Archive for October 2, 2018

AEK 2-3 Benfica

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League with tags , , , , , , , on October 2, 2018 by alexaek

This sport can be so cruel at ties. Today’s match was, as is every match in the Champions League group stages, a crucial one. A win would have put us in a good position going forward, a draw would have at least salvaged a vital point, but instead we ended up on the losing end again. Except it could have been so different…

We got off to the worst start possible, conceding early after some disastrous defending which saw us fail to get to a lose rebound right in front of our own net. It got worse from that point on as another defensive lapse allowed Benfica to go 0-2 up before the half, this time after our defense failed to detect a run into our box which never should have been allowed so much space.

From that point on however, the momentum slowly started to shift in our favour starting from the sending off of Benfica’s Ruben Dias just before half time. The red card seemed to be all the motivation that we needed as the second half was almost all ours. While the first half got off to the dream start for Benfica, it looked like the second half might have been ours for the taking. Just seven minutes in we saw ourselves halve the defecit when Klonaridis did well to latch onto a ball that Hult sent right into his path. Klonaridis was again the hero when, ten minutes after his first goal, he managed to level the score for AEK.

From this point on all of OAKA must have believed that we are on the verge of one of our best nights in European competition but after all the effort to even the match at 2-2, it just wasn’t meant to be. Despite doing all they could to make their way back into the match, another defensive lapse, this time in the middle of the pitch, allowed Benfica to score a third time and take back the lead. What made this goal harder to swallow than the others though is the fact that we so easily should have gone up 3-2 instead when just a minute prior, Klonaridis went for the hat trick instead of teeing up Giakoumakis who would have had the easiest tap in to finish for the lead. It was a mistake on Klonaridis’ part for sure, one which he apologized for after the match, but its tough to look back on that moment and realize just how close we were to completing a comeback that we’d remember for ages.

Our defending today was awful, theres no denying that. But theres also no denying that it was an impressive effort to get as close as we did to getting the win. Unfortunately though, we walk away from our second match without a single point, something which leaves us in a pretty uncomfortable position. On paper its not over. Currently both Ajax and Bayern are level on 4 points while Benfica is just behind them with 3. Theoretically that still leaves us with a chance of at least finishing third in the group. Having said that, we still have to face Bayern twice and while they may not be experiencing their best season in recent memory, I still can’t see us coming away with much from either of our matches against them. As one commenter online said, the fact that they still aren’t comfortably in 1st place just means they’ll be that much more desperate for the win when they face us…

It was an unfortunate outcome to say the least, but at this point its not really worth dwelling on what could have been. Afterall, we face Olympiakos in just a few days, a match which I don’t see being an easy one for us. The fact that Olympiakos play a Europa League match on Thursday is a positive for us, considering they may be a little more fatigued than us. Having said that, they’ll also be just as anxious to get the win as us having just lost at home to PAOK in a game which they really should have won. One thing is for sure, if this game is anything like recent AEK – Olympiakos fixtures, we should be in for a good one.