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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
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Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 3 – Update 6

Following the last update where we managed to extend our lead at the top of the table to a massive 7 pints, as well as securing ourselves a place in the Chinese FA Cup final it was crunch time for the players to see if they could continue to perform under the pressure and secure a famous domestic double.

Results
Going into our final 4 games with a 7 point lead meant we only had to win 2 out of our 4 games in order to secure the title. Normally this would e fine, however we were playing second place Dalian Pro on the final day of the season, so any slip-ups before then could cost us massively. Luckily though we managed to secured a massive 5-1 away victory over Shenzhen to boost our confidence and put us 1 win away from the championship. Once again, Ma Jin put in a great performance with both himself and Saeter scoring braces with left back LI QI also getting in on the action in the rout.



Our next game was once again away from home against Henan. To make things even more interesting, 3rd place Beijing Guoan were hosting Dalian Pro, who knew defeat would hand us the title. I wasn’t leaving it up to chance though and fielded our strongest team in order to get the required result. And it didn’t take long to make the break through with fan favourite right back Tang Hui blasting home a right footed half-volley to give us the lead inside 8 minutes. The were also murmurings around the ground that Beijing had taken the lead against Dalian which meant it looked like we were on for the title.

The game turned even more into our favour as Henan were reduced to ten men just before the half hour mark and Ma Jin continued his purple patch of scoring with our second goal of the game just before the break. We seemed in cruise control, and to make things even better I was notified that Dalian were now 3-0 down to Beijing after a torrid first half meaning that our closest rivals were effectively handing us the title! With that knowledge the players seemed much more laid back in the second period and we failed to add t our tally, but I didn’t care – we were champions!!





What a season from the team! Just over 2 years after I had joined a relegation threatened team we were champions of China! Despite our success I was keen for us to not rest on our laurels in the final two games as I was desperate to go into the cup final in good form. Fortunately, the boys had the same idea as we swept aside Shanghai 3-0 in a prelude to the cup final before demolishing Dalian Pro 4-2 at home on the final day of the season.

Cup final
After our excellent league form I was very confident going into the cup final, particularly as we had just beaten Shanghai 3-0 a matter of weeks before. Once again, the final was over two legs – a staple of most competitions outside of Europe, and just as with the Indonesian Piala final with Mitra Kukar, the first leg finished goalless. We managed to control the game for large spells, however we couldn’t find the breakthrough meaning we missed out on a crucial away goal.

The second leg was a different story however as, time after time we ripped through the Shanghai defence. Unbelievably though we couldn’t find the net, a combination of their keeper having the game of his life and our players seeming to leave their shooting boots in the changing rooms meant the net seemed to be guarded by an invisible shield. We even hit the woodwork 3 times before half time!

Eventually we managed to find the breakthrough and there is no prize for guessing it was Ma Jin, once again turning up at the critical moment. We continued our dominance but couldn’t find the final killer blow. Nevertheless, our defence performed admirably, and we held out for a narrow 1-0 victory despite the domination over the two legs. The domestic double was our ours!!





What an end to the season! I have had troubles with run-ins during this save, but not this time. A thoroughly professional job from each and every player, scoring and amazing 15 goals and conceding just 3 in our final 6 games.



Table
And just to confirm our league title, here is the final table. An awful end to the season from Dalian Pro, picking up just 4 points from their final 4 games. Amazingly, we only lost 2 games all year and finished with a massive 47 goal difference as well as a 10 point gap at the top. A truly unbelievable season!



Squad performance
There’s really only one man that can be considered for our player of the season this year and that is of course Ma Jin. At the age of just 19 he has managed to bag himself 33 goals in 37 starts this year, as well as 8 assists meaning he has contributed more than a goal a game for us. The fans have clearly agreed, awarding him 44% of their player of the season votes.



Rafaelzinho has also had a splendid, but slightly underrated year. Due to the plaudits going to Ma Jin his 31 goal contributions have gone a bit unnoticed, especially after his slow start to the year, but in the end he has had another great year for us.

Once again, I can’t emphasise how important the midfield is to this team with Gojak, Saeter and Ibanez all having great seasons once again. Niu Shuai has also had a very good year with 3 goals and 12 assists from his number 10 role.

Both full backs have also had good years, contributing 6 goals apiece, as well as Tang Hui scoring the goal that effectively won us the league!



Summary
Overall an incredible year after our Champions League heartbreak earlier in the season and definitely a team that I will never forget. Despite our successes though I am still not sure how we compare to the rest of the competition on the continent, so I feel like next season could be our last in China if we do not at least get to the semi-finals of the competition. Maybe a couple of additions can take us to the next level so I will be scouring the scout reports to find anyone who I think will improve us!

*My next update will be the start of season 4 with Tianjin TEDA as we aim to make a strong challenge for the Champions League. Apologies for not uploading an update yesterday I will treat you to two updates today! Thanks for reading!*
Romped to the title in the end! Get in. And if that wasn't enough, the cup too. A fantastic season.
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Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 4 – Update 1

After winning the domestic double last season, the only objective was to try and challenge for the Champions League title. Most likely this will also be our final season with Tianjin unless we challenge for the Champions League but don’t quite win it.

Transfers
I searched high and low for squad improvements, but came to realise that our squad is already very very strong. The only addition that we did make over the winter was Bing Zhu, a half Spanish, half Chinese striker on loan from Real Madrid. I have been tracking Zhu for a couple of years now, however due to him being younger that 18 we could not take him on loan/ sign him permanently in previous years.

I think this is a very smart addition as we didn’t really have a quality back-up striker last year so this adds some real quality and depth to our squad.



Season preview
The addition of Zhu, as well as our title win last season sees us become favourites to retain our title this year, however we know that the league is not top of our priorities this year.



Champions League
Our Champions League group this season looks much more favourable as we have been drawn, once again, with Muangthong Utd from Thailand. Jeju United of South Korea are the second team in the group, whom we faced with Mitra Kukar a few season ago, but have failed to make the group stage since. The final team in the group is Sydney FC who are competing in their first Champions League group stage since the start of the save.

Our first game was against Sydney FC, who I knew we needed to get a good start against. Ma Jin continued his electric form from last season as he netted a 4 minute brace to put us 2-0 up after 20 minutes. Rafaelzinho made it 3-0 on 28 minutes before Sydney struck back on 37 minutes. However, we restored our 3 goal lead just a minute later through Saeter’s first goal of the year. Sydney made for a nervy second half as they pulled the score back to 4-3, however Rafaelzinho secured a crucial victory on 78 minutes with the final score at 5-3.



The second game of the group was against the group whipping boys Muangthong Utd and we dominated as expected, securing a massive 4-0 victory. Goals from Gojak, Rafaelzinho, right back Tang Hui and a first goal from Bing Zhu put us into a strong position in the group after 2 games.



Chinese Super Cup
The final game of this update was the Chinese Super Cup between ourselves and rivals Beijing Guoan. After we won both the FA Cup and the League I was confident that we could secure victory, but Beijing took a shock lead on 9 minutes. It took until the 60th minute for Rafaelzinho to finally find the back of the net, but we couldn’t find a second within 90 minutes so extra time ensued. Our dominance continued into extra time and eventually we took advantage as Bing Zhu scored his first goal from open play with just 8 minutes left on the clock to secure a 2-1 victory and a 3rd trophy in as many months.





Summary
A great start to the Champions League group and I feel that we have a much better chance of progressing than last year. It is also nice to secure another trophy with Tianjin, particularly against rivals Beijing which will only help to enhance my reputation to other clubs.

*My next update will be the first few games of the league season, as well as the next few games in the Champions League. Thanks for reading!*
Great start to the season. Hopefully you can tick off the Asian leg by the end of the season.
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2020-07-05 16:04#275628 ScottT : Great start to the season. Hopefully you can tick off the Asian leg by the end of the season.

Fingers crossed! Will be nice for a change of scenery when Asia is crossed off the list
Congratulations on the title, it was never in doubt with Ma Jin's form. Good to see he has continued that early on this season whilst Rafaelzinho has added some early goals himself. Seem to be flying so far with Zhu already knocking on the door for a starting role.
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2020-07-05 20:29#275656 TheLFCFan : Congratulations on the title, it was never in doubt with Ma Jin's form. Good to see he has continued that early on this season whilst Rafaelzinho has added some early goals himself. Seem to be flying so far with Zhu already knocking on the door for a starting role.

Thanks! To be honest I never thought Bing Zhu would be so good so I have a really dilemma with who gets the start positions now!!
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 4 – Update 2

After our flying start to the Champions League last time out, I was hoping that we would be able to continue our form into the league season, as well as continuing our push for qualification in the Champions League.

Results
Our league season opened with an away trip to last season’s runners up Beijing Guoan and we struggled from the off, falling 1-0 down inside 6 minutes before struggling back to make it 1-1 through Rafaelzinho. Beijing deservedly retook the lead shortly after half time and as we searched for a late equaliser, right back Wang Zhiquan was shown a straight red card for halting a Beijing counter attack. Unbelievably thought, the red card seemed to spur us on as we piled forward and secured a crucial equaliser through Rafaelzinho on the 90th minute.



The Champions League returned in the next game as we travelled away to South Korea to face Jeju United. Another tight game followed with a fantastic strike from Gojak separating the sides at the final whistle.



There were 5 league games before we faced Sydney in the Champions League and our superiority shone through as we secured 13 points from a possible 15, only dropping points in a 1-1 draw to Shandong in a disappointing game. Probably the most pleasing result was a 4-1 win over Dalian Pro who finished 3rd last season, although their dreadful end to last season seems to have continued into this season as they are currently languishing in the relegation zone after 6 games this year.

The Sydney game was very similar to our away game to Jeju, a very tight affair, however this time we knew that victory would secure our place in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time. And with that knowledge, a second half thunderbolt from Saeter, his 3rd of the season, secured a massive victory and ensured progression to the knockout stages!



After out Champions League success we faced another 3 league games which we dispatched of easily, scoring 11 goals and conceding just 1 as out unbeaten start to the season extended to 9 games.



Table
Our fantastic stat to the season meant we had already opened up a 4 point lead at the top of the table. We really do look like the superior team in the majority of games we are playing so a back-to-back title could be on the cards.



And as mentioned, we have secured our progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League with two games remaining. I don’t believe that the next round has a seeded draw so finishing 1st or 2nd shouldn’t make too much difference, although we would obviously love to finish in top spot.



Squad performance
A fantastic, and also surprising, start to the season for Bing Zhu, who has scored an incredible 12 goals in just 11 starts so far. His form has been so impressive that he has actually ousted Ma Jin for a starting striker role – who would have seen that after last season!? In fairness, Ma Jin has himself scored 6 goals in 3 starts so is not having a bad season, but while Bing Zhu continues to score for fun I feel that I can’t drop him.

Rafaelzinho is having another solid start to the year with 9 goals in 14 games, and Saeter has been the surprise package of the midfield this year with 3 goals and 5 assists already. When he joined us I didn’t feel that his starting spot was 100% secure over some of our Chinese back-up, however he has slowly proved to be one of the most integral parts of our team over the past year or so.



Summary
Once again, a fantastic run for us as we have secured the progression in the Champions League that we craved. The league has also started almost perfectly and I am struggling to see any teams who could put a stop to our run at the moment.

*My next update will be the culmination of our Champions League group as well as the first knockout round draw and potentially some of the knockout games as well. Like I mentioned in a previous update, the league is not our focus this year so I will primarily be focusing updates around the Champions League while we remain in the competition. Thanks for reading!*
Great work so far mate. Having two strikers in such ridiculous form is a headache, a good headache but a headache nonetheless!
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2020-07-06 16:14#275690 Feliks : Great work so far mate. Having two strikers in such ridiculous form is a headache, a good headache but a headache nonetheless!

Thanks Feliks! Glad you are enjoying the journey :) Definitely better to have too many players in form rather than everyone out of form!!
Flying in all competitions. I'm really pleased to see you make the next round this time. Thoroughly deserved! Zhu has been absolutely incredible.
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Easy work. Surprised to see Ma dropped following his incredible season last year but Bing is really playing well. How long is he on loan for?
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2020-07-07 13:44#275760 TheLFCFan : Easy work. Surprised to see Ma dropped following his incredible season last year but Bing is really playing well. How long is he on loan for?

I couldn't believe that I dropped him either, but Bing has been so good! He is currently only on loan for this season although I am working on getting him back either on loan again or maybe a permanent deal
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 4 – Update 3

With qualification through the Champions League group secured our attentions turned back the domestic season for a few weeks before the first knockout round at the end of May.

Results
We started off with a comfortable win over Jeju in the Champions League to secure top spot in the group. However, our next game provided our first defeat of the season in a shock 2-0 home defeat to Jiangsu Suning. With our unbeaten run over, we had some brief respite with the start of the Chinese FA Cup and our final Champions League game against Muangthong Utd.

The FA Cup went well with 6-0 and 3-0 victories over lesser oppositions, although after winning the cup last season I have little interest in trying to progress again. Unfortunately, it seems that our team is too strong that even when we rotate, we can still demolish teams.

We rotated against Muangthong Utd again and secured a 1-0 victory to keep our 100% record in the group. The draw for the next round took place shortly after and we were given possibly the hardest tie we could have got – against last seasons winners Western Sydney Wanders. Although this was a difficult tie, I felt that if we could progress then we would surely be amongst the favourites to go on and win the tournament. And after beating one Sydney based team this year I was hoping this might give us some kind of advantage against another!



We returned to league action before facing off with Western Sydney Wanders we faced 3 more league games, winning two against Shanghai and Zhejiang Greentown, before a crushing defeat against our closest league challengers Guangzhou. The defeat meant that our lead at the top of the table has been wiped out and we are now in a scrap to win the league.

However, I wasn’t worried about the league as our Champions League games arrived and we travelled to Australia for one of the biggest games of my career so far. I was expecting a nervy start to the game, but we flew out of the traps with Bing Zhu grabbing a crucial away goal inside 5 minutes. The goal seemed to wake them up and they battled to get back into the game, but our defence held strong and we secured a massive 1-0 away victory in the first leg.



The next leg took place after a 3 week gap between fixtures, although I would have much preferred it to have been the next day after our performance in the first game. I was desperate to get at least 1 goal in the game as we couldn’t afford to go behind and hand Sydney the initiative. We did play well in the first half, but couldn’t find the breakthrough, and the lack of cutting edge seemed to motivate Sydney as they came on stronger into the second half. I was starting the believe we might get away with a goalless draw when Sydney broke away and made it 1-0 meaning extra time was on the cards.

Extra time brought about the usual challenges, do you push to win and risk losing, or hope to hold on until the lottery of penalties. I opted to attack as I couldn’t risk defeat on penalties and brought on Chen Yun for some fresh legs in midfield. The change paid off just after the halfway mark of extra time and Chen Yun struck a fantastic volley from the edge of the box to put us back into the lead! We knew that another goal from Sydney would mean defeat on away goals, but our defence held strong and we secured a famous win over the reigning champions of Asia!



The next round of the Champions League was not due to take place for another 2 months so we would have to wait to find out our opponents, however we were one of four Chinese teams to make it into the Quarter finals so if we drew any of them then I would be very confident of progressing.



Table
As mentioned, our lead at the top has been reduced to just a point after defeat to Guangzhou, however our progression in the Champions league was my clear focus for the rest of the season.



Squad performance
Bing Zhu has continued fantastic form with 16 goals now in all competitions which is better than I could have ever expected. Rafaelzinho has also done well with 12 goals so far and Ma Jin has scored a couple more goals to take him to 8 goals this year. Even Ge Mo has been having a good year with 3 goals in 2 starts for the young striker.

Champions League hero Chen Yun has had a fantastic year so far with 2 goals and 5 assists as a backup midfielder. Both full backs have also been more productive this year with both scoring 2 goals and sharing 8 assists between them.



Summary
A fantastic update in terms of the Champions League with two massive results against Western Sydney Wanders. After beating the holders, I now have real confidence that we can potentially go on and win the competition this season. In terms of the league it has been a challenging couple of months, but to still be top is encouraging as we head into the second half of the season.

*My next update will cover a large chunk of fixtures, up until the next Champions League tie as we look to hopefully re-establish our lead at the top of the table. Thanks for reading!*
My heart sunk for you a little! I was worried that extra-time may have brought some heartbreak but thankfully not and you march onwards. Great stuff.
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