Hello folks! #TheMatelianoMission is pushing forward at a pace now. We did the double in the first season meaning we had a chance at the Champions League qualifiers. Amazingly, we won 5-3 on aggregate in the first qualifying round against Shirak of Armenia – a truly incredible achievement in only our second year of existence. Sadly we got stuffed in the next round against Steaua Bucharest but you can’t have everything.
Today we are back in domestic action, looking to win the first ever Mateliano Supercupen and then start defending our league and cup crowns. This time round, the bookies have made us clear favourites to win the title and my board expects nothing less than a successful title defence.
My confidence in the CM93/94 3-3-1-3 revival is growing following our European exploits, but I am still looking at ways ot tweak the defence and make us a little more solid without losing the attacking flair.
I really like how balanced my squad is this season – I have good cover across all positions and this means I can be fairly ruthless if players are not performing. I’m also a big fan of the age of the squad, our average age is a mere 20 years old. This bodes well for the future.
I filled the gap between the Steaua game and the Supercupen game with Calcio with two final pre-season games which garnered a defeat and a draw against allegedly “larger foreign opposition.” I am still trying to get the right players in the right positions, as the flexibility amongst the players is massive. It is just a case of putting the jigsaw together correctly. The jigsaw got a little bit messed up when our skipper and start centre back, Valentini (how apt on Valentine’s Day) was ruled out for two months with a sports hernia.
The Supercupen came around and I was keen to see what happened. I can imagine us and Calcio could well become the Barca and Real of the Mateliano league rather quickly – our league title and subsequent European adventure brought us in £1.5m (although at least 50% of that seems to get taxed as our running costs are so low) and I imagine that Calcio must have made at least £500k out being runners up and having a crack at the Europa League qualification (they lost 9-1 on aggregate in their first round).
The game was being played at Malfa, which was great for our fans. 50 seconds were on the clock when our 16-year-old international Roma hit the post having broken from midfield. It didn’t take long though, ten minutes were gone when Forbes ran on to a clever through ball and put us ahead. We then seemed to stop playing, we didn’t keep the ball well and ten minutes before half time they got level. That seemed to wake us up again though, Roma set up Forbes and the striker got his second. With the last kick of the first half the enigmatic Kivrakidis fired home a free-kick for 3-1. He’s a tough one that lad, I am not sure whether there are better options playing in the AM/S role or whether I have the role set up wrong. It is certainly something I am going to look at this season. Either way, we came in 3-1 to the good at half time.
My suggestion not to get complacent did not get listened to – Calcio pulled one back immediately. Fortunately there are always more goals in this team and Graziano leapt like the prvoerbial big fish to head us 4-2 ahead. They made it 4-3, neveres jangled again. I was able to relaxx a little when Landi smashed hope a penalty for 5-3, just ten minutes were left. Forbes turned provider in injury time to play in Landi and he slammed home his second to secure the Supercupen. Another trophy for Super Soregno! We weren’t great, but it’s another trophy to sit alongside the League and Cup from last season and beating your closest rivals 6-3 is always nice.
When you have many, many three week breaks in our league it seems crazy that we then had our first league match a mere 5 days after the Supercupen. I am sure the fixtures secretary could have organised that a little better. We were entertaining AC Alcamo, the winners of the second division last season. In the build-up I was disappointed to lose our 16-year-old prospect Turano to knee tendonitis, he was ruled out for the season. He came through our intake last season, and was looking like he would be a midfield regular. I made one change, Buonocore coming in for Kivirakidis.
Landi and Forbes are developing a lovely partnership that sounds a little too much like an estate agent for my liking. Landi broke wide, corssed and Forbes volleyed home the opening goal after 20 minutes. Mitch made a stupendous double save straight after to keep us ahead. We came in 1-0 up at the break. 62 were gone when again Landi played in Forbes and the lad slotted it home for 2-0. 2-0 quickly became 2-1 and suddenly we had a game on our hands. Disaster struck in the last nine minutes, we got hit on the counter and it was 2-2. Our title defence had not got off to the winning start that had been expected.
The fixtures secretary got another imaginary earful from me as the next game was three days later. Why? There is a three week break coming up very soon! It was a trip to Viale and I wanted three points and to be entertained, the last match was pretty stodgy in parts.
We got off to a shocker of a start, going one down after ten minutes then two before twenty. It got worse, we were 3-0 before half time. We pulled one back in the second half, but that was a really surprisingly bad performance.
Not the most fun update to write today, but it is what it is smile emoticon Hopefully we will hit some kind of form again tomorrow – but for now, that is all.
Not So Super Soregno!