Archive for the Atromitos Category

Atromitos 0-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, Greek Football with tags , , , , on March 20, 2017 by alexaek

The Jimenez run continues, extending our undefeated run to 13 games since we swapped coaches. Maybe not with the emphatic scoreline we would have hoped for, but considering the last time we beat Atromitos in Peristeri was 2009, I’ll gladly take the three points however they come. The game winner came courtesy of Mantalos in the 57th minute, though we also had a goal wrongly disallowed for offsides while Araujo hit the post with another fantastic effort.

To give our recent form some context, its worth keeping in mind that Olympiakos have now lost four of their last five games after their 1-0 loss to PAO yesterday. Our recent form has, aside from being impressive in its own right, also helped secure our spot in the playoff race. The season is far from over but considering earlier in the year I wasn’t even sure we’d get back into fifth, I’d say we’re starting to look a little more comfortable. With the way we’ve been playing, I’d say theres no reason for us not to stay 5th at least. On top of that, we have a great chance to slip into 4th with a win over PAO in our upcoming match.

Something else worth noting is that the draw for the Cup semi-finals is due to take place tomorrow after last week’s draw was called off because of a bomb threat. I’m excited since we’re pretty much guaranteed a good game. For the first time in 68 years, AEK, PAO, Olympiakos, and PAOK are the final four teams so I think its safe to say we might see one of the more interesting Cup finals that we’ve seen for the past few years.

Poor Start for Morais

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, Basketball, Derby, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , on October 22, 2016 by alexaek

AEK 0-0 Panionios

I guess all things considered, things could have gotten off to an even worse start for Morais… after all, we could have lost. But really, even though it was only his first game in charge the team really should have been able to find a way to score against Panionios.

How It All Unfolded

There were a few uncertain variables going into this game: how we would do without Galo and Patito, how Morais would line up the team, etc… Even so, I wasn’t terribly worried. We’ve been decent at home this season and the Larissa game not too long ago gave me hope that maybe the team has started to find ways of winning regardless of how they play. I hate to say it but really, if we want to have any hope of staying in the title race, results have to come first and then we can focus on playing attractive football.

Well, today, none of that seemed to be the case for the team. Sometimes after a result like today’s, I can at least say that the team played well and deserved more but that just wasn’t the case. The football I saw from the team was rather painful to watch at some points. To be fair to the defense, they did a decent job. Panionios didn’t venture up the pitch too often since they struggled to gain any meaningful possession but when they did, they rarely looked like they would threaten us.

Offensively however, we were lacking in every way. It took a good amount of time before we created any sort of a chance and when we did manage to get some chances, they were few and far between. Mantalos was maybe the only player actually contributing to our attack while Didac was also trying to provide some options down the wing. Aravidis, Platellas, Bakasetas and (I hate to say it) Almeida provided very little  to our attack though Almeida can only be blamed so much since he was hardly getting any balls into the box that he could work with.

So What Needs To Change?

Well, I’m hoping our play will smoothen out a bit as the team spends more time with Morais. They’ve only had four or five days to work with him and I imagine his system is quite different from what they were used to with Ketsbaia so I’m sure time will help a bit. To be honest though, there is only so much he can do. In fact, I have to give him some credit for fielding a decent lineup with the players he had available and though it didn’t exactly pay off, that was hardly his fault.

Who has to be blamed here is our players. There was no creativity going forward at all. Every ball that caused any danger to Panionios was a high ball in and while they could sometimes cause a scare, more than often they would end up comfortably in the keeper’s hands. The team could not come up with anything different, they could not string together any meaningful passes and they sorely lacked composure in front of the net.

From what I see, it seems as though the team needs to take a step back and approach the way they play with a clearer state of mind. Maybe they’re over thinking things, maybe they don’t trust themselves, but they should be able to be more precise offensively than they were today. Patito’s absence today was really felt, but surely we should be able to create something worthwhile without him on the pitch?

I know its still early and I know we didn’t lose the game so maybe it seems like I’m making a bigger deal of today’s result than I should be. But we absolutely need to be winning games like this, and the one against Iraklis where we also drew 0-0 at home. Especially when you take a look at our schedule for the next three games, you start to realize just how much the dropped points here will hurt us: we play PAOK away, followed by Atromitos at home, and Panathinaikos away. To be completely honest, aside from the Atromitos game I don’t see us picking up many points, if any at all, at the two away derbies. Before the season started I felt differently about these games but seeing how we’ve been playing lately, I’ll be very surprised if manage to even sneak a draw at those games.

At Least We Fared Better in Basketball

Earlier in the day our basketball club played an away game (which again felt like a home game due the wonderful presence of our supporters) against Kymis, a game which we never looked like losing from the first minute. It was a great game both defensively and offensively, and what excites me most of all is the fact that we finally seem to have a team that can score some three pointers. Too many times last season we would throw a game away by missing so many three pointers, but it seems like that might not be the case the season.

The win puts us at three for three in the league. For highlights of both the basketball and football game, check out Novasport’s page here: http://aek365.novasports.grl

End of August Signings and Friendlies

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, football, Friendlies, Singings with tags , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by alexaek

Its been a few weeks since my last post and while the league has yet to start (who knows when it will), there has still been plenty going on with the team. I’ll start off with three friendlies we had not too long ago: 0-0 with Atromitos, 1-2 away win against Aris, and a surprised 1-3 home loss to Apollon.

Mantalos had a fantastic game against Aris, scoring both goals including a fantastic overhead shot:

 

Our 1-3 loss to Apollon came as quite a shock but I’d rather we have this kind of shock from a friendly rather during the league. I didn’t get to watch the game but it sounds like it was evident that we still have some big gaps, at least as far as second string players are concerned. Ketsbaia seemed to use this match to give some of the bench players a go and some of them didn’t quite in the performance we would have hoped for. If theres one good thing to take from the match though, its the fact that Patito has quite the shot (see one minute in for his beautiful goal):

We’ve also been busy off the pitch these past few days with some signings. The first was the signing of Greek national team midfielder Lazaros Christodoulopoulos. Not a big name signing by any means, but its a good move from the team as far as I’m concerned. He still has a few good years ahead of him, he’s shown himself to be a reliable and consistent player, and hes Greek. A very solid move to help boost our midfield and provide us with more options.

At the same time as our signing of Christodoulopoulos, we began to show interest in English centre back Joleon Lescott. He might be getting a bit old at 34 years, and he hasn’t had the best seasons of his career lately, but hes an experienced player and a left footed centre back, the type of player Ketsbaia has been wanting for a while now. Whether hes been in good form or not, a centre back with the EPL experience that Lescott has should have no problem handling most players in the Superleague and while I was hoping for someone a bit younger, I think he’ll definitely be a good option for us. We already have a fairly strong defense so far and with Lescott it can only get stronger.

He hasn’t officially signed yet, but as I’m writing this he should be in a plane on his way to Athens. He’ll still have to go through a medical exam but but it seems like things are very close to being finalised. Its worth noting that Italian side Pescara were also keen on signing Lescott, but AEK managed to boost their offer even further to persuade Lescott to chose us over newly promoted Pescara. Hopefully he becomes a signing we can look back on with satisfaction rather than becoming another one of the many “bams” we sign who ultimately do very little to help the team.

Cup Bound

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, Basketball, Dellas, Derby, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by alexaek

Another game I wasn’t able to watch but from what I’ve read so far, it sounds like our playing left much to be desired. But, in the end we did enough to get through like I knew we would and now its all or nothing against Olympiakos in the final.

Speaking of finals, the game will be taking place next Saturday, the 7th of May (is it May already?). We were told by Kontonis that we would be getting a foreign ref for the game but as has consistently been the case with everything that the minister has said so far this season, that turned out to be yet another false promise. Surprised? I’m not.

As for today’s game, I get the impression that it was a similar performance to the last time we played Atromitos in Peristeri. A couple attacks, fewer chances, and another unconvincing game from our squad. According to Dellas, Atromitos deserved to go through and were knocked out only because of bad luck. Manolas on the other hand claimed that AEK were the better team. I’m going to go ahead and guess that both teams were equally mediocre at best and that if either team played the Final as they played today, then they wouldn’t stand a chance against Olympiakos.

I’m scared of the Final to be honest. Excited that were in it, happy that it pretty much guarantees us European football next season, but still scared. And not Olympiakos is a great team. As we saw earlier in the season, they are beatable. But as beatable as Olympiakos are, we have proven to be equally unreliable and thats what scares me most. I know that if the team gels well during the game, if we can shut down Olympiakos and generate some pressure in their end, we can get a result. But if we go out and play like we did during some of our weaker performances this season, then we will be in for quite the embarrassment.

Until next Saturday, I’m remaining optimistic. The beauty of a Cup final is that its one match, all or nothing, and trends from the rest of the season often tend to matter little. I know we are capable of beating them or at least able to put up a good fight. If the last Cup final against Olympiakos was anything to go by, we could very well see a pretty entertaining match.

Unfortunately, it seems as though the match will be played in a completely empty stadium and not even with students in the stands as Kontonis suggested would be the case (look at that, another “lie”). A Cup final between these two teams without the two sets of supporters will never be the same, even if it means the inevitable threat of violence is averted. Its unfortunate for our supporters who have waited so long to see AEK get the chance of winning some meaningful silverware but most of all, I’m afraid the game might not have the same energy about it that it normally would. That’s not to say that the players won’t give it their all, but this is one of the biggest derbies in Greece, and in a Cup final; take away the supporters and the game loses almost all of its meaning. Hopefully we still see a good game regardless.

A slight change of topic, but our basketball team is playing game three of the three game series against PAOK tomorrow. I believe the game is at 6:45 Athens time, but I could be mistaken. Either way, I’ll have the chance to watch it (assuming I find a stream) and thank goodness for that since this is, without a doubt, the biggest game of the season for the team so far. We win and we advance to the Final 4, we lose and… well, its over for us.

AEK 1-0 Atromitos… And a Whole Lot More.

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, Dellas, football, Greek Cup with tags , , , , , , , on April 20, 2016 by alexaek

Its been a while since I last posted, partly due to stuff piling up during these last two weeks of school, but also because I picked up a flu/food poisoning last week. Anyways, I’ve finally found some time to get together a post and really, its well overdue. Considering I expected this past week to be a rather uneventful one as everyone settled in before the playoffs, it instead turned out to be one of the more dramatic weeks we’ve seen all season. I was going to start with the most recent event, our 1-0 cup win against Atromitos, but its an awkward place to start without first mentioning some other stories from earlier on. So instead, I’ll make my way up to today, starting from about this point last week.

-It was announced that the Cup would be starting again around this time last week. No surprises really, since I think most people expected Kontonis to revert on his decision because lets face it, push comes to shove, he’d never stand up to FIFA/UEFA, just like Tsipras ultimately backed down to the IMF/EU despite trying to show the same defiant spirit. The news of the Cup restarting caused a bit of a scramble since it meant that AEK all of a sudden had another target for the season aside from the playoffs, again. Of course, Kontonis refused fans for the semi-final games (which was why our game today was played behind closed doors), and if I understood correctly, the Cup Final will be played with only students in the stands. If I remember correctly, some of the Basket Cup Finals between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos were played in a similar way. Fair enough I suppose, but it really is a drag watching a game in an empty stadium. The whole thing feels like a practice between the two sides, and I’m sure the players can’t enjoy too much either.

-We lost against Levadeiakos in our last league game of the season, and by a score of 3-0. This game took place when I spent all day on the couch and couldn’t even move because I felt so terrible, so I didn’t end up watching it and I’m probably better off this way. Unfortunately, it didn’t sound like we were playing too badly really. We were controlling most of the ball and from what I was reading, we were creating chances. Unfortunately, as has been the case for AEK far too often this season, we struggled to score. Unsurprisingly, we suffered due to our inability to score in a painful and embarrassing way, letting in two own goals minutes apart from each other. Levadeiakos finished things off after some sloppy defending and poor decision making by Baroja in the second half, scoring their third and final goal in a game that both fans and players alike will want to forget as soon as possible. It was an unfortunate result, especially since there is little a team can do to regroup after having two quick own goals conceded. To make matters worse, PAO won their game 6-1, with Berg scoring five goals himself. If this is any indication of their form going into the playoffs, we could be in trouble. I’m hoping it was just a fluke…

 

-A couple days after the fiasco in Livadia, AEK’s management had a meeting with Poyet’s management, in an attempt to work out a deal that would see Poyet stay on as manager. Apparently, things didn’t go to well and from what I heard, Poyet’s management was asking for four million euros a season. He was a good coach, I appreciated a lot of what I did and I appreciated the fact that he seemed to enjoy the big wins as much as what we did. But four million a season is ridiculous, considering that kind of money could be spent on some very good players. Now, that number might not even be true, but what it is clearly true is that both sides failed to come to an agreement. I wasn’t expecting an agreement this early, especially not with so many important games coming up, but apparently Poyet was.

I felt like Poyet was a very professional man and coach, I expected him to do his job until after the season and then let things get worked out. Instead, not long after the meetings took place, he came out and released an announcement on his own, saying he wouldn’t be staying with AEK past the end of the season… I understand that he might not have been too happy, maybe he was expecting more. But I really see no excuse for coming out, a day before a semi-final game, and making an announcement like that on your own.

Clearly, the team wasn’t too happy about the announcement either. Within hours, the press was saying that Poyet had been fired and it wasn’t long after when AEK officially confirmed this. I’m disappointed since I was hoping for better, but I personally felt that it was clear from a while ago that Poyet wanted to leave Greece, particularly to try his luck in England again. I don’t blame him since after-all, the Superleague is a joke, and the Premier League is pretty exciting at the moment, but I was really expecting to see him leave on better terms. Oh well, so much for that…

 

-Finally we end up to where we are now, that is after beating Atromitos 1-0 in the first of two semi-final matches against the team led by Dellas. Manolas was our coach today for the second time this season, and I must say I was kind of amused seeing both teams run by former AEK centre backs.

We started off well, applying the pressure, forcing Atromitos to defend, and creating some chances. At one point the possesion stat was saying something around 80 percent for AEK, and it sure seemed that way. We gave Atromitos no chances of getting into the game which I was glad to see. Our passing was controlled and Mantalos and Johansson were linking up well. Galo and Vargas were also providing some options down the wings which we took advantage of a few times. Unfortunately for us, Aravidis wasn’t providing many options up front and the times he did get the ball anywhere near him, he never really looked like scoring.

As the first half continued on, our pace dropped and it never really picked up too much in the second half. We still managed to create a couple chances, and we still never gave Atromitos too much space, but the game made it clear again that we need better players up front. Our break finally came around the 74th minute, when Aravidis sent in a gorgeous ball that was perfectly placed for Mantalos, requiring just some contact with his head to get the ball on target. It was a break we needed, since any goal we can get going into a second match with Atromitos is an important one.

I didn’t feel like we played too badly, and we can definitely get past Atromitos in the next leg also. But really need to start looking more dangerous in front of goal. I don’t know if we would have been better off starting Pekhart today, but I know Djebbour certainly isn’t an option. He came on as a sub today and provided nothing, as usual. Even when he comes up with chances that the Djebbour of five years ago would have no problem putting away, he struggles to even get a shot off anywhere near target. I don’t know what has happened to him, but he certainly is not the answer we need.

Looks like the end of the Cup

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Atromitos, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2016 by alexaek

As usual, not a week or two go by in Greece without Drama of some sort. If you haven’t yet seen what happened earlier in the week during the PAOK-Olympiakos semi-final match in Toumba, check out the video below to get an idea:

Not once, but twice was the game called off after fans invaded the pitch. Initially it was a response to the terrible officiating throughout the match, but I get the impression it ultimately stemmed from an overall sense of frustration with the overall sense of Greek football. Widespread corruption, leagues being won before they even start, an incompetent government getting in the way of any progress being made to advance the sport in Greece, the frustration can be somewhat understandable.

As is typical of Kontonis, his first actions were to cancel games without making any attempt to actually solve any of the problems which have led to football in Greece being the way it is. How many times now have we seen him call of games? Postpone the league? Has it made things any better? In my opinion I’d say its just made things worse. Sure, something needs to be done, but banning all fans as the result of the actions of a few solves nothing. All that has happened is that the resentment of the fans towards the ministry of sport, and to Mr.Kontonis in particular, has grown each time he’s taken some form of action.

To make matters worse, rather than just call of one game, he has called of the entire cup. This was AEK’s chance to win some silverware in our first season back, a chance for Poyet’s and the team’s hard work to be rewarded. Instead, hes taken all of that away from AEK (and Atromitos).

I’m not saying that AEK is the only team that matters in all of this. But how does preventing us from the playing the cup, especially after our fans have been rather well behaved (aside from the incidents in Peristeri), solve anything? Does he think these “hooligans”, or whatever he wishes to call them, will just go away over time? I really don’t understand it.

Where this all leaves us I really don’t know. As of yet, the league hasn’t been called off yet but it seems like that is yet another course of action Kontonis is willing to take. Something which will ultimately mean no European football for us next season, despite all the effort we’ve given to get to where we are now.

What else does this mean? Well for one, I can’t imagine Poyet would be willing to stay at all if the league were to in fact be cancelled, and I can’t imagine any serious coach would be willing to give Greece a try. It also means more of our talented players would leave the country while making it harder to attract quality foreign players. Investment will probably ultimately leave as well as any serious efforts to develop the sport in any way. Aside from alienating fans and building up even more resentment among them, moves like this, without any other serious efforts to solve the problems, will do nothing but ensure that football in Greece continues to become even more of a joke than it already is.

I’m really not sure what to expect going forward. For now it seems like league games this weekend will still go ahead, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re cancelled at the last moment. Afterall, it took so long for the announcement that our Cup game was cancelled to get out that the referees had actually arrived at OAKA without even knowing anything had happened.

For a bit more info surrounding all the events of the past few days, take a look at the articles below:

http://www.ekathimerini.com/206597/article/ekathimerini/sports/government-suspends-greek-cup

http://neoskosmos.com/news/en/Uncertainty-surrounds-Super-League

Iraklis 1-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Atromitos, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , on February 20, 2016 by alexaek

Playing on a pitch that quite resembled the one in the video below, we managed to sneak away with one point after a fairly dull match. A fair result for both teams I feel considering the conditions and to be honest, we could have even gone down 2-1 late in the game had Iraklis managed to put away a great chance they had.

I’ll be away from my PC for the day but will try to get a match report up either tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. Stay tuned for that.

Oh and for those who haven’t heard, as gtmanleg commented on my previous post we’ll be playing Atromitos for the semi-finals of the Cup. Interesting matches coming up with some close games very possible. More on that later as well.