So I beat Inter Milan 2-1 at my remodelled home ground, the New Ricoh Arena. In doing so I clinched qualification for the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time in this Master League career.
It was as tough a match as I expected it to be. Every ounce of my newfound PES2012 nous had to be employed.
I took the lead, but Inter pegged me back thanks to one of the the most blatant, bullshit PES goals you’ll ever see (lofted cross, frozen defenders).
I scored the winner soon after, though, and when the final whistle went I celebrated much like Rivaldo is doing in the picture.
The final group table makes for happy viewing. Qualifying out of this group was no mean achievement.
The question now was: who would I get in the first knockout round? I’d have to wait and see…
In the league, I’ve continued my good run. I kept a four-pount lead over the nearest team, Manchester City, for ages. I kept winning, and so did they.
And then we played each other, at Man City.
Where I won. It’s getting to be a habit for me in PES2012, this winning thing.
This picture doesn’t even begin to tell the story of a great match. I was 2-1 down at 80 minutes. Scored a late equaliser, and felt happy just to get a point. Then the ball broke for Saviola in the box during injury time, and I got the winner.
I was quite happy about that.
The table afterwards:
Yes, I did deliberately take the picture that way. After so long being down there, it’s nice to be up here.
And then things got even better.
Just two matches later, Man City had played some of the other big boys, and dropped points. I’d continued accumulating them. Here’s the current top of the table after 26 matches:
Yep, that is a 10-point lead. “I would love it, just love it if we beat them…”
And, of course, it’s nice to score goals in PES2012, and have some kind of partity with the CPU teams.
Here’s the formation I’m using in PES2012 now. I take to the field with this formation against every single opposition team, no matter who they are. It brings me goals galore.
If things aren’t going well, I pop into the formation screen and move my wide midfielders even further forward.
It’s not as suicidal as it might seem. It works. That gap between my DMF and my attackers doesn’t really show up in the hurly-burly of actual play.
And Neeskens is an ace DMF anyway. Perhaps that’s the crucial thing.
I keep a conservative 4-2-2-2 alternate formation on a strategy button handy, in case I need to close things up for a bit. I get by with this system, and then some.
My team selections are very fluid this season. Maybe that helps account for the success. Saviola has emerged as an absolute marvel, a true fox-in-the-box. He and Forlan are on the top scorers’ list. Van Basten hasn’t faded, really, he just plays fewer games due to squad rotation.
Mancini is just out of view on this list, with 10 league goals for the season so far:
The Champions League knockout phase draw came round. I wanted to avoid Barcelona. I’d have preferred to play anybody else but Barcelona. Please give me PSV or Schalke. Please don’t give me Barcelona…
I got Barcelona. Of course I did.
At least the first leg would be at my place. I prefer it that way round in PES. Always have done. I like going to the other team’s place knowing what I have to do, and knowing that any away goal(s) I score will probably be decisive.
I’m looking forward to the encounter. Right now in PES2012, I feel I can take on anybody and give them a game. There’s little or no fear anymore.
Thing is, if I’m knocked out by Barcelona, I’ll be gutted that my Champions League adventure is over for the season, after putting in all this effort.
On the other hand, if I somehow pull it off and beat Barcelona, I’ll feel under pressure to win the whole darn thing.
A memorable League and European Cup double is very much on. My fate will be decided by a couple of crunch encounters coming up next.