And we are brought back down to reality..

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.

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5 Responses to “And we are brought back down to reality..”

  1. Thanks Alex for the review as i missed the game.I can’t beleive Makos had as bad a game as you say,surprising,however,for the life of me,i can’t understand why Bajevic does not start Geriero.He could have partnered Nsaliwa or Yiahayia,another who’s fallen out of favour.Or even Iordache or a Hersi out wide and Manducca could have played central.So what’s Dusan do,go for the kid Genstoglou(out of position and when he did start here in the playff against Pao last year,hardly covered himself in glory.Not his fault,not his position)and Makos whos only started a handfull of games himself.Bewildering!The commentators make it sound like we had massive defensive problems again.Majstorovic is not the answer,interesting to see if they offer him another contract as it’s up this year and Geraldo,well,he makes for adequate back up.Throwing away points seems to be our specialty this year.Quick word on the penalty.JOKE.No surprises here!

  2. I couldn’t believe what I saw but if somehow I come across a copy of the match to download I’ll send it so you could see for yourself, he really was terrible. Maybe there was just alot of focus on him, it was a big role to play since not starting for a while so I dont know, perhaps I focused on him more so his mistakes were emphasized. I like him though, I want to give him more chances, I dont know long it can go on though.

    I don’t know about Bajevic. Guerreiro said the game against oly was the first time in his career he wasn’t included not only not playing but not even on the bench! But he wasn’t complaining, which was good to see. He said he completely respects Bajevic’s choices.

    You are right, I totally forgot about Yiahayia when I was thinking of other central mids we have! That would have changed things completely, and for the better, if Nsaliwa and Yiahayia had started. Or even Hersi as you said.

    The penalty was a joke, completely a joke. Neither of the “tackles”, either the one by Majstro or Makos were anything near a penalty.

    I don’t know about Majstro, he can’t be cheap, mayby they will resort to cutting back and not offering something new. Either way, we can do better but for now I guess we have no choice. We really miss Kyrgiakos back there.

    By the way, not that we need him, but Alexopoulos is now back from Belgium where he went for Rehab and surgery, I cant remember what exactly, and I think he’s started practising. Its good to know at least, Ive always liked him, he played with some heart and was a decent defender.

    I can’t believe it though, we once had centre backs like Bruno Alves, Kyrgiakos, Manolas, Dellas, some great centre backs, now this is the position which is leading to many of our goals. When was the last time we saw a truly tight centre back partnership like the days of Dellas and Papastathopoulos? We conceeded the fewest goals the season we had those two playing, I doubt it was a coincidence, they were a wall back there.

    Anyways, we threw away two more points, had we got those two points we would have been in fifth and still relatively close to Paok. Now, I doubt we’ll reach them before the season ends. All we can hope for is we get that last playoff spot.

  3. Leonardo is the worse thing that has happened to AEK. His the worse player in our top squad ever, we must get rid of him. Everytime he get the time to play all balls that go through goes directly to our opponent. A free kick taken by leonardo is a 99 % chance of being thrown away. Yesterday when they made him play (after 3-3 –> the most stupid move ever) the players soon realised what they had to deal with. They had the most fascinating attempts to avoid playing Leonardo, remembered one cross were leonardo were beside an player and he choose to make this impossible pass. Leonardo is a good player when he plays in a smaller team, ergotelis/atromitos for example.. but he is a total waste in aek.

  4. Maybe the refs should start every game with a penalty for our opponents. Would be easier to anticipate.
    Thx a lot for the review and the images!
    Oh by the way, I’m being interviewed on Sunday by a Greek magazine. I think it’s a magazine for Greeks living in the Netherlands. They want to know why this tall blond idiot is an AEK fan 😉
    I keep you posted!

  5. Haha. Yeah, keep us posted!

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