PAOK 71-78 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Players, Basketball, Derby, PAOK with tags , , , on November 12, 2016 by alexaek

An extremely important win for AEK in the league today, one which saw us struggle but ultimately show the character needed to come away from Thessaloniki with the win. Seeing as we had yet to play a derby until today, this match was one of our first major tests and though it wasn’t always smooth sailing for us, the team did well to do what was needed to keep our perfect start to the season.

Dixon was one of the standout players for us with 22 points including a crucial 3 pointer towards the end of the match to seal the win for us. Ukic also, unsurprisingly, had a great game with 16 points to his name. We trailed for most of the match and despite closing the score down a few times, it wasn’t until the 3rd period where we were finally able to go in front after a 12 point run. PAOK managed to keep the score close from that point on but we never relinquished our lead and managed to hold on despite a nervous final few minutes.

It must be said that despite the win, today’s performance was not among our best this season. To be fair, playing against PAOK up north is never easy and Vaseiliadis, a lifelong PAOK supporter who has never played against them at home, was clearly struggling.

Highlights can be seen here: http://aek365.novasports.gr

Well That Was Painful…

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC with tags , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2016 by alexaek

AEK 2-2 Atromitos

So far this season we have played four games at home for the league. These games were against respectable but seemingly beatable opposition: Xanthi, Iraklis, Panionios, and Atromitos. Aside from the first game, when we beat Xanthi 4-1, what do the last three home games have in common? They all ended in draws..

While a draw at home against a weaker team is never easy to swallow, today’s draw was really something else all together. I didn’t watch it (thankfully?), but the game got off to a phenomenal start with Mantalos scoring early. We played well from that point on and though Atromitos had some chances, it was finally looking as though the team was finding some confidence. We were rewarded for playing so well when Patito added a second for AEK with a beautifully placed shot that left the keeper with no chance.

At this point I was pretty happy. It sounded like we were playing well, we were so close to grabbing a crucial three points, and it started to look as though we might have just found some good form heading into our derby with PAO two weekends from now… Ah but this AEK were talking about after all. If this team has been consistent with one thing all season, its the fact that we so often find a way to make things more difficult for ourselves.

At around the 72nd minute I looked at my phone to check the score and I see that Atromitos had scored to make it 2-1. I wasn’t worried at this point, although I realize now that was a mistake. A few minutes later I check again expecting to see the same score, or even possibly 3-1 for AEK but instead I see 2-2. Surely I think to myself “we couldn’t possibly have let a 2-0 lead vanish at home?” but then I read AEK365’s description of the second goal and it all makes sense. Yep, another completely avoidable error by Anestis.

Coming into this season I had no problem with us keeping Anestis as our starting keeper. Sure he made some very costly errors the years before but he had finally started to show some maturity with his playing. I felt as though he might have been learning from his mistakes, improving his decision making, that sort of thing. Then Atromitos’ second goal today makes me have to question all of that. The goal he let in simply should not ever have happened. Not in a friendly, not in a Cup game where we were winning by a few goals, and certainly not in a league game where we have a fragile one goal lead and desperately need all the points we can get.

All in all I really don’t know what to feel about this game. Its a terrible result, but we did play quite well for 70 minutes. If Anestis never lets in that second goal and we finish the game with a 2-1 win, there would be a very different mood among the team and the supporters back in Greece. Instead, we now go into an extremely difficult derby with the fans doubting the team and perhaps the team doubting itself.

It has to be said that Anestis does not deserve all the blame (well, maybe he does). Afterall all the hype that surrounded Almeida after the first goal this season, what exactly has he done to contribute to the team this season? I want to see him succeed as much as anyone, but it sounded like he missed goals today that he really should not be missing. He is not a cheap player to keep on the team and I can’t help but feel as though perhaps there might be some young Greek talent out there that we could have on the team in his place at times. Experience helps, but it can only go so far when it isn’t actually contributing to results on the pitch.

Well, thats my “rant” for the day. It didn’t help that the hockey game I was at today saw the home team I was rooting for (the Ottawa 67s) go up 2-0 only to lose the game… 2-5. Thankfully the score for AEK’s game today didn’t quite end the same way, but seeing a 2-0 lead quickly diminish in front of my eyes while the same thing was happening with AEK in Athens was not exactly how I was hoping to spend my saturday…

Highlights, as usual, on the Novasports site (worth watching for Patito’s goal… and the Anestis blunder if you want something to make you chuckle). http://aek365.novasports.gr

At Least Our Basketball Team is Still Doing Well

What would I do if the basketball team was in the same shape our football club is. Its never easy being an AEK supporter, but its nice knowing that the basketball team can go into almost any match and expect to be competitive.

Today’s match, which ended in a 80-62 win over Rethymno was our fifth win from five games so far this season. It was another crucial win and one which puts us in first, for now at least, with 10 points. Next weekend is a huge one for us as take on PAOK up in Thessaloniki. It won’t be easy, but I’m confident we can, if anything, give PAOK a run for their money. A win in Thessaloniki would go a long way in confirming that we are on the right track.

PAOK 1-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Derby, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2016 by alexaek

Referee Mistakes Play Huge Role This Weekend

After an eventful Atromitos-Olympiakos macthup the day before which saw many questionable refereeing decisions go Olympiakos’ way, it was another poor call which ultimately led to PAOK’s extra time winner.

It was a shame really since AEK could have and really should have come away from this game with the point, a result which in all honesty I would have been pleased with considering how we fared in our last derby. We started the game with much more control than we did when we faced Olympiakos and while we never fully looked like the stronger team on the pitch, it was clear that the team had at least some kind of a game plan compared to that awful night in Karaiskaki a little while back.

I have to give credit to Morais. Just a few hours before the game, it was announced the Chyrgrinsky would have to sit the game out after picking up an illness. The loss of easily our best defender would be enough to worry any player and manager but the team didn’t seem bothered by his absence at all. In fact, it has to be said that both Kolovetsios and Lambropopoulos did very well to handle the numerous attacks that PAOK sent forward. What I was very pleased to see was the no-nonsense approach of the centre backs who opted to simply place the ball out of play rather than go for a risky move when such an option came around.

Lambropoulos specifically deserves a lot of credit for his performance today, handling himself very well in a high pressure situation despite having some rather terrible outings in an unnatural position for him earlier this season. He hadn’t had it easy before Morais’ arrival, with Ketsbaia insisting on playing him in midfield when he clearly wasn’t comfortable there. Today’s performance though suggested that he hasn’t let any of that get to him as he did well to intervene in a number of PAOK’s more dangerous scoring opportunities.

Anestis also had a fantastic game, making some great saves to deny PAOK throughout the game. He too also played the game well today, performing none of the errors that we’ve seen him do time and time again. Its safe to say that if wasn’t having a good day today, PAOK couldn’t have gotten the lead far earlier than they did.

Overall the team did better than I was expecting them to do. Thats not to say that they had a fantastic game, because they didn’t. But they managed to string some plays together and despite giving PAOK a little too much room up front, they managed to handle themselves well enough defensively so that most of PAOK’s good changes were quickly extinguished before they could really lead to anything.

PAOK were, as to be expected considering they were home and our form has been poor, the better team (but only slightly). With a slightly better attack today we could have put a lot more pressure on PAOK but we couldn’t capitalize on the few chances that came our way. Almeida had a great chance to put us ahead just before the half when his point blank shot just metres from the net missed the target. Lazaros also hit the cross bar after a great shot but it was not enough to get us in front which was a shame really because I feel like had we managed to sneak in a goal, we could have held on for the win today which was something we’ve struggled to do recently in Toumba.

As for PAOK’s goal, well I’ll let you see for yourselves in the highlights but basically it comes down to PAOK scoring off of a corner that never should have been called. Whether that bad call comes down to referee error or some other influence on the game I can’t say.

Also seen in the highlights is the moment a flare lands on the pitch after being shot from a flare gun. The game was called off temporarily at this point but what I find funny is the fact that many within the PAOK camp were complaining about the flares at their derby against Olympiakos the other week… where were those complaints when there own fans were guilty?

Highlights:

http://aek365.novasports.gr

Basketball Team Making Us Proud Again

Despite falling behind against Trikala earlier in the match, we managed to come away with a considerable 59-78 away win, partly thanks yet again to our fantastic away support. The result is yet another crucial win for us as we stay top of the league, undefeated after four league games this season.

Wins for AEK in Football and Basketball

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Kerkyra with tags , , , , , on October 26, 2016 by alexaek

AEK 4-0 Kerkyra

Our first Cup game off the season ended well for us, even if it didn’t get off to the greatest of starts. I didn’t get the chance to watch the match (yet) but I did notice the lineup Morais went with beforehand and I must say it looked quite interesting. Noticeable changes he made from our 0-0 with Panionios over the weekend included starting Barkas as keeper with Lambropoulos as center back beside Kolovetsios and Diaz starting at left back. Galanopoulos and Lazaros were added to our midfield with Aravidis and Pekhart playing up front.

We got on the scoreboard seven minutes in at which point I thought we would comfortably coast to a win but it took an awfully long time for us to get our second (and third, and fourth…) goal. Lazaros, with his first official goal for AEK, got the goal that finally sealed the win for us in the 78th minute with Pekhart adding further insurance two minutes later. An own goal by Kerkyra in the 90th finally finished things off for the guests.

Its a big win for us as we head into this weekend’s derby against PAOK but really, nobody expected us to drop points to Kerkyra so I’m hoping the players don’t look too much into the result. Sure it was nice to see us score some goals, but a 4-0 home win over Kerkyra means very little heading into a derby in Toumba. Still a lot of work that needs to be done if we expect to get any kind of result up north.

For another look at the game, and some highlights, check out agonasport.com’s review of the match here. And, for those of you who like myself didn’t get to watch the game, you’re in luck. YouTube has the match in its entirety:

 

2 for 2 in Basketball Champions League

Our basketball team followed the Cup win with a win of their own, a 80-58 away win over Belgin side Proximus Spirou. Its our second Champions League win in a row and our sixth straight competitive win of the season following our Cup win and three League wins. A great start to the season for sure for what is one of the more promising teams we’ve had in a while. Ukic was the key player of yesterday’s match, leading the scoring with 18 points.

We play Trikala this weekend, a game which I feel we should win, followed by Rethimno the week after. However, the 12th of November is when things get interesting as we face PAOK in Thessaloniki. It will be our biggest test of the year so far in the league, but I’m actually confident we can get a decent result since we’ve had decent results up there the past season or two.

The match that will really be worth watching will be our game against Besiktas next Tuesday. Winning this game will go a long way to getting us out of the Champions League group stages and will be a great test as to where we currently stand as a team.

Poor Start for Morais

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, Basketball, Derby, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , on October 22, 2016 by alexaek

AEK 0-0 Panionios

I guess all things considered, things could have gotten off to an even worse start for Morais… after all, we could have lost. But really, even though it was only his first game in charge the team really should have been able to find a way to score against Panionios.

How It All Unfolded

There were a few uncertain variables going into this game: how we would do without Galo and Patito, how Morais would line up the team, etc… Even so, I wasn’t terribly worried. We’ve been decent at home this season and the Larissa game not too long ago gave me hope that maybe the team has started to find ways of winning regardless of how they play. I hate to say it but really, if we want to have any hope of staying in the title race, results have to come first and then we can focus on playing attractive football.

Well, today, none of that seemed to be the case for the team. Sometimes after a result like today’s, I can at least say that the team played well and deserved more but that just wasn’t the case. The football I saw from the team was rather painful to watch at some points. To be fair to the defense, they did a decent job. Panionios didn’t venture up the pitch too often since they struggled to gain any meaningful possession but when they did, they rarely looked like they would threaten us.

Offensively however, we were lacking in every way. It took a good amount of time before we created any sort of a chance and when we did manage to get some chances, they were few and far between. Mantalos was maybe the only player actually contributing to our attack while Didac was also trying to provide some options down the wing. Aravidis, Platellas, Bakasetas and (I hate to say it) Almeida provided very little  to our attack though Almeida can only be blamed so much since he was hardly getting any balls into the box that he could work with.

So What Needs To Change?

Well, I’m hoping our play will smoothen out a bit as the team spends more time with Morais. They’ve only had four or five days to work with him and I imagine his system is quite different from what they were used to with Ketsbaia so I’m sure time will help a bit. To be honest though, there is only so much he can do. In fact, I have to give him some credit for fielding a decent lineup with the players he had available and though it didn’t exactly pay off, that was hardly his fault.

Who has to be blamed here is our players. There was no creativity going forward at all. Every ball that caused any danger to Panionios was a high ball in and while they could sometimes cause a scare, more than often they would end up comfortably in the keeper’s hands. The team could not come up with anything different, they could not string together any meaningful passes and they sorely lacked composure in front of the net.

From what I see, it seems as though the team needs to take a step back and approach the way they play with a clearer state of mind. Maybe they’re over thinking things, maybe they don’t trust themselves, but they should be able to be more precise offensively than they were today. Patito’s absence today was really felt, but surely we should be able to create something worthwhile without him on the pitch?

I know its still early and I know we didn’t lose the game so maybe it seems like I’m making a bigger deal of today’s result than I should be. But we absolutely need to be winning games like this, and the one against Iraklis where we also drew 0-0 at home. Especially when you take a look at our schedule for the next three games, you start to realize just how much the dropped points here will hurt us: we play PAOK away, followed by Atromitos at home, and Panathinaikos away. To be completely honest, aside from the Atromitos game I don’t see us picking up many points, if any at all, at the two away derbies. Before the season started I felt differently about these games but seeing how we’ve been playing lately, I’ll be very surprised if manage to even sneak a draw at those games.

At Least We Fared Better in Basketball

Earlier in the day our basketball club played an away game (which again felt like a home game due the wonderful presence of our supporters) against Kymis, a game which we never looked like losing from the first minute. It was a great game both defensively and offensively, and what excites me most of all is the fact that we finally seem to have a team that can score some three pointers. Too many times last season we would throw a game away by missing so many three pointers, but it seems like that might not be the case the season.

The win puts us at three for three in the league. For highlights of both the basketball and football game, check out Novasport’s page here: http://aek365.novasports.grl

What A Day For AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Basketball with tags , , , on October 18, 2016 by alexaek

Ketsbaia Out… Jose Morais In

The day after a much needed win that kept the team within reach of first place, we have parted ways with Ketsbaia. I think everyone knew he wouldn’t last a whole season, but I was surprised to see it happen today, and with such little heads up.

What was even more surprising was how quickly replaced. The timing makes me wonder whether this was planned for a while now which would explain it happening even after the win. Just a few hours after the announcements came saying that Ketsbaia was no longer with the team, Jose Morais was in town to sign his contract which would keep him with AEK at least until the end of the season.

So, who is Jose Marais afterall? I had never really heard the name before and the fact that he has had very little experience as a main coach would explain it. Thats not to say that he doesn’t have any experience at all though. He was assistant coach to Mourinho for five years between 2009 and 2014 joining the more well known Jose at Inter, Madrid, and Chelsea.

Far too early to say how this will turn out, but I’m not as upset as others online seem to be. Sure he isn’t exactly a big name, but could we really expect to get a decent name to come to Greece, while the season has already started? I’d rather we get someone quick so we can get on with it and try to get back on track before its too late.

Promising Display From AEK in First European Basketball Game of Season

A very impressive start to AEK’s European campaign today with the team never giving Hungary’s Szolnoki a chance. The final score of 92-49 did the team’s relentless performance justice as we continue to see promise from the squad. A very well rounded performance too with a number of players managing to get a few points to their name.

Larissa 1-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2016 by alexaek

We’re Still In It

Three points that couldn’t have come at a better time. With today’s win we manage to keep ourselves within two points of 1st, so its safe to say that another loss would have really put a dent in any progress we may have made before the Karaiskaki game.

Its an important win for other reasons too. We have to remember after-all that Olympiakos lost in this same stadium a few weeks ago and that an away game against Larissa is almost never an easy task. Today proved exactly that as, even though we got off to a great start scoring first in the 4th minute, it was still never a particularly comfortable outing for the team.

I unfortunately didn’t manage to watch the game since I was at work, but it sounds like although we managed to do well offensively, we struggled to exert any control over the middle of the pitch. I can’t say I’m entirely surprised since not having Simoes helping us out leaves a huge gap that most players just can’t fill. There is only so much Johansson can do on his own and why management didn’t think to look for another player in the off-season who could help hold up the ball a bit in the midfield is beyond me. Sure with Simoes fit we have a much better chance of doing something but with him gone the task becomes that much harder. And what happens when Johansson gets injured too? I can’t imagine how weak we’d be in the middle of the pitch if we ever lose both Simoes and Johansson for a game.

The scorer for both of our goals was, surprisingly, Platellas. I don’t mean to say “surprisingly”in a negative way because there is no doubt that he is a talented player. Its just that he somewhat lets me down when we really need him to perform but today he did everything we could have asked for. Aside from Platellas, it seems like the rest of the team was good enough to downright disappointing. Its unfortunate since I would have hoped that the two week break would have allowed us to gel a little more but on the other hand its promising that we still managed to hold on to the three points.

What is less promising though is the fact that not only did Galo get a red for a second offense during the game, but Lazaros also received a red after time was called for an altercation involving either the ref or another player (I still haven’t read for sure what happened. This means that we’ll be missing three important players for the next match after Patito was also banned for three games following an incident he was involved with at Karaiskaki.

Highlights as usual can be found on Novasport’s site: http://aek365.novasports.gr

 

Basketball Team Also Has a Good Weekend

It was not only our football club that managed to get a good result as our basketball club also got a convincing 96-56 win against Lavrio. The game started with a celebration retiring the jersey of AEK basketball great Georgios Trontzos and the performance of the team was a great way of honouring one of the greatest players to wear our shirt. Trontzos won five championships with AEK and was a key part of the team that won the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1968 and as such the retiring of his number 6 jersey was well deserved.

The game, for anyone interested, is available in its entirety on youtube.