Somewhat to my surprise I’m still playing Become a Legend in PES2011. I’m still playing a mode that I have always struggled to like. It seems that it will continue, at least for a while, maybe for the rest of the PES year.
This might be my final season with my current club, Willem II. I would like to finish on a high note….
Willem II are through to the final of the Dutch Cup.
Here’s how the tournament tree has turned out:
It’s not all down to me, but I have made a big contribution along the way. I scored a key goal against Ajax. I laid on an assist in the first round.
The final will be against PSV, currently riding high above us in the league. I expect it to be a tough match.
I’m really looking forward to it, as much (or more?) than I would an equivalently important match in ML. This feels bigger in many ways. I’m a solo player with, in theory, a limited capacity to influence events. But in practice I know I can have a massive effect on the match. If I don’t play well, we’re unlikely to win. That’s the bottom line.
I’m very pleased. It’s been a long, hard season in some ways. Moving up to Professional difficulty after a first season on Regular was a bit of a shock, but I adapted. At times the added difficulty has brought little reward, but I’ve plugged away and kept going. At the end of the day I plan to give one hundred and ten percent, because it’s a game of two halves…
As so often happens—in real life and virtual life—I played AZ in a league match immediately before the semi. That ended in a 2-1 defeat, in a match that was as disappointing to lose as any I’ve played.
We went 1-0 down midway through the second half. I do a lot of goal-hanging when I feel the need to get involved in matches that seem to be passing me by.
Goal-hanging often pays off in BaL, and did so again on this occasion. One of our wingers beat his man for once and got a cross in. I was central, in a few yards of space, about a yard short of the six-yard box. One of our strikers met the cross first and got his shot away, but the AZ keeper parried and it fell to me. I couldn’t miss. I didn’t miss. 1-1.
Goals have been thin on the ground this season. I took as much joy in the virtual celebration as if it had been real. As my player jogged back to the halfway line with his adoring teammates I was mentally looking forward to our eventual victory.
A bitty spell of play followed. Then I followed an opponent with the ball, knowing there was no real chance of winning it back. I nipped at his heels and actually recovered the ball at one point, then gave it away again almost immediately. I watched aghast as the ball was swept into the box and neatly tucked away by a grinning AZ striker (I thought he was grinning).
I was subbed soon after for the first time in about 15 matches. It had been an impatient, sulky display. I deserved to be taken off—my goal was a routine tap-in, nothing special, and no reason to keep me on the pitch. There’s a lot more shrewd AI programming going on under the hood than I tend to give the game credit for.
After that experience I was understandably a bit nervous about the Cup semi-final. It felt as if AZ had a psychological edge.
The semi-final started badly for me. I like to get a touch as early as possible. I like to do something simple with the ball, lay off a short pass, something like that. I nearly always find that the rest of the match goes well when I do this. When I don’t get an early touch I most often find that the rest of the match is a nervous, tetchy affair, with none of my passes finding their targets, and I always seem to be in just the wrong position. (Could there be a “micro-momentum” effect at work in BaL?)
I didn’t touch the ball until 15 in-game minutes were gone. I spent most of the game feeling marginal. But it was one of those rare matches where my teammates were on form instead.
We shut out AZ at the back. In the 80th minute we scored the only goal from a corner. I watched from my usual corners lurking spot, about 20 yards out, as the ball was nodded in at the near post. I feel involved in BaL nowadays, and wanted to run across manually to join the pile of players celebrating a famous win.
So there’s a Cup Final in the near future for me in BaL. I hope I get picked. I’d better get picked!
Here’s a special announcement. I’m going to film the whole of the Cup Final and post it on the blog. (I only hope the file isn’t a million MB in size.)
Here’s the plan for the rest of the week. In Wednesday’s post I’ll cover the end of the League season. Friday’s post will feature just the entire Dutch Cup Final with yours truly playing a prominent role. (I hope.) Even if I have a stinker, it’ll be worth posting the evidence.