The struggle continues. Life in Ligue 1 with Saint Etienne is everything I wanted it to be when I set out on this unprecedented (for me) managerial switch in Year 12 of my Master League.
The players are all around the late-60s-to-mid-70s OPR bracket. Team Spirit is ultra-low thanks to my newness and the poor results that I started with.
I went on losing, match after match, for so long that I started to think my House Rules were too tough. I thought I’d have to relax my OPR cap of 80, which I don’t want to do, and/or play on a lower difficulty, which I also don’t want to do.
I racked up a few draws, which were a marked improvement on the 5 straight defeats I’d started with.
Then I got a win — a precious, precious win. I went 1-0 up, got pegged back to 1-1, and it looked like just another draw.
Until that man again, Friday, popped up with a headed winner in the last few minutes. (The goal is on today’s clip, farther below.) I shrieked like a woman.
I thought I couldn’t shriek any louder or sound any more womanly. But during the very next match, I did.
I faced Toulouse, one of the toughest opponents in the league. They went 1-0 up and were frankly cruising to the win. I offered nothing.
Until, from nowhere, Friday bagged himself a 30-yard long-range screamer into the postage stamp corner of the net. It rescued a point I had no real right to. A truly fabulous PES moment.
‘That,’ I told myself whilst watching the replay, ‘is nothing less than the goal of the century…‘
It’s at the tail-end of this clip below — which features every goal I’ve scored in the League and Champions League since the start of the season:
Look at the flight of the ball in the super slo-mo replay. Through the first defender’s legs — a ball-grazer — then a lovely, long, looping curve around the jumping defender’s head, then over the keeper’s despairing (and slightly late) dive.
The most long-rangey long-ranger I’ve scored on PES2017, methinks. The one that is most PESlike.
A word about International management, which I have also embarked upon. I went with New Zealand. Apart from the Classic Defaults, this New Zealand lot are the worst team I have ever played with in any PES. Their OPR average is around the 60 mark. I’ve played a few friendlies so far and lost them all. It’ll take some doing to get New Zealand to a tournament, never mind do well in one.
The current Ligue 1 table. Off the bottom. But this is still a relegation battle: