You Can’t Win Them All…

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, PAOK with tags , , , on May 13, 2018 by alexaek

I was hoping this post would be a celebration of AEK winning its first double in over forty years. It seems like almost all of my posts lately have been nothing but good news. Naturally, there will be times when we can’t seem to win even if things are going our way and yesterday was one such example.

To be honest, I was attending a wedding all day and wasn’t able to watch the match live (or follow it for that matter as the ceremony was taking place as the game was going on). I did record it on TV here but after reading and hearing about what happened, I can’t even really bring myself to watch it. By all accounts, it seems as though AEK, with the exception of Barkas, simply did not show up to play.

I expected more from the team since the momentum definitely seemed to be in our favour, but on the other hand I know PAOK was the team that had more to prove. In the end, it showed as I haven’t heard anyone say that PAOK wasn’t clearly the better side. Its unfortunate, but at least the loss comes down to simply a matter of being outplayed rather than any other off the pitch incidents. Worth noting is the fact that a Spanish ref officiated the match. Again I wasn’t able to see much aside from a few highlights but it sounds like he did a great job of calling the match fairly and keeping things under control. Maybe we should get foreign refs for all derbies next season…

Oh well, all this means is that we’ll have to wait for next year to clinch the double!

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Champions of Europe!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League with tags , , , , on May 6, 2018 by alexaek

Just when you think this weekend can’t get any better for AEK supporters around the world, it does! After a night full of celebrations for the Championship win Saturday evening, our basketball club topped it all of by winning the FIBA Champions League trophy in Athens. The win came after a hard fought 100-94 win over Monaco, runners up in the tournament for the second year in a row.

The game was a little close for comfort at times but it must be said that AEK played a perfect game really. Aside from a few potentially costly errors towards the end, they executed their game perfectly for the majority of the match. Right from the start we were the stronger team with far more consistency in offense and a defensive cohesion that Monaco just couldn’t counter. While the usual suspects contributed to the match as expected, it was the unexpected MVP performance of Mike Green that proved to be the difference maker. As the commentators said, he played what was arguably the best game of his career to date. Without his performance, its safe to say the game could have ended up being a lot closer than it already was.

The last few minutes of the game were perhaps the most tense moments of the entire match:

It seems as though this weekend has just been one long party for AEK supporters in Athens. Just as they we’re recovering from a long night out yesterday on the streets of Nea Filadelfia, another celebration got underway at OAKA shortly after the end of the match:

It wasn’t just our supporters who were cheering on the team today. Jimenez and co were also present in the stands for the match:

What a weekend. All I can hope for is many more of these in the seasons to come.

The Fiesta We’ve All Been Waiting For

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Champions League, Greek Football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , on May 5, 2018 by alexaek

A fiesta that we’ve waited 24 years for, a fiesta that has been long overdue, finally Nea Filadelfia was able to celebrate the only way we know how. Flares, chanting, and a party that probably still lingers on the streets hours after the bus carrying the champions passed by.

The celebrations really started after our 1-0 win against Apollon Smyrnis, a game which technically was an away match though in reality was played in front of about ten thousand AEK supporters.

An open roof bus, painted specifically for this occasion, made its way from Rizoupoli stadium to Nea Filadelfia where it was, as expected, greeted by a sea of singing supporters. When I was re-watching some of the live coverage, people were estimating about thirty thousand supporters in the streets, and it certainly seemed that way from the video footage that I saw.

 

Its times like these when I would give anything to have the chance to be back in Greece. Its one thing to watch videos of this thousands of kilometers away but I truly cannot even imagine what it would have been like to be in Athens tonight. I’ve been around for some great moments, such as when we won the cup in 2011, but I have a feeling the atmosphere in Athens tonight would have been pretty unbelievable with the league now over, our basketball team in the Champions League final (tomorrow!) and the stadium on its way to being completed.

Now, as Melissanidis said earlier tonight, we look forward to more championships. With time, we might just be able to celebrate them in our new stadium before we know it!

Basketball Champions League Finalists!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Champions League with tags , , , on May 4, 2018 by alexaek

After a tough game against Murcia that was a little too close for comfort, AEK managed to book its place in the Champions League Finals set to take place this Sunday. The final score of 77-75 was enough to put us through in front of what was, as to be expected, incredible support from our fans in Athens.

Kerkyra 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Euro Cup, Greek Super League, Handball with tags , , , , on April 29, 2018 by alexaek

The Champions of Greece faced off against 2nd Division bound Kerkyra today in a match that was, to be quite honest, pretty lackluster. The game did come to life towards the end as we managed to create some chances but Kerkyra’s keeper was in fine form and seemed determined to not concede.

To be fair to the team, as much as I would have liked to see us close out the season with 2 wins, I can understand the more laid back pace. We have just clinched the title and have a Cup game coming up in a couple weeks which could give us our first double in over 40 years, so I’m not surprised the team weren’t pushing too hard for all three points.

Despite the lack of chances on the pitch, the atmosphere in Kerkyra seemed to be electric from the moment the team arrived on the island. Not surprisingly, the reception for the team was enthusiastic to say the least:

In other AEK news, on top of the success this season for our football and basketball clubs, our handball team has also made it to the final of the EHF Challenge Cup after knocking out Portuguese club Madeira. The final, which will take place against Romanian side Potaissa Turda, will be played over two legs on the 13th and 20th of May.

We Are Officially Champions!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , on April 23, 2018 by alexaek

I was two years old the last time AEK were crowned Champions of Greece. Now, nearly a quarter of a century later, we can officially call ourselves champions once again! It’s been a long journey to get where we are today after coming so close to winning the league in 2008, having multiple failed ownership groups, and ultimately falling to the 3rd division. After all that we’ve been through we’ve rebuilt in the best way possible, ultimately ending up with our 12th Championship after one of our more successful seasons in memory.

We can all finally breath a sigh of relief after the decision was announced today, the decision we were all waiting for. As was expected, PAOK were docked three points and handed a 3-0 loss in their game against us which ended up cementing our hold on 1st place with 66 points while PAOK now find themselves in 2nd on 58 points and with no hoping of catching us in the remaining two games.

It’s a shame the decision had to come out today and not yesterday (or sooner for that matter). The celebrations would have been all the more enthusiastic had we been able to cheer with absolute certainty the fact that we were champions after the game last night. Nevertheless, it is what it is and what matters now is that our patience and our willingness to stick with the team through all that its been through has finally paid off. I might not remember anything from the last time AEK won the Championship, but I’ll certainly remember this one.

What this really comes down to for me is so much more than just a championship. When you look at where the team is overall, you realize that this championship wasn’t simply a the ultimate goal for us. Rather, this is just the beginning. We have serious ownership, a great squad to build upon, and a construction site that will, before we know it, become a place we can truly call home. The future for AEK is brighter than it ever has been and I can’t wait to see what we might be able to accomplish in the coming seasons.

As expected, a lot of tributes and congratulations have been coming in throughout Greece and from abroad. I’m seeing supporters of PAO, Aris, and even Olympiakos congratulate AEK on the season we’ve had. It seems that all of Greece, aside from some bitter PAOK fans, have recognized what we have accomplished and the good we have done for Greek football.

There has been endless talk online of everything that happened yesterday and today, but for those of you who have a few minutes, I’d recommend checking out the video that Gazzetta.gr made for AEK, which can be found here. Its not long, but it definitely does a good job of showing just how much this win means for us.

Agonasport.com also posted a nice overview of our 12 championships to date, an article written in English which can be viewed here.

 

Champions Again, 24 Years Later!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , on April 22, 2018 by alexaek

I know, I know, its not official yet as we’re still (!) waiting on the court case regarding the PAOK-AEK match in Toumba. But, its hart to not feel like we’re champions following the scenes that were a result of our 2-0 victory over Levadeiakos.

In front of 70,000 cheering and chanting supporters, we practically sealed our 12th Championship in history, and our first since the 1993-1994 season. Bakasetas was the hero today as he scored both goals, including one from the penalty spot. The highlight of the game though is when Mantalos made his way onto the pitch, 172 days since he last played a match for AEK after recovering from a serious knee injury.

Its amazing to think we’ve finally achieved this considering where we were playing not that long ago. As Tzanetopoulos said, the team has been dreaming about this moment from when they were playing in the 3rd division and it has finally happened!

Theres a lot that can be said about what happened today in Athens, but I’ll let some video footage do the talking.

I was relieved to see that the supporters in the stands didn’t cause any trouble during and after the match. I was sure that just a few flares or a few fans storming the pitch afterwards would have had some teams demanding some kind of punishment for AEK.

Instead of causing any trouble in the stadiums, our supporters left the more “rambunctious” celebrations for the streets of Nea Filadelfia.

The celebrations inside the locker room meanwhile were equally enthusiastic:

Theres not much that can be said really after a day like this. All I can say is that this team deserves credit. The players, the staff, Jimenez, Melissanidis, everyone has done an incredible job to get this far. We’ve all but won the league, we’re in the Cup Final, we were undefeated in the Europa League, its hard to remember a better time to be an AEK supporter in recent memory. Lets just hope the court case goes favorably for us so that we can well and truly host a fiesta like we did back in Nea Filadelfia!