Mister M
8 months ago
1 month ago
6

 

Wandering “The Land of God”
 

Hello and welcome to my journey 🙂
 
One thing I have no knowledge about in the beautiful game is football outside of Europe. With South America having some wonderful players and national sides with great history, I’ve decided to load the top divisions of the six countries forming this continent and form a journey career in this part of the world.
 
My aim is to try and gain a degree of understanding of how their league systems works. I’m also keen to see how tactics will fare in nations where there is extreme heat and the football played over there is generally at a slower tempo.
 
I’ve decided to start in Peru where there is just their top league to choose from. I figure this nation probably has the poorest and fewest number of clubs of these nations, and so I’ll try to work my reputation up and move to better sides in more competitive nations on this journey – unless I get sacked quite promptly of course!
 
Below is where I'll log my progress each year.

 

SeasonClubNationLeagueCupsHighlights
2021-2022Club Sporting Cristal S.A.Peru---
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
Mister M
8 months ago
1 month ago
6

2021/22 Season Preview

Peruvian First Division

Club Sporting Cristal S.A.

 

Transfer Budget: 425k GBP

Media Prediction: 1st

 

Well for those interested in a bit of club information, here is a nice wiki link:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sporting_Cristal

 

My chosen club, Club Sporting Cristal S.A. They appear to be a club based in the city of Lima, have been finalists of the Copa Libertadores and hold the longest undefeated streak in the tournament’s history going 17 games unbeaten! I can only guess that was back in the older days. 

 

They’ve never been relegated from the top division either. With any luck I’ll be winning more than I lose then…

 

X4 Competitions?

It looks like the club have the First Division, an Opening Stage, and a Closing Stage that comprises the league as a whole. (Hands on head) I’m lost already.

 

Additionally there is the Copa Bicentenari which our board consider not at all important, and the Copa Libertadores (which if I’m correct, is the largest cup in South America?). The board want us to be competitive here, so it does hold a greater degree of importance.

 

The board want us to win the league and finish in the top one places (whatever that means) in the opening group stage. At this point I can only assume that where I finish in this opening stage, will determine whether we quality for the closing stage.

 

Squad

Well the highest value player in my squad is at 325k GBP. And given we are expected to win this league, that says quite a lot about the quality at this level. The job might be a poisoned chalice already. I was hoping there might be a greater gulf in quality between the sides, but clearly I was sadly mistaken.

 

I only had about 18 or so players in the main squad. So I’ve had to draft in a bunch of kids laying in the reserves and under 18s to simply make up the numbers.

 

Squad

 

Recruitment

I have brought some staff members in. We didn’t have a scout at all to begin with so I have invested in one. I have also tried to bring in a couple of coaches and physios. For a club expected to finish first, we should at least have a decent degree of backroom staff to help try and meet the objectives.

 

I've also been able to bring a Defensive Midfielder Alexis Arias to strengthen our first XI along with an upcoming 23 year old centre-back Eduardo Caballero who will very soon get his chance as our current pairing are almost at the end of their careers at 32 and 34 years old.

 

Transfers

Mister M
8 months ago
1 month ago
6

February 2021

 

A great start in my first month at the helm of Cristal. Winning all four league games and outperforming our opponents on an xG level, and with very little time to settle in and the squad to get used to the system I've chosen to employ I couldn't really have asked for much more.

 

First Division Opening Stage (Game 1)
Cesar Vallejo 1 (xG 1.20)  vs Cristal 4 (xG 1.77)
 
My first competitive game in charge saw us take this one in the end convincingly. There were some tough moments in the first half. However our defence held firm, and when we took the lead in the 27th minute they were forced to chase the game, but this left room for us to exploit. And in combination with poor defending it saw us take a 4-0 lead.
 
They did grab a consolation goal to their credit late on. Statistically the game looked close with number of shots and those on target, but the quality of chances and a little extra player quality is what really made the difference.
 
First Division Opening Stage (Game 2)
Cristal 1 (xG 1.95)  vs Universidad San Martin 0 (xG 0.17)
 
This was a very frustrating game as we kept failing to play that final killer pass, but it was also a pleasingly hard fought win. The first half was quite uncomfortable. We were conceding a lot of free kicks in dangerous areas, but fortunately we defended the crosses very well. 
 
The second half was much of the same, but with time ticking away we finally produced that bit of magic in the 83rd minute. With the opponents committing players forward for a winner, after clearing our lines a direct through ball beat their back-line with our sub popping up with the winner coolly finishing his one on one with the keeper. 
 
First Division Opening Stage (Game 3)
Sport Boys 0 (xG 0.68)  vs Cristal 3 (xG 1.37)
 
A solid performance, combined with VAR on our side meant the scoreline looked very convincing. The opponents had four goals chalked off! However we were probably in our comfort zone by this point. We went ahead with an early penalty, and not long after grabbed a second that gave us a 2-0 lead at HT.
 
And despite their efforts, it was us who grabbed the next and final goal of the game to give us a comfortable 3-0 win. Was it good defending to catch them offside a number of times? I’m sure my boys would like to think so.
 
First Division Opening Stage (Game 4)
Cristal 3 (xG 2.45)  vs  Cienciano 0 (xG 0.40)
 
A good display in the second half saw us win this game 3-0. Solid but lacked the killer ball in the first half. We took the lead on the hour from Gonzales with a tremendous strike who I was about to just substitute. Ten minutes later Hohberg scored a goal from outside the box.
 
We kept focussed enough to secure our third clean sheet of the season. And in the 92nd minute a great through ball from deep left Hohberg with just the keeper to beat, finishing calmly making it four wins from four.
 
Here are the top five positions as things stand at this very early point of the year:
 
1. CRISTAL                             PTS 12, GD +10
2. UTC                                    PTS 10, GD +6
3. CIENCIANO                       PTS 9,   GD +3
4. UNIVERSITARIO               PTS 8,   GD +6 
5. UNIVERSIDAD S.M           PTS 7,   GD +4
 
So a very good first month of the season. There are at times where a lack of quality is shown going forward with playing that final ball. But the side has been defensively sound, and when we do create good opportunities we are appearing fairly clinical in taking them.
 
The start of next month sees us play our first game in the Copa Libertadores. We are in Group B competing with SAN, Nacional and Tigre. All three teams are far superior to ours, and only the top two appear to qualify for the next round. I can see why our board’s objective is to “be competitive”.
Mister M
8 months ago
1 month ago
6

March 2021

 

March has been a good month. We performed really well in the Copa and have given ourselves every chance of qualification. However our last league performance at the end of the month was poor both on a footballing and disciplinary level, which leaves it very tight at the top of the league table. 

 

Copa Libertadores Group B (Game 1)
SAN 2 (xG 1.54)  vs  Cristal 2 (xG 1.92)
 
A proper game of two halves. Disappointed we threw away a two goal lead, but against the odds it was still a really good effort from the boys. We went ahead from a set piece, and doubled the lead after a superb solo effort from Hohberg who really has made an impression on me.
 
However an unfortunate own goal from a corner, and yet more poor defending from another corner meant SAN made it 2-2 and were really pushing for the later winner with 10 minutes or so left. I decided to try and play for the draw, and we held out which could be a valuable point in the competition.  Our CBs aren’t the best aerially, and it is definitely a weak point of our side.
 
First Division Opening Stage (Game 5)
UTC 1 (xG 1.94)  vs  Cristal 1  (xG 0.92)
 
A top of the table clash match. After the draining game against SAN, we went down to 10 men after 20 minutes Tavara committing a stupid challenge. Forced to play with just the two up top, it was wave after wave of attack from UTC but we held on till HT.
 
It was the same pattern of play in the second half. With a sub already used first half and my second used on the hour the team were really suffering with fatigue. The last sub was made in the 75th minute, but unfortunately a few minutes later UTC broke the deadlock.
 
I had to change my strategy and gamble for the last ten minutes, and luckily it paid off. That man Hohberg again timing his run superbly to break the offside trap and grab the equaliser in the 89th minute! At this point I was more than happy to play for the point, and we held on after five more additional minutes of injury time. A point that keeps up top of the table for another week.
 
Copa Libertadores Group B (Game 2)
Cristal 2 (xG 2.53)  vs  Tigre 1 (xG 0.70)
 
A game we made hard for ourselves in the end. A goal late in the first half and almost immediately in the second gave us what seemed to be a comfortable 2-0 lead. But again, another goal conceded from a corner with twenty minutes still left gave them a life line.
 
With time ticking away, we ended up having to play with 10 men the last few minutes due to an injury to our left back. With 3 minutes of overtime added onto overtime, they were putting some late pressure forcing a few corners. Fortunately our keeper made a couple of good saves from these, and we held on for the 3 points, which all in all given we created better opportunities throughout, was just about deserved.
 
First Division Opening Stage (Game 6)
Cristal 2 (xG 1.97)  vs  Ayacucho FC 1 (xG 0.47)
 
This proved to be a very hard game. With out left back out for a number of weeks and a poor 17 year old coming in there is greater chances to drop points. In a lacklustre display throughout the game, the opponents grabbed the lead in the 73rd minute after poor defending from a free kick, Firpo nodded the ball passed our keeper unmarked.
 
I then gambled and moved our defensive line up and aggressively deciding to take the game to them. And seven minutes later after winning the ball high up Hohberg grabbed the equaliser. Rather than playing more on the counter as I always start off with, with us being the home side and sensing our opponents were on the rocks, we continued in the same vein.
 
Following more pressure, we forced a corner and our 23 year old CB signing Caballero rose tall and from close range looped the header passed their outstretched keeper to give us the lead with just three minutes of normal time left. They came back at us immediately, but we dug in and held out for another three league points.
 
Copa Libertadores Group B (Game 3)
Cristal 4 (xG 2.00)  vs  Nacional 0 (xG 0.44)
 
It was an important match to give us a chance of making the next round, and the boys really performed well in what was probably the best performance yet as manager. We aren’t a possession based side, but the opponents let us have the ball. With how we were setup, it was no wonder they struggled to cause us any real problems during the game.
 
An early goal really set ourselves up for a comfortable ride. And although it was just 1-0 at HT, once we grabbed the second just before the hour their heads seemed to drop whilst us underdogs were high in the sky, with us eventually taking this home 4-0.
 
First Division Opening Stage (Game 7)
Melgar 3 (xG 0.17)  vs  Cristal 1 (xG 0.85)
 
From best performance of the year, to the worst. I’ve no idea whether the xG stats is a bug, or if the mechanism does indicate we created the better chances. Nevertheless, suffering two red cards did not help our cause. This was also a top of the table clash, and only our late consolation goal kept us at the top of the table above our conquerors.
 
But they were clinical, oh very clinical. Three shots on target and 3 goals, compared to our 4 on target with just the one converted. And going into the end of this month of March, it’s now extremely tight at the top, with just two points separating the top five sides.

 

Game Week7
1. CRISTAL                            PTS 16, GD+9
2. MELGAR                            PTS 16, GD+8
3. UNIVERSITARIO               PTS 15, GD+11
4. CIENCIANO                       PTS 15, GD+2
5. UTC                                    PTS 14, GD+7
 
In the Copa Libertadores with half the games gone:
 

Game Week 3

1. CRISTAL                             PTS 7, GD+5
2. SAN                                    PTS 7, GD+2
3. TIGRES                               PTS 3, GD-1
4 NACIONAL                         PTS 0, GD-6
Mister M
8 months ago
1 month ago
6

April 2021

 
April has been a great month for us, undefeated in all competitions with just the league draw our blemish. Our performance levels were generally very good with the exception of this game, but our squad was heavily fatigued for this particular match.
 
We remain top of the league by 3 points and have a chance to come top of our Copa Libertadores group if we can take a draw at home vs a very difficult SAN.
 
First Division Opening Stage (Game 8)
Cristal 3 (xG 1.96)  vs  Aianza Atletico 0 (xG 0.23)
 
Our first match after the International break, and bounce-backability we showed. Coming up against lowly Alianza Atletico, we were never in trouble this game with them only registering one shot on target.
 
Hohberg was at the double, but a first start for Olivares up top got the other. He showed some nice combinations with Hohberg at times, and although originally I was very sceptical in giving him a game, the fact they seemed to hit it off immediately is a positive. Both set each other up for a goal in this game, and I’ll be less reluctant to give him a game when needed.
 
Copa Libertadores Group B (Game 4)
Nacional 1 (xG 0.53)  vs  Cristal 6 (xG 2.60)
 
Our side have raised the bar in this one with an absolutely fantastic team display. Nacional as with the first game, were looking to dictate proceedings which played into our counter-attacking hands. Imagine Bielsa vs Jose Mourinho, this game summed it up perfectly.
 
Leaving gaps in behind to exploit, we punished them on many many occasions, resulting in us scoring six goals to their solo effort. Hohberg yet again was at the double, and after criticizing Avila’s form up top for us, he himself brought home a brace. 
 
On a side note our left back finally returned for this game. I’m hoping if we can stay injury free we can continue to carry on the good start we’ve made. This victory against all odds has taken us into the 2nd round, and I’m fast learning as intended with this save, it seems this is the money making tournament for these sides down in South America.
 
First Division Opening Stage (Game 9)
Binacional 0 (xG 1.96)  vs  Cristal  0 (xG 0.53)
 
Following our excellent Copa performance, our side were extremely fatigued coming into this game. Despite making a number of changes it really impacted the player performances of those who remained in the side. And in a very lethargic display, our opponents bossed the game from the first minute till the last ending up with 64% of the ball.
 
That said, they weren’t overly dangerous with it. One heart-stopping moment came late on when they had a penalty review…but fortunately for us VAR was on our side. But just before the end of the game we had a glorious one on one chance to steal it. Avila had no defender near him, but he lacked the necessary composure to give us the win and so we had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
 
First Division Opening Stage (Game 10)
Cristal  3 (xG 3.22) vs  Mannucci  0 (xG 0.50)
 
A week’s break did us the world of good. It was a much more energised performance, and although we won 3-0 it could have been a lot worse. Some great incisive passing was on view, but we should have been a little more clinical at times.
 
Tavara’s goal was the pick of the bunch, a powerful shot from the edge of the 18 yard box flew passed their keeper. Although this seemed very comfortable, it was only until the 82nd minute that we grabbed the second goal, and a one nil scoreline is never a safe one going into the last minutes of a game.
 
Copa Libertadores Group B (Game 5)
Tigre 0 (xG 0.29)  vs  Cristal 5 (xG 2.29)
 
An observer may cal this a master-class, and I’d tend to agree. Another brilliant performance in South America’s prestige competition. It seems I don’t need to motivate the boys at all, as whenever we have played so far all against superior opposition, we’ve given everything.
 
Solid at the back without giving any clear chances away, and highly clinical going forward it was faultless, and going into the last game with SAN we hold hope of being able to top the group.
 
First Division Opening Stage (Game 11)
Cristal  2 (xG 1.84) vs  Carlos Stein  0 (xG 0.08)
 
A very pleasing win following our mid-week Copa Libertadores tie. We’ve tended to struggle a little after these, but we weren’t as fatigued compared to our previous games following this, which helped here.
 
It allowed us to put in a competent performance at all levels, and coming up against a side joint bottom of the table, this was enough to secure a comfortable win to bring an end to what has been a very good April month. The only down side was picking up a couple of injuries, but I believe this will only affect their availability for the next league match.
 
Game Week 11
1. CRISTAL                            PTS 26, GD+17
2. CIENCIANO                       PTS 23, GD+9
3. UNIVERSITARIO              PTS 22, GD+10
4. CANTOLAO                       PTS 21, GD+8
5 MELGAR                             PTS 20, GD+5
 
Copa Libertadores with one group game left:

 

Game Week 5
1. CRISTAL                             PTS 13, GD+15
2. SAN                                    PTS 13 ,GD+5      
3. TIGRE                                 PTS 3, GD-7
4. NACIONAL                        PTS 0, GD-13

You'll need to Login to comment