Archive for the Champions League Category

AEK 3-0 Platanias

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Champions League, Greek Cup with tags , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2017 by alexaek

With relative ease we’ve booked our place in the semi-finals of the Cup. Can we go all the way from this point on? I see absolutely no reason why we can’t with the form we’re seeing at the moment.

Going into the game I was very slightly worried, if only for the fact that the 0-0 draw in the previous game in Crete left us little breathing room if we failed to score early. Platanias afterall only stand one point behind us in the league and have proven time and time again that they can get results against bigger clubs.

Any fears I might have had though we’re quickly put to rest after we got off to a pretty good start, with Lazaros scoring the penalty that resulted from Mantalos being taken down in the box by Platanias’ Yaya Banana. That same play also resulted in a red card for Platanias which certainly only made things easier from that point on.

Oh, and speaking of penalties and red cards, the olympiakos press has been going on all night about how we got “helped” by the refs through the calls… Regardless of whether the penalty was the right call or not, the fact that their press has been going on about this, from a game they weren’t even involved in, is something else. Maybe they’re using it to get their supporters more fired up in case they play us once again in the Cup? Can’t say I mind, it would make any meetings between us in the Cup that much more enjoyable. I still find it incredible that supporters of that team can have the nerve to complain about another team receiving a call like that from a ref…

Back to our game though: I think its safe to say that after the first goal and the red card for Platanias, pretty much anyone following the game would think that the win was pretty much guaranteed for AEK at that point. Rightfully so too, as we continued to score with goals from Araujo (his third in the cup so far) and a beautifully taken finish by Johansson.

Its also safe to say that with a little more luck, the score could have easily ended around 5-0 as we hit the post and had a number of excellent chances missed throughout the game. Regardless, its the win that counts, an important win that books us a place in the semi-finals of a Cup which I genuinely believe our players want to win. It helps too having a coach who has won this cup before and knows how good it would feel to raise it again.

Its obviously too early to tell who we’ll face in the next round but Panathinaikos will definitely be there. I’m pretty confident PAOK will make it to the next round too, but it will be interesting to see what happens in the Atromitos-Olympiakos game. Its very possible we could end up seeing Atromitos joining us in the semi-finals considering Olympiakos’ recent form in Greece.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news today as Chyrgrynskiy had to be subbed off after just a few minutes into the game for what seemed like an arm injury. I’m not sure how bad it is at this point but I hope it doesn’t keep him out for too long.

 

As great as our football team has been lately, our basketball team also deserves some credit after not only beating PAOK over the weekend, but also beating Monaco yesterday in the Champions League round of 16. It was only a one point win, but its definitely a promising result going into the return leg in France. Its also promising to keep in mind that there will be at least 500 AEK supporters present in the rather small arena in Monaco, not to mention the number of Marseille supporters who will also make the trip to support AEK.

AEK 0-0 PAOK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Champions League, Derby, Draw, Europa League, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2016 by alexaek

Very unfortunate result for us, and one that we perhaps didn’t deserve since we were the only team who showed up today looking for a win. But thats football sometimes. I expected a win, if only for the fact that we’ve won all our derbies at OAKA until now this season, but fatigue once again got the better of us.

We tried, we really did. Especially towards the end we were really piling on the pressure but there was little our players could do. A better rested squad would have easily found a way to get a result but though our intentions were there today, the team just couldn’t physically put in the effort required.

Officiating was back to its usual Greek standards with a clear penalty on Simoes not called midway through the first half. Had the call been given and the penalty converted, it would have been a different game altogether since PAOK were only able to get forward on counter attacks and struggled to take control of the game otherwise.

We’ve always known PAOK was a dirty team on the pitch, especially since the days of Garcia, but today was some of the worst playing from PAOK that I’ve seen in a while. Dirty tackle after dirty tackle, simply with the aim of breaking any rhythm we could get going. It all caught up to them after Tzavellas took down Aravidis on a clear breakaway and got sent off, but our advantage was short lived after Pekhart recieved his second yellow early in the second period. Even when we were playing with a man up though, we couldn’t create all that much.

We had our chances to go ahead, two of them from Aravidis (one of his chances  managed to hit the cross bar), and a few other half chances but for the most part there was little reward for all the effort the team put in. Our supporters appreciated the performance nonetheless, applauding the players at the end of the match, but it was too bad we couldn’t get the three points and give us one last chance to qualify for Champions League play next season. Unfortunately though, as it stands the best we could hope for is making it to the Europea League, and even that would only be after qualifying for the group stages.

As far as Europa League is concerned, the draw for the qualifying rounds take place on the 15th of July and it is then when we will learn who we’ll face. We’ll be placed in the 3rd qualifying round and from then, if I understand correctly, we’ll play in the playoff round for the group stages. It won’t be easy as some of our possible opponents include teams such as Alkmaar, Lille, St.Ettienne, West Ham, Herta, Sassuolo, and Dinamo Minsk, among others. Having said that, I’m pretty confident that with some quality singings this summer, we can make it to the group stages. With our current squad though, as well as they’ve done this season, I really can’t see having too easy a time making it through to the playoff round.

 

It wasn’t all bad news this weekend as our basketball club finally managed to end the series with Aris winning the 4th game 89-81 and in doing so managed to clinch 3rd place. It was a shame we couldn’t beat Aris during the regular season since we’re clearly level with them but the team did well to get it done in the playoffs. They might not yet be at the level of Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, but we’re clearly on the right track. I still don’t think we’ll be able to win the championship any time soon, but it would definitely be nice if we could get a win or two against Olympiakos or PAO next season to give us at least a bit of hope that we may one day see a team like the ones we saw in the past.

If you have some time on your hands, you can catch the whole match below. It was a pretty good game and Herston’s performance in particular was outstanding. I’d say it was easily the best we’ve seen from him all season. Sakota also had a good game and I think he’s done a good job of proving that he should be in the squad next season.

 

PS: For some extra commentary on today’s match, check out this link.

This is it!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, Greek Football, Greek National Team with tags , , , , , , on May 19, 2012 by alexaek

After our 2-0* win against PAOK earlier in the week (it feels like ages since we beat them), its come down to a match-up between PAO and AEK to  decide who will be Greece’s second team to attempt to make their mark in the Champions League. Thanks to Chelsea’s win against Bayern in the final today, whichever team goes on to win the playoffs will be placed in the stronger group for qualifying matches and will play against lower seeded teams (definitely good news!).

I really think we have a chance of getting the win tomorrow, though it will not be easy (it never is really). PAO will want this just as much as us, and their supporters will be there. Not sure what to expect for this one, but Im sure we’ll be going all out, its do or die now, nothing but a win will be good enough and we have nothing to lose. PAO, on the other hand, might very well be playing for the draw (we’ve seen them do this in the past), so lets see what happens.

*Libe and Leo were our goal scorers for the match. This was Libe’s last home game for us, sadly, and Dellas’ as well.

Two legendary players for AEK (and Greece). Respected the shirt, always gave the most they could, rarely, if ever, caused any trouble. Players that AEK and Greek football will miss. Players that we dont see as often these days, yet players that our league so desperately needs.

And as much as I love Dellas, I will miss Libe more than I’ll ever miss another AEK player. He’s been with AEK through the good and bad times, never complained, always accepted lower wages, always gave all he had to offer on the pitch. Even at 36 years old this season, he was still scoring goals (and some beautiful ones indeed). Its not often that you find a player who is so respected by AEK and PAO fans, and I certainly wont be surprised to see a standing ovation by the PAO supporters tomorrow. And I also wont be surprised to see Libe score a goal or two tomorrow as well!

A Fine Weekend To Be AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2011 by alexaek

So, just a little over a week after we won our first Cup in so many years (despite the rather depressing events which followed after the match), us AEK fans were treated to yet another pleasing weekend. This time, however, the attention was not only on our football team, but also our Handball guys, a group of players who have fought hard and gave everything they had to offer to the club for the past three years. Saturday afternoon, our players took on PAOK in Thesaloniki, a match which was a must win if they wanted to claim the Championship. And, as is the norm recently, AEK emerged victorious over our rivals from the North. That’s right folks, only six years after our handball club was formed, we, for the first time in our history, are champions of Greece!

I went to wait for the players last night in Nea Filadelfia along with thousands of other AEK supporters and though the bus’ arrival was delayed by AEK fans from all over Greece (almost literally, as the bus had to make numerous stops on its way down so supporters could congratulate the players), the players received a reception that only true Champions deserve! It wasn’t until about 2:30 in the morning that the bus arrived in Filadelfia, along with a caravan of motorcycles and flares from fans who greeted the bus at the tolls outside Athens, but the celebrations were phenomenal. The entire street outside the offices of the Amateur division of AEK which runs the handball club was blocked off by bon fires and thousands of AEK fans who sang non stop for the entire hour or so that I was there after the bus arrived (and they were still singing when I left at 3:30) while the players were on the balcony of the offices with the trophy, joining in the celebrations as well. And I’ll tell everyone reading this post one thing: These players on our handball teams are true AEK supporters, people who love the club as much as we do! I hope they, along with us, will always remember this day, as it was a true celebration of what it means to be AEK!

As for the match itself, it was close, very close. We managed to take a firm lead quite early in the game thanks to some fantastic attacking, however PAOK slowly managed to cut back the lead as the match progressed. Towards the end, however, PAOK actually managed to take the lead, and with only 15 seconds left, they were leading 22-21. However, AEK, who refused to give up, managed to tie the game up at 22-22- with only seven seconds left before the one and only Christoforos Bakaoukas scored the game winning goal to clinch the Championship! I honestly can’t think of a better way to win the championship than by beating PAOK in their own home in such a way. If you watch the video below, you even see the PAOK fans calling their players champions as they were so sure the win was theirs.

So, on to football. We started the game (at the lovely time of 9:45 on a Sunday night) knowing PAOK had beaten PAO 2-1 in Toumba, meaning a win for us would bring us to first place in the playoffs. I’m not sure if this was what the players were thinking, or maybe they were inspired by their cup win last weekend, but they came out strong and seemed intent on showing no mercy to the scum team from Volos. Lovely passing football and complete control of the match was all we saw from AEK from the first 10 minutes or so, with Leonardo playing a very active role in the match from early on. For the most part, our positioning was superb and the players were really gelling well together, with Leonardo forcing the ball into the box with his runs and Michel distributing superbly.

As the game progressed the tempo did drop slightly, though Olympiakos Volou rarely managed to gain much of an upperhand. Having said that, and despite the pressure we were applying, we still urgently needed a goal. Sure, we were playing some attractive football, and the players were clearly doing things right, but in front of the net we were simply not good enough for much of the match. The fact that our only goal of the match came from a penalty is an obvious indicator of this. However, I feel its too early to worry. We were creating chances, we came very close on a number of times and even hit the cross bar on one occasion, and with a bit more confidence and decisiveness in front of goal, we shouldn’t have as much of a hard time scoring in our upcoming matches.

And while I’m on the topic of scoring (or lack of), I feel obliged to bring up a certain player by the name of Nabil Baha. USELESS. He could hardly run after the first half, was clearly not match fit (or possibly just lazy), and missed two clear goalscoring opportunities (opportunities which Blanco would have had no problem scoring). I thank Baha for his goal in the Cup final, but the guy cannot play for us anymore. What Jimenez sees in him I will never know, but I really hope to see Blanco start the next match instead of him.

As for the rest of our players, a handful in my opinion deserve much credit. Dellas, Manolas, Georgeas, Michel, and Diop all played vital roles in our win today. Dellas brings experience to our team that very few players could provide while Manolas alongside him at centre back was simply solid in defending. Georgeas, though he may have been slightly sloppy at times, provided another dimension to our play down the right flank and, as always, defended with passion. Diop was simply solid at the back, providing cover for our defenders and midfielders. Also may have been sloppy and careless at times, but he still manages to hold on to the ball well, win it back when we lose it, and is always moving, always looking to do something, whether it be winning the ball back or providing cover for a player. Michel also provided a vital role today as his ball distribution was by far the best of anyone else today. He may not have played many fancy defense ripping through balls like Rivaldo, but his passes were always calculated and well placed.

Unfortunately, Libe was forced to leave the match as he picked up an injury. I have no idea at the moment how serious it is, or if he will be ready for the next match, however I truly hope we will be match fit by next Thursday as we will definitely be lacking without him up front.

So, not sure what else should be mentioned. First place in the playoffs and it looks like were heading in the right direction if we want to reach Champions League qualification. PAO were simply dreadful in their game with PAOK, so to be honest, I’m kind of looking forward to our game with them on Thursday because I’m confident we can get a win if we play solid.

Its getting late here, so tomorrow I’ll upload some videos and pictures from the celebrations in Nea Filadelfia.

Larissa 2 AEK 3……..

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, Europa League, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2011 by aekman74

AEK has beaten the locals courtesy of goals from Manolas and two from Lagos.Unfortunately,I didn’t watch the game,but highlights can be found on this link….

I hope AEKMAN74 won’t mind me adding to his post, but I figured I’d just add to his rather than post a new entry. I only managed to find a decent stream in time for the second half so that’s all I can comment on, but I still won’t say much. To be honest, we really should have scored at least another two goals in the final 45 minutes, with the chances we had. However, credit to Larissa, they managed to claw their way back. Also, credit for the their second goal, it was some very nice football indeed on their part.

The fact that we managed to let Larissa get within one goal of drawing the match however, after having a 3-0 lead from so early on, is a fairly scary thought considering we have the playoffs and a Cup Final coming up.

I won’t say much more about the game, I missed quite a bit of it. It is a shame, however, to see Larissa drop to the second division. I know alot of people may be happy about it, but I personally would much rather see teams like Panionios, Xanthi, and Volou out of our league as soon as possible. Larissa are a club with a brand new and very attractive stadium, supporters who managed to create an impressive atmosphere on Sunday, a side who recently won the cup and also had an impressive run in the UEFA Cup a few years back. These are the teams who should be staying up in order to benefit our league in general, rather than clubs run and operated by scum like Panionios, Volou, and Kavala (as well as many others… ).

Oh well, the league is pretty much done for the season aside from one more game. Now we have the playoffs and Cup final to look forward to. What will happen after that, come the start of next season, none of us will know. However, the team has a great chance now to win a cup and book a place in the qualifying rounds for Champions League. Its all I can hope for right now…

AEK 2-0 Unirea!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by alexaek

So, for some reason (Nova claims it has nothing to do with them), the match was not broadcasted on television (technical problems in Austria). Instead, I had to follow the match with updates from various sites. None the less, what I read sounds very pleasing! Many reports are saying we played incredible football, especially for this early in the pre-season. We had possesion, created chances, sounds like Libe, Scocco, and Leonardo all had good games, and things just generally really pleased the reporters who watched the match live. Incredible news for all of us, especially considering Unirea (who, by the way, didn’t get their first shot on AEK until the 60th minute) are Romanian champions least year and are preparing for Champions League football this upcoming season.

Nova has said they will show the match in the upcoming days, so hopefully I can watch it and get a report of my own. Two videos are available however, showing each of the goals. The football being played in the first video was very attractive if I may say so myself.

Yes, that was Dellas who scored from a direct free kick!

FORZA AEKARA!!!

Champions League Dreams Smashed

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, Europa League with tags on May 14, 2010 by alexaek

So, we drew 1-1 with Aris in Thessaloniki while PAOK beat Olympiakos 1-0, in Karaiskaki! To be honest I only watched the final half hour of the match but from what I heard it was pretty uneventful, especially the first half which ended 0-0. I will say though that the football I saw from our team was not the same football we played five days before. The players didn’t exactly play bad, but it seemed they had no intention on making any chances to score. Leonardo did impress once again though, and he scored our only goal in the 93rd minute. Djebbour also had a goal which was called offside. Now, it was extremely close, I would say exactly on the line. Maybe the ref saw it from a bad angle, maybe he had some other intentions, but the goal should have stood in my opinion, a goal which could have changed things and possibly lit the creative spark that was so badly missing from our team that game.

Regardless, I wont go into much detail on the match. If anyone saw the whole game please do leave a comment below.

Now that we’re out of champions league (as well as Olympiakos!) we have the second playoff spot still left to fight for. We win against PAOK in Toumba and it can all be decided on the final game, AEK against Olympiakos at home. If we lose however and Olympiakos win against Aris then it will all be over and we will have to end up fighting for third playoff spot. However, Olympiakos played a terrible match against PAOK, and it is possible they may only get one point in the match at most (do remember that Olympiakos have scored only 2 goals these playoffs, both against us). In addition to this, PAOK have already guaranteed Champions League, so perhaps they may take it easy in our game, perhaps play some players who dont regularly start. After all, there really is no point in risking injury or fatigue in a match which means nothing to them. Of course, this is wishful thinking, but who knows.