It’s all over. Season 2018 has come to an end. I’ve been going for the Treble of League, Cup, and European Cup. It’s been a long, hard slog on a number of levels, not least the sheer number of matches involved.
The Division 1 Cup final had my alarm bells ringing even before kick-off. My opponents would be one of my bogey teams—AEK Athens.
The match turned out to be just as expected. Against a Man Utd or an AC Milan,I doubt I’d have had any trouble coasting to an easy victory. But when it’s a bogey team…
I hit the post twice in the 90 minutes, had 20+ shots overall, and still it went to extra time. Early in the second period of extra time, I got the goal that I thought had to be the winner. It was a nice little Prieto thunderbolt scored from the ‘DMF hole’ 25 yards out. (In this entire ML career Prieto is probably my Most Valuable Player, all told.) Ah, but this is PES, and this was AIK Athens. Straight from their kick-off, they went upfield and lobbed a floaty pass over my defence. There was too much strength on it and I brought out Dudek to collect. Only, he collapsed on the ground in front of the ball, letting it roll past him. An Athens striker, following up, had an easy tap-in. Sensational! 1-1! I had to smile, really. What else can you do?
It looked like going to penalties. I hate penalty shootouts in PES—you really might just as well have a coin-toss to determine the winner. I kicked off with that rather forlorn feeling of hope that you sometimes get in PES… Gambino got the ball out on the right. I cut inside, jinked past a defender, jinked past another (unashamedly using the zig-zag dribble)—and from 18 yards fired an unstoppable shot high into the Athens net. It was almost literally the last kick of the match. I’d won 2-1. And that was the Cup.
By contrast the European Cup final was a tame affair. My opponents were Real Madrid and I beat them easily. 2-0 it ended, and it could have been 10-0.
My next league game was against Roma. It ended 0-0, frustratingly, but it was enough to clinch the title. And that was the Treble, finally, in the bag. Below is the final table, showing me with a healthy goals-scored column at last, and a healthier goal difference. I’m satisfied with the title win, but dissatisfied at losing 8 matches in the process. That shouldn’t really be a title-winning record, but there you go. It’s ‘only a game’. When I return to PES2009 (and I will return), one of the challenges I’ll set myself will be to win the league without losing any (or many) matches.
Here are the post-match locker-room celebrations, for anyone yet to see them. I did see them last season but a bug meant that I saw the CPU team celebrating instead of my own team. Here are my Coventry City heroes of 2018, jumping about like lunatics:
And so that is that. I have to be honest and say that I have wearied of PES2009 over the course of this season. The main reason for this is that I have more or less worked out how to win matches, over and over again. The only times I get caught out now, really, are when I lose focus and get sloppy.
I am taking a break for a day and then returning on Thursday with—well, with what, exactly? Season 2019 in PES2009? (No, not yet—it’s still far too soon.) FIFA09? (I have played several more matches of my Atletico Madrid career in Manager Mode. It’s such a shame that Manager Mode feels so crude and empty. Such a great shame.)
But no, I think after all this time it’s time to broaden the scope of PES Chronicles. As of now, this is a general gaming blog—albeit with strong and frequent mentions of my PES/FIFA activities (because I will be back to them, eventually). I was a dedicated general gamer long before I was an obsessive ISS/PES gamer. I still love games in general and I want to play more of them again. So here goes.