Archive for January, 2018

AEK 2-0 Lamia

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2018 by alexaek

And just like that, were back in the race. Thanks to our 2-0 win against Lamia and Olympiakos’ 1-1 draw in Tripolis, only two points separate 1st and 3rd. As it stands, we currently sit 3rd with 41 points, behind Olympiakos on 42 and PAOK on 43. Its safe to say we haven’t seen a top 3 that was this close in as long as I can remember and it certainly sets up a high stakes encounter when we face Olympiakos in Karaiskaki this coming weekend.

Wasn’t able to catch the game myself as I was away for the weekend, but our goals came courtesy of Lazaros and, unsurprisingly, Livaja. Livaja now sits on 7 goals this season, even with Araujo. Lazaros meanwhile isn’t too far behind either with 5 goals thus far. His goal particularly was a pretty one, not so much for the finish but for the play that lead to it.

The result over the weekend wasn’t anything noteworthy on its own, but it is worth noting that prior to Saturday’s win, we hadn’t scored a goal in two games. Thankfully we managed to get the job done seeing as a loss would have seen us sit 5 points out of 2nd place. As things currently stand, we could very well see ourselves leapfrog Olympiakos into 2nd place, something which I genuinely think we have a chance at doing. Is it likely? No, it never is when you face them in their own stadium, but at the moment I’d say we’re pretty even with them and if the Cup game was anything to go by, we definitely have what it takes to grind out a result. If anything, I would argue that we are even more prepared having just faced them in their own grounds less than a week ago.

 

 

 

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Olympiakos 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby with tags , , , on January 26, 2018 by alexaek

So we played the first quarter final game two days ago, our first of three games against Olympiakos within two weeks. A win would have been nicer for sure but overall I guess a draw isn’t a terrible result. Like Jimenez said, a 1-1 draw would have been ideal, but I guess we’ll still be able to go into the game next match with a decent chance of going through.

While we did eventually manage to claw our way into the game, it wasn’t a pretty start. In fact we were lucky not to concede early on after Barkas made some huge saves to keep us in the game. After weathering the storm early on, it eventually became a matter of grinding Olympiakos down and taking whichever chances happened to come our way.

Of course, with this being a derby against Olympiakos, the match was not without controversy. We know Olympiakos fans would dispute it all, but they very well could have been given a red card and we had strong justification for a penalty which wasn’t awarded. Having said that, the chances of either of those being given by the ref in Karaiskaki were unfortunately always going to be slim.

Overall its a result I can live with, but we’ll have to better for the next game. It might have been a draw, but Olympiakos had the upper hand when it came to creating chances and it came down to some good saves by Barkas and some poor finishing. With a little more luck on Olympiakos’ side, its very likely they could have scored a goal or two. With the next Cup game being in OAKA though, I’d say we have a pretty good chance of advancing to the next round. Considering how Cup games have been between AEK and Olympiakos lately, we’re likely to be in for a tight one but the key will obviously be to prevent Olympiakos from scoring. If we can get off to a good start in the next game, I’d feel very good about our likelyhood of going through.

Larissa 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, Greek Soccer with tags , , on January 21, 2018 by alexaek

So that was disappointing…

At least the result doesn’t signal the end of the road for us just yet. The 1 point we managed to salvage is still a big one as it still keeps us within reach of first, but I think its fair to assume these draws are starting to become a bit tiring. Yesterday’s result marks our fifth draw so far this campaign. Thats five draws out of 18 games, which means a lot of dropped points that we simply can’t afford to drop. It also doesn’t help that both PAOK and Oly secured 3-0 wins earlier today against Apollon and Xanthi respectively.

I was only able to watch the first half but what I saw from it didn’t exactly fill me with confidence for the second half. We had a couple sporadic chances but we never really showed any control over the game. It didn’t help that Larissa came into the game with the idea of defending as much as possible and the highlight reel below suggests just that. Most of our legitimate chances were limited to far shots from outside of the box while the few times we managed to break into the box, our efforts were quickly pushed aside by Larissa’s defense.

Overall there isn’t too much to be happy about with yesterday’s result but if there is one thing worth noting, its that we have now gone 17 games undefeated in all competitions (League, Cup, and Europa League). The last time we went 17 games undefeated in all competitive matches was in 2002, the season in which we drew all of our Champions League group stage matches (including against Roma and Real Madrid). For a little trip down memory lane, heres a reminder of some of the great players we had that season: Chiotis, Kostenoglou, Zagorakis, Tsiartas, Nikolaidis, Kasapis, Katsouranis, Lakis, and Kapsis. Don’t get me wrong, we have a decent squad this season but I would give anything to be able to see an AEK squad like that play again…

 

AEK 3-1 PAS Giannena

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , , on January 15, 2018 by alexaek

Our strong start to 2018 continued with another win, this time against 11th placed PAS Giannena. Overall it was a fairly decent game, but Giannena did manage to tie the match at 1-1 for a while which resulted in some uncertainty. Ultimately though, despite the generally slow pace to the match, our finishing was critical enough when we needed it to be.

Our scorers were, unsurprisingly, Livaja with the opener and Araujo with the 2nd and 3rd goals. Araujo’s goals today mean he has now scored 5 goals in the last 5 games while Livaja has also scored 4 goals in the last 6 games. Pretty decent numbers overall and despite Araujo getting off to a slow start for us this season, its safe to say that he has earned his spot in the roster yet again.

The commentators mentioned today that the match had a generally slow pace and I would have to agree. That’s not to say we played poorly, because we did have some chances, but overall it seemed like we were lacking some urgency at times. Thankfully, that changed a bit when we conceeded and the Giannena red card also seemed to serve as motivation for the team, but for a while I was nervous about whether we would actually regain the lead.

One thing worth pointing out about today’s match was that our defense was definitely the weakest link in the team today. It was a poor clearance which led to Giannena’s goal, and there were a number of occasions where other poor clearances took place which luckily didn’t result in more goals against us. We struggled to deal with routine balls a few times and if it was another team we were playing against, we may not have been so lucky.

In any case, its another huge 3 points as the top of the table is still extremely tight. Olympiakos play tomorrow and assuming they win, we’ll be tied for second with PAOK, just one point behind first place.

Panetolikos 1-4 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , on January 7, 2018 by alexaek

Well its certainly nice to be back! Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, and getting back to work and the daily routine that comes with it wasn’t all that exciting but hey, if theres one good thing to take from this time of year, its the fact that we get to watch AEK again!

This year especially is an exciting time since for the first time in as long as I can remember, we start a new year with a legitimate chance at a Championship. Its still far too early to make any guesses as to what might happen come the end of this season, but our game yesterday against Panetolikos was certainly an indication that this team means business.

Now its worth pointing out that despite the fact that we comfortably outscored Panetolikos, it wasn’t always an easy match. They certainly came close a few times but some brilliant goal keeping from Tsintotas kept us in the match. Having said that, our performance offensively was really enjoyable to watch. We saw some great ball movement, brilliant finishing, and it seemed clear to me that not only were the players well rested, but they seemed confident in what their approach to the match should be.

Our first goal came from Bakasetas, a long range effort off of a free kick. It was a beautifully struck shot that had just the right mix of power and dip. Our second goal came from the penalty spot after Lazaros tucked his penalty shot in the lower corner of the net. The penalty was won by Bakasetas after he was taken down in the box. I don’t think there was any doubt that it was a penalty after watching the replays.

Our third goal was the result of some composure on the part of Araujo, who did well to put the ball in the back of the net after a great effort by Bakasetas. Starting to see a theme here? Three of our four goals were either scored by Bakasetas, a result of a penalty he drew, or directly from an assist of his. AEK365 were justified in giving him a 10 out of 10 rating as it was quite easily his best match with AEK in my opinion. His assist on the third goal is worth watching multiple times as it really is quite brilliant. In fact, everything about that goal from the build up to the finish was beautiful to watch.

Our fourth goal was also quite a special one to watch. Not only was the one time football leading up the goal played out perfectly, but the goal itself was scored by the substitute Lopes who had come on less than a minute earlier.

Great stuff overall and though our defense did slip a bit at times, I couldn’t ask for a better start to the new year.

Over the holidays, we made two singings that could help provide some depth to the squad. One of the singings is Erik Moran, the Spanish defensive midfielder we bought from Spanish side Leganes. In addition to that, we also acquired Masoud Shojaei from Panionios, an Iranian midfielder who has played many years of his career in Spain, as well as with the Iranian national team. He had a good season and a half with Panionios and I was personally quite happy to see the singing go through.

Moran didn’t feature in yesterday’s game, but Masoud did. He came on in the 52nd minute and though he had less than half a game to make an impression, he certainly seems to be off to a good start with the club. He played a huge role in our fourth goal and generally showed some composure along with some great ball distribution. Its still a little early to say for sure but I think he could fit in very well with this team.