Welcome back to the Aswijan Assignment, a Football Manager 2020 save in the fictional country of Aswijan – using a database created by @Chilled_Moose.
Khaliza Unidi had raced to the top of Liga Regale and stayed there with 10 league matches remaining. The town was buzzing with excitement at the prospect of a first piece of silverware for the club but there was still plenty of work to be done on the pitch.
The final 10 games began by welcoming 4th-placed Aswijan Siti. We put in a dominant performance that saw Siti not even manage a shot until the 58th minute. We made that count with goals from Adam Hemmingsen just before the break then striker Gustavo Collado got his first league goal for the club just after the break. They somehow managed to get one back through wonderkid Dinko Atchison with only their second shot, but we held on for an important 2-1 win.
We then lost our first league game of the season 2-0 at Hadria Oskat, in which we had 19 shots to their 12. But luckily, on the same day our nearest competitors Hadria only drew 0-0 and Aswijan Malikiy also lost 2-0 away.
Cups take a back seat
We took on Leicester City in the second knockout round of the Europa League and somehow managed to lose 1-0 at home despite having 20 shots to their 3. And we were poor in the away leg despite getting a 1-1 draw, in which I decided to rest players for the league.
Speaking of resting players, I’d previously done so for the Copa Populare quarter-final, which we also lost 1-0 to Berche 08. Those results allowed us to put our full attention on the league form.
Aswijan national honours
Despite going 4 months without losing, one cup loss had spawned a run of three consecutive defeats and one win in five. But we bounced back with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Hamjar with a 9th minute goal from striker Michele Mari.
But our stumbling form continued as we drew at Berche 08, who unsurprisingly scored despite creating very little. However, Hadria also drew while Aswijan Malikiy had lost the previous day, which left us 9 clear of Hadria and 14 clear of Malikiy, who had 3 games in hand.
That game was followed by an international break, in which we had our first player represent Aswijan. 23-year-old winger Thaaqib Solar had played well in spurts this season, scoring 9 and getting 7 assists to date, and earned his first cap in Aswijan’s 3-1 friendly win over North Macedonia.
We got back to winning ways at home to Manouza, led by the absolutely brilliant Calvin Stengs. The winger teed up Mari’s 20th goal of the season in the 2nd minute, then scored the 50th league goal of his career on 38 minutes. Manouza got one back early in the second half but Stengs doubled his tally from a Yacine Adli corner with 20 minutes remaining, securing a 3-1 win.
That win secured Champions League football and the club’s highest-ever finish of at least 3rd place.
Between that win and a trip to FC Lakhra, Aswijan Malikiy had played two of their three games in hand and won both, closing the gap to 8 points. But we held up our side of the bargain with a 3-0 win at Lakhra, led by 19-year-old attacking midfielder Ulrich Awono.
Awono had been fairly quiet of late, going 11 games without a goal and no goal contributions in six matches. But he put that right by scoring twice in the first 12 minutes of the second half then setting up the third for Hemmingsen.
We were therefore 11 points clear of Malikiy having played 2 games more. Hadria had drawn their previous 2 games, leaving them 13 points behnd us and removed from the title race. However, in a bizarre twist of fate and very weird scheduling glitch, both of our final two matches of the season were against them!
Four games for glory
Our final four games began with a visit to Mufala Malikiy, our senior affiliate at previous club Zagora Athletik. Our new Aswijan international Solar got us off to a great start after 8 minutes and Stengs doubled our advantage on 33 minutes. We dominated the game and Awono made sure of the result with a late penalty. While it was a good result for us, it unfortunately relegated Mufala.
Up next was a home game against Marrador FC, which looked to be going badly wrong until a moment of absolute genius. The visitors scored with their first shot, because of course they did, through Yannick Carrasco and, despite us dominating, it stayed that way until 85 minutes.
Substitute Moriba played Mari in to equalise, only for Marrador to go down the other end and restore their lead. It looked like we were falling to a defeat, but in the 93rd minute Moriba lofted a ball into the box and Mari converted! I was delighted, a last ditch equaliser! However, watching the replay back in 3D, I witnessed something out of this world with Mari’s spectacular overhead finish. Just watch how good this is…
If that’s not a goal worthy of winning a title, then I don’t know what is. Luckily, Malikiy gave us a helping hand towards that goal as they lost the following day. That put us 12 points clear of Malikiy, who had four games remaining compared to our two, both of which were against Malikiy!
However, those games would prove irrelevant as Malikiy went and lost 5-0 at home to Manouza. It looked they’d had to rest loads of players and had a host of their best players injured, including Leroy Sané and their star striker Domenico Vanja, but a 5-0 loss is crazy! I’m sure they’d suffered the same fate as Siti the preious season, with the number of games piling up having an effect. Anyway, that unexpected defeat handed us the title on a plate.
Khaliza Unidi were Champions of Aswijan!!
We ended the season with two games against Malikiy. The first did not start well, as Viktor Fischer scored the first shot of the match after 7 minutes. But we came flying back as Mari equalised on 20 minutes, then Moriba fired home from range and 17-year-old academy product Adalardo Ariztia scored his first league goal late on.
And we played out an epic on the final day, twice going behind and equalising through two Moriba goals only for Malikiy to score a free-kick in the last minute. But who cares, the title is ours!!
We finished the campaign with just two defeats all season, finishing with a total of 80 points, scoring 79 goals and conceding just 26. And we picked up a cool £51.75 million for winning the league.
Join us next time as we decipher Khaliza Unidi’s momentous first Liga Regale title and the first silverware in the club’s history, and look back at the key performers from the season.
I hope you enjoyed our huge success 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.