Archive for January, 2010

PAO 1-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2010 by alexaek

Well, all I can say is we were lucky. PAO had a few incredible chances to score a few goals but were either stopped by the post or Arabatzis. But, they never should have won in the first round against us so it’s all good ūüôā

We started without Makos which was great news. Our starting XI was Arabatzis, Araujo, Majstorovic, Geraldo, Karabelas, Manduca, Kafes, Jahic, Blanco, Scocco, and Djebbour. Arabatzis made some critical saves and generally had a good game. There was very little he could do to change the outcome of the match.

Araujo was on and off. He controlled Leto with ease but let some players slip by and was a little dangerous at times.

Majstorovic, though he made a few mistakes (accidents really, not his usual sloppiness) which could have led to goals, was a great defender for us today. Cisse, who I was very worried about before the match, did very little, partly because of Majstorovic. Geraldo also had a good game. There was little else he could do, but he defended well.

Karabelas was our problem today. Against other attackers, he was fine, but when he came up 1 0n 1 with Salpigidis he was left trailing behind him on every occasion. This, unfortunately, led to many dangerous chances being created for PAO but with some luck few of them went in.

Our midfield could have been better. After the first ten minutes they died down and could not string together simple passes. Kafes was alright, as was Manduca, but Jahic needed to raise his game to a higher level. Perhaps it was just me but I wasnt too impressed with him.

Our attack was dangerous at times, when they managed to get the ball. I would say Djebbour was our most dangerous man up front and had some great chances. However, he hardly ran and rarely chased the ball or applied pressure, unlike Scocco or Blanco. Scocco did not have a fantastic game and I was expecting him to be more involved in this derby. He might have been trying but he rarely managed to create the pressure he normally does despite PAO’s weak defense.

Blanco was playing completely out of position. I’m not sure yet if he was instructed to do so but he rarely ventured forwards and rather played a right midfield position. He helped out defensively however what I was pleased to see from him was some nice balls he sent occasionally for Djebbour which passed PAO’s defense with ease.

Generally, it really wasn’t a fantastic performance, not compared to what we saw in Karaiskaki. Our players started strong and were winning each ball. We were rewarded with an early goal in the 9th minute after a mistake from Katsouranis and we had possession for much of the time. However, shortly after our goal things died down for us and PAO began controlling the game. They scored from a free kick outside our box and created a few chances after that as well which (luckily for us) couldn’t find the back of the net. Salpigidis was their most dangerous man up front and was involved in almost every opportunity for them.

Honestly, we were lucky but it’s fair considering we should have gotten one point when we played them earlier in the year.

The referee was terrible. PAO should have gotten a red after some dangerous and disgusting tackles by Vyntra. Many questionable calls from the ref, mostly in PAO’s favour. I’m not making excuses here but there was plenty of diving from the PAO players which led to many dangerous free kicks outside our box.

Our subs today were Makos (not his worst game, he managed to do a bit), Lagos (showed promise but maybe he was a little to excited and not concentrated enough), and Guerreiro (who came on for Scocco though I would have taken off Blanco).

Well, one point. Three would have been better but really, this is probably our hardest game of the year (except perhaps PAOK away). Fortunately, those team’s nearest us in the standings all messed up this weekend. Aris lost to Xanthi (!), Tripolis lost to Levadeiakos, and Atromitos lost to PAOK. We now sit in the fifth, one point ahead of Tripolis.

Our basketball team won away to Trikala this weekend. Our first away win this season, and the first game with our new coach. We didn’t play great for much of the game but in the fourth quarter we really picked things up and Trikala could do little to hold us back.

Our volleyball team also beat PAOK, 3 sets to 2.

News

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , , , , on January 27, 2010 by alexaek

Well, the big derby with PAO is this Sunday. Scocco will be fit to play for this one and while I’m not his biggest supporter lately, I hope he puts on another display like when we played Oly.

Apparently, Gilberto Silva might be injured for the game. That could be some good news for us if it turns out true.

Many sources here in Greece are now saying that it is quite possible the LIBEROPOULOS could return this summer! Sure, he’s older now, and this may be his last year of football coming up but the guy is a legend, loved by the fans, knows what it means to play for AEK, and could still make a difference on the pitch, even at this age.

Kozonis is apparently very interested in the Basketball team. Hopefully it’s true, it could be a chance for AEK to return to being one of the best teams in Greece and Europe.

AEK 3-1 PAS Gianenna

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2010 by alexaek

Well, it wasn’t a pretty win, but at the end of they day it was a well deserved three points. One goal was scored from Djebbour (who was superb today) and two from not Blanco, not Scocco (he didn’t play in the end), not Leonardo, Hersi, or Guerreiro, but…. KAFES!

No videos up yet, I’ll get some tomorrow. It was a freezing (literally) night tonight, with a mix of snow and rain towards the end of the game. Luckily though, the players weren’t affected too much.

As could have been predicted before the game, PAS held back and played the counter attacks. This proved to be a nightmare for us as we could not handle them once they took off. Unlike with Iraklis, where we managed to cut off many of their counter attacks before they develloped, we could not stop PAS on the counter at all today and some luck (along with some poor refereeing) helped us not concede earlier.

We scored first, a powerful header by Djebbour off of a Georgeas cross. His header was clocked at 60 km/h.

PAS tied things up ten minutes into the second half and the players seemed to loose concentration and and focus as the fans started to loose patience. Eventually, things tightened up and we started putting the pressure on PAS again. We scored the much needed (for the players and the fans) second goal which came from Kafes. Leonardo had a freekick outside the box which he passed on the ground to Gentzoglou who, with a nice back heel, placed the ball in the centre. Kafes saw the ball and shot and with so many players crowded in the box and the shot nice and low the PAS keeper could not react quick enough.

Kafes scored out third in extra time, a well placed shot after another back heel, this time from Lagos. This third goal sealed the deal on a much needed win and we now continue our unbeaten streak in the second half of the season.

So, we started with Arabatzis in nets, Georgeas (don’t forget, Araujo was out with a red card from last weekend), Majstorovic, Gentzoglou, and Karabelas completing our back line, Makos, Manduca, Kafes, and Hersi making up our midfield, and Blanco along with Djebbour were up front.

Arabatzis had a decent game. There wasn’t much he could do (or anyone else for that matter) with PAS’ goal, but he collected many corners with confidence tough was never really tested with any tough shots.

Georgeas had a good game though made some mistakes and could not handle PAS’ left wing on the counter attack. Majstorovic had a very good game, cleared many balls with confidence though he was also caught on the counter attack. Gentzoglou had a good game and made some critical tackles to keep us in the game. Karabelas was very good, defensively and also offensively, contributing some good runs up the wing.

Our defense was good for the most part except the counter attacks. This is the first time I’ve seen us truly exposed like this this season so hopefully it was a one off thing. Either, we must be more prepared.

Our midfield was alright. Manduca and Hersi (especially Hersi) both had good games but Makos was worse than usual (usual meaning terrible). He did have one nice shot which was barely saved but the rest of the game he lost the ball many times. There were a few promising aspects of his play, some decent passes and he was able to travel with the ball better than normal, but he was still a big problem for us today. He received many boos from the fans which really didn’t¬† help. Kafes was good today and obviously provided a threat up front.

Our offense was one of the better aspects of today’s game, especially Djebbour. Towards the end of the match we had numerous top class chances to score but couldn’t either because of poor finishing or great goalkeeping from the PAS keeper. Djebbour was quite something today. He scored a goal and had numerous other chances to score and also set up Blanco with a superb cross across the pitch straight to the Argentinian’s feet. This left Blanco head to head with the keeper however, as is typical of Blanco this season, he couldn’t finish it.

Our substitutes were Lagos, Leonardo, and Roger. Lagos was superb! Hopefully the guy will get more playing time now. Roger I honestly did not see enough of. Leonardo had a good game, surprisingly. Not fantastic, but good.

The Originals painted (with spray paint) all the seats where the sit Yellow and Black! An impressive feat and I must say, it looks great! However, with the derby with PAO coming up next weekend, I wonder how the PAO fans will feel. Let’s see what happens there. If they leave it it would be great, add some character to the stadium. I can’t see them leaving it though.

Sorry for the rushed post but school starts again tomorrow since exams are over and I have to get up early once again ūüė¶

Oh, a couple more things to point out. Six Greeks made up our starting eleven, a great number to see! Also, believe ti nor not, PAOK beat Olympiakos in Karaiskaki! Edinho scored the only goal of the match!

Some updates

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek National Team with tags , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2010 by alexaek

Firstly, before anything else I’d like to post a video my cousin back in Canada made. It’s a video which contains some pictures as well as a few videos, the kind of scenes which make us proud when we look back on them as well as give us hope for the future.

So, the official debts have been released and the numbers were alot less scary than some of the rumours we heard a few weeks back. It’s around 32.5 million Euros which actually is what the current shareholders have been saying all along. Add to that the fact that we shall soon be receiving large amounts of money from Television deals and other sources, it’s really a bearable number.

Kozonis has also returned! He said he will step up and provide the 15 million Euros the shareholders asked for providing the debt was what it was said to be. Well, that has been proven to be the case so it looks like he may be helping us out now. He’s also interested in the Basketball team which would be great news!

Scocco, Tachtsidis, and Alves are all injured and will be out for this weeken’s match against PAS Giannena (the team that just knocked Atromitos out of the Cup). Not good news, especially Scocco, but we can still manage, though Giannena are a tough team despite their low standings.

A number of players have been told to either look for new clubs or they may likely be loaned out. Some of these players are Pavlis, Iordache, and Juanfran. I personally wish we’d just get rid of Juanfran. I can’t believe we still pay him that ridiculous contract and he does nothing for the club. Unfortunately, when he was asked to terminate his contract he (obviously) said no.

Djebbour Misses Late Penalty To Salvage Three Points!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by alexaek

Sorry for the delay for this one. AEKMAN74 posted a good summary of the game which you can check out as well.

Well, my Father and I decided that since I only have half a year left in Greece before I, unfortunately, have to return to North America for university (don’t get me wrong, I love North America, I just don’t know how long I’ll be able to stay away from AEK) we’d go up to Thessaloniki and watch this one so I could experience a proper away game.

In the end it turned out to be a great experience, one which fortunately had little trouble between the AEK and Iraklis supporters. It was very cold up north, with some people even saying it was going to snow, but that did not take anything away from the excitement and the atmosphere that night. Around 1,800 AEK supporters showed up from all over the country (some from Athens, a particularly loud bunch of guys from Serres, some local supporters from Thessaloniki) and they created a rather festive mood, despite our team’s far from spectacular form.

Thanks to the wonderful planning from the guys over at Superleague, the PAOK game (which they won 1-0 against Tripolis) was ending at the same time Iraklis supporters were heading to the stadium. Of course, this resulted in a number of clashes but it thankfully never reached the AEK supporters.

Below are a couple of pictures I took from the game.

Considering there wasn't a huge number of them they made a fair bit of noise.

We made some noise ourselves

A view of the stadium before the match

Now, for the match itself. In the past three years we’ve won in this stadium (all 1-0 wins) but it’s never been easy. I honestly didn’t expect this one to be easy as well. Before the match, if I had known this would have ended in a draw I would have been relieved.

Unfortunately, however, we could have left Thessaloniki with all three points to place ourselves in fifth. Sure, Iraklis also could have done the same but there is little doubt that overall, we were the better team.

We lined up with a lineup similar to that which we fielded against Oly. Arabatzis as ‘keeper, Araujo, Majstorovic, Geraldo Alves, and Georgeas took care of the defense, Kafes and Jahic were the defensive midfielders with Manduca and Scocco taking the offensive midfield roles, and Blanco and Djebbour were upfront. A pretty solid lineup considering what we have to work with.

Our problem last week was our lack of a midfield, due mostly to the exclusion of Kafes (injury) and Jahic (too many yellow cards). Immediately, a difference was seen on Saturday with those two guys, especially Kafes, back in the midfield. They stopped the Iraklis counters early or at least stalled them for our defense, and they helped to drastically improve the transition of the ball from defense to the attackers. Honestly, from where we were sitting the view was terrible, so I don’t know how much of a role these two midfielders actually played, but I do know that were getting the ball up much more effectively than last week.

Arabatzis had a good game but could do little to stop Kone’s (yes, the former AEK player who refused to celebrate out of respect; he says he still has very fond memories of his time at AEK) fantastic shot.I think very few ‘keepers would come close to saving it. Arabatzis did make another save in the dying minutes of the game, just like against Oly, to keep us in it, so he certainly deserves credit.

Our defense was good. They were beaten often on the 1-on-1’s¬† but they were quite solid when it came to stopping the counter attacks which was mandatory with this Iraklis team. Unfortunately, Araujo got a red card for his second yellow late in the match but the boys were forced to play rough or else there would have been no stopping Iraklis.

I already mentioned our defensive midfielders but the more attacking guys, Scocco and Manduca, also did their job. They got the ball up and dangerously close on another of occasions and only a lack of either luck or concentration (or, of course, both) kept us from scoring another goal or two.

Blanco was not the main man in our attack on Saturday. That honor would have to go, without a doubt, to Djebbour. He scored a fantastic goal (which I will post further down) and was dangerous, as we’ve been seeing these past two weeks, when on the ball. It’s a shame he wasn’t here the first half of the season, we really could have used him.

I’m just dreaming of when Nemeth will return and play with us (if he ever does come back). Nemeth and Djebbour, with Blanco ready on the bench, would be deadly for any team. With Pao’s weak defense, these guys could easily do some damage in two weeks.

One thing which many noticed from this game was our playing style. I don’t know what it was, but the whole team was playing with a fantastic fluidity. We were passing the ball nicely, there was alot of one touch passing going on, it was overall a nice style of football we saw. We really did play some good football and only due to luck didn’t come away with a win. As everyone has been saying in the press, AEK was the better team on the pitch that night, even though Iraklis did come very close to scoring on a number of occasions.

Now, some highlights.

As you will notice, Djebbour missed a penalty…with three minutes of time remaining! I really don’t know what he was attempting with that shot, but he really should have done better. He apologized to the fans but that really isn’t enough. He had a solid chance to place us firmly in fifth spot but it was wasted. Hopefully, he learned his lesson and won’t try a stupid shot like that again. By they way, Blanco had already been subbed off by this time which is why he didn’t take the kick.

Well, fortunately, Kavala tied 0-0, once again, with Oly. This is the ideal result for AEK since it now keeps them two points behind us. It also leaves Olympiakos now trailing Pao by seven points, meanwhile they are only ahead of PAOK by three. I’m loving it.

The Oly fans (10,000 of them were allowed to go up to Kavala) caused a bunch of trouble in the city and the stadium, running around like a bunch of hooligans, running on to the pitch numerous times, and clashing with police. Of course, if this was a fair league, they would have been punished for their disgusting hooliganism (that’s all they’ve ever been). At least one home match without fans would have been the norm (that would mean no fans at home when they play PAOK at home next weekend… considering how terrible they played yesterday I would have said a sure win for PAOK there), if not more, and perhaps a heavy fine. Of course, we know this isn’t a fair league, and they will get away with no punishment at all.

Just about more of the same…………….

Posted in AEK on January 18, 2010 by aekman74

Another draw and another 2 points thrown away in Thessaloniki on Saturday night against Iraklis.We took the field with the same team that beat Olympiakos 2 weeks ago with the exception of Georgeas taking over from Karambelas at right back.Aek started the game at a furious pace with Blanco’s long range effort after 15 seconds stinging their goalkeepers hands.Infact both forwards looked sharp as Djebbour was also proving a handfull.While we were not creating classic chances,we did control possesion and the tempo for most of th first half until ex AEK player KONE,beat Manducca to the ball,turned Georgeas and fired a blistering shot into the top right hand corner of Arambatsis,who had no chance.Unfortunately due to technical problems,i couldn’t watch the second half,but Djebbour did score a beautiful equaliser,beating 4 men on a run just inside the goal line and finishing with a great shot.However his joy turned to all of our despair when he missed a penalty in the 87th min by trying to be too cute and chipping the ball.It sailed over the bar.Highlights here:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFpnzAnGq7c

And we are brought back down to reality..

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2010 by alexaek

So, after our incredible win only five days earlier people were expecting similar things from last nights game. We thought we were going to get it also after building a healthy 3-1 lead with plenty of time left. The final score? 3-3

One thing was to blame for this result more than anything else. Our midfield. Kafes was out injured and Jahic was out due to cards. That left Makos, Nsaliwa, and Gentzoglou as our options for central midfield. Who did Bajevic (the hero from our derby win who is now being held as someone responsible for our result) decide to go with? Makos and Gentzoglou… big mistake.

Makos was terrible, or worse than that if it is possible. I feel bad for the guy. He tries hard, shows the passion, and clearly cares for AEK like he says, but he must not play another game for AEK. Our midfield was non-existent yesterday. At least we know Nsaliwa can handle the position good enough even though he may not be a star player. Whenever Makos got the ball he would loose it by either loosing possession or giving away the ball with lazy passing. I hate to say it  but the guy is not for AEK. He was good at Panionios but he killed us yesterday.

Gentzoglou wasn’t as bad, and at least he scored a goal. But he was not enough to make a huge impact on our midfield. Without Kafes we were clearly hurting. He isn’t the greatest midfielder Greece has ever produced but he holds the ball well and can control it until he sees a good time to get it up. He’s also a fine defender and can stop the counter attacks early, something which our midfield failed to do on many occasions.

Its a shame our midfield was so poor yesterday since our attack really was quite good. They created chances whenever they did manage to get the ball (normally due either to Scocco playing the ball up or a long ball from Manduca) and were very dangerous. Blanco stayed behind during the week to practise finishing and it payed off after he nailed in a sitter which he may actually have missed a few weeks ago. Scocco again was superb and Djebbour showed promise but I think he needs one or two more games with the team. He gets the ball alot but holds on to it too long and instead of taking the chances he gets he tries to make things harder for himself. With a couple more games we should start to see him finishing off those chances on his own.

Our defense was alright but it wasn’t as tight as we needed. Atromitos deserves credit, they do have a good offense. That 3-0 home loss to Aris would have been different had Sifakis not pulled off some incredible saves. Karabelas and Araujo both had good games and Geraldo was solid, but Majstorovic was back to his old games of passing the ball back to the keeper and waiting until the last possible second to do so. The whole defence started the passing the ball at the back for a minute before getting it up tactic which we saw so many times last year. The fans were not impressed, neither was I, but I guess that’s largely due to the fact that we didn’t have that midfield that we so badly needed in order to get the ball up.

Atromitos scored first in the game but thankfully, probably because of the win on Wednesday, the fans only started singing louder rather than booing. We scored soon after to tie things up and Scocco gave us the lead just before half time. Blanco gave us the nice 3-1 lead during the second thanks to a perfect pass from Scocco (this guy really is incredible). However, things changed quickly after that.

Firstly, check out the video below of the goals.

If you had time to watch the video you would have noticed that Atromitos were awarded a penalty. Was it a deserved call? Absolutely not! However, they were given the penalty, Atromitos scored, we lost our momentum and Atromitos scored another one a minute later. Could this all have been avoided? Easily, if the ref hadn’t awarded them a fake penalty. Funny thing is, the ref wasn’t even sure if he was awarding the penalty for Makos or Majstorovic. When asked why he gave the penalty he first he said Makos, ten minutes later he said Majstorovic. Ah, you gotta love refs in Greece.

Anyways, by this point, the damage was done. We had trouble getting back in the game, something which was certainly by Atromitos’ dirty tactics of a player falling every minute complaining of a cramp. Around seven players must have fallen resulting in breaking up our momentum and wasting time. Every substitution they made also wasted another minute as the Atromitos players took five minutes to walk off the pitch at a leisurely pace while stopping to say hello to everyone on their way out.

One other problem which seriously affected us today was our weakness in the air. Every free kick and corner we had the Atromitos defenders got their heads to the ball first, even Majstorovic couldn’t do anything. Lately that’s where we were stronger, but not yesterday, and it really hurt us since we had many chances to score from corners or free kicks just outside the box.

There was some tension between the fans and Donis. Donis didn’t understand why the AEK fans were treating him so poorly (mmm, maybe because we saw some of the worst football in the history of the club and if it wasn’t for Dusan we wouldn’t have ended up where we did last season?) and he was saying beer cans were being thrown at him. The reporter on the radio, however, said there wasn’t one can thrown on the pitch.

Despite all that was mentioned above, AEK got what they deserved. Atromitos hit the post and had that went in things would have been different. At the end of they day though, we didn’t play our greatest game possible. I don’t know if the players were too cocky after our last match, or the midfield was really our weakness but its a shame, no matter what the reason was. The fans showed up, 15,000 of them. Not a huge crowd but much better than it normally would have been. It was a cold night yet the atmosphere from the AEK fans was still great, the best I remember since last season. 15,00 fans sounded like 40,000. They supported the team well but in the end we left with memories of why this is our worst season yet, rather than memories of the remarkable victory they pulled off five days earlier.