Not what we were hoping for.

So Friday evening comes and PAO draws 1-1 with Xanthi at home. Saturday evening comes and Iraklis beat Olympiakos 2-1. Looks like Sunday may turn out to be a pretty good day I was thinking…

and then AEK loses 2-1 to Kerkyra.

The game was played in Patra since Kerkyra’s stadium was not yet up to Superleague standards. A large number of AEK fans from around Greece filled a few gates anticipating a good result and a positive start to the season. Dellas and Lybe were back in the starting 11 and to be honest, most AEK fans I heard from were expecting a fairly easy win.

We started the match in a strong position, controlling possession, moving the ball up, laying off some nice runs, and at times coming agonizingly close to scoring. Then, completely out of the blue, Diop slipped on the grass leaving his man wide open and with enough time to launch a deadly curving shot right past Saja’s fingertips. 1-0 Kerkyra. One shot, one goal…

We picked ourselves up again but it was clear the team had taken a blow. We struggled to establish much of a rhythm, Leonardo was not at his best, Djebbour disappeared at times from the game, and chances were becoming more and more scarce. Half time came a t a good time.

Alright, second half starts. The score is only 1-0, definitely enough time to score and equalizer and score the winner. Afterall, you would think that would be fairly easy with an offense of Djebbour, Libe, Scocco, Leonardo, and both Blanco and Burns on the bench. Sure, these guys may not have the scoring abilities of Rooney or Drogba, but they are all above average for the standard in Greece. Surely, they can score a couple of goals against a team like Kerkyra?? Where am I going wrong here?

Well, turns out they all forgot how to finish a chance off ever since that game with Sydney FC over the summer. We pressured throughout the second, and despite playing some unattractive football at times, created chance after chance but failed to score each and every time. Djebbour and Leonardo both had a number of good opportunities in front of the net, Blanco was caught waiting for a pass in a good position (and with half the net open) but the ball never was passed to him, and it wasn’t until a bullet of a shot from Djebbour off a freekick did we manage to score. The score was already 2-0 for Kerkyra at this time and it seemed quite obvious we wouldn’t leave with much to be happy about.

Our starting lineup consisted of Saja (considering how few shots he had on him and the number of goals scored, not his best game), Jahic (pretty poor game, tried to get more involved but just doesn’t have the technique required), Manolas and Dellas (both did what they had to do when they were needed, for the most part), Karabelas (considering it was his first game in a while, played alright, but as usual nothing special), Scocco (started off strong but became uninterested as the match progressed, and lacked concentration in front of the net), Diop (very poor game, and I’m starting to loose faith in this guy), Kafes (average game at best, made some mistakes along with Diop), Leonardo (not nearly as good as he was in Scotland), Libe (seemed to be putting his heart into the game, was involved in many plays up front, had some chances to score and took a few shots), and Djebbour (scored, came close to scoring on other occasions, maybe a bit too selfish at times).

Burns, Blanco, and Eder were our subs (Diop, Leonardo, and Scocco came off for them). Burns had a good game against his team from last season, and delivered some great crosses, even when under pressure. Blanco did what he could, but if given some better passes could have been more threatening (by the way, this was his first season without scoring in the first game). Eder, as every other time I saw him during the pre season, I was impressed by. Great technique, not too selfish, and I really believe he has the potential to become a key player for AEK.

Having said all that, its not nearly the end of the season for us. If we can tighten up in front of the net we will already be on much firmer ground. Fortunately, PAO and Oly dropped points so we’re all in the same boat. Its only the first game and things can very easily change (for better of for worse). The addition of Nasuti will help with our defense without a doubt and, if it makes anyone else feel better (I know it does for me), the new jerseys look very nice. Unfortunately, the new Kino sponsor ruins it quite a bit but hey, we need the cash.

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8 Responses to “Not what we were hoping for.”

  1. Thanks Alex,nice review.Just about agree on all points but i got to differ with you on Diop,he is a calming influence in an otherwise mixed up midfield.Ok he did slip over for their first goal but where were the other defenders rushing out to block the shot,ball watching-not good enough.I thought everyone played ok in the 1st half apart from the front 4.Djebbour,i will say again,is not a target man,he needs another striker to run off but while Bajevic prefers 4-2-3-1,i’d start Blanco all day,actually i’d play both in a 4-4-2.Leonardo and Scocco in particular were dreadfull and both should have been replaced at half time.I lost count of the amount of times we brought the ball up to their final third with no problem and then Scocco or Leonardo were way too careless.Libe tried hard but with no support couldn’t do much on his own.In defense Dellas did get caught out a couple of times,he is very slow to turn these days and only Manola’s awareness and speed saved us a couple of times in that 1st half.
    The second half was better,more movement off the ball and creativity which was lacking earlier.Their keeper did save their ass especially on Djebbour’s point blank shot which he should have squared to an unmarked Blanco in front of an empty net.The subs did ok,at least Eder looked lively and Burns can be effective down that rightBefore i forget,we desperately need a right back,can’t blame Jahic for yesterday,not his position.So in summary,not too dissapointed,only 1 game and considering the other 2 dropped points but it might be the Northerners from Thessaloniki who have more to say this year.

  2. Definately a calming influence, no doubt about that. And I still like him as a player, but he hasn’t shown the kind of technique and passing we see from Gentzoglou.

    Yeah, Dellas was painfully slow at times. Manolas did well though, and I think that’s good partnership, considering the options we have right now. And I agree about Jahic, he’s trying his hardest. But there is no way we can got his season like that.

    Not sure why Blanco wasn’t given more time, or even started, either.

    But its true, without a right back this year, we’re gonna pay for it.

  3. adamidis is a true pousti, he bought that fucking player named Diop when we have 100 Defensive and central midfielders. Why not buy a Right back “? instead of wasting our money on players we dont need.

  4. I’m sure Bajevic had something to do with it also, highly doubt Adamidis would spend cash on a player for the fun of it.

    He needs a couple more games though.

  5. ofc Diop needs a couple of games, he might turn out to be a good player. but we have overloaded in the central midfield position,
    anyway i am really exicted about patsatzoglou and Nasuti. Patsatzoglou is better then Jahic for sure!

  6. Yeah. I wonder how long Kafes is gonna be with us? Will this be his last year? I’m sure he could handle at least another season with us.

    Either way, with Diop, we dont have to rely on Makos so heavily. Both Kafes and Gentzoglou got injured last season at times, plus Kafes gets a few suspensions a season with cards, so it doesn’t hurt to have a solid back up there, whether it be Diop or more likely Gentzoglou. (to be fair on Makos though, he did play good in my opinion against Dundee).

    Nasuti is a really pleasing pick up! As fr Patsa, definately better than Jahic. Definately not first choice though, but what can we do. We still have Argiriou there as well, hopefully he’ll see some time at our friendly this weekend.

  7. Horrific loss. I don’t know what to say.

  8. Kafes can play until he is like 35 i think, he is a good captain and a good player

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