Three weeks after the end of the eFootball™ Championship Pro, the tournament for professional esports players and clubs, it is worth remembering AS Monaco's journey to their first title after two years of reaching the final without winning it. Will they repeat such an achievement next year?
AS Monaco started the tournament eager to avenge last season's runners-up spot. Only captain Usmakabyle remained from last year's squad, after Kilzyou and Lotfi were signed by Celtic FC for this season. However, the new additions showed great promise, with Brazilian champion GuiFera and French youngster Nekza, who would end up astonishing everyone with his excellent performances and goalscoring ability.
The Monegasque team didn't get off to a good start on the first day of the Group Stage, taking just 3 points out of a possible 9. In the first match of the tournament, Usmakabyle faced his former teammate Kilzyou in a historic duel that ended in a 3-2 victory for the Celtic FC player, although Usmakabyle could have equalized in the last minute if the post had not repelled his shot. GuiFera then faced Aazbabysk in a 2-1 defeat and the only man to save the day for the Monegasques was young Nekza, surprisingly beating an experienced Lotfi.
On the second matchday, AS Monaco did have some good victories that earned them second place in Group A and a place in the Quarterfinals. First, they faced Manchester United, who were also in a precarious situation and needed to get enough points to secure their qualification. In this match, the Monegasques obtained 5 points thanks to Usmakabyle's narrow win over Kams10_ and draws by Nekza with Ostrybuch (2-2) and GuiFera with E_C_Oneill (1-1).
Going into the third and final match of Group A, the Monegasques were more relaxed, with enough of a cushion to be assured of second place, but with the possibility of taking the top spot from Celtic FC if they earned enough points. AS Monaco and FC Bayern München were level on points, with four apiece. Nekza beat FCB_Alguacil comprehensively by 4-1, while his teammates could only get one point with Usmakabyle's draw with FCB_Jose. AS Monaco thus advanced to the Quarterfinals as second in the group with 12 points, four points behind Celtic FC, and with Nekza in third place in the scoring charts with 9 goals.
The Knockout Stage showed a different AS Monaco, constantly improving and on the rise, which sufficed with victories by Nekza and Usmakabyle in each of the rounds to win the tournament, without GuiFera playing a single game.
In the Quarterfinals, the Monegasque team defeated Galatasaray by 2 games to 0 with Nekza beating the Turkish captain Mucahit21 by 2-0 and Usmakabyle defeating the current eEuro21 champion, the Serbian Kepa_PFC, by 2-4.
In the Semifinals the French pair faced AS Roma, who came from having finished top of their group with a great performance. Nekza overcame Gagliardo28 2-4, while Usmakabyle defeated 2-1 the Roman captain ASR_URMA43, voted Best Player of Group B. In addition, at the end of the matchday, Usmakabyle's first goal against Kepa_PFC would be chosen as Goal of the Day.
Knockout Stage - Final
It was with that feeling of firm superiority over their rivals that the Monegasques reached the Final where they would face FC Bayern München, who had struggled a little more on their way to the final match of the tournament. The previous meeting between the two in the Group Stage had left them level on 4 points, but this time it would be a different story. After Nekza's narrow win over FCB_Jose, which left the young Frenchman as the tournament's top scorer with 16 goals, Usmakabyle faced FCB_Mestre, who had played some excellent matches in the previous rounds. The final match of the tournament was a thrilling spectacle with two comebacks and a constant back-and-forth between the two teams. Finally, with a last minute goal, Usmakabyle broke the deadlock at 4-4 and sealed the championship title for the Monegasques. The legend of the French star was further enhanced by this achievement and the legacy of his young teammate Nekza began to be written after he finished top scorer and was voted MVP of the tournament in the year of his debut.
For more information about the tournament, visit the eFootball™ Championship Pro section in the eFootball™ official website here: https://efootballpro.konami.net/league/overview/
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