Let’s get this first one out of the way, before we go any further. The board wanted us to reach the Semi Final of the Coupe de France and, in the two ties we play in Rounds 9 and 10, we win one 1-0, and lose the other 2-0.
Coupe de la Ligue
The Coupe de la Ligue is the one that no-one cares about, but the board still want a Semi Final appearance.
First up is a 4th Round tie against PSG. Can you tell what comes next? Surprisingly, we win 2-1. A bit of a mugging, to be honest. 22 shots to our 8 although, having said that, they only manage one more on target than we do. Second-half substitute Giovanni Simeone gets a couple as we march onto a Quarter Final against Havre Athletic Club.
They’re soundly beaten 4-0, with goals from Sandro, Simeone (2), and Mattia Franchini.
The Semi Final sees us up against OM, and we’re 3-0 up at half-time. Some of the bigger teams might be resting their players but I’m chalking up these cup wins to my own tactical genius, obviously. OM pull one back in the 89th minute, but earlier goals from Franchini, Emre Can and Simeone see us through to the final.
Now, annoyingly, we should’ve won this. To be fair to OGC Nice, it was a pretty even tie, finishing 0-0 after 90 minutes, but we made enough chances to take it. As it is, we go down to a 99th minute, Extra Time winner, and another chance at silverware goes a-begging.
The big one. Never mind those parochial French cups. This is the only thing we want to win etc.
This will be a short post.
Our group stage form carries us into a 1st Knockout Round tie against Arsenal, and we do well. Very well.
At Home, Sergey Savic scores a 69 minute winner that takes us to the Emirates with a 1-0 lead to defend. We take a 3rd minute lead, through Steven Kamphuis, but are immediately pegged back. Midway through the second-half, Arsenal take the lead in the match, 2-1. As it stands, we’re through on away goals.
And that’s how it finishes.
My first ever Journeymen run in the Champions League has thrown up a number of British teams in Celtic, Arsenal and now, Man Utd. A Quarter-Final against the tournament favourites then.
It’s not pretty.
At Old Trafford, we come away with a respectable 3-2 defeat. It’s 2-2 right up until the 80th minute when our young defender Laurent Saizonou puts past his own keeper and we go to the Home leg needing to win. And that’s where it all falls apart.
Actually, to be fair, 3-0 is harsh. Man Utd take the lead early on, and we then get Jeando Fuchs sent off early in the second half. From then on, it’s backs to the wall, counter-attack stuff. But they’re not for budging and, in the end, they bang in a couple of goals in the 82nd and 90th minutes.
The Champions League dream is over for another season.