There is always THAT one team. The team you are not able to beat continuously. The team you are always aware of because they take the important points in the match against you and it doesn’t matter if they are 20 points clear at the of the table, the average team in the middle or tragically bottom without a chance to survive.
It was Udinese Calcio when I played with AS Roma back in Football Manager 2006. It was Spartak Subotica when I played with FK Žarkovo in Football Manager 2014. It was Sporting when I played with Spartans FC in Football Manager 2015…
And it looks like it is Manchester City in Football Manager 2018. Why Manchester City as I play in Hungary? It’s very simple.
My Siófok is not second tier club but we are trying to win Champions League for the last 10 years. We are trying to earn money and develop our club thanks to Champions League. And it looks like Manchester City don’t like us…
If you read the previous post about the summary of 16 years with BFC Siófok, you maybe remember we were eliminated or defeated by Manchester City five times in the last six years.
I thought it’s enough.
But they didn’t think the same and made it six in seven years.
- 2027/2028 – Semi Final (4-3 on aggregate)
- 2028/2029 – Final after extra time (2-0)
- 2029/2030 – Final (1-0)
- 2031/2032 – First Knockout Round (4-1 on aggregate)
- 2032/2033 – Semi Final (5-1 on aggregate)
- 2033/2034 – And Final after penalties…
Yes, we made it to the Champions League Final of the 2033/2034 season. And we lost to Manchester City. Bogey team. (thanks FM Grasshopper )
Back to the start of the season
We bought a couple of foreign youngsters, mainly from Serbia and one Turkish/German kid from Greuther Fürth. And we also welcomed back our former key player and national hero, World Cup 2030 winner, János Major.
Still, only 26 years old driven midfielder was released by Arsenal after five years with Gunners. We bought him for €2.4M in 2024 from Puskás Akadémia and sold him to Arsenal in 2027 for €20.5M.
I decided to use most of my affiliate club, Cskavári TK, in the second tier and seven young players went there. We sold players for €67M this season.
Domestic competitions were absolutely alright despite I decided to change our formation before this season as I decided to try to use 4-2-3-1 with Enganche/Advanced Playmaker or Attacking Midfielder.
We were dominant, we won the league with 81 points for 24 wins and 9 draws. We finished the season unbeaten, we scored 80 goals and conceded 25 (that’s a lot, I know).
In the domestic cup, we played mainly youngsters in the early stages or backup players and it was fun to watch as we won 5-0, 3-0, 3-0, 2-0 and 2-1 before the Quarter Final with Újpest.
We had 38 players on international duty, thank God Dominik Szoboszlai already ended his international career, so I had to play with the kids+fathers combo. It resulted in a 4-2 away win, 8 debuts with 5 players in the starting XI including young attacking midfielder András Kovács who appeared in the latest youth intake only three weeks before this match. And 16 years old striker Bence Kovács scored a hattrick.
Champions League route was fun this year. Mainly until the Final match.
We faced AC Milan, OGC Nice and BVB in the group stage. We started with a 0-0 draw at home with Milan, beat Nice 3-1 away, tied with BVB away and won the last three matches without conceding a goal. Dortmund 2-0, Milan 3-0, Nice 3-0.
A perfect work and group stage first place.
We played against Wolfsburg in the 1st Knockout Stage, we tied 2-2 in the first leg as we were 2-0 won after the 22nd minute but we levelled the score before the halftime.
And we beat them 4-0 at home in the reply thanks to a perfect performance. Chelsea was the opponent in the Quarter Final. After a 0-0 draw at home, we travelled to London with a tightened ass but we made it.
We won 2-1 thanks to goals by Cojacaru and Szalai within five minutes at the start of the match and made it to the Semi Final.
We faced FC Sevilla here and after a 3-0 away win and a 1-1 draw at home we progressed to the Final.
Manchester City at San Siro. They had Malmö, Galatasaray and Real Madrid in the group. They eliminated FC Porto, PSG and Atlético de Madrid on their way to the Final.
Just only three of their main stars …
As you can see they had only one English player in the starting XI. And they have only two English players in the senior squad overall. Graham Puckett is a long-serving key player, Rob Burke injured.
Should I change formation? Should I go back to 4-1-4-1? Or 4-4-2 hackz? Should I play defensively? Should I play more aggressively?
I decided to use the new 4-2-3-1 formation I worked on during the season. This is what we are using now.
This is a very simple story of the first half of the Final match. We had only one shot off target and they had 7 shots off target and our keeper saved their six shots.
It’s also very clear from the next picture we were under the pressure and City had high line thanks to their domination on the pitch.
Our performance was much better in the second half but not only better but also more confident and we were not so fearful and posing.
But still, we had only one off-target shot, three shots saved and one shot blocked. Our more confident performance resulted in the situation they had not have too many chance/half-chances as in the first half.
Note: I would like to see the stats also for extra time but we are not able to do it in FM analysis tab as there is only 90 minutes timeline…
Meanwhile, Man City made all three subs before the end of the 90 minutes I made only one change during both halves of the extra time.
We scored the first goal of the match in the 98th minute. Farkas collected the ball after defender’s header and after a fast play Benedek found Cojacaru in the penalty area and he scored with some kind of luck (or thanks to a lazy effort by keeper).
I don’t know why but despite our performance was better and more confident after the halftime I had a feeling we are not able to keep the score until the end. It was too tight.
And it happened. Our defenders cleared the cross just only outside of the penalty area, they won the ball back, passed it to the side and levelled the score after another cross. 115th minute 1-1.
The match ended with a 1-1 draw after the extra time and we went for penalties.
And this is something I will have in my head for a very long time probably. At least until the moment when we will beat Manchester City.
Our keeper Hutvágner saved the first penalty by Puckett, our first three players scored and Machado missed a penalty in the fourth series.
We needed just one more penalty to win the Champions League.
Cojacaru, Derber and Farkas missed three consecutive penalties. Albarracín and Rufli scored and Manchester City won 4-3 after penalties.
It’s shame but I had to watch this again and again…
We earned €50,7M thanks to Champions League prize money this season and we passed the €600M barrier straight after the Champions League Final.
There is always next year. And if we meet Manchester City again, I will probably cry again. Until that, take care.