Welcome back to the Aswijan Assignment, a Football Manager 2020 save in the fictional country of Aswijan – using a database created by @Chilled_Moose.
After 12 matches of the 2023/24 campaign, Khaliza Unidi were flying high at the top of Liga Regale and still unbeaten. That meant fans were beginning to dream of a maiden Liga Regale title and a first ever piece of silverware for the club.
Moving into December we opened up with a game at home to FC Lakhra, who opened the scoring on 16 minutes… you guessed it, with their first shot and only shot on target. However, we got back level immediately through Dutch winger Calvin Stengs. Holding midfielder Gustavo Assuncao then took centre stage with an excellent creative display. He teed up left winger Thaaqib Solar’s second goal of the season just before half-time then Pascual Rondó’s first for the club.
This latest result saw us set a new club record after 11 games unbeaten. And we extended the record run with a dominant 5-0 win at home to Mulafa Malikiy. Stengs set up another goal for Solar, Silvan Hefti scored a screamer from 30 yards, then Rondó, Stengs and Michele Mari wrapped up the rout.
And that great form continued with a huge win at Marrador FC. The hosts opened the scoring in the first minute but we came flying back before half-time as Mari equalised then Solar made it 3 goals in 3 games with this sensational effort.
That sent us into a 28-day winter break sitting pretty at the top of Liga Regale, 5 points clear of Hadria and still unbeaten after 15 matches.
Back with a bang
The boys came back from a nice relaxing Christmas break feeling refreshed and confident. And that showed with a 6-2 thumping of Marrador in a Copa Populare match in which Mari scored twice and Ulrich Awono bagged a hat-trick of penalties.
And that form continued with the resumption of Liga Regale as we beat Talat 3-0, with Adam Hemmingsen scoring an opener then Mari taking his tally to 11 goals for the season with a second half brace.
We then faced a huge game away to 2nd-placed Hadria, and things didn’t start well as they went ahead on 18 minutes. I gave them a stern talking to at half-time and it worked as Mari scored again three minutes after the break. Hadria were bossing the game with more shots and seeing more of the ball, but we got our noses in front through Wilfrid Ganim’s excellent strike on 78 minutes. The hosts continued to push and even had a goal disallowed by VAR but we just about held on for a huge 2-1 victory.
We followed that up with a 2-0 win over lowly ACAT as Mari scored in a sixth successive match and made it 12 goals in his last 11 appearances, as well as a goal from Ilaix Moriba. Then the same scoreline followed as we went to Chaouka with goals from Stengs and Mari, yet again.
Another uge game followed as champions Aldaia came to town. We got a great start as Awono smashed one in from range, then Mari scored again to double the lead. We were looking comfortable until Aldaia scored with their only shot of the first half. They came more into the game after the break but Mari raced through to double his tally and finish the game on 88 minutes.
Our winning streak ended at ACAT, in a game we dominated and took the lead through… guess who… Mari, but conceded late on. We then only just managed to win a match in which we had 38 shots at Fari. We took the lead with our 25th shot of the match through Hefti, in a move that itself took 3 shots to score. Fari managed to equalise with just their 4th shot and we continued to bombard them throughout the second half and eventually found a deserved win through substitute Solar.
That game brought Mari’s incredible run of scoring in 9 consecutive matches to an end, but he did still manage to get an assist to continue his impressive streak.
We followed that up with probably our best performance of the season to thrash Wabani 5-0. Both wingers Stengs and Solar bagged braces before Mari kept his form going with a late fifth. Their centre-back Peeter Chunso played a 4.5, which may be the worst performance I’ve seen on this game.
That left us 10 points clear at the top with 10 games remaining and still unbeaten. Although we did also have to keep an eye on Aswijan Malikiy, who were 13 points back with 3 games in hand. Although we are hell-bent on denying them after this bit of youngster poaching (even if the bloke’s not very good).
Into the Europa League
The first knockout round of the Europa League saw us go up against Sporting Lisbon, which those of you who’ve read my other save on this blog will know are a team I’m very fond of. But we absolutely thumped them 6-1 in the first leg led by Stengs bagging a hat-trick. I made 9 changes for the second leg but we still won 2-0 with a brace by backup striker Gustavo Collado.
Join us next time to see if we Khaliza Unidi can extend their unbeaten streak in the 2023/24 campaign and if we can secure the club’s first ever piece of silverware.
I hope you’re enjoying this save in the fictional nation of Aswijan. If you have any questions or want more info on specific players in the squad, just let me know in the comments or get in touch on Twitter.