Xanthi 1-0 AEK

First off, the highlights:

AEKMAN74 posted a review earlier on this match which covered most of the main points so be sure to check that out as well. I’d just like to add a few things.

We lined up with Saja as keeper, Araujo, Arce, Majstorovic, and Georgeas (who played left back) playing defence, Hersi, Geurreiro, Jahic, and Manduca playing Midfield, with Scocco and Blanco playing attack. Our formation varied at times. I believe that when we were attacking our defence became only three with Araujo moving up and Majstorovic covering right back. I saw this on a number of occasions and am not sure if it was intended, but it happened more than I remember seeing from other games. It is clear though, that after last week’s victory over Benfica we went into this one fighting for nothing but a win. Unfortunately, we got caught many times on the counterattack. Xanthi released forwards quickly and caught us many times with more attackers than we had defenders. This was worrying but luckily thanks to some luck and some decent goalkeeping from Saja we never conceded on one of these counterattacks.

Hersi played up front much of the game and clearly wanted the goal, and a goal is what he got in the 15th minute, as you can all see from the video above. However, the goal, apparently because the ref saw a handball, was dissallowed. As you can see when you watch the video however, there was no handball at all and the goal should have been allowed. So, that is a third game in the “Super”league where we have been negatively affected by terrible referee decisions (let me remind you that a foul was not called which eventually allowed PAO to score and a penalty was not given to AEK from clear handball at the Olympiakos game, along with numerous other poor calls). Our team’s psychology would have been completely different had the goal counted, but it didn’t, and we ended up conceding a goal which could be considered a handball from Poy. However, our defending was poor on the corner and Poy should not have had the time or the space to score such a goal.

Throughout the match we dominated in possession, and created a number of decent chances, but once again could not get the ball in the net. When our lineup is compared to the lineup we fielded against Benfica, we notice it was quite similar. However, what allowed our team to be the stronger team against Benfica was the passion with which we fought that game. Against Xanthi yesterday I saw little passion from our players. Scocco, when he had the ball, seemed as if it made no difference to him whether AEK scored a goal or not.  Unfortunately, with refs making such poor calls against us every time we play a game in this league, the only way to assure the win is to fight that extra bit more, rather to wait and hope for the result. After the Xanthi goal was scored there were still seventy minutes left in the game plus extra time. Against a Xanthi side which is playing some of their worst football in recent years that is plenty of time to score at least a couple of goals. But without the passions or the energy that will not happen. We have seen often in past years that Xanthi is never an easy team to play against, especially up in Xanthi. Our results up there are generally poor, with most of them being draws.

Bearing that last fact in mind, I believe its safe to say that all is not lost yet. Clearly, seeing as we are eleven points behind first place, the championship will not be won this year. However, we can still turn things around and start winning some games, at least keep the pressure up on the tables and regain a higher position. As we saw at the match with Benfica, AEK have a good squad this season, one that is certainly capable of making things happen.

As for our players yesterday, everyone played a decent level. Guerreiro, as AEKMAN74 said, is a creative player who will help us much more in the future. Blanco missed a few great chances, chances which he would have put away with ease had he been on form. Scocco seems to play well when we wants, and yesterday he clearly did not want to. He provided very little to the team in general. The other attackers and midfielders played a decent game, not uch more can be said about them.

As for defence, Arce has shown that he can be an alright defender, but I remember one counter attack in particular where clearly his speed was lacking and there was little he could do but drop and cover in the middle. Araujo played a good game, and likes to throw his weight around, something which I like to see from a defender. However, the refs seemed not to and called fouls every time he touched an opponent. In a league such as the EPL such a play would hot even be considered by the officials.

Due to Juanfran being injured I believe, Georgeas took his place. Hedefended well, and fought hard, as we have seen before, but he had to make his runs cutting across through the middle, rather than up the left wing. Perhaps he doesn’t feel as confident with his left foot, but either way, we created few chances from the left, far fewer than from the right or through the middle.

Overall our play was quite static. We didn’t see the quick and fluid passing we saw at the Benfica match. This makes for a much less effective style of football, as well as one which is far less enjoyable to us, the spectators. Hopefully we will see a much more fluid game against Panthrakikos, a team which is in terrible form at the moment.

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2 Responses to “Xanthi 1-0 AEK”

  1. I’ve been watching the highlights fifteen times now. What I’ve seen all those fifteen times is a goal that should have counted by Hersi. Nothing wrong with that goal, no hands, no offside, nothing wrong. And I see a Xanthi goal that never shoud have counted, it’s ‘the arm of God’ (I liked Maradona’s hand of God better) that made that goal.
    Those things happen, nothing you can do about it, you win some you lose some. But if it happens game after game it will get to you and you might lose confidence. Sunday Panthrakikos, right? A 5-0 would be a good remedy. 🙂

  2. A goal that should have counted, a handball which should have been a penalty, a foul which should have stopped the play reducing the possibility of a goal for PAO…. need I say more?

    Then, a Xanthi player goes and taps the ball in with his arm… this is Greece, only Olympiakos wins at Xanthi.

    Yeah, Panthrakikos, but not this weekend due to the national team, so it will be next weekend. There is no excuse for anything but a comfortable win. If we fail to score a handful of goals as you are saying it will be a sad reminder of just how bad things are. But a strong win certainly will be good for the team and the fans.

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