"Anti-Destiny" - Return to La Plata #FM18 #WeAreTheCommunity


Intro

Estudiantes Logo.png
"L'art est un anti-destin / Art is an anti-destiny"

The above quote from 20th Century French theorist André Malraux provides some philosophical jargon to start today's blog post.  Malraux’s meaning was that art is a man's escape from their insignificance in this world.  Through art we create an alternate life, one of our own making...separated from man's original 'destiny'.  A parallel exists here with my Football Manager content, and all creators' content for that matter, it is our art.  The art you are now reading & experiencing is set in a rival world, out on its own...acting as an 'anti-destiny'.

The anti-destiny does not behave like its polar opposite, as demonstrated in my FM18 saved game with Estudiantes de La Plata.  In 2020 we had the chance to face off against Manchester United in the Club World Cup.  A replica meting of the infamous 1968 World Club Championship, which saw Estudiantes triumph with the most brutal form of anti-fútbol ever seen (see below - with thanks for @Brazier25 for these images).  Yet the save did not behave, there was to be no 'destiny'...Manchester United crashing out in the Semi Final to Mexico's Club América (who went on to beat Bastardo 1-0 in the final).

Fast forward 12 months and incredibly both Estudiantes & Man Utd make the tournament once again (a big spoiler on how my 2021 Copa Libertadores campaign went down by the way).  But anti-destiny was there again to spoil the party, it was now La Plata's turn to bow out at the Semi Final stage...leaving Manchester United to take the World Club Cup crown with a 3-0 Vs Tigres of Mexico.

It is absolutely heart-breaking that I couldn't relive a repeat of that 1968 final.  Not just once but TWICE, the narrative would have reached unreal heights.  But maybe anti-fútbol goes hand-in-hand with anti-destiny?  This save does not behave, there is no script, as 2021/22 has so far shown...


Goodbye Carlo

We came so close to winning the title last season, so I felt we didn't need to overhaul the playing staff.  The incomings were minimal: Gabriel Rojas joins on a Free Transfer from San Lorenzo, who grabbed the No.3 shirt.  Then two midfielders arrived: Éver Banega on a Free from Sevilla and no nonsense tackler Eric Remedi from Banfield (€3m).

We made some money too: Walter Bou moved to China for €1.1m, Federico Lértora signed for Nice in France at €1.8m...but the big deal was the sale of Academy hotshot Carlo Lattanzio to West Ham in a deal rising to €4.5m:

We now look to young Renzo Taborda, who I identified last time out as an Academy jewel, who I believe can step up and push current No.9 (Maxi Romero) for the starting slot in our 4141:

It's taken 5 years, but we now have a Newgen in the La Plata XI: Raúl Rolón in at No.5!


Season 2021/22

2021 Copa Libertadores

I can't remember retaining a continental trophy in the Football Manager series.  I certainly don't remember winning a continental trophy before a league title in either Championship Manager or Football Manager.  But there we go, consecutive Copa Libertadores wins for Estudiantes de La Plata: 2020 + 2021.

It was a pretty wild run to the trophy too, a bore-fest of epic proportions against Atlético Nacional...edging the Colombian champions on penalties at home. Then away loses in both the Semi Final and Final away legs, only to score 5 in each of the home legs.  Incredible!

Copa Libertadores 2021.

Read the below Twitter thread to relive the drama of that home tie Vs Grêmio.  A game in which La Plata No.10, Emanuel Reynoso, cemented his place in Estudiantes history with a 9.1 MOTM performance.

2021/22 Argentine Superliga

A faultless start to the league season saw us go on a 10 game winning streak, until we were brought down to earth with three straight loses in November as I rotated the squad between Copa Libertadores finals.  It highlighted the fact that as an eleven we are ridiculously strong, but we lack a certain amount of depth during the busy periods.

The 16 league games of 2021/22 in 2021.

We have some catching up to do, both in games and in points!

Annoyingly the glitchy nature of FM tells me that the Board are 37% satisfied with our domestic performance.  It's highly frustrating considering our points-per-game ratio is best in the league.  We have 11 points to catch Boca, but we have 5 league games to do it in!

Copa Argentina & Recopa Sudamericana

We could not retain the Copa Argentina, losing on penalties to Temperley in the Quarter Final.  Nevermind, we're not the best in Argentina (yet), but we are officially now the best team in South America.  If the Copa Libertadores doesn't confirm that, we beat 2020 Copa Sudamericana winners Santiago Wanderers 5-1 on aggregate to win the Recopa.  Another trophy in Bastardo's collection.  That's 4 and counting :-)

The Recopa trophy is now Bastardo's!


22 games to go!

The race for the title is still long, 22 games for Bastardo to be precise.  But if we can recapture that early form and bring in 1-2 players to flesh out the squad, I genuinely think we can do it...in what will be my 5th attempt.

Of course anti-destiny will be rife, there is no script...it's what we make it.  Vamos Estudiantes!

As always, thank you for reading/sharing/caring,

FM Grasshopper

"Las Joyas de Bastardo: Segunda Parte" - Return to La Plata #FM18 #WeAreTheCommunity


Orange shirt.jpg

Intro

It's been a while since I last wrote about Estudiantes de La Plata in FM18, and a lot has happened since.  I left you last time a victor: a Copa Libertadores and Copa Argentina Champion.  Two live finals played out on Twitch, both of which I won...it felt so easy then!

Fast forward 6 months and FM had brought me back down to Earth.  Two more live finals played out on Twitch, both of which I lost 0-1...a Club World Cup Final (Vs Club América) & an Argentina Super Cup (Vs River Plate).  There was also heartbreak too in the league, losing out to Boca Juniors on the final day...we would never get so close to the league title without actually winning it!

The hurt I endured has only heightened my desires to challenge again, as I enter my 5th season in La Plata.  But before I do this, I would like to freshen up the squad with some more La Plata youngsters, this is the 'segunda parte' to my youth development ramblings.  But first, Season 4 in a nutshell...


Season 2020/21

Argentina Superliga

We were only 11 league games in to Season 4 when I last wrote an update, due to the fixture schedule caused by the Copa Argentina & Libertadores wins.  So below is how the remaining 31 games played out.

A strong run in the final 10 games simply wasn't enough to stop the Boca-River stranglehold on this league.  That's 5 years in a row now where the Argentine giants have alternated winning the league.  Infuriating, but one hell of a challenge to overcome!  A challenge that Ángel Bastardo recently acknowledged as 'football heritage':

"I say to the fans that the fans are the fans and have the right to their opinions and reactions but there is something that I used to call 'football heritage' - 'football heritage', what a manager inherits"
"It is something like the last time Estudiantes de La Plata won the Copa Libertadores, which didn't happen a lot of times, was in 2009. In 11 years with seven different managers, they did not win the Copa Libertadores. This is football heritage"
"I understand that 2020 was really hard for the people who don't like me - 'here he is again, here he wins again, Copa Libertadores/Argentina Double' For 6 months I win nothing, I beat Boca, Racing, I draw against River and now is their moment to be happy, wankers" (Source: El Día - La Plata)

2021 Copa Libertadores

We were given a relatively easy Group Stage, which proved no problems.  14 games unbeaten now in the Copa Libertadores over 2020 & 2021, so we’re probably the team everybody wants to avoid at this minute.  Up next: Nacional of Uruguay in the Knockout Round.

We’re still going strong in the Copa Argentina, reaching the 7th Round which kicks off again in August.  There are also another two finals to look forward to at the turn of the year: Santiago Wanderers of Chile in the Recopa Finals (Winner of Copa Lib Vs Winner of Copa Sud).  Another fortuitous chance to win yet another trophy (or lose it)!


Las Joyas de Bastardo: Segunda Parte

The Estudiantes Copa Lib winning team [ages in brackets].  Built on €5.8m, and fairly old in places!

Last season I updated you on the healthy financial position that La Plata was finding itself in.  Through sensible recruitment, and living within our means, we have now seen this cost-effective Estudiantes team (built on €5.8m if you include real life fees previously made) win South America’s greatest club prize.  It's up there as one of my greatest achievements in FM...two Pereiras (Álvaro & Maxi) at Full Back in their mid 30s shuttling between both boxes, players signed on a shoestring with a point to prove (Diego Polenta, Emanuel Reynoso & Alexander Barboza) and an Academy boy becoming the hero of his generation (Carlo Lattanzio).  It's the latter that Bastardo perhaps wants to be most remembered for, building a dynasty largely from La Plata.  Seeing young Lattanzio shine was a real blessing - he's from the Academy and he loves the club. 

Entirely homegrown XIs are a Holy Grail for me in FM…and I am not going to put that expectation on this current save, but we do have a crop of 18-20 year olds (who I will partially introduce you to in a bit) which have a serious chance to shine at Estudiantes in 2021/22. We therefore face a crossroads in my 5th season: this generation will be 23-25 by the time I close out my time in FM18 (around Season 10), so it's now or never to integrate them and build something good.  Luckily I have been busy behind the scenes, laying the foundations for this group to come through, working with them on: player trait development, specialised role training & focused attribute development.  I alluded to it in my "Las Joyas de Bastardo" post back in Season 3, but it is time to meet more of them this time round from what I call my Category Bs - the Academy Newgens (read more here).  This is Las Joyas de Bastardo: Segunda Parte.

So my young guys in La Plata follow a certain pathway for development (with a disclaimer that exceptional guys like Nico Rosales, the original 'jewel of La Plata', slot into the First Team sooner).  I usually work on the principal that they sit with me and polish their game via tutoring or individual training until around 17/18.  This is usually the time where I am 'done' with them, and a time where they need first team football.  So I turn to the loan market.  The benefits are twofold (1) they grow at a faster rate when playing and (2) I get to see how they perform within a competitive environment, helpful in gauging their current ability.

The below graphic conveys my typical pathway approach:

Defenders

Let’s begin with the Full Backs, as this is a position that will need cover as the Perieras see out, what I imagine will be, their final year in La Plata.  We'll start with Mateo Allione (Left Back) and Carlos Aparicio (Right Back) - who entered the Academy externally after being poached by Bastardo.  They both have spent a number of months in the Academy being tutored and mixing in with the U20 team, before being loaned out in 2020/21:

Mateo Allione - Defensa y Justica (Primera B) - 30 games, 3 goals, 3 assists, 7.04 Av Rating (all comps)

Mateo Allione in July 2021.

Bastardo's reflection: A-

Despite Mateo Allione playing in the league beneath us, he performed well and was Defensa's 1st choice Left Back all season.  This suggests that he could probably now cope with a few Superliga games in 2021/22, Mateo is already mentally strong and physically ready for the Full Back - Support role.

Carlos Appachio - Newell's Old Boys (Argentina Superliga)  -  14 games, 2 assists, 7.08 Av Rating (all comps)

Carlos Aparicio in July 2021.

Bastardo's reflection: B

Carlos Aparicio's loan was shorter in length, covering the final 6 months of the 2020/21 season.  But he played a few games and was a starter in the Copa Libertadores Group Stage.  This is a great test for him, playing at the highest level in South America!  The aim for 2021/22 will be to get Carlos tutored with a more senior pro, but gametime will certainly be available following the end of Emanuel Brítez's two year loan from Unión de Santa Fe.  It opens up a place, and I hope he can take it.

Midfielders

Another two guys who spent last season on loan are central midfielders: Ignacio FernándezKevin Lizaso...who have both featured for the Argentina U20 squad.  Both Ignacio and Kevin came from the Estudiantes youth system and have the club in their hearts.

Ignacio Fernández - Defensa y Justica (Primera B) - 32 games, 6 assists, 6.90 Av Rating (all comps)

Ignacio Fernández in July 2021.

Bastardo's reflection: B

Ignacio has 23 U20 caps and is usually their go-to playmaker, at just 18.  A Deep Lying Playmaker for Defensa's 3rd place league finish in Primera B, he's been steadily getting the minutes in at a competitive level.  I am not too worried about his 6.90 average rating...after all, the withdrawn passers do not really get the average rating they sometimes deserve in FM (in my opinion).  I am probably going to get some Player Traits in there to refrain him from tackling, that's his greatest weakness, whilst trying to also boost his already high Passing and Balance.

Kevin Lizaso - Independiente Rivadavia (Primera B) - 12 games, 1 assist, 6.82 Av Rating (all comps)

Kevin Lizaso in July 2021.

Bastardo's reflection: C-

Another short 6 month loan, this time for Kevin Lizaso.  I am taking his loan stats less seriously, due to the AI playing him out of position as a Winger...despite agreeing with Independiente Rivadavia that he'd play centrally.  (Note- you can check what role your loaned player is regularly used in via Reports/Form in the Player Screen).  It was really too late in the day to recall, so I left him fighting it out on the wings.  I still see some minutes for Kevin in 2021/22, but I may have to consider a similar 6 months loan in December 2021 if I fall short of that promise.

Striker

I have a number of upcoming Platense strikers coming through, but there's only one forward to talk about today...and it's not Carlo Lattanzio (for a change)!  Meet Renzo Taborda, who came through the youth intake a few years ago and has been developing at an insane rate.  We had already given him 2 loans prior to sending him off to Temperley for the 2020/21 season. The results are pretty conclusive:

Renzo Taborda - Temperley (Argentina Superliga) - 22 games, 18 goals, 4 assist, 7.52 Av Rating (all comps)

Renzo Taborda in July 2021.

Bastardo's reflection: A+

It's a perfect loan to be honest.  Renzo played his games in the Advanced Forward role, as requested by me (thanks AI).  It's clear he is capable at my level, moreover I now know that he can play the Advanced Forward role effectively.  This is useful knowledge as I look to interchange him with current Advanced Forward Carlo Lattanzio in the first team.  Could 2021/22 be the year of Renzo Taborda?  Quite possibly, look at that quickness!!!


Closing Comments

So today I have outlined how I manage my academy prospects, specifically loaning out young players in FM18, and the kind of review system I undertake after each spell.  There is one thing however, that I wish we had in FM18: the ability to ask the AI to match certain senior pros with the loaned youngster for player tutoring.  In my view, it would add an interesting dynamic to the loan process, and an added incentive to choose the right loan for a player.  I'd be keen to hear reader's thoughts on this, so do reach out in the usual places if you have an opinion: @FM_Grasshopper on Twitter or my Slack channel #fmgrasshopper.

As always, thank you for reading/sharing/caring.  We'll now start playing Season 5 in La Plata, vamos!

FM Grasshopper

"Bastardo-ball" - Return to La Plata #FM18 #WeAreTheCommunity

Previously in Return to La Plata, Ángel Bastardo counted the money.


Osvaldo Zubeldía [left] with Estudiantes de La Plata's 1st ever Copa Libertadores trophy in 1968.

Intro

"Wait ages for one bus, then three come along at once" as the saying goes.  The same could be said for Ángel Bastardo and cup finals.  3 and a half years of work culminated in three 2020 finals: a Copa Argentina face-off with Racing Club and then an all Argentine double bill against Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores.  The pinnacle of South American club football and a watershed moment for Bastardo's Estudiantes, perhaps? 

I rarely write game-by-game breakdowns but I've made an exception for these three spectacles, which were all streamed live on Twitch over the period of seven days.  From these streams we also have a spectator's opinion on each game, who offer their unbiased view on 2020 Bastardo-ball.

Before that, a recap on what's happened in La Plata since May 2020...


Season 2020/21

There were no major sales in the summer, but we did lose our No.5 Deep Lying Playmaker Abel Aguilar to retirement.  We also said goodbye to a few of the old guard fringe players: Darío Cvitanich, Israel DamonteWalter Erviti

In place of these departures the standout signings were:

  1. Augusto Fernández [Free Transfer from Independiente] - 34 years old
  2. Maximiliano Lovera [Free Transfer from Rosario Central] - 21 years old
  3. Maxi Pereira [Free Transfer from FC Porto] - 36 years old
  4. Raúl Rolón [€2.1m from Libertad] - 18 years old
  5. Leonel Vangioni [Free Transfer from Monterrey] - 33 years old

It's a great mix of youth and experience, but the huge coup is beating the likes of Paris Saint Germain to the signature of Raúl Rolón...who I think will be a huge player for us in future years:

Raúl Rolón in November 2020.

So we continue with the 4141, just the one change in the 1-11 squad number system I use in this save: the aforementioned departure of Aguilar's No.5 shirt going to Fernández.

The 4th iteration of the Estudiantes squad numbers graphic.

Season 2020/21 Argentine Superliga

It is hard to gauge how well we are doing in the 2020/21 Argentine Superliga.  We are 7-8 games behind some teams around us, because we've had to juggle fixture congestion between the domestic and continental cup competitions.  Still, 8 wins in 11 games leaves me with hope that we can build on last season's 3rd place finish and push for the title.

Copa Libertadores

If you read the introduction, you know we reached the final of the 2020 Copa Libertadores.  We've been solid throughout the knockout stages, winning home and away in Colombia and Brazil:

The road to Boca.

But before we taste the greatest South American club final(s), we had an opportunity to win our first trophy: the 2020 Copa Argentina.  Strap yourselves in, it gets crazy...


1. Copa Argentina Final

Estudiantes 5-3 Racing Club

Estadio Libertadores de América.  Avellaneda, Buenos Aires Province

11 November 2020

Both teams went into this on the back of away league loss.  Racing losing 5-1 to Temperley and Estudiantes losing 2-1 at Godoy Cruz.  What happened next was a classic, never say die, end-to-end final.  The danger man was Racing Club's Lautaro Martínez, who the AI manager benched due to being jaded.  In his place was Pablo Cuadra, a similar mould to Lautaro, and who netted two first half goals.  Estudiantes went into Half Time 3-1 down.  A solitary goal from Fernando Zuqui, converting Carlo Lattnzaio's fine run and cross.  The 4141 wasn't working, young Carlo was often isolated upfront and Racing's sheer quality on the flanks was pushing us back.

I gave the 4141 a further 10 minutes...before matching Racing's 442.  It's a formation I have struggled to face in FM18, and I find the best method is to fight fire with fire and mirror it.  I went for a classic Big Man-Little Man partnership, with Walter Bou coming on as support Target Man.  I figured we needed an outlet more centrally, somebody who could receive the ball and free up Lattanzio to make runs.  It took just 4 minutes to get going, Lattanzio finding space to make it 2-3 on 59 minutes.

Then there was a great lull, I saw my 18 year old newgen left winger (Ramiro San Martíin) struggling on the final stage.  So I subbed him off for left back Leonel Vangoini...and in turn pushing Álvaro Pereira forward into the ML slot.  We needed crosses...but it was the other side that delivered.  On minute 80 Carlo Lattanzio, as he did in the 1st half, made a great run down the right to cross for Walter Bou.  It was 3-3!

It kicked started the most explosive 6 minutes of FM personally experienced.  Carlos Auzqui, Zuqui's replacement showing the necessary cohones to find space and shoot.  4-3 La Plata...the tide was on our side.  Four minutes later we sealed the trophy.  Lattanzio the hero again, leaving Bastardo with his hands on silverware at last!  5-3 Team Bastardo.

The Twitter Thread:

 

From the stands:

Leaked image of the cocaine residue in the Estudiantes changing room after FT.

"The nerve, the pulse, the sounds of the crowd. Unique to the most important games of South American football.  It was time for the Copa Argentina final against Racing and the first chance for Bastardo’s boys to win some silverware.  It looked promising when Zuqui broke the dead-lock but Racing swiftly turned the game around with three goals before half-time.  I had the feeling that the half-time talk would be a tough one and when one grown man after another came out back onto the pitch with ash grey faces and shiny eyes I knew that I had been right In my assumption.
Last of all came Bastardo with fire in his eyes and his hair on end. The Estudiantes players responded superbly to the half time scolding scoring two goals to get back to even score. When Estudiantes scored the 4-3 goal I spontaneously rose from my seat screaming “Champagne all around”, but quickly sat down when my eyes met the Bastardo “Stare of Death”. I felt ashamed and became terrified I had jinxed the team and would have Bastardo haunting me forever if Racing turned it around once more.
When the 5-3 goal fell I could finally relax, and when my eyes met Bastardo’s he smiled at me and made me feel the way that only he can! I don’t know what happened to the bottle of champagne I gave to one of the Arena guards after the game with the instruction to take it to the Estudiantes dressing room, but when I fell asleep in my bed after the game I dreamt that Bastardo was standing in the shower room with the bottle in his hands, laughing crazily while spraying down Auzqui and Lattanzio, both giggling like school girls out of equal amounts of fear and joy".

MikaelinhoFM (@MikaelinhoFM) - FM Blogger


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2. Copa Libertadores Final [1st Leg]

Boca Juniors 3-3 Estudiantes

La Bombonera.  La Boca, Buenos Aires

25 November 2020

Away goals count in every knockout Copa Libertadores stage with the exception of the Copa Libertadoes Final (Why? Because it’s CONMEBOL).  It's something that encouraged  Bastardo's initial pragmatism: we'd go 4141 again, structured and try to play on the counter.  But as these live finals were playing out...chaos is the only option.  It was 2-1 to Boca by the 14th minute.  Ezequiel Schelotto & Alejandro Gomez causing Estudiantes problems on the wings.  But Estudiantes were given a lifeline as Boca's Alexis Sosa brought Advanced Forward Carlo Lattanzio down who was through on goal.  Maverick Centre Back Diego Polenta was tasked with the penalty, who smashed the goal and the net.  It was a proper defender's penalty, the best kind!

But Estudiantes were poor throughout.  Carlo Lattanzio was isolated for long stretches and Reynoso AWOL.  To remedy this we went 442 (again) bringing on Target Man Walter Bou...and initially it backfired.  Alejandro Gomez, Boca's best player, putting them 3-1 up.  The lowest moment in the two finals so far, we looked well and truly beaten with 22 minutes still to play.  A few tweaks to the mentalities of player roles and an introduction of Carlos Auzqui changed the game once more.  Auzqui laying off to Carlo Lattanzio, now in the Poacher role, to stab it home.  A lifeline: 3-2 to Boca.

Then boom!  Walter Bou delivering a great cross during an overload counter attack for Lattanzio who made it 3-3 on 84 minutes.  Young Carlo's 4th goal during the two finals.  The fight would return to La Plata, all square and all to play for.  3-3 Full Time - another frantic day for Ángel Bastardo.

The Twitter thread:

 

From the stands:

"I witnessed a great encounter between two sides craving for continental success. Boca Juniors were dangerous on the flanks with ‘Papu’ Gomez and Ezequiel Schelotto creating lots of trouble for Estudiantes’ fullbacks.  A deserved lead for Boca was eventually nullified after Ángel Bastardo switched to a 4-4-2, resulting in two late goals. A great tactical move which massively troubled Boca’s defence.
The referee should have sent off Boca's young defender, Alexis Sosa, for causing that penalty though.  Red cards don’t get any clearer than that!  Let’s hope it won’t hurt Estudiantes in the second leg.  Overall, Estudiantes will be happy to take a 3-3 draw with them to La Plata where they can win their 5th ever Copa Libertadores title.

Vincent Guzman (@VincentGuzman_) - South American Football Analyst


3. Copa Libertadores Final [2nd Leg]

Estudiantes 3-0 Boca Juniors [6-3 on agg]

Estadio Único, La Plata

02 December 2020

Those that know me, or who have read the blog for a while, will know that I am stubborn.  The 4141 had started pretty poorly in each of the previous two finals.  But I was determined to keep it for the biggest game of Bastardo's professional career...after all we were at home and had been solid with it all season (those two finals aside).

But certain adjustments had to be made to counter Boca.  Their strengths from the first game were certainly the flanks, so our Full Backs were more conservative.  35 year old Álvaro Pereira was told to hold his position and 36 year old Maxi Pereira's attacking instincts were restricted, he'd no longer be instructed to get further forward.  I hoped their considerable experience would be enough to tame Schelotto Gomez, who had both caused carnage against me in the 1st leg.  The knock-on to this would be that we'd be less supportive to the two wide men: Jesús Medina & Fernando Zuqui.  But it's the balancing act we'd have to make.

The 1st half was tight.  No real chances of note, except an Estudiantes disallowed goal.  Alexander Barboza adjudged to be offside when heading in from close range.  But the good news was that Boca Juniors were no threat down the wings whatsoever.  I always trust my boys to show some grit when going in level at on HT...and that's exactly what we did in the 2nd half.  We finally saw true Bastardo-ball in action.  It was glorious.

On 46 minutes Carlo Lattanzio, our Homegrown Advanced Forward, smashed a shot against the cross bar...the stars aligned and it fell to ex-Boca boy Fernando Zuqui.  1-0 Estudiantes.  Then we scored a freekick straight out of the Keysi Rensie handbook: Medina, laying it off short to Lattanzio to run & cross for Augusto Fernández.  The 35 year old powering his volley into the net.  2-0, the La Plata crowd were roaring.

Estudiantes’ third goal on 64 minutes was the archetypal Bastardo-ball goal.  Boca’s corner breaking down, allowing Emanuel Reynoso to incisively pass to Lattanzio.  There is no stopping this kid, he bleeds for Bastardo.  Running the length of the entire Boca half, before laying it off to Jesús Medina.  The Paraguayan made no mistake: 3-0.  Estudiantes hands were on their 5th Libertadores trophy.

But there was still work to be done.  We switched to the Contain Mentality, summoning the spirit of Zubeldía, Sabella and Simeone to push us through.  Anti-fútbol was alive and rocking!  Boca had no answer, and even when they did get a slice of fortune: a penalty on 90 minutes, there was still one man to stop them.  37 year old captain Mariano Andújar, a winner of this trophy 11 years ago in 2009.  Boca’s penalty was saved, and the referee blew for full time: Estudiantes 3-0 Boca Juniors.

The Twitter Thread:

From the stands:

So, having watched the first leg and seeing Bastardo's tactical masterclass lead to a 3-3 draw after being down 3-1. Coming into the second leg of the final, essentially being 0-0 due to a lack of away goals, I was slightly nervous due to Boca's strength and their dominance in leg one, but it was clear that Bastardo was able to take the game to Boca.
An early disallowed goal (Boca trying to pay off the refs, surely), was the only real thing of note in the first half, but the second half was full of excitement. With three, well worked goals, the second being my favourite, it was clear who the dominant force of South America was: Ángel Bastardo's Estudiantes de La Plata. Los Pincharratas dominated once the second half whistle had blown, due to Bastardo's strong words at halftime, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable watch, with 3 masterclass goals, amazing tunes, and I'm happy I was able to watch it

Servalarian (@ServalarianFM) - FM Blogger

Copa Libertadores (5): 1968, 1969, 1970, 2009....2020.


The Future of Bastardo-ball

A few people have asked if wining the Copa Libertadores means the end of my time with Estudiantes de La Plata in FM18.  It actually couldn't be further from the truth.  Ángel Bastardo has finally delivered on his promises to the Board & Fans, who together can now begin working on the remaining objectives (the ones I set out in my intro post):

The 'La joya de Bastardo' aka Nico Rosales came good at FC Porto and was called up for an Argentina friendly, earning his first International Cap.  Playing 17 minutes in one of the warm up matches, before being selected ahead of the 2020 Olympics squad.  That ticks off (5).  So now we look ahead to league titles and Club World Cups.  Bastardo can only dream, and make no mistake, he's a dreamer.

Thanks in advance for reading/sharing and caring.  Also massive respect to everyone who took an interest in those 3 finals, whether you stopped by for 1 min or 270 mins of those finals...it's appreciated.  Or even if you just read the live tweets and enjoyed it, it's been a blast.  I wouldn't expect many more streams from me in FM18, I'm only doing the 'first' finals before I win them.  So the next logical destination is the Club World Cup...this month!

Until then, punch strong.

FM Grasshopper, in the guise of Ángel Bastardo.