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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
Mitra Kukar – Club 1 – Season 4 – Update 4

Following my last update where we reached the our first cup final and remained in the title race, it is now time to find out if we could bring home some silverware and continental football next season!

There have been a few games since the last update that I wanted to cover off quickly before we head into the final 5 games of the season, as well as the impending cup final. Luckily they were all fairly routine as we picked up 10 points from 4 games, only dropping points to our cup semi-final opponents Persiraja.

As you can see, those fixtures left us just 4 points off top spot and only 2 points behind 2nd place. We do however have to play away against top of the league in our final five fixtures in a game which could effectively decide if we are going to be in the title race or not. We do of course have our two-legged cup final to fit in around our league games, which could put us at a disadvantage to our competitors, however I have faith in the team that we can qualify for continental football in some capacity this year.

Unlike last season, we started our run-in undefeated with a 2-2 draw against Bandung and a 1-0 victory against Tangerang. This however meant that we dropped to 6 points off top spot ahead of our upcoming face off. However, we now had to turn our focus to the crucial cup final against rivals Putra.

Cup Final – Leg 1
The first leg of the cup final was always going to be a nervy affair after all of the pre-match hype, and things turned out as I expected with Putra (currently fighting for survival in the league) sitting defensively solid and trying to hit us on the break. Unfortunately, they succeeded just before half time and took a 1-0 lead into the break. The second half was a struggle, and although we created plenty of chances we just couldn’t find an equaliser. That is until substitute Agustiar ghosted into the far post from a hopeful cross and managed to slot home to give us a crucial away goal in the dying moments of the game.

During the week between the two cup final games we had our crucial league game away to Arema. Going into the game we trailed Arema by 6 points, knowing that a defeat would rule us out of the title race. A win however would put us just 3 points behind, and with a better head to head record.

We started the game with a depleted squad as I had chosen to focus my efforts on the upcoming second leg of the cup and our weakened squad were made to pay after half and hour. We struggled to make an impact on the game and the changes were rung with half an hour left to play. This proved crucial, and we immediately drew level through a rare goal from Tan, just his 4th of the year. Just as all hope of victory looked dead, we won a late corner. Rudi whipped the ball in and expertly placed it on the head of Aryanto, the giant, and he steered home to steal the three points deep into added time.

The victory was a crucial boost and was helped by the fact that Tira had also fallen to a late defeat meaning we had a 4-point gap to 3rd place. With just two game to go, we now knew one win would secure a Champions League position.

Cup Final – Leg 2
After our triumphant win against Arema during the week, we went into the second leg of the final in high spirits. With our team back to full strength I was hoping for a comfortable victory, however I was weary of how good Putra’s team was, despite their dreadful season. The game was actually a decent affair and was played in front of our biggest ever crowd (20,773), however our much improved defensive work was far superior to Putra’s attacking threat. Unfortunately, our own attacking players also seemed impressed with our solid defending and chose to float through the game hoping that we didn’t concede an away goal, which fortunately we didn’t – meaning we won our first ever silverware! Not the final I would have hoped for, but a win is a win and I was delighted with the qualification!

League finale
With two games to go, and following our fantastic cup victory, we knew that the league title was a long shot – and it now didn’t matter if we finished in 3rd as we had already qualified for the Champions League group stage. Our penultimate game was against our cup final opponents and local rivals Putra, who had to win to have a chance at survival. And their dogged determination showed as they took the lead, before doubling their advantage just after half time. Despite a spirited late display from Fauzi and Agustiar, we couldn’t keep the goals out at the other end and fell to a 4-2 defeat.

Unfortunately, Arema also managed to pick up a point in their fixture, meaning we could no longer win the league. I was disappointed given our good season, but we had already secured 2nd place and qualified for the Champions League which I think is a very good year, rounded off in the least game with a 4-0 win, in which Ahmad scored all four.

Squad performance
As I have said, a very solid season, and although I would have preferred to win the league to the cup, the main goal was to qualify for continental football which we have done. The stand-out performer this season has to be Ahmad who has scored 24 goals in 35 games, enough to win him league and club player of the season!

Other strong performers where Fauzi, once again grabbing goals for fun at the age of 32 now. Fatahillah and Rudi also had good debut seasons with 10 goals each as well as strong hauls of assists, although next season I will be looking for a little more from both of them.

I have to give another shout-out to Aryanto who has transformed this team immensely since signing in the winter. He has scored 8 goals from centre back (3 from penalties) and has contributed massively to us conceding just 6 goals from set pieces, compared to 20 last year. I have also been impressed with his centre back partner Sukmana, a home grown prospect, who has played 41 games and scored 2 goals.

Finally I have to point out just how poor our two best players from last season have been this year. Sulaiman has had a decent second half of the season, but has scored just 5 goals all year – a shocking decline from his 18 last season. Talipudin has also had a poor year, scoring 2 goals and getting a decent 11 assists, which most of these coming at the end of the season as well. All in all I think, given that they have had a decent end to the year, I will keep them around and give them another chance next year.

We’ve finally done it! We have qualified for the Champions League for the first ever time! I already anticipate that we will get smashed by the other teams in the group so, unless that doesn’t happen, next year will be my last at Mitra Kukar.

*Make sure you join me tomorrow as we complete the winter transfer window and our first few Champions League games (as the group stage begins before the league season). Thank you for your continued support and I hope you are excited for our first taste of continental football next season!*
Congratulations on winning the cup and securing a place in the Champions League next season! It was a shame that you were unable to do so by winning the league title but you've certainly made inroads into pushing on and potentially doing that next season.
2020-06-13 18:35#274066 ScottT : Congratulations on winning the cup and securing a place in the Champions League next season! It was a shame that you were unable to do so by winning the league title but you've certainly made inroads into pushing on and potentially doing that next season.

Thanks Scott! My aim next season is definitely to win the league before we move onto a new club, as well as hopefully competing in the Champions League group.
In the Champions League which is great, but very very frustrating to miss the league by such a small margin
nice good job with the cup win good luck for the challange
Jbc199923's avatar Group Jbc199923
1 yearEdited
Mitra Kukar – Club 1 – Season 5 – Update 1

Hello and welcome back to our fifth and final season with Mitra Kukar! Its going to be an emotional one, but definitely one where we can have some fun in the Champions League for the first time and hopefully bring home the league title. Firstly, lets take a look at our transfer activity over the off season, before we have a run down of our first 3 games in our Champions League group.

It has been a fairly quite transfer window once again, with no major outs and a couple of decent signings that will hopefully strengthen our squad in all areas. We have actually also managed to do this without spending any money so I am very happy overall.

Possibly our best signing this window is our new attacking midfielder, Tabuni, who will be starting alongside Rudi in our new look formation for this season (which I will reveal shortly). He had been released from his club despite already having 3 senior caps for Indonesia at the age of 19, so picking him up was a no brainer. I think he lacks a little bit of pace and also isn’t the best at finishing but a decent pickup none the less.

Another important signing for our new formation is Adrian. We needed someone to sit a bit deeper and stop opposition attacks, while offering the team so much needed mobility in the heart of midfield. And that is exactly what we found – another player with vast international experience and someone who can run all day with good stamina and natural fitness as well as decent pace and defensive attributes.

Our final pick up, Ramdan, is our new back-up left winger after Agustiar left on a free transfer. He is a definite upgrade and can easily challenge Fatahillah for the starting spot if he hits some god form.

So, I have finally ditched the famous 4-4-2 and opted for a slightly more attacking 4-3-2-1. I did actually trial this a little last year when we were losing games and it seemed to work fairly well. I also think that we easily have one of the top 3 squads in the league so we should be going on the attack in most games to get the 3 points.

I was intending to stick with the 4-4-2, however after Sulaiman’s dreadful season, paired with the fact that I couldn’t find any other decent strikers, and also the addition of Tabuni, I felt that this was the way to go this year – let me know what you think!

Season preview
Following our additions the media have predicted us a close second favourite for the league which I will take. I think that our track record shows that we can often hit bad runs of form, particularly when we have cup distractions so my aim this season is to rotate as much as possible in the cup and hopefully get knocked out as I have no desire to retain or trophy. Obviously if we get to the semi-finals or our league season isn’t going to plan then I may change my mind, but my only goal this year is to win the league.

Champions League
As I have mentioned, I don’t expect to get anything from our Champions League group, but it will be interesting to see how close we are to other teams on the continent. We have been drawn in a group with Kawasaki Frontale (Japan), Jiangsu Suning (China) and Jeju United (South Korea) which is possibly the hardest group we could have been given.

Our first game was at home to Kawasaki in front of a big 10,000 strong home crowd. Due to the Champions League starting before the season we were struggling with fitness going into the game, but actually gave a very good account of ourselves. We were unlucky to come away empty handed after they scored the only goal of the game from a corner (I expect this will be a theme in these games).

Next up we faced Jiangsu Suning, probably the best team in our group, so I was delighted when Rudi grabbed our first ever Champions League goal inside 3 minutes. The lead didn’t last long though as Jiangsu struck back just 2 minutes later (also from a corner), before former Wolves winger Pedro Neto scored what would be the winning goal just before the half hour mark. Defeat was obviously disappointing, but was a fair result in the end although we gave another good account of ourselves on the continental stage.

Our third group game was away to Jeju United in South Korea, who had also lost both games so far. Unfortunately, only the top 2 in the group progress, while the bottom 2 are knocked out so we effectively had to win both games against Jeju to have any chance of progression. Once again we performed admirably against a superior side and could easily have scored a couple of goals if we were a bit more accurate. And just when I thought we had secured a magnificent point a lapse in concentration from the defence in the 89th minute saw Jeju snatch all 3 points and leave us heartbroken and knocked out of the Champions League after just 3 games.

Indonesian Community Shield
This game came as a bit of a shock to me as I didn’t even know this competition existed until a week before the actual match took place! Either way, we were to play Arema (league champions) in the pre-season Community Shield. I wasn’t too worried about winning the game and we were also missing a few players for the game, particularly Fauzi who had just picked up a muscle injury that would keep him out for at least half the season.

We did take the lead with another goal from Rudi, however it was down hill from there as Arema equalised on 19 minutes before taking the lead just after half time. Rudi had the chance to pull us level from the penalty spot but his effort was saved and we struggled to really create anything else for the rest of the game.

Overall, not the best start to the season with 4 back-to-back defeats, however I am actually very happy with our performances in the Champions League games, and we were missing some players for the Arema game so I’m not too concerned for the rest of the season. I expect as long as we pick up some early league victories we will be fine.

*Join me tomorrow as we complete our Champions League group as well as beginning our title challenge. Thanks for all your support and your congratulations with the cup win!*
A pretty gutting start to the season, I must admit!
Tough results, but as you said yourself, those teams are all a league above you in terms of quality. Goes to show you'll really have to spend many more years in this country to win it with Mitra!
Mitra Kukar – Club 1 – Season 5 – Update 2

Following us being knocked out of the Champions League, we can now switch our focus to our league campaign. Of course we still have 3 more Champions League fixtures that I will update you on, but I am hoping to make a good start to the season and get ahead of the competition as early as possible.

We quick f this update with another Champions league game at home to Jiangsu Suning. Once again set pieces were our nemesis and we fell 2 goals behind on 51 minutes. Ahmad did however give our home fans something to cheer about, but we were once again unlucky to fall to another defeat.

We finally got to kick off our league campaign in the next match and brushed aside Semarang 3-0 before a 0-0 draw at home to Barito Putera which was a little disappointing. Our penultimate Champions League game followed as we travelled away to Kawasaki and as expected we suffered another defeat, this time losing 2-0. To be fair, this is the first game in the group where I have felt completely overpowered so I can’t be too disappointed.

Another 6 points in the league followed as we beat Madura United and Persatu Tuban to continue our unbeaten start to the season. We have also only conceded 1 league goal which is very impressive.

Our first game in May was our last Champions League game as manager of Mitra Kukar as we welcomed Jeju United. Both teams were already knocked out of the group and we were guaranteed to finish in last place, but I was hoping we would give our fans another strong performance. Fortunately, the players felt the same way and after a strong first half we found the breakthrough through Rudi who has so far flourished in his more advanced Shadow Striker role this season. Once again, our lead didn’t last long as Jeju drew level 10 minutes later, but we did manage to hold out for our first point in the group! Overall, I am very happy with our efforts in the group stage considering our opponents.

Following the culmination of our Champions League adventure our focus returned to our league fixtures as we faced 4 more games before the end of May. We kicked off with what is turning out to be a customary high scoring fixture at home to Makassar, with Adrian scoring his first goal for the club after 3 minutes. Makassar then hit two goals in as many minutes to take a 2-1 lead with just 12 minutes played. Our young winger, Erliandy, who I have promoted to the first team to be understudy to Talipudin then scored his first goal for the club with a well taken effort on the half hour mark. The first half action wasn’t done there wither as Rudi struck deep into added time to give us a 3-2 advantage going into the break.

We had dominated the game, save for the 2 minutes where they scored both goals, so I wasn’t too concerned going into the second half, however Makassar had other ideas as they scored just 9 minutes after the break to make it 3 goals apiece. Substitute Sulaiman rolled back the seasons as he managed to grab his first goal this year to give us a 4-3 lead and we held on to win another epic clash.

Three more comfortable victories followed as we recorded 1-0, 4-1 and 4-0 victories to round out the first two months of the new season before the customary June break.

Our stunning start to the season sees us top the league with 22 points from 8 games, dropping just 2 points so far. We are also the only unbeaten team at this stage and have a 4 point gap to second place Tira. Last seasons winners, Arema, currently languish in 5th place, a massive 7 points behind us already.

Squad performance
As I have pointed out, the defence has done remarkably well so far, conceding just 5 goals in 8 games (3 of which came in our 4-3 victory), meaning they have kept an amazing 5 clean sheets. Going forward we have also excelled in our new formation with Ahmad toping the goal scorer charts with 8 goals in 8 games and Rudi, my player of the season so far, also contributing 6 goals. Talipudin has also massively improved since last year and has already bagged himself 6 assists this season, despite missing a few games through injury.

All in all, a very good start to the season. To be 4 points clear at this early stage could be massive come the end of the season and now the added distraction of the Champion League has been completed we only have the cup to draw our attentions away.

*Join me tomorrow as we continue our quest for the title following our almost perfect start. Thanks for you support, even after our defeats during the last update!*
A good start that you can hopefully continue to build on from this point. Albeit a small buffer, the fact you have managed to amass a gap between yourselves and second already is quite promising!
I think your potential title win should have a big impact on your next job! Keep it up.
Mitra Kukar – Club 1 – Season 5 – Update 3

Following my last update where we started our first 8 games undefeated, I was hoping to continue our run and further extend our lead at the top of the table.

Following our break in June our return to league action ended in disappointment as we suffered our first defeat of the season, narrowly losing out to Persiraja 2-1, before falling to a poor 2-0 defeat to Arema who are quickly becoming our arch nemesis.
Our next 3 games were also challenging as we faced fellow league challengers Tira and Bandung, claiming 1-1 draws against both, either side of a 2-0 victory over Persija Jakarta. The game against Bandung was bitterly disappointing as we led for almost the whole game before conceding right at the death. Three points would have seen us go clear at the top of the league again, however the draw puts us level with Tira after 13 games.

The next few weeks were littered with cup fixtures as I desperately tried to rotate the team to keep our league side fresh. Somehow we manage to pull off a 5-0 victory, followed by a 2-0 win in the first two rounds, before a convincing 7-0 aggregate win over second division Persiba Bantul. I couldn’t believe how well our second string players were performing – particularly Erliandry how has now racked up 2 goals and 5 assists this season. He is another product of our fantastic youth academy and I am beginning to trust him more and more in big games.

My rotation in the cup seems to have paid dividends this year as our league form has not suffered at all, with us picking up maximum points from the 3 games we have played in that period, keeping us in contention at the top of the league.

Our next games was our second of the season against Arema, who were having a poor year compared to last season. Unfortunately, they just seem to have our number this season and secured a 2-2 draw, despite goals from Ahmad and Talipudin.

Following this result, we got our revenge against Persiraja in a 1-0 home victory before rounding off September with another draw, this time against Barito Putera.

Following this mammoth update where we played 11 league games, we now find ourselves 3 points off top spot (with a game in hand). Obviously, it is a little disappointing to have dropped down from our position at the end of the last update, but we are still very much within touching distance of the title and I think we would still be considered favourites at this point.

Player performance
Once again, its been a great year so far for Ahmad, who has already scored 17 goals this year. Rudi has also had a great year, scoring 12 goals so far which is 2 more already than the whole of last year. Talipudin has also had a much better season this year and so far has 3 goals and 10 assists – the man is literally an assist machine! Other notable performers include Aryanto (6 goals from centre back) and Ramdan, who has made the starting left mid spot his own in recent matches.

Overall I am slightly disappointed that we have thrown away our 4 point advantage from the last update, but we are very much still in the title race and I think we can really kick on following our last couple of games and hopefully put ourselves back at the top of the pile.

*Hopefully you are all excited as we head into the second half of the year as we hunt down of first league title. I agree with those who have been commenting saying that a league win will really up our reputation so hopefully we can achieve it this season. Thanks for your support!*
It's not ideal you have surrendered your advantage but you're still in the fight and it certainly could have been much more disastrous. I still have faith you can win it this season.
Frustrating two draws at the end there, but I'm sure you'll be able to pick up the title this season! Would indeed be a huge boost in looking for another job.
Mitra Kukar – Club 1 – Season 5 – Update 4

Following on from our last update, we are hoping that our recent good form continues and we continue to battle for the league title as we head into the second half of the season.

Our first game following the last update were our two fourth round cup fixtures against Liga 2 side Persibat Batang. As I mentioned before, I have no interest in competing in the cup this season so a full rotation was applied in both games. After a 0-0 first leg, it looked like we might be going to the next round once again after we took a 2-0 away lead through club veterans Sulaiman and Tan. However, even more shocking than us being 2-0 was that we actually managed to lose the game, conceding 3 goals in the final 20 minutes! The defeat means we are out of the cup, however like I said, this was always my aim.

Thankfully, our league form was much much better and we have actually won all 7 games since the last update, only conceding 1 goal! The has ensured we broke the club record for most clean sheets in a row (6), which shows just how far we have come since we joined. As well as the defence, the attacking players have also been in fine form and we have scored a massive 19 goals in those 7 games.

Although we haven’t played any good teams in this run, we have still showed that we can now comfortably dispatch the weaker teams in the league – particularly in our 4-0 win over Balikpapan (with Rudi scoring a hat trick) and 3-0 away win to Tangerang (with a hat trick from Fatahillah who had just returned from injury).

Our 7 game winning run has seen us surge into top spot and we have now opened up a 7 point lead over Tira, who have had some tricky games, and a 13 point gap over 3rd place Bandung. We do still have some difficult games to play so the league is by no means won with 8 games to go.

Squad performance
The squad has continued to play beyond expectations this season and Ahmad has now hit 21 goals this season. He did however get a slight knock which kept him out for a while, making our run even more impressive! Rudi now has an immense 18 goals this season! He is lacking a little on the assist side, but his goal contribution makes up for that. I would normally point out some under performers at this point, but the team is playing so well I don’t think I can even do that. Possibly the only disappointing season so far is Tabuni, who has only contributed 2 goals and 0 assists, which is disappointing considering his ability.

As expected, we lead the way for top scorer (Ahmad), top average rating (Talipudin), top assists (also Talipudin), man of the matches (Ahmad again) and clean sheets (Stojanovic).

As you might expect, I am absolutely delighted with our league form and I think we almost have to go on and win the title now with 8 games to go. Everyone is playing really well and it feels like we are all pulling in the right direction, so it looks like I might be getting the perfect send off at the end of this season.

*Join me next time as we wrap up the season and officially bring my time at the club to an end. Thanks for your support!*

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