Archive for April, 2018

Kerkyra 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Euro Cup, Greek Super League, Handball with tags , , , , on April 29, 2018 by alexaek

The Champions of Greece faced off against 2nd Division bound Kerkyra today in a match that was, to be quite honest, pretty lackluster. The game did come to life towards the end as we managed to create some chances but Kerkyra’s keeper was in fine form and seemed determined to not concede.

To be fair to the team, as much as I would have liked to see us close out the season with 2 wins, I can understand the more laid back pace. We have just clinched the title and have a Cup game coming up in a couple weeks which could give us our first double in over 40 years, so I’m not surprised the team weren’t pushing too hard for all three points.

Despite the lack of chances on the pitch, the atmosphere in Kerkyra seemed to be electric from the moment the team arrived on the island. Not surprisingly, the reception for the team was enthusiastic to say the least:

In other AEK news, on top of the success this season for our football and basketball clubs, our handball team has also made it to the final of the EHF Challenge Cup after knocking out Portuguese club Madeira. The final, which will take place against Romanian side Potaissa Turda, will be played over two legs on the 13th and 20th of May.

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We Are Officially Champions!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , on April 23, 2018 by alexaek

I was two years old the last time AEK were crowned Champions of Greece. Now, nearly a quarter of a century later, we can officially call ourselves champions once again! It’s been a long journey to get where we are today after coming so close to winning the league in 2008, having multiple failed ownership groups, and ultimately falling to the 3rd division. After all that we’ve been through we’ve rebuilt in the best way possible, ultimately ending up with our 12th Championship after one of our more successful seasons in memory.

We can all finally breath a sigh of relief after the decision was announced today, the decision we were all waiting for. As was expected, PAOK were docked three points and handed a 3-0 loss in their game against us which ended up cementing our hold on 1st place with 66 points while PAOK now find themselves in 2nd on 58 points and with no hoping of catching us in the remaining two games.

It’s a shame the decision had to come out today and not yesterday (or sooner for that matter). The celebrations would have been all the more enthusiastic had we been able to cheer with absolute certainty the fact that we were champions after the game last night. Nevertheless, it is what it is and what matters now is that our patience and our willingness to stick with the team through all that its been through has finally paid off. I might not remember anything from the last time AEK won the Championship, but I’ll certainly remember this one.

What this really comes down to for me is so much more than just a championship. When you look at where the team is overall, you realize that this championship wasn’t simply a the ultimate goal for us. Rather, this is just the beginning. We have serious ownership, a great squad to build upon, and a construction site that will, before we know it, become a place we can truly call home. The future for AEK is brighter than it ever has been and I can’t wait to see what we might be able to accomplish in the coming seasons.

As expected, a lot of tributes and congratulations have been coming in throughout Greece and from abroad. I’m seeing supporters of PAO, Aris, and even Olympiakos congratulate AEK on the season we’ve had. It seems that all of Greece, aside from some bitter PAOK fans, have recognized what we have accomplished and the good we have done for Greek football.

There has been endless talk online of everything that happened yesterday and today, but for those of you who have a few minutes, I’d recommend checking out the video that Gazzetta.gr made for AEK, which can be found here. Its not long, but it definitely does a good job of showing just how much this win means for us.

Agonasport.com also posted a nice overview of our 12 championships to date, an article written in English which can be viewed here.

 

Champions Again, 24 Years Later!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , on April 22, 2018 by alexaek

I know, I know, its not official yet as we’re still (!) waiting on the court case regarding the PAOK-AEK match in Toumba. But, its hart to not feel like we’re champions following the scenes that were a result of our 2-0 victory over Levadeiakos.

In front of 70,000 cheering and chanting supporters, we practically sealed our 12th Championship in history, and our first since the 1993-1994 season. Bakasetas was the hero today as he scored both goals, including one from the penalty spot. The highlight of the game though is when Mantalos made his way onto the pitch, 172 days since he last played a match for AEK after recovering from a serious knee injury.

Its amazing to think we’ve finally achieved this considering where we were playing not that long ago. As Tzanetopoulos said, the team has been dreaming about this moment from when they were playing in the 3rd division and it has finally happened!

Theres a lot that can be said about what happened today in Athens, but I’ll let some video footage do the talking.

I was relieved to see that the supporters in the stands didn’t cause any trouble during and after the match. I was sure that just a few flares or a few fans storming the pitch afterwards would have had some teams demanding some kind of punishment for AEK.

Instead of causing any trouble in the stadiums, our supporters left the more “rambunctious” celebrations for the streets of Nea Filadelfia.

The celebrations inside the locker room meanwhile were equally enthusiastic:

Theres not much that can be said really after a day like this. All I can say is that this team deserves credit. The players, the staff, Jimenez, Melissanidis, everyone has done an incredible job to get this far. We’ve all but won the league, we’re in the Cup Final, we were undefeated in the Europa League, its hard to remember a better time to be an AEK supporter in recent memory. Lets just hope the court case goes favorably for us so that we can well and truly host a fiesta like we did back in Nea Filadelfia!

One Step Closer to the Double

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Cup, Greek Super League with tags , , , , on April 21, 2018 by alexaek

AEK took huge two steps towards “the Double” this past week after beating Platanias 1-0 in the league and beating Larissa by the same scoreline for the Cup Semi-Final 2nd leg.

The scoreline for the game against Platanias might seem disappointing at first glance, but we did have our chances and Platanias, as would have been expected, played a rather defensive game. Our lone goal was scored by Lazaros, one of the players currently approaching the end of their contracts. It must be said that between the game against Platanias and the cup game against Larissa, hes making a valid case for a contract extension.

Disappointing scoreline or not, it was yet another huge result with regards to our title chase. We’re currently two points ahead of PAOK, but keep in mind a court decision hasn’t yet been reached so we are still very likely to end up being further ahead than that.

The nicest part about the win in Crete against Platanias is that it sets us up to be in the position to win the league tomorrow, at home against Levadeiakos (assuming the court decision goes our way). With this in mind, AEK fans from across Greece, and indeed from across the world, have picked up tickets to the game with the hopes of seeing AEK clinch our first Championship since 1994. From what I’ve been reading, its looking like OAKA might actually sell out which would, as I’m sure we could all imagine, lead to a great atmosphere come kick off.

The Cup game was a rather tense one for me to follow online as with each passing minute, our chances of going through to the final were getting slimmer and slimmer. As the 90th minute approached and the officials signaled for 5 minutes of extra time, it became increasingly clear the some kind of “miracle” was needed for us to get that crucial goal which would put us through to the final. Of course, who other than Lazaros would find a way to get the winner, and with yet another gorgeous goal.

The goal was the talk of Greece the next day, and rightfully so as it was a beauty. It sets us up for a final against PAOK for the second year in a row and all I can hope for is that the result isn’t as disappointing as last year’s result was.

Final 4 for AEK!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Champions League with tags , , on April 4, 2018 by alexaek

AEK has booked its place in the Basketball Champions League Final 4, exactly 50 years after winning the European Cup Winners Cup against Slavia. All we needed to do was not lose by more than 9 points so the final score of 83-83 against Strasburg was more than enough to see us through. At the moment, there is talk of Athens being the most likely city to host the Final 4 and not only would that be a huge boost to our chances of winning the tournament, but it would be so fitting that we win a European championship once again in the same city where we won our first 50 years ago.

The players, as expected, enjoyed every minute of their celebrations after the game:

Our supporters in France were also in great form after breaking the Champions League attendance record last week in Athens:

It was our players though who stole the show:

AEK 3-0 Panathinaikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Panathinaikos, PAOK with tags , , , , , , on April 1, 2018 by alexaek

The league finally started back up this weekend and AEK wasted no time getting back into their groove. Going into the match, its fair to say that I didn’t expect PAO to really trouble us much and, aside from a few scary moments at the start of the match, it was a game that went pretty much as I expected.

Before I go into a bit of detail about the game, its worth going over some news from earlier this week. The courts in Greece finally released their final decisions regarding the PAOK-Olympiakos match, and the PAOK-AEK match and while some may say that PAOK got off lightly (which I think they did), the news was overall pretty positive from an AEK perspective. Specifically, we were awarded the 3-0 win on paper after the fiasco involving Savidis and his gun after storming the pitch during our match against PAOK.

Bearing that in mind, along with our win today over PAO, we now find ourselves four points away from winning the league. Thats right, four points is all we need from our next four games against Platanias, Levadeiakos, Kerkyra, and Apollon. Three of those teams make up the bottom three of the standings and considering this has been one of our most successful seasons in recent memory, the championship is practically guaranteed to be ours as far as I’m concerned. Now obviously we don’t want to jump to any conclusions but its hard to not get excited about that. On top of that, we still have a pretty good chance of advancing in the cup, our stadium is making good progress, our basketball club has already won the cup and is close to a spot in the Champions League final four, all of that is making this one great season to be an AEK supporter all around.

Back to today’s game: it was a bit of a nervous start for us as PAO managed to create some chances early on. They even forced a huge save by Barkas that kept things even at 0-0 after Coulibaly managed to get a shot off from close range. Once things settled down though after about 10 minutes of play, it was mostly AEK from that point onwards. Araujo opened the scoring for us after yet another tremendous finish before Galo calmly put away a second goal for us. Araujo featured once again on the score sheet after scoring again to make it 3-0 and seal the win for us.

It helped our cause that PAO’s Insua received a red card in the first half but its safe to say that AEK were always going to be favourites against this PAO team. Araujo had an exceptional game once again, but Lazaros, Hult, and Galo also played great. On the other hand, I was a little concerned by Vranjes who at times seemed a little too relaxed in defense. Usually he’s extremely solid so I’m not too worried, but I feel like it was one of his weaker performances with AEK this season.

Our first goal is definitely the highlight of the match (and most likely of the week), but the other two goals were also very well taken. Its also worth keeping an eye out for Lazaros’ crossbar. If Lazaros had managed to score that, we would have had yet another contender for goal of the season from him.