Panthrakikos 1-5 AEK!
If you remember from past year’s, we’ve never been extremely impressive in the cup. Narrow wins against teams like Xanthi, Panserraikos, and even smaller clubs had over time become the norm for us (aside from that eventful cup final two years ago).
Well, all that changed today! To be honest, after hearing Panthrakikos go up 1-0 I thought we were gonna be in for another long match. Never for a second did I think we would lose this match, but I never imagined the turnaround that eventually happened. Ismael Blanco (it’s been a while since we’ve seen him on the scoresheet) scored his first goal, and one which surprisingly wasn’t fed to him but actually required some footwork. Good, 1-1, still plenty of time left. Next, we get a penalty, one which Blanco converts with ease. 2-1 up, but still plenty of time left. I was thinking to myself at this point all we need is one more goal and we’re good.
Seems as though Blanco and co had other plans. Zorro (he’s back!) scored his third of the night, an easy one set up perfectly by Roger (who, from what I heard had yet another fantastic performance!). Then, Karabelas of all people scores to make it 4-1. Somewhere in between the third and fifth goal we hit a post with Leonardo and narrowly missed on more than one occasion, but Leonardo finally got one in, another perfectly set up goal, this time with the assist coming from Rafik Djebbour. That’s three goals coming from assists placed at the scorer’s feet. Something tells me this team is working on efficiency up front with the ball movement, assists, and positioning all very well done.
5-1, a score to thrill every already delighted AEK fan, despite the rain and cold up north. Bearing in mind that Panthrakikos’ goal was scored from a penalty (and ignoring the stumble in Belgium), that’s 10 goals scored in Greece (two league and one cup game) in three games! Guys, I think AEK is back!
Also, considering Blanco’s hat trick today and Roger’s great performances lately, I can’t help but feel we have a team in a great position. We have three great strikers (assuming Blanco keeps this up) and chances are at one given moment at least one of them will be on a patch of good form. In addition, with Roger performing so well, we are set in attacking mid (that is, if we can hold on to Scocco), and with Diop and Makos’ solid performances the past two or three games, our defensive mid is also set. Now, hopefully we can deal with injuries, though Manolo seems like the kind of guy that can almost always work out a solution with what he has.
Enjoy the goals below. Too bad I can’t find a more in depth highlights vid, because it seems we played some nice football up front at times at a few of those goals.
Great job to the supporters who were there and vocal despite the weather, and great job (though to be honest, I think that’s a bit of an understatement) to Manolo! He’s turned around this team incredibly, got players playing some great football, players who are happy to be training and playing and, most important of all, is getting results. Sure, you may stumble against Anderlecht, especially when it’s your first European game with a new team, but against Panthrakikos, these are games where you can really establish who’s boss in Greece and AEK certainly did that today.