It’s very simple. We have Real Madrid at home, we are down 1-0 on aggregate, we can’t afford to give up an away goal. We need two.
Here’s how we lined up.
The idea is simple, Foden works box to box, Zambo works as a short pass hub, taking the recovered ball, carrying it forward, and leading the team in pass attempts, Trigueros receives the ball and sprays passes to the forwards. Ulimately, the offense is all about getting Toko the ball, and the fullbacks (as part of a high line) stay home and clean up any balls that the opposition tries to slip past us.
Gotta be honest, the first half was pretty dead, not a lot of chances going around, a lot of tackling. Typical cagey final. At the half I switched things up just a little, backing off my pressure to midfield and making the formation more narrow. Just after halftime, my worst nightmare happened, Toko Ekambi got hurt. I slid Ade Lookman into his slot but at this point, any real hope I have of making the Copa Final has gone out the window. He’s my talisman. He’s my offense. And yet...
In the 66th minute, Ade Lookman gets free in on goal, Rafa Varane takes a DOGSO red card to stop him from getting in on the keeper and we get a free kick just outside the box. Man advantage the rest of the way.
TRIGUEROS! In the 77th minute, Manu Trigueros drops a direct free kick into the right side of the net, and we have HOPE again. I change the offense passing from my usual complex overlaps to direct balls and long passes out the back, we just need to hoof the ball at goal and hope for something good. Kluivert comes on for a shot Ontiveros. At first, there’s no impact, nothing changes... then, in the 88th minute, it’s Kluivert who scoops up the ball and slides a ball from the wing to a sprinting Ade Lookman who’s one on one with the goal keeper, he takes an extra touch to go by Courtois and GOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!
Now, however, is not the time to lose our heads. We’re through, but we cannot give up a goal. I slide Rob Holding into the match for Chukwueze and tell my players to ‘time waste’ and we wait to see what happens. As the game winds down, Real Madrid gets a corner. Unfortunately, there’s no setting in FM2020 that says “MARK SERGIO RAMOS WITH THREE PEOPLE YOU FOOLS” so I’m screaming it at my phone instead.... the cross... the white circle with a ‘4’ in it slides around and makes contact with the ball...
SAVED by Sergio Asenjo, who kicks the ball miles down the pitch and the game ends. Folks, we’re going to a final.
I’m not gonna bother you with a game by game of the next few weeks. We won 4 out of five matches, drew at the Bernabeu in the other, and outscored out opponents 10-2 in those matches. We are 13 points clear of fifth place Athletic and a point behind Atleti. Toko Ekambi has 23 league goals (second most), Trigueros leads the team with 8 assists, and Phil Foden has the highest average rating on the team (I’ll never be able to afford him on a permanent).
Tomorrow, we’ll cover the Copa Del Rey Final against Atletico, and I as I type I haven’t actually played this out yet so I have no idea how it’ll end.
Champions League football for next year is all but secured 30 games in. Can we win a trophy?