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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
A decent finish in the end. Looking forward to seeing what you can do over a full season now.
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 2 – Update 1

Following our survival in the last update, a busy transfer window has ensued, but I now feel that we have one of the better squads in the league and should be looking to mount a top 4 challenge at the very least this season.

Transfers – Outs

A fair few players have left over the off-season, including two of our foreign players as I was looking to reallocate where our foreign player slots were located in our team. During my first half a season it was clear to me that the teams with the best midfield were nearer the top of the league. Therefore I chose to reallocate my foreign players to be more midfield based (1 defender, 2 midfielders, 1 striker). That being said, both centre backs, Walukiewicz and Foyth, departed the club for big money to make way for a couple of new players.

Some other Chinese players departed, however all of these were backups or reserve players so I was glad to get some decent money for them.

Transfers – In

Firstly, our new foreign defender is Krystian Bielik, who has previously represented Arsenal and Derby County in England. I specifically targeted this type of defender as he is also exceptionally good with his feet, so should offer us an extra dimension when needed.

Joining Bielik at the back is his new centre back partner Zhu Chenjie who has returned to China following a spell with Panathanaikos in Greece. I was amazed that we only had to pay £1.1m for him, considering he is easily one of the best Chinese defenders around.

Our other new foreign recruit is Croatian midfielder Amer Gojak, who joins from Dinamo Zagreb. I was looking for a box-to-box midfielder who could help us control games from the middle of the park, and that is exactly what we have brought in. Again, a fairly cheap transfer at £11.5m, but someone who I think could have a massive impact for us.

I also realised that players only have to spend 5 years in China before they can take up nationality, so I next turned my attentions to any players that had Chinese second nationality as they would not count as a foreign player. Unfortunately, there was not too many player in this category, but the best player I could attract was Norwegian John Hou Saeter – also a central midfielder. With our midfield trifecta of Ibanez, Gojak and Saeter I am confident that we can take on any other team in a midfield battle this season which should give us a massive edge in games.

And finally, our last big signing is Niu Shuai, who has arrived from Porto and will play in the number 10 role for us. Again I think this signing of another Chinese international adds some real quality to our team and I am hopeful he can have a really good year.

The other transfers we have made are all fullbacks with Li Qi arriving on loan from Shanghai to play left back and Tang Hui being signed from South Korea to be our new right back. And our final transfer for a hefty £9.5m is Wang Zhiquan who can play across the defence and will be filling in where needed.

Season preview
With all the transfer activity concluded, the media has predicted us to finish in 2nd place – a massive 8 places higher than last season, which backs up just how good our transfer have been.

I feel that we could have a really good go this season and looking at the squad we are strong in every area now. I had already signed the Chinese number 1 so we have the best goalkeeper in the league, and I now feel that our defence, midfield and attack can comfortably rival any other team in the division so I am very much looking forward to this season.

*My next update will be covering the first few games of the season as we see how the new look squad will get on. Let me know what you think of the transfers and who will be the best player this season. Thanks for reading!*
The squad looks to be a lot stronger than what it was initially with those signings. Bielik is a recognisable name to most and will be one of your key players for the season ahead. All those highlighted specifically look terrific additions.
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 2 – Update 2

Welcome back to the start of my first full season as Tianjin TEDA manager, where we are hoping to mount a top 4 challenge and secure a Champions League spot for next season. Let see how our first 8 games of the season have gone.

The season kicked off in the most difficult way possible as we travelled away to Guangzhou Evergrande who are the reigning league champions. Although I would have preferred a much easy start to the season I was intrigued how our new squad would rise to the challenge. I found out very early on as, despite falling behind early on, we fought back with debut goals for midfielder Saeter and right back Hui put us 2-1 ahead going into half time. We had performed amazingly in the first half so I was dismayed when we conceded two quickfire goals on the hour mark to fall 3-2 behind. However, we continued to play well and got our just reward with a thunderbolt strike from Hui, his second of the game in the 95th minute. I was delighted, and even more so for our new right back, who had cost just £275k!

Our next two games continued in the same fashion as we smashed Changchun and Shenzhen 3-0 and 2-0 respectively, before another big win on Jiangsu Suning to round off March. Again we fell behind early on, but goals from Rafaelzinho and Gojak put us 2-1 before Jiangsu equalised, scoring from the rebound of a penalty after a fantastic save from Hu Shuo. The equaliser didn’t dampen our spirits though as we scored a further 3 goals, including Rafaelzinho scoring his first hat trick for the team as we finished the game 5-2 winners.

We continued our winning streak with another 3-1 win over Hebei, before we faced newly promoted Guizhou Hengfeng, who became the first side to take 3 points off us this season. Once again we played well, with Gojak getting another goal, but a poor second half display saw us slump to a 2-1 defeat.

We followed that up with two disappointing draws against Shandong and Tianhai as the Guizhou defeat appeared to have taken the wind out of our sails.

Despite our 3 games winless run, we still find ourselves in 3rd place having taken an impressive 15 points from our opening 8 games. Amazingly, we are already 5 points off table toppers Beijing Guoan who are yet to lose, and we are also only 2 points ahead of Shandong who are in 10th place! We do however have a game in hand against a lot of the teams around us so we have the chance to put a bit of daylight between us and them in that game.

Squad Performance
It has been a great start to the season for our new Croatian midfielder Gojak, and he has already bagged himself and amazing 5 goals in our opening 8 games! Rafaelzinho has also had a good start to this season and is already only 1 goal behind his tally of 6 goals last season. Ibanez, Saeter and Niu Shuai have also started the season well in our strong looking midfield as they have been dominating most games for us.

Player of the season Ma Jin has also recorded 3 goals in his 5 starts, although he had picked up as slight knock which has kept him side-lined recently.

A pretty good start to our season overall and we are exactly where I predicted we would be – right in the battle for the top 4. I am hoping that we can turn our mini blip in form around as soon as possible and rediscover our early season form in order for us to continue our league challenge.

*My next update will be covering our next run of fixtures as we head towards the half way mark in the season. Let me know where you think we will finish this season. Thanks for your support!*
A pretty decent start to the season! I definitely think you can get a top four finish. Perhaps mount a bid for the title even? I might be jumping too far ahead but you never truly know!
Loving this story so far. Keep up the good work mate, I'll be following closely!!
Its a good start to the season and you have played arguably the toughest game of the year, away to Guangzhou Evergrande. Need to cut that winless run as soon as possible and hope to get that title challenge going!
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 2 – Update 3

Following our solid start to the season in the last update, I was hoping for us to continue our form (as well as recovering from a slight blip) as we headed towards the half way mark of the season.

Overall the results since the last update have been very up and down as we have struggled to maintain any form over the past 3 months of fixture. In the league we have recorded 3 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats from our 8 games which shows just how average our form has been.

We did start our run of games with a comfortable 2-0 win over Southern Tigers in the Chinese FA Super Cup, before we were knocked out in the next round in dramatic fashion just 6 days later. We seemed to be coasting to a easy 3-0 win as we entered the final 3 minutes of normal time, but a sensational turnaround from second division Shaanxi saw them force the tie into extra time with goals in the 88th, 94th and 96th minutes. Needless to say I ripped into the team at the end of 90 minutes, but this seemed to have little effect as Shaanxi continued the turnaround with further goals in the 104th and 112th minute to leave me in a state of utter disbelief. I have to say that this is comfortably my biggest football manager bottle job ever!

And the following game in the league against Dalian Professional felt like deja vu as we led 2-0 thanks to a Rafaelzinho brace as we entered added time before a 90th and 93rd minute goal saw us throw away the victory again!

The next 6 games produced 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats, including an eye catching 4-1 win over Zhejiang Greentown with Rafaelzinho scoring another hat trick, however defeats against Henan and Shanghai, as well as a 0-0 draw against Beijing left us off the pace against our fellow table toppers. Victory against Guangzhou Evergrande in our final game does at least keep us in touch with the other top 4 teams as they had occupied 3rd position going into the game.

Our patchy form currently leaves us in a precarious 4th place, although we only have a 4 point lead over Henan in 9th place. We also haven’t lost too much ground at the top either as we are still only 7 points off top despite our run. I definitely don’t expect us to win the league this season, given that we are now past the halfway point of the season, however if we can find a bit of consistency we should be able to secure a top 4 finish.

Squad performance
Rafaelzinho has continued his great start to the season and now has 13 goals in 17 games. To put this into perspective, he only scored 6 in the same number last season. Left back, Li Qi, has also been a man in form recently and has notched up 3 goals and 4 assists for himself now.

I have been slightly disappointed with the form of our midfield players recently and I expect this is why we been struggling for any kind of form, so I am hoping that they can turn their seasons around in the next few games.

Ma Jin has also been very disappointing after his great season last year. He has only recorded 5 goals this season in 11 games, however at 18 years old he is still very young and I fully expect he will be able to turn his form around soon.

Transfer activity
During the mid-season transfer window I have managed to recruit a new (foreign) attacking midfielder, Rodrigo Amaral, from Uruguay. Although you can only have 4 foreign players in the playing XI in China, you are allowed to have another on the bench, which was a Romanian called Morutan. I would have replaced him in the off-season, although he had been in China for 5 years so I was hoping he might take up Chinese nationality during the year. But due to his lack of playing time he requested to leave and I felt that that was probably the best option.

Amaral will fulfil the same kind of role, but he is a expert set piece taker so I am hoping he will have slightly more of an impact when he is required off the bench.

Things could have been going much better, however we are still in 4th place which is where we want to be so I can’t be too disappointed. We just need to ensure that we pick up enough points between now and the end of the season to stay there rather than continuing our recent patchy form.

*My next update will be covering our next few games of the season as we seek to secure our top 4 position in the league. Thanks for watching!*
Some absolutely horrific bottlejobs in this update, I must admit! :O Top four would still be a good season.
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 2 – Update 4

Following yesterday’s update where we finished the first half of the season in 4th position after an inconsistent run, I was hoping that we could turn the corner and push ourselves up the league table as we were only 7 points off top stop.

Our last game was a massive win over 3rd place Guangzhou and it seemed to act as a catalyst for us as we continued our fantastic performance and secured an unbeaten August as well as a win over Shenzhen to finish July. Our run in August was particularly good as we secured a massive 14 points from a possible 18 as we looked to secure our top 4 position.

One of the most enjoyable games in this run was our 5-1 demolition job against mid-table Jiangsu Suning with goals from Rafaelzinho (2), Gojak, Li Qi and Amara, who scoring in his first goal off the bench.

Another key game in the run was our away fixture against top of the table and local rivals Beijing Guoan. We raced into an early lead with 2 goals inside 5 minutes from Rafaelzinho and Tang Hui before a goal on the half hour mark from Beijing, however it wasn’t enough and we secured a crucial 3 points.

The other game I would like to highlight in this run was a crazy game against Guizhou Hengfeng who were challenging us for a top 4 stop so it was crucial that we secured a good result. Before the game I actually spoke to Ma Jin as his form had been pretty poor in recent results and he couldn’t have responded any better as he smashed in a double hat trick!! To be honest we weren’t even that dominant in the game, but Ma Jin was on a rampage as he looked to impress me as we ran out 7-2 winners.

As mentioned, our 8 games since the last update have proved to be a great success as we have taken 6 wins and 2 draws. Unfortunately, both draws were against teams that are in the bottom 4 so it could have easily been 8 wins in a row.

Following our fantastic run we have closed the gap to the top to just 4 points with 6 games to play as well as opening up a 5 point gap to 5th placed Dalian Professional.

Squad performance
As you will have probably noticed, Rafaelzinho has really found his shooting boots this season and has now surpassed the 20 goal mark for the season. He is currently 9 goals clear at the top of the Chinese Super League golden boot race with Ma Jin in second place with 10 goals. Unbelievably, 6 of those 10 have come in one game which shows how poor he has been for the rest of the season.

Gojak has also continued to impress and he tops the average rating charts in the league after forming a solid midfield partnership with Ibanez and Saeter.

Overall, a great run for us recently and I am very confident that we should make the top 4 now. I don’t expect us to win the league even though we are only 4 points behind, although we do face second place Shanghai in our final 6 games so if we win that game we could have a chance.

*Come back tomorrow as we will find out how we will end the season. I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone for reading, this is the 100th post in my first ever story! I'm so glad to see how many people are reading, commenting and enjoying the journey so thank you all!*
A much much better month! The title is still a large possibility if Guoan can drop a few more points, something that they have done recently.
You're not just winning, you're winning convincingly and that is very promising. Keep pushing and push this title race all the way. You never know what may happen! A lot of players are really proving their worth now.
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 2 – Update 5

At the end of my last update we had 6 games remaining and as we were entering the home stretch I was hoping that we could secure our top 4 position that would ensure Asian Champions League football next season.

With a five point gap to 5th placed Dalian Professional, we knew that we had to continue our good run of form if we wanted to secure our position. Looking up the league as well we still had a chance at winning the league if we could close the 4 point gap to Beijing, however they had also been on a good run lately so I knew this might be a long shot.

First up we faced relegation threatened Shanghai Shenhua and comfortably dispatched they 3-0 with a Rafaelzinho brace and an own goal.

Our next game was all the more important as we welcome Dalian Professional to the Water Drop stadium. Going into the game we knew a win would extend the gap to them to 8 points with 4 games to play – an almost impossible task to overcome, so we went into the game on the offensive. We started well with another Gojak special on 22 minutes before Dalian made it 1-1 on the half hour mark. The second half however brought about a change in the flow of the game as Dalian knew they could not afford to lose, or possibly even draw the game they began to leave gaps in their defence that were easily picked apart by our attacking trio of Ma Jin, Rafaelzinho and Shuai, the latter two both finding the net in the final 25 minutes to give us a crucial 3-1 victory.

Our next game was almost as important as we faced second place Shanghai, knowing a win would put us in the thick of the title race. Despite this, the previous game had taken a lot out of us and as the game wore on we really struggled to keep Shanghai out and eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat.

We followed up that defeat with another, this time at the hands of bottom of the league Zhejiang Greentown in a really disappointing performance. This meant we could no longer win the league, a long shot in the first place, however it also made our final two games all the more important as we knew one win would guarantee us a top 4 position.

Our penultimate game was at home to 14th paled Qingdao Huanghai and we finally recaptured the form that had put us in the top four this season with a fantastic hat trick from Rafaelzinho and a 4th goal courtesy of Ma Jin.

Top 4 was secured and our second season in the Champions League as a manager was on its way. Despite our small hiccup we had secured what we came for and rounded off the season with a 1-0 win over Henan.

So, confirmation of our qualification as we finish the season in 3rd place, just a point behind Shanghai in second and still only 5 points off champions Beijing. With the right additions I feel like the league title is easily within our grasp next year.

Player performance
A fantastic season all round as we achieved our pre-season goals. Rafaelzinho has played a huge part this year, scoring a massive 25 league goals in the 29 games he played in, which is a club record. He also bagged 6 assists meaning he contributed more than a goal a game this season, enough to win him League Player of the Year.

Other players that have been particularly impressive have got to be our midfield trio or Gojak, Ibanez and Saeter. As I had hoped for before the season started, these three players have formed a real bond in the middle of the park and have probably won us an extra 10 or so points on their own. In total they have shared 14 goals and 17 assists in all competitions which is very impressive.

Similarly, another two players who have been equally as impressive have been Li Qi and Tang Hui our fullbacks. They have shared 7 goals and 9 assists this season which is a good return considering we aren’t playing with very attacking wing-backs.

Ma Jin has even managed to have a decent end to the year and has finished with 12 goals and 4 assists (although 6 of his goals did come in one game). He is still young so I am hoping he will learn from this year and perform even better next season.

As expected, Rafaelzinho scooped fans player of the year with a massive 56% of the vote this year, with Gojak taking home signing of the season and goal of the season as well.

Career News
I have just signed a new contract with Tianjin TEDA which ties me down for another 3 years. I don’t know if I will be here for the full length of the contract, but it does at least buy me some job security. Perhaps encouragingly the board do expect us to make the semi-finals of the Champions League next year which indicates that the squad is already one of the strongest in the continent which is good.

Additionally, I completed my National A coaching license earlier this season and have just begun my Continental C license which will be the second and last one I will be able to earn at Tianjin.

Overall, I am very happy with our performance this year and we have achieve my goal of getting into the Champions League. The next step is to try and bring in a few more quality players over the winter before we have our first real go at trying to win the Champions League.

*My next update will be running through my transfer business and bringing you our first few Champions League group games with Tianjin TEDA. Thanks for reading!!*
A good season all-in-all. Champions League football is back on the agenda and you must be confident you can give it a real good go this time. With players like Rafaelzinho banging in the goals for fun, you will be a dangerous opponent for anybody. Perhaps even the Super League title could be within your sights too. As you say, you made encouraging strides towards it this year.
Unfortunate to miss out on really puhsing for the title with those back to back defeats especially seeing as the two above dropped points themselves. However, there is always next season and with consistency this team has a real chance at challenging once more. Keeping Rafaelzinho is going to be massive for you, as I imagine teams will be looking to sign him after this season.

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