Category: D1 Cup

Make mine a Single

Season 16 has ended. From an early stage, I felt I had a great chance of winning the Treble.

There was just something about the way my team clicked this season. I went on an extended unbeaten run in the League. I progressed relatively smoothly in the FA Cup and Champions League. I was defending well and scoring goals. There was magic in my team like never before.

And now the season is over—how did I do? Treble? Double? Single? Nothing?

Single. I won the League, and nothing else. The final table:

Tottenham inflicted a second league defeat of the season in my final match.

After spending most of the season top of the League, usually with a 6-point cushion, it was mine to lose. The game did its best to make me wobble me in the last few matches. I had to put up with a strange and very puzzling 2-2 draw at home to a superpowered West Ham.

Happily, my nearest challengers for the title, Arsenal, drew that week as well—and we were the Champions. Again.

Perrotta happened to be wearing the Captain’s armband when the final whistle went. That’s him pictured at the top, doing the post-match TV interview. Perrotta is 25 now in my ML world, and has slowly—very slowly—turned into arguably a better player than Farinos. And his PES2012 player model, with its hint of a Scouse moustache, always reminds me strongly of the Coventry City goalscoring legend, Micky Quinn (right).

The Best XI featured more players from my team than ever before.

My morale was a bit low by this late stage of the campaign. I’d already crashed out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage. Real Madrid were my executioners.

They led 1-0 after the first leg. I needed a storming second leg performance at my place, but somehow it was all weak and tentative.

In truth, I felt that PES2012 was strangling the life out of my team. I couldn’t get a thing going. Real scored midway through the first half and effectively ended it all right there. The away goal is such a powerul force in European football, and even more so in this digital representation of it.

I got a lucky goal back late in the second half, but I needed another two goals, pronto. I never got a sniff. Gutted.

And then I went and lost the FA Cup Final. Gutted x2.

My opponents, Sunderland, were one of the division’s lesser teams. I could and should have beaten them. But this is how the match happened—see if you recognise the scenario: they kicked off and scored a goal immediately. No matter what I did for the rest of the match, that’s how it ended. 1-0 to the CPU.

I really felt that the magic drained out of my team towards the end of this season. I was still playing the same way, with the same players. Perhaps the difficulty was scaling up and up as the trophies approached. Particularly in the Champions League.

I’ve still only won that competition once, on Professional, many seasons ago now. I wonder if I’ll ever win it on Superstar, or indeed if I’ll ever have a Treble chance as good as this season’s again.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on both Cups, it was a thoroughly enjoyable season. I anticipate more of the same next. As ever, the positive side of failure is that success will taste even sweeter. Bring on season 17.

Hardworking days

PES2012 makes you work for everything. It makes you work hard to like it in the first place. And then, after that stage has been reached, you’ve got to play the matches…

Every pass, every tackle, every goal, every point are all dearly bought with sweat and effort and hard work. From Regular difficulty on up.

I’ve played hundreds of matches across about four hundred hours by now. I can probably count on two hands the number of matches I’ve ‘coasted’ through without any trouble. (One of them was that live commentary match from a few weeks age. One rainy day this summer, I’ll post one of the recorded matches where I got thumped. That’ll give a more balanced picture of how I get on with PES2012.)

Here in season 15 of my ML career, I’m going for my first ever silverware on Superstar difficulty.

And I’m out of the Champions League at the group stage. I’ve been eliminated after 5 of the 6 group matches.

I hadn’t been playing well in Europe, but a rich vein of form in the league gave me hope of carrying that over into the Champs League.

Inter were my opponents in game 5, away. I had to win.

On the right you see my actual outfield team, set up defensively, but with plenty of options going forward, of course.

It was, as expected, a hard, hard game. Inter could have had it won easily by half-time. Somehow it stayed 0-0. In the second half all my effort was rewarded with a beautifully-crafted goal by Caracciolo. The build-up was so sweet that I can still taste the pleasure right now, a day later.

Baresi has been a revelation in recent matches, supporting the attack strongly from the back. He’s a great passer. Just prior to this game he basically won me a tight league match against Celtic with a deadly pass from the halfway line into Forlan’s feet in the penalty area. Forlan couldn’t miss.

Here against Inter, Baresi found Forlan again, only now it was on the edge of the area. I spotted Caracciolo making a spontaneous run in behind the defence. A delicate lobbed through-ball put him in for a one-on-one. The onrushing Inter keeper could do nothing to stop the goal.

There were 15 minutes left. I subbed Forlan and Barnes, went 4-5-1 with Perrotta and Gerrard deep in midfield, and readied myself to hang on for grim death.

It went okay, until Inter got a bullshit free kick 25 yards out with 5 minutes left, and curled the ball in. 1-1. I was fuming. All my hard work, up in smoke.

At the final whistle my players sank to the turf. John Champion kindly informed me that the draw wasn’t enough. I was out.

So that’s a trophy gone. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever win the Champions League on Superstar.

The league is looking up. I’m not out of it yet. Still just one defeat—that opening day mauling by Man Utd.

Man Utd are the soaraway CPU team-of-the-season, but they’ve now actually lost a match. I’m within striking distance, but I think if I suffer one more defeat, or even a few too many draws, it’ll be over and I’ll be scrapping to finish 4th again.  A long way to go, though.

The FA Cup is still on. An easy first few rounds now sees me in the Quarter Final against Sunderland. It’ll be tough, but I should win. If so, it’ll probably be a semi-final meeting with Man Utd. Then one of the big boys in the Final, if I get there.

I’ll say this for PES2012. It’s lasting.

And I had some wonderful transfer news in late November of 2026. Come January, I’ll be joined by the 29-year-old veteran, SIBON. Yes, I finally got my man.

I have no idea why the latest repeat bid—probably my 20th bid in total—was successful, but it was. I gladly paid £40m for a striker who seems at the top of his game right now, but may be about to decline.

That’s OK. As long as I get one good season out of him, it’ll have been worth it. Roll on January 2027.

The meat in the sandwich

It’s going to be an exciting finale to season 14 of my Master League career in PES2012. Look at this table:

I hope I’m not tempting fate by saying that Champions League qualification, at least, is pretty certain.

And there’s a good chance of the title. At the moment I’m in a Manchester sandwich, but I’d put money on finishing either above or below them both. Got to win every game now. It’s the only way.

With 7 defeats so far, at one stage I was 8 points behind. Hmmm. If I’d been up near the top of the table from the start, would the other clubs at the top have lost the matches that they’ve lost to allow me to catch up? Of coure not. This is macro-scripting at its finest. Always been the ML way. Keep the human in the hunt.

If I’m going to win the title, I think I will have to win every one of my remaining matches. I’m certainly not going to win it on goal difference. I included the top 8 to show that my lowly goals-scored column isn’t that unusual in the league on this occasion. What’s unusual are the high goal-scoring tallies of the teams around me.

I’m still in the FA Cup. I have a semi-final against Manchester United coming up.

And I’m in the quarter finals of the Europa League—a trophy I have rarely ever won in PES. I think I won it once or twice back when it was called the Masters Cup. This is a high priority for me this season.

(PES purists may have noticed that, in my blog categories list, I continue to call all three PES cups by their old, classic names. I.e., the FA Cup is still dthe D1 Cup, the Europa League is the European Masters Cup, and the Champions League is the European Cup. I’ll never change this.)

I faced Malaga in the first knockout stage. I squeaked through that fixture 1-0 on aggregate. Aston Villa were next. Just after half-time I was down to 10 men. Cannavaro was straight-red-carded for a wild scything challenge from the side.

Uh-oh, I thought. Right, shut up shop, don’t concede, keep it at 0-0 for the second leg at their place.

But then I got a free kick about 30 yards out, perfectly placed for John Barnes to try one with the left foot.

I was rather pleased with that goal. I love it when the keeper gets a hand on it…

I went on to score again and took a 2-0 lead back to Villa, where they beat me 1-0 in a tough, tough match. But I was still through. And still in the hunt for three trophies.

I play Juventus next. Gulp.

One out of three ain’t bad

This season I was going for my first Treble in PES2012’s Master League. Having already won the Super Cup and the World Club Cup, it would have made for an unprecedented Quintuple.

But I missed out on the League title, as expected. Not even a Master League AI in its most generous mood was going to let me overhaul two teams, with a 5-point gap, with just two games to go.

Man Utd won their very next game, and the title was over for me. Amusingly, both Manchester clubs lost their final games, allowing me the pleasure of contemplating a final table where I’d missed out on the title by 2 points.

The final table:

In Master League as in life, the table doesn’t lie. I’ve got no complaints really. I sensed from the start of the season that it was a tough one.

Scoring 90 goals is my highest season total ever. I’ll be aiming for the 100 mark next season. Assuming I still have the team that’s capable of getting so many, of course (more on that later).

Ronaldo (the proper Brazilian Ronaldo, natch) scored an impressive 32 of my 90 goals, and finished top scorer—my first Golden Boot of PES2012’s Master League. He’s well worth it, is Ronaldo. But can I keep him?

The Best XI for the League was a pretty sight—lots of bold blue:

Brolin had a great season, scoring twice in the FA Cup Final. Which I won surprisingly easily, beating Aston Villa 3-0.

That completes my haul of trophies in PES2012. I’ve now won ’em all, at various times. If I can only win all 3 main ones in one season.

The FA Cup Best XI was even more cheering than the league version—love the bold blue on show here:

After the FA Cup Final I took a look at the upcoming schedule and was confronted with a truly ridiculous run-in. Konami have got to have a serious word with whoever put together this aspect of Master League:

An International round the day before my final league match, and a Training Match the day after the Champions League final? Strewth.

And so it came to the Champions League Final. I felt really intimidated by the opponents, to be truthful. Manchester United did the double over me in the league. They’re a phenomenal team in my ML world, with a striker—Emmanuel Thomas—who seems divinely entitled to score against me every time we play.

I’d been clever, I thought. I set my team up to defend and try to nick a goal or two at the other end. My usual philosophy of attack, attack, attack hasn’t worked on Man Utd at any time in the season or two since I adopted it.

So I played with two DMFs—Neeskens and Farinos—and did very well for the first half. 0-0 at half-time, and I was confident.

After the break, PES2012 must have decided it’d had enough of toying with me. Emmanuel Thomas scored two devastating counter-attack goals, against the run of play. I was 2-0 down with ten minutes left. I pulled one back with Ronnie. After that, I could hardly get the ball and when I did the Man U players swarmed me out of it.

It’s a horrible feeling, to have worked so hard and slogged your way through all the group matches and knockout ties, only to fall at the last hurdle. But you’ve got to take the setbacks. No reloading, ever. Otherwise, the whole enterprise is meaningless.

So the only actual thing I played for and won all season was the FA Cup.

It was still a good season, getting to he CL Final and finishing 3rd in the League, and the game reflected that.

I was very happy to see my Club Ranking shoot up from 13th to 2nd.

And so to Season 12. Where there are going to be some changes to my team and the general outlook.

Some of my stars will have to be sold. The finances demand it and, really, I demand it. It’s time for some of my promising Youths to take centre-stage.

Some of the ageing classics can be sold/released. My young players have been waiting for a long time. Perrotta. Cannavaro. Carraciolo. Manfredini. Natali. All will play a lot more more regularly. Carraciolo, a 21-year-old beanpole of a striker, has quietly sneaked up to 80 OVR without playing at all.

So there’s no end in sight to PES2012. Not even close. Back in October, I thought I’d get to FIFA12 by April/May time. I’m now thinking June/July. If ever.