UEFA Europa Cup

My first trips to Europe as a manager in this Journeymen save have come as manager of Montpellier. We’re back again for season 9. It’s the year 2024, and we’ve been drawn against Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Levski, and Spartak Moscow. I don’t think we can argue with that group draw.

Group D is a breeze. We lose 1-0 away to Levski and then draw 0-0 with them at home, but wins against Maccabi Tel-Aviv (5-0, 3-0) and Spartak Moscow (5-0, 2-1) get us through as league leaders and a 1st Knockout Round tie against Atalanta.

It’s the away leg first, and we come away with a 1-0 win, courtesy of a set-piece header from Mauricio Lemos. Giovanni Simeone missed an early penalty, so it could’ve been more.

The home leg is a scrappy affair, with Atalanta trying to kick us off the park. We were much the better team, but in the end it finished 0-0 and we take a 1-0 aggregate lead into 2nd Knockout Round.

An away trip to AS Saint-Etienne is the order of the day – practically a home tie – and we treat it as such, demolishing them 5-2 in front of their own fans.

The home tie is almost as emphatic, Postorino and Simeone scoring early in a fairly comfortable 2-0 win.

Next up is the much more difficult task of facing Man Utd. At this point in the save, it’s been a few years since the last won the Premiership – a 10 point margin over Arsenal enough to give them the title in the 2020/21 season – but they’re still Europa Cup contenders. They’re now managed by Unai Emery, who took over from Pep Guardiola (now at Chelsea) in the summer. Guardiola had been there for 6 years, having taken over from Jose Mourinho in 2018.

All that preamble is getting away from the point that they knocked us out. A 1-0 defeat at home was to blame. We came at them at Old Trafford and came away with a 2-2 draw, and until the 80th minute we were going through to the next round. A late equaliser by 23-year old English striker Adam Robertson was enough to send us out.

Another European journey over.

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