Yet another big win against our northern rivals, this time with a scoreline of 3-1.
It was a fairly confident win against PAOK this time with goals coming from Djebbour, Blanco, and Scocco. There were some questionable calls from the ref (including a red for PAOK, which I agree with but could have been avoided by PAOK) and some calls not made (including a hand ball from Kafes which wasn’t called).
Nonetheless, AEK were the stronger team on the pitch and by far at times. We dominated the game often with some great control. Passing and crossing were excellent throughout the game. The players seemed to be playing perfect in their assinged positions and the game flowed well. After we scored our second goal PAOK all but stopped existing, except for a few attacks every now and then.
Firstly, Saja played a good game and made some critical saves, although he really didn’t have much to do, especially during the second half.
Secondly, Koutromanos was excellent. He played quite far up at times (it even seemed as times as if we were playing with three defenders and with Kouts playing as a midfielder) and made some great runs, really showing a boost in confidence, likely due to Bajevic taking over. He made some great crosses and showed great speed and ball control. Defeinately a lot of promise.
Majstorovic played allright, but I must say that I feel that he was the weakest player playing for us today. He let some men slip by him, and he, as usual, looked too often for the back pass rather than controlling (when he had time) and getting the ball up. Alexopoulos played a good game and missed a great chance on a corner when his header was cleared by a PAOK defender.
Alves played great today as well, in left back rather than his normal centre back. His tackles were smooth and almost always got the ball, his headers were good, and he controlled the ball calmly and confidently and managed to distribute well.
Our midfield was good. Nsaliwa played a good game, made some nice passes, ran well and managed to bring the ball up on his own many times to help set up the offence. Kafes played some good defending along with Pelletieri.
Our offence, which consisted of Scocco, Blanco, and Djebbour, was fantastic. They worked like a well greased machine. They created chance after chance. Blanco once again showed how much he has developed by making a beautiful cross. Djebbour took part in the game much more than normal, and Scocco (well, no surprise here) was incredible. He ran, passed, crossed, took some great corners, and was everywhere, swapping from left to right, taking great shots. I strongly believe that him and Blanco must be kept no matter what. If Djebbour keeps playing the way he did today (he got MVP of the match and the fans certianly appreciated the effort he put in today), we should look to keep him for another year, although he might not be affordable next year.
Our subs were Manduca, Gentsoglou, and Edinho. Firstly, Manduca played yet another great game, as he has been doing since the start of the playoffs. Im not sure what it is that brought him to increase his game so much so suddenly, but perhaps it might be worth it to keep him on another year at least. He ran great, and conrtibuted much to the team. Hopefully we will see some more of this form him until the end of the playoffs.
Gentsoglou played great, even though he wasn’t on for too long. Hi made some superb crosses, seemed confident enough considering he hadn’t played in so long, and had a beautiful shot saved by Chalkias (Chalkias had a horrible game today, hopefully his performance will be better when PAOK play Pao this weekend).
Edinho only managed to play a few minutes so not much can be said about him. He had a nice header but thats about all he managed to do this game.
PAOK created some good chances as well, and played some dangerous football at times however couldn’t keep it up. They did have some critical players out so that may have affected them.
Well, overall, it was a satisfying performance. The crowd was definately pleased. Hopefully, we will continue to see this level of play until the end of the playoffs, in which case we should beat Larissa this weekend and we should have a high chance of beating PAO at our last game of the playoffs.