Archive for February, 2011

AEKARA!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by alexaek

The enthusiasm might come as a surprise considering how terrible things have been lately with AEK however today, Im a pretty happy AEK fan. Before I touch on the match today in Crete I would first like to bring some attention to our Basketball and Handball teams.

As many of you may know, our basketball team, one of the most historic teams in Greek and European basketball history, is facing relegation. Nothing is certain yet, however we must win all of our upcoming matches to give us hope and our boys started well after beating Peristeri yesterday. I know the chances of staying in the first division are slim, but all points give hope and hopefully the wins keep coming.

Now, our Handball team. Cup winners a few seasons ago, currently doing very well in the championship, these guys play with a passion that I would love to see from our football team. Their passion and hard work payed off yesterday as they managed to qualify for the quarter final of the European Challenge Cup! What was more incredible is they managed to come back after losing 27-23 in the first leg by winning by the same score in Athens, forcing the match to penalties. It might also be worth noting that we knocked out Sporting Lisbon, last years winners of the Challenge cup! Well done to the team, and the supporters in the stand who without a doubt gave a massive boost for our guys.

Now, time for our football club. We managed to get a win today, a narrow 3-2 victory over Ergotelis in Crete. Blanco opened the scoring for us in the first half before Burns scored another one. Ergotelis managed to pull one back after scoring a penalty (for a handball inside the box from Manolas which led to his second yellow of the match) which led to a rather tense second half where Ergotelis were clearly not afraid to apply some pressure. Fortunately, our ten man squad managed to hold on long enough for Georgeas to score the third for AEK late in the game, giving him his second goal this season (one in the cup and one in the championship) and, to be honest, nobody deserves it more than him if you ask me.

Ergotelis managed to pull one back again however it was too little too late for them. To be honest, we played some pretty poor football at times (just like last weekend) however I wont complain just yet. It was an away win, and an important three points which sees us land in the 3rd place (do keep in mind though that PAOK still have an extra game to play) though Oly Volou are not far behind. Incredibly, PAOK lost at home to Kavala, a result which now sees them drop down to fifth.

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Is There Any Hope Left?

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by alexaek

I seriously wonder sometimes… if it wasn’t for what our badge stands for and some of the legends that have worn our shirt, why would any of us bother even paying the slightest attention to this joke of a league. I’m referring specifically to yesterday’s derby between Oly and PAO though also our match today as well as yesterday’s match between Tripolis and Kerkyra. Its been a while since such a clear reminder of how much of a joke our league really is has been sent to us fans (at least those not with red glasses distorting their view). There has even been talk of PAO considering leaving the league, or forming a league of their own and I for one would be completely for such a move (however unrealistic and unlikely it may be at the moment). Aside from Oly’s B teams (Panionios, Xanthi, Oly Volou), many teams would benefit from such a move since it is clear as day that NOTHING will ever change with our league as long as pigs such as Marinakis are still involved.

Yesterday’s match was a disgrace with a handball from Torosidis in the box not given as a penalty, a perfectly legit goal to give PAO a 2-1 lead ruled for offside, and an illegal goal in many ways scored by that other pig Djebbour in extra time giving Oly the win and sealing their championship. In addition, a number of Oly supporters stormed the pitch and physically attacked a number of PAO players including Cisse and Simao. At half time and after the match, more hooligan like behavior witnessed, this time coming right from Superleague PRESIDENT, Marinakis (less than a week after Beos’ pathetic comments towards Larissa). How will our league ever advance in any way with thugs such as Marinakis, Beos, Psomiadis, and Co running things… whether its their unbelievably obvious influence they have off the pitch or their incredibly childlike attitude, it is obvious that no progress will ever be made towards improving our league… if anything, this weekend has confirmed the worst, and it will only be a matter of time before things get worse, and quickly.

Now, I mentioned yesterday’s match between Kerkyra and Tripolis. Why I mention it was because of the following video. Even for those who don’t understand much Greek, or any at all, the confusion coming from the commentator’s voice is painfully obvious.

Right… so the Kerkyra player gets taken down in the box and it should be awarded a penalty, correct? The Tripolis keeper receives a yellow card, yet the ref goes on to give a yellow to the Kerkyra player (his second of the match in fact, leading to his red). Why? Diving? Yet the ref still awards the penalty… even the commentator is left wondering who recieved the cards and for what reason…

Now, as many of you have noticed, neither myself or AEKMAN74 commented on our 3-1 loss to PAO last weekend. It was a terrible match in every way. A terrible offside was given on Blanco with the score 2-1 in PAO’s favour. However, Blanco was onside considerably and had the offside not been called he would have been 1 0n 1 with the PAO keeper. Now, aside from poor officiating, AEK simply looked terrible at the match. We played with no intent at all (aside from a brief 20 minute spell in the second where we applied considerable pressure) and our defending was atrocious at times.

As for today’s match… again, we looked terrible. We managed to score a goal late in the first half thanks to Libe (again, what will we do once he retires at the end of the season?) however the goal was canceled out almost 45 minutes later when, Mitroglou of all people, score the equalizer with very little time remaining (and, of course, the assist came from another player on loan from Olympiakos, Galitsios). Riera should have been sent off after he pushed Kafes from behind (when neither had the ball near them if I remember correctly), yet apparently all four officials, including the linesman who should have been near the two at the time, happened to miss it? I find it quite unlikely, but who knows anymore…

Aside from poor officiating though (also, Ill remind you that this match was played behind closed doors), as I said, we looked terrible. No attacking intent at all for the entire first half, we could not get plays together, there was very little sense of structure within the team, and we simply could not create. Also, Im starting to get very tired of seeing Scocco play, ever since his contract extension was signed. I much rather would have seen Leo or Burns start today… what they lack in skill compared to Scocco they would have made up for today with their speed or… simply trying to do something, anything, to get an attack together.

I know we can complain about the officiating today, however I would like to point out that both Manolas and Karabelas were lucky not to recieve more than just a yellow card today. They were both involved in some very dangerous plays a number of times, and while I dont mind seeing that, I think they got off easier than they could have.

Overall, its a shame we couldn’t get the 3 points today. To be honest, I dont care how ugly it would have been, I just wanted a win to help keep Panionios close to the relegation zone and us as high as we can in time for the play offs. I believe it is now for games in which we have not won a match at home, and if I understood correctly, the last time we have beaten Panionios was 2009? I could be wrong, but thats disgusting if true.

I do apologize for the unorganized post, but Im simply starting to lose my patience with everything going on, either with AEK or the league in general.

Also, some more terrible news for us AEK supporters. It seems our Basketball team, a team which was once the team that made Greece most proud, the first Greek team to win a European trophy, will be playing next season in the 2nd divisioin. Words simply cannot describe what a shame this is to see.

Up… and then back down again.

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by alexaek

The roller coaster ride that has been AEK this season continues yet again, this time as a result of a 2-1 home loss to Aris (only the 3rd time Aris has beaten us at home).

It wasn’t all bad for me personally as I felt there were some positives to take from the game including some nice football we were playing, particularly in the first half. However, the defence, as well as Jimenez’s decisions, will probably take most of the blame for the loss.

We started with Arabatzis in nets today. I’m not sure if Saja was being given a break but I feel his absence was noticed. However, I dont feel that goalkeeping was the biggest issue considering the defense should have handled both goal scoring situations for Aris better. From individual viewpoints, I felt both Manolas and Mateos did well but our defense overall was far too unorganized and vulnerable at times. Argyriou and Dadomo (though I did feel Dadomo had a few good moments) were both simply not good enough and if you ask me I personally would still like to see Georgeas get more game time

Offensively we weren’t too bad. The ball was being moved around and off the ball movement was smooth and co-ordinated. Both Roger and Mateo impressed me at times however who stood out most on our wings was Burns. His speed was put to good use today and he was looking very strong on the ball… unfortunately, I still can’t say the same for Scocco and it seems I havent been able to say that of him ever since he signed his contract extension.

Blanco looked good when he was up front today as his goal shows however we still lack severely up front without Libe’s presence. In fact, I thing its safe to say that AEK was not the same today without Dellas and Libe on the pitch… they bring character and leadership to the when she plays, something that many of the most talented players can’t even bring to a team.

Papa Bouba, Baja, and Gentz were our substitutes today though I must say that Baja impressed me most. He looked very dangerous and I think if he gets enough game time he become quite a threat.

We managed to take control for much of the match in the first period and we were coming close on a number of occasions such as a missed header by Mateos and a good opportunity for Burns however, something gave me the feeling that if we werent to score quickly Aris would take advantage and that is exactly what they did in the 29th minute.

Blanco managed to get the score even at the 51st minute mark with a nice finish though it was not enough for us and once again, our failing to score saw us punished by Aris who scored in the 75th to put them up 2-1.

You know, the more I watch the video the more I think Arabatzis really could have done better on both goals unfortunately…

Christos Kostis was honored at the match today.

AEK In The Semi-Finals!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by alexaek

We made it much more difficult for us than we needed to but, thanks for Michel’s last second GOLARA,  AEK are through to the semi-finals!

I’ll admit that I did miss the second half due to this lovely snowstorm we had today in Ontario and the shoveling which was required, but I managed to catch the first even though it wasn’t all good news. Lagos got us off to a great start by scoring on the 12 minute mark, allowing us to further strengthen our advantage. One would think that at this point, with a 3-0 aggregate lead, we would practically be through, correct?

Not so… Nine minutes later, Cisse headed home a pass off of a cross to even the score up at 1-1…. No worries, we still have a two goal lead with two away goals. Again not so as Gilberto managed to put PAO in the lead with a fantastic shot, one which saw the ball find its way through a tightly packed defense just before halftime.

Half time came and it was then that I had to leave… however my confidence had sunk considerably by  that point. PAO were pressuring it was obvious that we would need to lift things up a bit if we wanted to ensure our progress to the next round. After all, we still had a one goal lead and only one more goal would have all but sealed the deal.

Midway through the second period I took a break and checked the score… I couldn’t believe it, but PAO had managed to get in a third to put the score of the match at 1-3, a score which would been good enough to put them through! If our players didn’t feel the urgency before then I certainly hope they felt it after.

From what I read it sounds as those we finally began applying some more pressure as the second half progressed, but I may be wrong. A highlights clip I saw did show us coming close on a couple of chances including a nice shot from Diop.

The time we had left began to decrease quickly and I became less and less confident we could get the result we needed based on the score… however what I didn’t know at the time was that a pitch invasion by a few of our fans lead to an additional seven minutes being added on at the end, a seven (eight by the end apparently due to time wasting) minute span which gave us the chance we needed to score the goal. Some inspiration from Michel and a slip up by the PAO keeper were enough to clinch us qualification to the next round.

Seeing as I missed the second half all comments would be appreciated.

All in all, despite the tension of this match and all its ups (Lagos’ early goal, Michel’s brilliant strike) and downs (going down 3-1), it was a brilliant result and one which puts us even closer to winning some silverware! Our team, and even more importantly, us fans, deserve to see us win something after having Championships and Cup finals ripped from our hands. I also can’t wait to see Libe finally raise a trophy with AEK!

Michel’s goal:

Also, a match report can be viewed here