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  • Writer's pictureSadPanda333

S8 EP3 - Its Time For The Champions League Knockout Stages.

When we left the journey last time out we had just been drawn in the Champions League First Knockout Round against European Giants Barcelona. We had also had a little dip in form the league which needed addressing.

We will cover January, February and March as we start our FA cup campaign too.

January 2028

We start with a bit of transfer news. After searching for some cover at centre back for a while i stumbled across Lasse Hoel who was playing for Rosenborg in Norway.

Young and able to play across the back whole back 4 he is also young enough to be happy to be back up. Hopefully his potential will prove to be correct and we will have a first team starter for years to come. All for £8 million.

We will need that cover as we have a mega January fixture schedule to contend with an exhausting 8 games to contend with.

FA Cup Third Round - Rotherham (H) 3-0

With our round three draw being a little bit kind we looked to make some changes in order to rest some key players and the changes we made paid off with all the goal scorers were players we brought in.

Reis, Gauld and Caballero with the strikes.

Nice start to what we hope is a good FA Cup run.

Match 20 - Everton (A) 2-2

Always a tough away trip but disappointed to not come away with all 3 points. We went ahead through Jack Clarke and we held that lead into half time.

We conceded early in the second half but were given a huge advantage as Everton went down to 10 men shortly afterwards. Sadly we could capitalise and we actually fell behind in the 65th minute.

It took a collectors item form Giovane in the 85th minute to rescue a point.

Match 21 - Newcastle (A) 1-1

With only 3 days rest and another long away trip it was always going to be a tough ask. We came out of the blocks quickly and Henrique put us ahead inside 10 minutes.

We held on well into the last 20 minutes of the game but just couldn't quite hold on for all 3 points, conceding in the 78th minute.

Match 22 - Fulham (H) 4-0

Changes again needed to be made after a gruelling away trips previously. Luckily we were at home of Fulham who are cut adrift at the bottom of the league.

We coasted to a comfortable 4-0 win with goals from Henrique (2) Contento and Jack Clarke.

Match 23 - Aston Villa (H) 2-1

Back to back home games and back to back wins. Henrique again got us off to a flyer again, scoring inside 15 mins.

Villa fired back almost immediately and at half time we were level. The second half was cagey and we cancelled each other out and it took a late late goal to win it. Vahap Reis cutting in from the right wing to fire home in the 94th minute. Huge 3 points.

FA Cup Fourth Round - Leeds United (A) 3-1

Another lower league opposition in the Fourth round so we made some changes in goal and in the centre of the park.

That man Henrique got us going as he usually does with two goals in the first 20 mins. Leeds got one back in the second half to make it a nervy end but the king of late goal, Reis settled the nerves in the 90th minute.

Match 24 - West Ham (H) 9 (NINE) - 2

Not really sure where to start with this one. It was unbelievable to watch let alone write about. We found ourselves 6-0 up at half time Goals from Almada, Henrique (3) and Clarke (2).

The second half was a lot closer as West ham managed to score 2 but Ortega (2) and Reis concluded the rout. Unbelievable stuff, West Ham actually created more chances and had the same shots on target.

Match 25 - Burnley (A) 2-4

I have never seen a turn in form from one game to another so dramatic as this. We were awful and at one point it was looking like a thrashing similar to the one we gave West Ham.

We found ourselves 3-0 down at half time and were 4-0 down early in the second half. Only 2 late goals from Ortega and Henrique saved an even more embarrassing result.

A good month ruined by a poor performance at the end. Henriques performances carried us through the month as he bagged 10 in 8 games. This was confirmed as he picked up both player of the month awards.

February 2028

Only 3 league games in February and the 5th round in FA Cup too. However all eyes were on the Champions League as we look forward to welcoming Barcelona to Buckinghamshire.

Match 26 - Southampton (H) 2-0

A strong home showing again as 2 Jack Clarke goals either side of half time saw off Southampton. We managed to get some regular starters a rest too for the mammoth game in midweek.

Champions League First Knockout Round 1st Leg - Barcelona (H) 2-0

In what has to be the shock of the tournament so far we produced a stunning display of counter attacking football to take a 2-0 lead into the second leg.

Two first half goals from Jack Clarke sealed the most unlikely of victories.

All to do in the away leg as Barcelona are still strong favourites.

Match 27 - Norwich (A) 4-0

Back to the league and our turn around of form is really starting to show. Jack Clarke grabbed his 5th goal in 3 games as he got us of to a flyer in the 1st minute.

Contento doubled the lead before half time and two late goals from Reis and Ortega put a nice shine to the victory.

Match 28 - Tottenham (H) 2-2

A tough encounter with Spurs as always. We fell behind early and didn't get back into the game until the second half when Contento drew us level and Henrique fired us in front.

We couldn't hold on unfortunately and Spurs equalised in the 81st minute.

FA Cup Fifth Round - Fulham (H) 3-0

We finish the month of with a home tie in the FA Cup against Fulham. We went ahead early through an Almada penalty.

The game was over as a contest when Fulham were reduced to 10 men. Henrique put us 2-0 up before half time before the scoring were completed by Reis in the second half.

Into the Quarter Finals

What a month. Unbeaten with the only blip being a draw. But the whole month is overshadowed by that stunning win against Barcelona.

March 2028

Match 29 - Liverpool (H) 0-3

One to move on from quickly as I risked a few changes before the 2nd leg in Barcelona. Lets hope they pay off.

Champions League First Knockout Round 2nd Leg - Barcelona (a2-4)

I have never been so happy with a 4-2 defeat in my life. We were dominated all game and fell behind early and were 2-0 down after 17 minutes. Our lead from the first leg wiped away just like that.

Then a glimmer of hope and from an unlikely source. Mora popped up from deep in midfield and unleashed a rocket into the back of the net. We made it to half time at 2-1 on the day 3-2 up on aggregate.

Barcelona carried on their domination in the second half but it took them until the 77th minute to make another break through to go 3-1 up. With the away goal rule we were still in pole position to qualify.

They knew this and turned the screw scoring again 3 minutes later. 4-1 up and now more importantly 4-3 up in the tie.

Then out of nowhere in the 80th minute Contento picked the ball up in the left and ran inside through the middle of the park, he looked up and clipped a pass over the defenders head and there was Vahap Reis to hit it on the half volley to beat the keeper at the near post.

We held on to qualify for the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER FINALS

Match 30 - Manchester United (A) 1-4

A lot like the Liverpool game previously one to move on quickly from. Tired after our midweek exertions on the continent we didn't muster up much threat. Only when the game was dead and buried did Ortega pop up with a consolation goal.

FA Cup Quarter Final - Sheffield United (A) 0-0 Wycombe win on penalties.

The definition of a bore draw as both teams struggle to break each other down and created little to no chances.

Extra time was the same story and penalties were inevitable. We were perfect from 12 yards as all 5 takers scored and it was The Blades final penalty taker smashed his effort against the post.

It wasn't pretty but we are into the semi finals of the FA Cup for the first time in this journey.

A lot of red in the above graphic but qualification in the champions league and the FA Cup makes non of that matter.

The draw for the Champions League took place soon after the FA Cup game.

We renew rivalries with Sociedad after they beat us to first place in the group stages.

League Table

Still in two cup competitions and in the hunt for European qualification in the league.

Next time we will cover the end of the season which will include the Champions League Quarter Final and the FA Cup Semi Final, its going to be one hell of an episode.

Will catch you then.




If you have enjoyed this episode and want to fully catch up with our Journey so far you can start way back at the beginning here -

We also recently had our turn in a joint save with other FM creators called "The Far East Express. Please check out our three episodes with the link below. One hell of a journey going on in that save.

We also have an fascinating International save going as we attempt to take Jamaica to Gold Cup and World Cup glory after acquiring some new recruits who have been ignored repeatedly by England

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