Finally Back!

Posted in AEK, Greek Super League, Playoffs with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2015 by alexaek

As Julio Cesar himself said, we’re back at the top!

(I cant help but appreciate Cesar’s passion for this team, even after having left so many years ago)

Its been an eventful two years, and two years which really should have never happened. But it was inevitable, and I think in the long run we’ll be better off because of the two years we spent away from the Superleague.

I know our promotion was never in doubt, not once since the moment we fell in April of 2013, but its still a wonderful feeling being back where we belong. Its also bittersweet, since as great as it is to be back, I’m afraid that the league really hasn’t cleaned up one bit since we left. Will that change once Melissanidis has a say? Only time will tell, but all I know is that if our management is as serious as they want to seem, then the AEK of next season and after will be a very different team from the one that fell two years ago. And by that I mean not only in terms of players, but also the fact that a lot of that negative history that was holding us back has now left, and instead what we have is essentially a clean slate.

Our promotion today was of course thanks to our 1-0 win against Iraklis in OAKA. Yet another disappointing match, but at least we got the job done and can now finally take a deep breath.

I know this hasn’t been the best AEK we’ve ever seen, but Dellas, the team, and management deserve credit for getting us where we are. A lot of our players could have potentially played with Superleague teams this season, but instead chose to stick with us knowing that one day soon it would be worth it, and I’m certainly glad they did.

Needless to say, nothing is over yet. Sure we’ve made it back to the top, but its only really now that things really start to get going. We still desperately need some new signings in quite a few positions, we need some sort of a plan, some sort of vision, and a management team that is ambitious and not afraid to hold back. That doesn’t mean to play it risky, as we have in the past, but we can’t hold back either. The fact that we made it back to the first division means nothing at the end of the day if we aren’t going to be challenging for the championship. No matter what has happened before this moment, we are, and always will be, AEK.

AEK 1-0 Olympiakos Volou

Posted in AEK, Playoffs with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2015 by alexaek

Another disappointing performance from our team, even if we did manage to come away with the three points. I can’t lie, I really am surprised we’ve been seeing such poor football from the team, considering a good number of our players will know that these playoff matches will be their last chances to show they’re worth a spot on next season’s team.

As disappointing as our performance was, even more disappointing is the news regarding Bakakis’ injury. I’m not sure about the specifics yet, I read someone suggest it might be a torn ACL, but whatever it is, it seems like its serious. Not sure how long he’ll be out for, but I think its safe to say we wont see him again for the playoffs. Certainly not the best of news considering we’re also really missing Mantalos at the moment.

Our only goal was scored by Grontis after he latched on to a lose ball in the penalty area following Aravidis’ post. MVP of the match was, unsurprisingly, Johansson. I really do hope we hold on to him for next season (not that I see any reason for us not to), he’s definitely a solid and reliable player to have in our midfield.

Not really related to the match itself, but an amusing video from the press conference (I particularly like that Dellas even told Eleftheropoulos to sit in the seat from which he ended up falling off of):

Larissa 0-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, Football League, Playoffs, Signing with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2015 by alexaek

Late getting this post up, but its a game worth mentioning. Going by reports I read online, it was yet another somewhat dissapointing performance from our players, though at least we managed to come away with a win from one of our tougher matches of the playoffs. Our only goal of the match was scored by Platellas in the 42nd minute, and its one worth watching:

I’m curious, would anyone know why Larissa is now playing in Aklazar and not their new stadium?

Statistics of the match paint a rather different picture from the one we saw at our last match. Possesion was only just in our favour, at 51%, while we were actually considerably outshot by Larissa (Larissa managed 11 shots while we only got 5). Certainly an important three points, but some players are going to have to start improving their game if they want any chance of being part of the team next season.

After the win in Larissa, we currently sit in first place with 19 points, while Iraklis arent too far behind in second with 16 points.

Also worth mentioning is that we made a signing recently, picking up Brazillian right back Rodrigo Galo. I’ve personally not seen him play, but from what I’ve been reading it seems like a decent transfer. The video below shows some highlights from his career until now.

AEK 2-1 Apollon Smyrnis

Posted in AEK, Playoffs with tags , , , , , , , on May 10, 2015 by alexaek

It wasn’t the easiest of games, but it all ended well for us in the end as we got the three points courtesy of goals from Barbosa and Soleidis.

We outplayed Apollon by managing to have 67% of the total possession and 15 shots (with 10 on target) compared to 5 shots for Apollon with only 2 making the target. Unfortunately though, as is so often the case with football, one goal was enough to turn the match around and force AEK to make something happen under pressure. Apollon’s goal came just after the start of the second half, with the score still even at 0-0. A well placed pass met the feet of Angulo, who managed to shake off our defense and made his way around an out of position Anestis.

Thankfully though, we were ultimately able to respond thanks to a well taken shot from Barbosa who managed to catch the rebound after Chrisantus’ had his shot blocked by Apollon’s keeper.

We managed to finally seal the deal after a nicely taken shot by Soleidis. Honestly I’m not sure if he was going for the shot, or possibly attempting a cross, but if he indeed was going for the shot, he did well to catch the keeper off guard.

Iraklis managed to win their game against Panachaiki, which keeps them in first place with 16 points, though we also have 16 points. Third placed is Larissa with 6 points, and Apollon in fourth with 4 points. Its safe to say that with another win or two, we will have pretty much all but made certain our place in the first division for next season.

AEK 3-0 Panachaiki

Posted in AEK, Football League, Playoffs with tags , , , , , , on May 4, 2015 by alexaek

A vital three points for us earlier today, three points which go a long way in keeping us safely in position for promotion. Our performance was apparently anything but spectacular, especially in the first half, but we still managed to get away with a convincing score (even if our playing wasn’t always as convincing).

Judging from the highlights, we were lucky to not have a goal or two scored against us. Not sure if it was pressure getting to the heads of the Panachaiki players, but had their finishing been more accurate, we definitely would have had a much harder game on our hands. Thankfully though, it seems like it just wasn’t meant to be for Panachaiki and we managed to score a couple impressive goals (the third from Bakakis in particular is well worth watching).

The win keeps us level with Iraklis in 1st, with 13 comfortable points. Our nearest threat, Apollon, are on 4 points after their 0-1 away win over Larissa.

Playoff Schedule Released

Posted in AEK, Playoffs with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2015 by alexaek

I know its something that has been discussed quite a bit here on the blog, and our playoff schedule has now been finally released. The matches will be as follows:
Iraklis – AEK (April 26th)
AEK – Panachaiki (May 5th)
AEK – Apollon Smyrnis (May 9th)
Larisa – AEK (May 13th)
AEK – Olympiakos Volou (May 20th)
AEK – Iraklis (May 24th)
Panachaiki – AEK (May 31st)
Apollon Smyrnis – AEK (June 3rd)
AEK – Larisa (June 7th)
Olympiakos Volou – AEK (June 14th)

Our hardest match without a doubt will be our first with Iraklis on the 26th, though as anyone can tell from looking at the schedule, not one of these matches will be easy. Thankfully though, our 10 point cushion will take a lot of the pressure off, so I think its safe to say were in a pretty good position as far as getting promoted is concerned.

One thing you will probably also notice, is that we play until the 14th of June, which is very late into the season to be playing (not to mention a very hot time of year in Greece to be playing). Hopefully this doesn’t affect our pre-season prep time too much.

It was recently announced that as of next season, our jerseys will be made by Nike. I’ve been pretty happy with the recent jersey’s weve had from Puma, but I feel like as if Nike will be a nice change since I consitently like the jerseys they put out. AEK365 recently posted a photo of 9 current Nike jerseys redone to look like AEK jerseys and I must say I quite like a few of them. Of course, these are amateur mock ups and nothing official, but I’d be happy if we managed to have one of the ones posted. To see the mock ups, check out AEK365’s link here

Kalithea 0-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, Basketball, football, Football League, Handball with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2015 by alexaek

A fairly routine win for AEK against mid-table Kalithea, though an important one none the less as we look to seal as many points for the playoffs as possible. Reviews for the players with Dounis, Chrisantus, Anakoglou, Vouras, and Johansson given particularly high ratings by AEK365, while pretty much our entire defense of Rovas, Kolovetsios, Sarris, and Soleidis gave what were considered to be pretty weak performances.

Our two scorers were Dounis, who opened the scoring in the 30th minute with a well placed shot, and Chrisantus, scoring his first goal for AEK with another well placed shot. VP for the match was once again Johansson, a player who is constantly impressing everyone with how solid he is in the middle of the pitch.

The win, our 21st of the season, as brought us up to 62 points with second place Panachaiki on a relatively low 46. I haven’t seen a playoff table for sure but I believe as Nick mentioned in my previous post, that today’s win got us back the point we had lost from our penalty.

In addition to our football team’s comfortable win, our basketball team had their own win today, one which was both entertaining and impressive. The win, a 93-77 win over fourth placed Aris, extremely important as far as our chances of finishing in the top four are considered, and our performance today certainly showed signs of a team worthy of a top four finish. Our three pointers, as can be seen from the video below, were very accurate today, and it seemed like all players were having a good day.

Today’s win puts us just one point behind Aris, with 35 points. While the top two is certainly out of our reach at the moment, we now also sit only two points behind PAOK, with our rivals from the north currently on 37 points.

Speaking of PAOK, we played them today for the Handball Cup Final, a match-up which we’ve seen before in recent years. Unfortunately we weren’t as lucky as in previous Cup finals as the match, which saw some incidents involving AEK supporters and riot police, ended in a close 29-27 victory for PAOK.

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