SC Braga - Taking over Portugal

christianms95

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Before I start out this story I'll just inform you that I have already played the first two seasons on this save and the format will be 4 posts with half a season in each. After that I will re-evaluate if I will continue with updates every 6 months or change it up.

Basis for the story

Most of you, if not all of you probably know the football club Braga. But when you think of Portuguese football you probably only think of Porto, Sporting, Benfica and Cristiano Ronaldo. SC Braga has in the last 15 years been considered as the club who always was 4th in Portugal, finishing the league in 4th position 8 out of the last 15 years. Their best finish in this period was one 2nd place in 2009/10 and the worst a position as number 9 in 2013/14.


Aim of the story

The aim of the story is to hopefully break the perception of "only" being the 4th best club in Portugal and go on to dominate the Portuguese league and also internationally. I would like to do this while also maintaining a focus on developing youth prospects from within the club and give them first team football.
 
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christianms95

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Apr 4, 2010
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View attachment 43821
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A first look at the squad

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My first thoughts looking at the squad were that it looked pretty well rounded and with no major lackings. However, i did find the central midfield a bit worrying. We only had Vukcevic and Fransergio with enough quality in this position. We had plenty of quality in the rest of the squad though so not much investment was needed ahead of the start of the first season. I did have an eye on that both of our left backs were in on loan though and it was probably a position i needed to have an eye on in the coming year.

Transfers

After a closer look on the squad and the first few pre-season games i decided that besides another central midfielder we also lacked a winger as Esgaio would operate in rotation on the right back with Goiano and Wilson Eduardo wasn't good enough in case of an injury to one of our two primary wingers. So with a budget of around 2.5 million pound we needed a central midfielder and and a winger who were both good enough for the starting lineup.

View attachment 43819
This was the transfer dealings in the first transfer window. Two players coming in; a central midfielder in Joao Novais from Rio Ave(funnily enough i actually just found out today that he was bought by Braga in real life too) and Joao Amaral from Vitoria Setubal with both deals costing us around 1 million pounds up front and a few addons based on performances.

Joao Novais:
View attachment 43820
An all-round good central midfielder who can also operate in the defensive and offensive midfield if necessary. He will mainly be deployed in the central midfield though where i look to get the most out of his great passing game.

Joao Amaral:
View attachment 43818
Joao Amaral is a pacy winger who has the ability to beat his man purely with speed but also has the ability to dribble past his man and get the ball in the box. He should be a dangerous option as he can operate on both flanks, I will mainly look to play him on the right wing though.

Pre-season

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Not much to say here, some matches to get the fitness up and some good wins to give some confidence to the squad.

Lineups

After the two incoming transfers and the pre-season done i settled on two main tactics(sorry for the lacking ingame ss of tactics, i simply forgot to do it and dont wanna go back to the start to have the old squad just for this)

Offensive:

View attachment 43816
This will be the main tactic deployed against lesser teams, a simple 4-2-3-1 with offensive fullbacks, one winger and one inside forward. Besides this the midfield trio will be a defencive centre mid in Vukcevic, a box to box player in Fransergio and an attacking playmaker in Teixeira behind the complete striker Hassan.

Defensive:

View attachment 43815
Against better teams and for some tougher games away from home we will deploy a 4-1-2-2-1 with wide wingers. A solid back four with a DM in front and then two central midfielders where one Fransergio is again the box to box man. Same attacking set up with the wingers and strikers apart from that we look to exploit the wings more.


UPDATE JUST AFTER TRANSFER WINDOW SHUT:

Teixeira got injured for 7-8 months, this meant that i sent him back to Porto as i didnt want him on my wagebill, especially not when we payed for a Porto player and he wouldn't recover in time to be of any use. This meant that the big talent Xadas was now pretty much alone with in the attacking mid without the possibility to strengthen this position. New signing Novais will have to cover a bit further up the pitch than i would have liked.


Results

View attachment 43813
A very mixed start to the season result wise, with both a big loss to Porto and Santa Clara(???) but also great wins over Benfica and Zenit in the Europa League and a big win over Belenenses. After the shaky start we found our rythm and picked up a lot of wins along the way.


View attachment 43814
This is how it looked competition wise after the first 6 months of first season. We got knocked out in the League cup where mainly the youngsters played, so i wasn't too fuzzed about that.
In the Taca de Portugal we were still in and had a relatively easy next match in Chaves even though they were doing well in the league.
In the Europa League we were in group with Zenit, Dinamo and Akhisarspor where we managed to get through to the next round via a great win over Zenit and the all decisive final win over Dinamo in the final group match. In the next round of the Europa league we are gonna face Atalanta. A strong Italian team, but for sure we could have gotten a worse draw, so we fancy our chances!
In the League we are(not surprising huh?) 4th in a close battle between all the top 4 teams in Portugal and with good space down to 5th place. An exciting battle for the league win seems to be on already.
 
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leckuno

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Jan 26, 2017
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Keep an eye on Francisco Trincao in your youth team. I bought him for 100k on my leeds save and sold him 3 seasons later for 27 million
 

christianms95

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Apr 4, 2010
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Keep an eye on Francisco Trincao in your youth team. I bought him for 100k on my leeds save and sold him 3 seasons later for 27 million
Oh that reminds me that i forgot to look at the youth prospects in that post, guess i will do that in a small extra post later today. But as stated at the start i'm already 2 season in, and can confirm i have my eye on him :p
 

christianms95

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Apr 4, 2010
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As promised earlier, a little look at the youth prospects at SC Braga..

A closer look at the youth prospects

Fabio Balde - DC - 17 years old
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Some decent stats for a 17 year old and could definitely develop into a squad option at the club. Probably doesn't have what it takes to become a real star center back, as he lacks a bit on the mental side of his game, but maybe he can learn it, who knows?

Miguel Vilela - LB - 17 years old
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I really hope this kid can turn into being brilliant. Seems to have a lot of facets to his game already at a young age. Could be really good technically and going forward.

Samu - CM - 16 years old
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An allround midfielder at the age of 16 it seems. Samu definitely needs to figure out which type of midfielder he wants to be as it seems like he is able to do most things. maybe a box to box midfielder or even a deep lying playmaker?

Reko Silva - CM/AM - 17 years old
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An attacking playmaker by the looks of it. Sadly Xadas is already at the club and also very young which may limit the game time Reko Silva will get. Definitely got a lot of potential, lets see how he develops.

Pedro Neto - AM/AML - 17 years old (on loan at Lazio)
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Currently on loan at Lazio from the start of the game and they have an option to buy him for £8.5 million. Don't know whether i hope they buy him or not, as he could develop into something special, but at the same time nothing is certain with youngsters, and the club could use the money.

Diogo Goncalves - AMR - 16 years old
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A young right wing who really seems to have it all. Flair, dribbles, pace, crosses. Hope he can keep his head down and focusing on developing into a star player. We could have our hands on a special kid here.

Francisco Trincao - AML - 17 years old
View attachment 43777

Very much like Goncalves, Trincao also seems to have it all just operation on the left wing instead of the right. Same goes for him, really hope he can concentrate on his development and he could be something special.


All in all some very good youth prospects at the club, some with potential to be stars, and others with potential to be at the club for a very long time as good servants of the club!
 

christianms95

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Apr 4, 2010
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End of season 1

January transfer window
I didn't really have much to do with here transfer budget wise, so instead i checked the list of players whose contracts were to expire at the end of the season. Two players attracted my interest; David Pavelka, a powerful box to box midfielder and Marcos Llorente, a deep-lying playmaker from no less than Real Madrid. Llorente quickly made it clear that he had no intention of negotiating a contract with us and wanted to wait with thinking about the next step in his career till it was closer to his contract running out. This meant i quickly moved on and instead put all my focus on Pavelka. I still only really had 3 midfielders who i could rely on in Vukcevic, Fransergio and Novais so Pavelka was the top target, And i got him signed up, joining on 1. July 2018.
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This was actually the only bit
of business i had in mind besides a few small sales. But but but.. On the last day of the transfer window Porto came knocking on the door for R. Esgaio, an offensive fullback who can play all positions on the right hand side. I actually didnt mind selling him, as Goiano had been the better back and he wasnt getting any game time as a winger. So it ended up in a deadline day sale of £5.5 million which i was happy about

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All in all a rather quiet window. As said no-one coming in untill July and only a few sales which were:
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Europa League


We faced Atalanta in the first round after the groupstage and we certainly fancied our chances with what i found a good draw. Unfortunately things didn't go quite as hoped.

Match 1 - Away game
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Match 2 - Home game
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Knocked out after a draw in extra-time on away goals.. That was tough to take. But hopefully we'll have another try next year!

Youth intake
zzzzzzzz... NOTHING at all of interest came through the youth system this year. This made me fire my head of youth development and recruit a new member to my staff to ensure this wouldn't happen again next year.

Welcome to Luiz Fernando Moraes
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Transfer update
A few things to report on as the season comes to it's end. We secured two players. One who will arrive at the end of the season and one who will arrive on 1. January 2019.

Marcos Llorente:
View attachment 43613






Really happy with this signing. We get a top player who has experience from one of the biggest clubs in the world, if not the biggest and then on a free! - He will get quite a bit in wages, but we'll manage + thats the direction we wanna move anyways to challenge the best.

Lincoln:
View attachment 43612






Wonderkid Lincoln will join us on 1. January 2019. Exciting to see what this kid can develop into. He certainly has the potential and the skills to be a top striker in a few years.

Pedro Neto:
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We say goodbye to Pedro Neto at the end of the season as Lazio chose to make use of their £8.5 million buy out clause. A big talent that we sell, but also a big amount of cash. Not too worried about loosing him as we have a bunch of great youngsters still at the club and in his position.

Title race hots up
View attachment 43610The title race is as close as it gets. We are still hanging on in the top. All 4 of the top clubs within 2 points, what an exciting end to the season we are in for!

End of season

The season is over and this is how it ended:
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To be honest, it ended closer than it probably should have between us and Sporting. Sporting were 4 points clear with 2 matches to go and seemingly lost their concentration as they thought it was in the bag. Of course i would have liked the title win already, but i'm not really upset as we get champions league football + money next season and are ready to challenge again!

Braga season awards
As the season ends we have some awards to give out. First up..

Team of the season:
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Not much has changed from the team that started the season. One change really which is Joao Amaral took over the right wing and pushed Fabio Martins out of the team with Ricardo Horta taking over the inside forward role. A really strong squad that doesnt need many improvements ahead of next year, besides a left back. It must be said though that netiher Xadas or Novais really performed this year, so depending on the pre-season next year i might re-evaluate this position too.

Player of the year:
Ricardo Horta
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Ricardo Horta had a really good season and he really stepped up once he was moved to the left wing to operate as the inside forward. I hope he can keep it up next year!

Young player of the year:
Francisco Trincao
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No one really made it quite into the first time yet, but Trincao really impressed me, and just look at those stats for the U19's + the good cameos in the first team. I was so impressed that he will be in the first team as 3rd/4th choice on wings next year behind Horta, Amaral and on side with Martins at the moment. Really excited to see if he can kick on once he gets regular first team football.
 
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dporter8999

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Great first season to end up above Benfica & Porto! Llorente should be a good signing to improve your midfield.
 

christianms95

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View attachment 43383

Season 2 Summer transfer window
After the sale of Pedro Neto and securing Champions League football we were given a budget of around £8 million.
As mentioned in previous posts i was generally very happy with my squad. With Pavelka and Llorente coming in, besides already having Vukcevic, Fransergio and Novais we now have a very strong midfield with many options.
One thing i had also pointed out earlier was that i would need to find a left back. Jefferson and Ailton who operated on the left back last season were both here on loan. Nuno Sequiera returns from being out on loan though, and while he is a technically sound and offensive fullback, i simply didnt trust him enough. Therefore the main priority for the transfer window was a left back.
Besides a left back I was also on the look out for a new right back. With Esgaio gone and no good backup and Goiano not being the youngest fullback anymore i wanted to find someone who could rotate with him and make him the backup from next year on.
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A fairly quiet summer when it comes to players coming in, besides the two players joining after end contracts.
We secured Joel Pereira on loan from Manchester United as back-up to Marafona.
I really struggled to find a left back that i think possessed all the qualities i wanted, but towards the end of the window i found Ayrton, a Brazilian left back who we got for £2.5 million.
I didnt manage to get a right back in this window, although we did secure a right back who will join on 1. January 2019 due to him being on loan at another club until then.
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Happy with securing Mayke, a well-rounded and offensive fullback who should make the spot his own for the coming years.

A closer look at the tactics
It's time to take a closer look at the tactics i've been working with last year and will continue to work with and improve this season.

Offensive setup:
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This is the main tactic deployed against lesser teams both home and away from home. Mainly used against teams in the league/cups who are outside of the top 6. A fairly simple and attacking setup.

Defensive setup:
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Against Porto, Benfica, Sporting and if any team is in a very good form this is the tactics we play from kick off. Has a lot of the same traits as the offensive setup, just not as risky.

Results
Results and goalscorers up untill 31. December 2018.
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Champions League:
We actually had a really hard time getting through the qualification matches to get in the group play of the Champions League. We did manage to get through though and were handed a though group with Manchester United, Zenit and Dortmund. To be honest I really didnt think we standed a chance of going through and would be happy with a 3rd place. Surprisingly enough Dortmund were really bad and only got 2 points total - 1 againts us and 1 against Zenit. This meant that with us picking up 2 wins against Zenit we were through on second place.

Cups:
Nothing really worth mentioning here. We picked up expected wins against lesser teams while resting our first teamers and playing some youth players.

League:
A fairly bad start to the season with 3 draws in 3 games albeit 1 of them against Porto. After that we went on quite an impressive run though with 8 league wins in a row and a 12 game win streak overall. All in all a decent first half of the season which meant that we found ourselves in 2nd place in the league 3 points behind Porto and 3-4 points ahead of Sporting and Benfica.
 
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christianms95

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Apr 4, 2010
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View attachment 43088

End of season 2

January transfer window
The January window was always going to be a quiet one. We had two players coming in who we secured earlier in the save; Lincoln and Mayke. This meant we didn't really have any real money to go out and invest further in the squad, which I didnt think was needed either. We sold two fringe players who didn't get any game time for a combined fee of £400k..
One additional player was brought in though. Ricardo Costa(regen) arrived from Boavista for £500k.
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An exciting young striker who i simply couldn't refuse to buy. Excited to see what he can develop in to.


Champions League update
We did manage to get through our Champions League group, and for the next round we drew Atletico Madrid. A tough match where we would need to be on top of our game and have a little luck if we were to have even a small chance of going through.
But no.. we lost 2-0 at home and 4-0 away. A disappointing showing that shows we aren't ready for that kind of challenge yet.


Youth intake
After appointing a new and class head of youth development last year i had high hopes for the youth intake this year, and boy did he deliver. Three really promising players arrived and a few also decent looking players besides that.

Paulo Delgado - GK
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Diogo Machado - AML
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Ricardo Furtado - ST
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League finish
The league comes to an end and i would call it a successful season.
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We ended in 2. place again. A great season with only 1 loss. The 3 draws to start off the season seems to come back to haunt us. Overall Porto were just too strong though. A really strong campaign and i'm very positive ahead of next season.

Taca de Portugal final
We are in the final of Taca de Portugal after beating Sporting in the 6th round and Maritimo, who did pretty well in the league, in the semi-final. In the final we were up against Aves, which in all honesty should be an easy win. Aves ended up getting relegated after all.

For the final we were missing two key players in Llorente who was suspended and Xadas who was injured.
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A very secure win which was also expected and that means the first piece of silverware is in the bag, with hopefully much more to come.

Results
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Braga season two awards

With the second season done in what i would call a successful manner it's time for the season awards.

Team of the season:
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A few talking points about the team of the season: Goiano/Mayke - I picked Goiano as he was very consistent and simply because he had the bigger part in the season all combined. Trincao - yes, you are seeing right. The young player who i wanted to give some first team game time had an amazing season, once he really breached into the lineup.

Player of the year:
Joao Amaral
View attachment 43074

















What a season, he absolutely bossed it! And what a bargain he has proved to be after picking him up for £1.4 million. 24 goals and 15 assists across the season is amazing as a right winger. Hope he can keep it up next year.

Most improved player(compared to last season):
Xadas
I decided to hand out this award, as the person who won it really stepped up compared to last season. Last season i wasn't really happy with the AM position as neither Xadas nor Novais played too well there. This season Xadas really upped his game though and has started to live up to the potential i know he possess.
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Fine output from Xadas with 8 goals and 8 assists over the season. He really played well, and made sure i didn't need to go out and find a replacement for him.

Young player of the year:
Who other than Francisco Trincao?
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Look at this guy.. 8 goals and 14 assists in his first season in the first team and only after really breaking into the line up as a starter in late october/start november. And those stats are really starting too look frightening for any full back coming up against him.


 
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ninjaskill

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Oct 26, 2012
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Nice job winning the taca and hopefully you can get those extra couple points in the league next season to win it
 

christianms95

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Any opinions about which format to continue in? Continue with updates every 6 months? Monthly updates? Any other suggestions?
 

scp4ever

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Mar 26, 2011
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Hi there!
Really loving your posts! Please keep on delivering.
As for your question, the one that's easier to you.

Grande abraço!
 

christianms95

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Apr 4, 2010
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Hi there!
Really loving your posts! Please keep on delivering.
As for your question, the one that's easier to you.

Grande abraço!
Thanks! - Been busy with work last couple of days but hoping for an update tonight or early tomorrow.
And i'll probably do one more season split in 2 updates at least then and maybe monthly after that, as its a little more detailed.
 

christianms95

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Besides the story line - A little sneak peek at one of the signings for season 3

View attachment 42518
A player that we didn't really need but at the same time a player that i couldn't turn down as I think he can help take us to the next level. - Feel free to guess!
 

christianms95

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View attachment 41442
Season 3 - Summer transfer window
All in all i was pretty happy with the squad and didn't feel the need for any major signings/improvements going into this season. Some things did happen though. I stumbled across a player on the transfer list that i felt the need to sign as i thought that he could take us to the next level.
View attachment 41441




















These were the deals that happened. The possibility of signing Marko Grujic i simplpy couldn't turn down. And at the same time we had interest in a lot of players due to good performances and i decided to departure with David Pavelka. Pavelka came on a free and did a decent job, but i thought that Grujic was a better player so the fact that we also earned on this swap in the squad was great.

Marko Grujic:
View attachment 41440






We also signed the very talented goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic Again a player that we didn't really need, but for that fee i simply couldn't turn it down. I was about to secure Joel Pereira on another loan for the season but decided to go for Rajkovic as the outlook for him as a potential first choice is there in the future. Also Marafona won't last forever so some real competition on this position will do good.

Predrag Rajkovic:

View attachment 41439






Champions League
We drew Leverkusen, Inter and PAOK - not the strongest or hardest of groups but still two very good teams in Leverkusen and Inter.
Unfortunately we didnt manage to go through the group as we ended 3rd, behind Leverkusen and Inter. This means that we are now in the Europa League where i really hope we can go far as i want some success in Europe.

We managed a win against Inter and PAOK and also drew one game with PAOK. The rest of the games we lost. Leverkusen were too strong in both games.

View attachment 41438











Cups
As always in the cups, a
t least until the later stages or if we meet Sporting, Porto or Benfica we field a young team. Sometimes an almost complete u-19 team and young players in the first team and sometimes a mix of young players and players who haven't played much in the league or recently returned from injury.

We are still in Taca de Portugal where the only real competition along the way so far was Sporting where we went through on penalties. Benfica knocked out Porto for us, so perhaps we have a chance of winning the throphy again.

We are also still in the league cup after going through from our group. Not much to say here, except that the expected clubs are through to the semi final where we meet Benfica and Porto meet Sporting.

Reko Silva has done superbly so far for us in both this competition and in Taca de Portugal which is pleasing to see. Another one of the youngsters maybe breaking into the first time for real. He has gotten some game time as a sub in the league, maybe its time to rotate a little more with Xadas.

League
We are first, and even with a little margin to any real competition. I hope we can keep the form up and finally grab that league win in 3rd season!

View attachment 41437




















Results and goalscorers

View attachment 41436
 

christianms95

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Apr 4, 2010
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View attachment 41001

Second half of season 3

January transfer window
Not too much to report about here. I wasn't really looking for any players and no player caught my eye on the cheap. Therefore the transfer window ended with just one sale and a few promising youngsters to go out on loan and no players coming in at all.
View attachment 40999











We say goodbye to Joao Novais, who i bought when i first arrived at the club. He has been a good servant for the club and always did what i asked of him. A very reliable player. Unfortunately for him, he just wasn't the first choice in any position. In fact he was 3rd choice. And with Reko Silva also playing as AMC now, he got no game time there anymore either. A decent fee for a fringe player who I only payed around £1 million for.

Most notable loan is Ricardo Costa(regen) who joins Belenenses on loan for the rest of the season as their main striker. Hope he gets some good first team experience as he is only 4th choice for me.

League cup
As expected, Porto, Benfica, Sporting and ourselves were the ones who made it through the groups in the League cup meaning that it would be some big semi-finals. We drew Benfica:
View attachment 40998






A 3-1 win meaning that we are in the final against Porto who beat Sporting in the other semi-final.

View attachment 40997






A very secure 3-0 win in the final. It has to be said though that Porto were without a few key players who were out injured.
That means the first league cup is in the bag, and even though its the "small" cup in Portugal its still a trophy i wanted to win, as you normally have to beat two of the big teams to win it.

Europa League run
As written in the previous update we ended on 3rd place in our Champions League group which means we enter the Europa League in the knockout face.


First knockout round
For the first knockout round we drew FC København who, to be fair, is a team we should beat without major problems.

Leg 1:
View attachment 40995






Leg 2:
View attachment 40994






A 5-2 win on aggregate and some players rested in the 2. leg proved that i was right about the quality difference of the teams.

Second knockout round
For the second knockout round we drew Celta Vigo who should prove to be a bigger challenge than FCK and give us an even match.

Leg 1:
View attachment 40991






Leg 2:
View attachment 40990






A 7-3 score on aggregate, and i probably overestimated Vigo's strength. Very pleasing display all in all.

Quarter Final
After the win against Celta Vigo we drew another Spanish side for the quarter finals, Valencia. Joao Novais will return to Braga, although as an enemy this time.

Leg 1:
View attachment 40989






Leg 2:
View attachment 40988






I would have liked to say a disappointing 3-1 defeat on aggregate, but to be fair they were just a bit better than us across both matches.

All in all a respectable run Europe this year I would say, and definitely something we can build on having gotten more experience.

The title race hots up
View attachment 40987



















As you can see, the title race is intensifying, but what a big surprise it is that it's not with Sporting, Porto and/or Benfica. Vitoria Guimares have been the big surprise of the season and is the only team really challenging us for the title. They are on a freak run(as ourselves) with 11 won games out of the last 12 played(only losing to us)

Portuguese Premier League comes to an end
The League is over, and in the end Guimares couldn't hold their nerves as they dropped a few more points than usual in the very end.
View attachment 40986




















This means we won the league! After two 2. places in a row we finally climb to the top of the league after an impressive season with only one loss.

Taca de Portugal final
Yes you read correctly. Not only did we win the league cup and the league itself but we are also in the final of Taca de Portugal.
Along the way to the final we beat Sporting in the fourth round and have only met teams from the best division in the other rounds, at least right until the final. Because amazingly, Fafe(who are they even?) have managed to get their way all the way to the final after beating no other than Benfica in the semifinals.
View attachment 40985






A secure(and expected) 3-0 win in the final means we won the Taca de Portugal for the second time in a row and furthermore do the domestic treble. A very big season which I can only be happy about!

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Fixtures and goalscorers
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Team of the season awards

Team of the season
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Not any real surprises i would say.

In goal Rajkovic claimed the spot as first choice after battling with Marafona until late October/early November where he finally convinced me that he should be the secure first choice.

In central defense i chose Bruno Viana ahead of Raul Silva. Not that Raul Silva did bad, and he could just as well have been in the team but because Viana had some crucial goals and he actually netted 6 times in the league after corners and free kicks.

Besides those two positions i would say the team of the season was as expected.

Player of the season
Who to pick? We had an incredible season and to be honest i don't want really want to point out one specific player. A few who stood out though was; Ricardo Ferreira, Mayke, Grujic, Amaral and Trincao.
Since i have to pick though it will be Amaral again though. He is a beast!
View attachment 40981






14 goals and 24 assists across all competitions is just insane, and an average rating of 7.69 in the league.

Young player of the season
Trincao.. Not really much else to say, he is just so good and keeps improving.
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14 goals and 14 assist across the season and i just renewed his contract until 2024 so he hopefully wont leave in the upcoming summer window.
 
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