You can read the full story here http://www.greeksoccer.com/news/news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1274901209&archive=&start_from=&ucat=3&.Also seems we’re getting closer to snaring Geovanni’s signaturte.The Hull player’s contract has expired,so he’ll be on a free transfer,however i suggest wages will be high,so more than likely Scocco to go.Blanco has interest coming from Palermo who see him as a priority,apparently!
Archive for May, 2010
For those who missed the match or simply would like to see the chances again the video below has the main moments from yesterday’s game.
Now, in my opinion we didn’t play the best football we could have but, WHO CARES!!!! It was the last game of the season, what mattered most was the result. And, to top things off, Aris also won which mean Oly finishes fifth in the league! IM LOVING IT!!!!
Alright, as I mentioned in the post before Oly had a very depleted squad. Squad depth was being mentioned as one of their greatest problems and it showed today. They were a weak side and though they did manage to create some dangerous chances up front their defense was nowhere to be found! Some tighter finishing by Blanco/Nemeth/Scocco could have seen us leave the game with a 4-1 victory though Saja kept us in the game in the dying minutes.
We had a perfect start to the game with none other than KOSTAS MANOLAS scoring the first goal six minutes in. However, the celebrating didn’t last too long as Olympiakos tied things up not long after. Never the less, we still managed to keep control of the match despite not creating as many chances as we would have liked. Olympiakos gave us the odd scare throughout the first half but the lack of overall quality on their team was evident and it was obvious that the game was ours for the taking if we came out stronger in the second half (don’t forget, we scored three goals in nine minutes against Aris, all in the second half).
Half time came with the score still tied at 1-1 but not long after the start of the second half AEK were creating chances and pressuring. We saw a bit of everything, two against one, one on ones with the keeper, balls going just wide of the posts on a number of occasions… the ball just never went in. Fortunately, Blanco got the job done with his left foot in the 54th minute and put a nice solid shot right in the Oly net. The guy has been far from great this season but he seemed to remember how to score for that one chance and it was enough to give AEK the win. Despite Olympiakos pressuring we held off the pressure well (thanks largely because of Saja) and after a few tense last minutes Kakos (who reffed a very poor game) blew the final whistle.
Well generally I must say it was obvious we need a stronger midfield. It was not there today at all; we would have a strong line of players in defense and some players up front waiting to attack but nobody was left in the midfield to act as a pivot between the opposite ends. Our wing play was good however (Lagos did very good on the left and Blanco/Georgeas were doing good on the right) and Gentzoglou managed to deliver some dangerous long balls so we still managed to get the ball up enough. However, we were constantly attacked through the middle and it was where Oly created most of their chances (their wing play on the other hand was terrible).
Alexopoulos (who?!?!) got to play some minutes today after being out nearly a year with injury. To be honest, I didn’t see enough of him in particular but he must have been doing his job good enough. Either way, its good to see him back on the team, I always like him and he obviously plays with passion on the pitch.
Manolas left the match early after requesting to be subbed (I will try and find pictures of his black eye which was very large) which meant Jahic had to come back to centre back to fill Manolas’ spot. I must say I was very pleased with Jahic today. Nothing superb but he did the job effectively in defense and seemed alot more reliable than normal.
Unfortunately this didn’t seem to be Nemeth’s best game. He did not have a chance to get as involved in the match, mind you I would never really expect a front three of Scocco-Blanco-Nemeth to work too effectively. Scocco had a good match though from what I saw it took him a while to get involved. Manduca also started quite strong but faded away as the match progressed and eventually started playing a very defensive role.
Alright, enough about that. We can critique all we want but its the last match of the season and things aren’t gonna change now for a while. I have to say I was extremely relieved that no serious incidents broke out with the Originals and the atmosphere in the stadium for the most part was a very good/optimistic/celebratory one. This match was one of the most important ones of the season and it was essential that all energy in the stands was put towards supporting our players and psyching out Olympiakos rather than threatening the coach (Bajevic deserves credit today since I feel he handled everything on the pitch quite well with regards to substitutions and the like).
So, Olympiakos, the team that started with +4 points, finishes last in the playoffs and fifth in the league. In case you didn’t read what I wrote before, IM LOVING IT!!! They start their preseason very early now as their first Europa League qualifying matches begin middle of July. We however, don’t begin ’till late August which gives us plenty of time to prepare and make some transfers.
Some pics below from AEK365. Enjoy.
After all these years we finally lost to PAOK.
I left this game for so late because, well, I don’t really feel like talking about it. We played terrible, like a bunch of amateurs. It was obvious PAOK weren’t putting all their effort into the match yet they still out played us. We played with no direction, no passion. We had Scocco waste a penalty shot which was saved by their keeper.
Anyways, thats really enough about that match if you dont mind. Now, thankfully for us, Olympiakos drew to Aris, 0-0 in Karaiskaki. Fortunately for us Olympiakos also looked quite terrible. And, even better, they have fourteen (!) players out on injury. Nikopolidis, Derbyshire, Torosidis, Dudu, Lua Lua, Leonardo, and, unless things have changed recently, many others. Great news for us, it pretty much means Olympiakos will play their B- team. This means that if AEK play this match the way they did at the 4-2 with Aris I firmly believe we can get a very comfortable win. Of course, this is not a guarantee, but it’s quite likely in my opinion.
The winner of tomorrow’s match finishes second in the playoffs, which means more time to prepare for Europa League Qualifiers and easier qualifying groups. A draw however would mean Olympiakos would finish second. The ideal result after tomorrow for me would be a win for AEK (obviously) and a win for Aris which would mean Olympiakos finishes last in the playoffs. I cannot describe in words the joy I would have at seeing that happen (we all know, afterall, that playoffs were made for teams like Olympiakos and Pao).
Djebbour will not play tomorrow since the Algeria coach wanted the entire team to start World Cup preparations and would not let anybody be late. I believe Majstorovic will not be playing but Kafes should which will help things for us in the middle of the pitch.
So, we drew 1-1 with Aris in Thessaloniki while PAOK beat Olympiakos 1-0, in Karaiskaki! To be honest I only watched the final half hour of the match but from what I heard it was pretty uneventful, especially the first half which ended 0-0. I will say though that the football I saw from our team was not the same football we played five days before. The players didn’t exactly play bad, but it seemed they had no intention on making any chances to score. Leonardo did impress once again though, and he scored our only goal in the 93rd minute. Djebbour also had a goal which was called offside. Now, it was extremely close, I would say exactly on the line. Maybe the ref saw it from a bad angle, maybe he had some other intentions, but the goal should have stood in my opinion, a goal which could have changed things and possibly lit the creative spark that was so badly missing from our team that game.
Regardless, I wont go into much detail on the match. If anyone saw the whole game please do leave a comment below.
Now that we’re out of champions league (as well as Olympiakos!) we have the second playoff spot still left to fight for. We win against PAOK in Toumba and it can all be decided on the final game, AEK against Olympiakos at home. If we lose however and Olympiakos win against Aris then it will all be over and we will have to end up fighting for third playoff spot. However, Olympiakos played a terrible match against PAOK, and it is possible they may only get one point in the match at most (do remember that Olympiakos have scored only 2 goals these playoffs, both against us). In addition to this, PAOK have already guaranteed Champions League, so perhaps they may take it easy in our game, perhaps play some players who dont regularly start. After all, there really is no point in risking injury or fatigue in a match which means nothing to them. Of course, this is wishful thinking, but who knows.
Two new Greek players have just signed for AEK, a defender and a midfielder coming fro Panthrakikos for a fee of 450,000 Euros. Anestis Argyriou recently had a trial with Blackburn and is considered a young talent in the country. Definately a good move by management, and a pleasant surprise. I honestly don’t know much about Spyros Matentzidis but he apparently played well when AEK played Panthrax and should be a good addition to the team as well.
Nice to see management picking up some good Greek talent, and early! They’ll have plenty of time to practice and and get used to things with the team. I’m very happy with this deal, hopefully we’ll see them in action as soon as the summer training camps and friendlies start.
So, we drew to PAOK and Lost to Oly. Things were looking very bad and people were wondering “what’s wrong with the players???”. Well, I don’t know what was wrong with them but yesterday’s 4-2 win against Aris saw a completely different team on the pitch. Sure, a little late to start playing some football but better late than never and to be honest we still have a chance of getting something worthwhile out of these playoffs if we keep this up.
First of all, I want to say that in three years and over 60+ games that I’ve never missed at OAKA these past seasons I cannot remember even one game where I’ve experienced these many emotions in the span of 90 minutes. There were four red cards throughout the game, a number of yellows, questionable referring, AEK taking the lead, losing it, evening things up, and taking the lead once again. I’m telling you, it was fantastic.
Now enough of that, lets talk about the players. I cannot think of one game this season where we saw our guys go out there with so much passion, not even the win against Oly (though it is a different experience watching on TV and live). I don’t know what happened but these players have woken up, finally realized what shirt they’re wearing, finally realized what exactly is at stake here. We played with passion, we had direction to our play (something that we had sorely been missing the past few matches), we saw a dangerous offense and some phenomenal goal tending, we saw our players do everything they had to to win. Now, I must say Aris were nothing special. In fact, they were terrible, though they still managed to create some very dangerous counter attacks on a number of occasion. However, if AEK had played this way from the start of the playoffs without a doubt we would be in a much different situation right now.
So, the match itself. One could tell from the start it was going to be a rather exciting game. Aris created the first dangerous chance very early on however there was alot of back and forth play between the two teams from the get-go though AEK managed to take control of most of the passion with Aris looking quite weak on the ball. After a number of decent chances for AEK we finally went up with a superb shot from none other than Rafik Djebbour after Scocco’s pass deflected off an Aris defender. The crowd erupted after the goal (though it was a terribly small crowd at OAKA that night the atmosphere was fantastic for the most part) however cheering soon turned to booing after less than ten minutes later Jahic was kicked out for his second yellow. I’ll let you make your own decision from the video below. He is pushed, as he said he was, but it also looks like he intended on having his hand there so its a tricky decision.
Three minutes later the players were even again as Calvo received a red card as well. Again, some say the red was not required, so I personally don’t know. Either way, a yellow was needed since he kicked the ball for no reason. I just can’t remember if that was his second card.
So half time came and went and at the start of the second we were up 1-0. Things changed shortly later however as Saja received a red card for taking down Campora when in reality in was not necessary. Campora scored the penalty and the score was even once again. Regardless, our players never gave up their attack but failing to quickly restore the lead punished them as Aris’ American forward scored another for them to put them up 2-1. Well, by this point tension was building up again in the crowd but once again the fans were up and cheering when Leonardo scored only three minutes later. Two more goals followed, a penalty by Scocco and a header by Leonardo, giving AEK three goals in nine minutes and a 4-2 lead.
So, a few players in particular deserve credit (actually, pretty much almost the whole team). Firstly, Gentzoglou! Wow, the kid is still young but, as is the case with Manolas (who didn’t play today because of an injury of some sort), he plays like someone with ten years experience at this level. He has a great vision, and holds up the ball expertly.
Saja and Arabatzis. Both of these guys had great games yesterday. Saja, until he got kicked out, was solid, but Arabatzis was just incredible! Made a number of critical and phenomenal saves to keep AEK in the game.
Leonardo. Now, I know this guy hasn’t been a star this season, but yesterday was a fantastic performance from him. Aside from his two goals he was fighting with passion and was dangerous when on the ball.
Scocco, who scored and had two assists yesterday, and Djebbour, both played very good games. I was surprised to see the level of passion coming from Scocco, but it seems even he wanted nothing less than a win. Djebbour scored a goal and played a killer pass for Kafes to set up Leonardo. The guy’s technical skills are among the best in the league and it would be a terrible loss if we got rid of him this summer. I hope management acknowledge this fact.
Aside from these select players, I want to give credit to the whole team for playing hard despite the heat and being down two players for quite a while. I also want to give Dusan credit since he clearly knew what he was doing when he put Leonardo in and I can’t complain about any of his choices yesterday considering the absence of Manolas and the number of cards the players received.
Okay, so we got a fantastic win and one much needed for the players and the fans. Will we keep up this level of play? I hope so, because of we do we can definately get second place in the playoffs and quite possibly first if we have a little luck and PAOK loses where they should.
As of right now the standings are PAOK with 10 points, Oly with 7, AEK with 5, and Aris with 3.