashed out of the Champions League, coming 3rd in a tough group. However, that allowed us to focus our attentions on the domestic season and we powered on to win the league and cup double! The performance in the league was also enough for me to win manager of the year.
  • Our final season started off well with progression in the Champions League, as well as winning the Chinese Super Cup against rivals Beijing Guoan. We also had a really strong start to the league season, but as we progressed further in the Champions League, our focus switched and we eventually fell to 3rd position. We did however manage to claim our first Champions League crown with knockout wins over previous years winners, Western Sydney Wanderers and local rival Beijing Guoan before defeating Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Ittihad 4-2 in the final.

As you can see from the above, we have won 4 trophies (right in image above) in our 3 and a half years, and 7 manager awards, including 1 manager of the year award. A very good haul if I do say so myself.

Progression as a manager
Following the cup successes we have had I China, my reputation has increased to 2.5 stars out of 5. A little on the low side, but and improvement nonetheless. I have also been able to study my 3rd and 4th coaching badges, meaning I now hold a Continental C licence (3 more to go).

Best players
There were so many players that I considered to pick as my favourite 2 players during my time here. The first team didn’t actually change too much in the last two years so I know all the players pretty well and probably could have made an argument to include any one of them, however I think there isn’t much debate that one of the standout players right from the start has been youngster Ma Jin.

Just 17 years old when we arrived at the club, he almost single handily kept us up in the first season with 16 total league goals (15 coming after I joined). His second year was a little disappointing, scoring just 12 goals all season, but he followed that up in out title winning year with a massive 33 goals in all competitions at just 19 years old! This included a crazy run with him scoring 12 goals in just 7 games, including 3 hat tricks in 4 games at one point. Our final season with him was a little different as he was forced out of the team by Bing Zhu, but he still managed an impressive 15 goals, including a goal in the Champions League semi final. Overall and incredible 75 goals in 3 and a half years for a striker that young is something I have never seen before – what a player and what a deserved place in my best XI.

The second player I have selected might come as a bit of a surprise for some people, but I am going to go for right back Tang Hui. I was weighing up between Tang Hui, Li Qi, Rafaelzinho (a favourite of ScottT) and potentially Ibanez, Gojak or Saeter. Decided against Rafaelzinho, due to already picking Ma Jin who I feel has performed slightly better the Rafaelzinho overall, even though he has scored more goals (77) than Ma Jin.

I also couldn’t pick between the midfielder trio of Gojak, Ibanez or Saeter. They all had at least one really good year and a few decent years, so for that reason I couldn’t give either of them a spot as they were all good, but not better than each other.

That left me deciding between Li Qi and Tang Hui. Both full-backs have been essential to the way we have been playing, with both producing great outputs for goals and assists. The reason why I have picked Tang Hui is because of the transfer fee that we paid. We paid just £275k for Tang Hui, whereas we paid a massive £15.5m for Li Qi and received basically the same output from both. In 3 years Hui managed to record 9 goals and 16 assists, including a brace on his debut against Guangzhou, which included a 95th minute equaliser! He has also put in some fantastic defensive displays, so for that reason he is going into my team.

So after those additions, this is what the overall best XI looks like so far:

Let me know what you think of my picks and who you would have picked!

Previous clubs update
Mitra Kukar – since leaving Mitra Kukar they have had a varied time, retaining their league title in the first year after we left, before finishing in 8th place the next season. There was a point where is looked like they might even get relegated! Since then they have recovered to finish 3rd and then 2nd this season so they are continuing to do well since we left.

A fantastic journey with the perfect end, but it is now time to move onto the next challenge. I hope you all enjoyed reading this section of part of my adventure and will continue to follow me onto the next leg!

*Once again thanks for all of your support throughout my story so far! Let me know where you think I will end up next/ where you would like to see me manage. Just an FYI that I will not be posting for the next 2 weeks as I am on holiday, however I will be back with a bang on Monday 27th June with my new team, so mark the date in your diaries!!*
Enjoy your break. Looking forward to the next update and the start of a new chapter. It's timed pretty well, eh? A move into Africa next perhaps?

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