Archive for the football Category

AEK 3-0 PAOK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, football, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Jimenez, PAOK with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by alexaek

Araujo OE OE OE

I’ve always had a “fascination” with Argentina. I’ve never been there, but its always been high on my list of places to visit. I have to be honest though and admit that part of the reason I’ve been interested in the country for so many years now though is simply the fact that we’ve some incredible football players from Argentina play for AEK. Thats not to say that every Argentinian we’ve had play for us has been phenomenal. But the thing is, when they’re good, they’re really good. First Scocco, and now Araujo, a player who’s precence on the pitch has elevated the team to a whole new level.

Its not just that he can score, but he also the fact that he makes some great plays and brings so much energy to our attacks. Hes the kind of player that most defenses simply can’t handle, just like Scocco was back in the day. Today was the perfect example of it; when someone like Araujo is in form, hes untouchable.

Now before I go on any further about Araujo, I do have credit to the rest of the team. We played a pretty good game and though PAOK did have a few chances, we were solid overall. Perhaps the only complaint I could have had really about our performance was the fact that we sometimes went large stretches of time without really dictating the pace, but I guess its natural to see some of that urgency ease off when you score so early (as we did today with Araujo opening the scoring just 49 seconds into the game).

Barkas was phenomenal, making a number of key saves to keep us ahead. The same could be said about Glykos as well, as he made some fantastic saves to keep PAOK in the game when the score was still 1-0. Its safe to say that had he not been so sharp today, the score could have been a lot higher, a lot earlier on.

Along with Araujo, our entire offense and midfield was excellent. Simoes and Johansson were constantly pressing and Johansson especially showed so much confidence in some of the balls he played. Mantalos also helped to control the pace of the game while both Ajdarevic and Vargas had some great chances to put us ahead even further.

Something worth noting from this game too was the fact that this was Aravidis’ first match in months. It didn’t take him long to make his presence felt again as he managed to sneak the 3rd goal in just before the end.

Today’s win, aside from resulting in a well earned derby victory, also brought us back into 5th place after our 1-1 draw against Panionios earlier in the week. Things are starting to get interesting too as there are now only 5 points separating 7th and 3rd place. We currently occupy 5th but with a win against PAO in two weeks time, we could see ourselves jumping up to 4th fairly soon.

As has been the case for a while now, we still remain undefeated under Jimenez, 12 games after he took over. Our current goals scored under Jimenez adds up to 29, while we’ve only conceeded 3… Is that even possible? Looking at our results, it seems to be the case, but I have a hard time believing that considering our form before Jimenez returned.

Goals can be watched below. Araujo’s second is stunning, the kind of shot that couldn’t be more perfect. All I can say is that I hope Melissanidis gives Araujo whatever he needs to make him stay, though its safe to say some other teams very well might show some interest.

Its also worth noting that before the game, Original21 organized a large march in Nea Filadelfeia to show some support for our eventual return home to where we belong. Sounded like it was a great time with singing, flares, and banners, but whether it will change anything remains to be seen. All I know is that this mayor is proving to be even more stubborn than I thought. I just hope he realizes that over 90 years of history in Nea Filadelfeia can’t erased with one term as mayor.

Lets hope for many marches like this and that maybe some day we’ll be marching to our stadium once again.

AEK 6-0 Levadeiakos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup with tags , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2017 by alexaek

Perfect start for Araujo

Just days after singing for us, Araujo not only managed to find himself in the starting XI, but he also managed to get his name on the scoreboard (twice). A great way to start his time with us, though credit must also go the rest of the team. They came out strong from the start of the match and carried their momentum through to the final whistle.

Aside from Araujo we also saw goals from Bakasetas, Kolovetsios, Vargas, and Galanopoulos, all players who contributed to AEK scoring six goals against a 1st division team for the first time since 2003. The win, of course, also books our spot in the next round where we will face Platanias.

Playing against Platanias certainly won’t be easy. They are, afterall, just one point behind us in the league. Having said that, I’m confident we can advance even further, especially considering that after four games with Manolo in charge, we have scored nine goals and conceded none.

Its worth noting that even though Mantalos didn’t play today, it didn’t seem as though he was missed at all. With both Bakasetas and Vargas having great games, we managed to get a number of good shots and crosses into the box. If they can both keep playing this way, part of me hopes that Manolo lets them continue playing where they played today (even if that means Mantalos occasionally playing a less prominent role).

 

Wins for AEK in Football and Basketball

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Kerkyra with tags , , , , , on October 26, 2016 by alexaek

AEK 4-0 Kerkyra

Our first Cup game off the season ended well for us, even if it didn’t get off to the greatest of starts. I didn’t get the chance to watch the match (yet) but I did notice the lineup Morais went with beforehand and I must say it looked quite interesting. Noticeable changes he made from our 0-0 with Panionios over the weekend included starting Barkas as keeper with Lambropoulos as center back beside Kolovetsios and Diaz starting at left back. Galanopoulos and Lazaros were added to our midfield with Aravidis and Pekhart playing up front.

We got on the scoreboard seven minutes in at which point I thought we would comfortably coast to a win but it took an awfully long time for us to get our second (and third, and fourth…) goal. Lazaros, with his first official goal for AEK, got the goal that finally sealed the win for us in the 78th minute with Pekhart adding further insurance two minutes later. An own goal by Kerkyra in the 90th finally finished things off for the guests.

Its a big win for us as we head into this weekend’s derby against PAOK but really, nobody expected us to drop points to Kerkyra so I’m hoping the players don’t look too much into the result. Sure it was nice to see us score some goals, but a 4-0 home win over Kerkyra means very little heading into a derby in Toumba. Still a lot of work that needs to be done if we expect to get any kind of result up north.

For another look at the game, and some highlights, check out agonasport.com’s review of the match here. And, for those of you who like myself didn’t get to watch the game, you’re in luck. YouTube has the match in its entirety:

 

2 for 2 in Basketball Champions League

Our basketball team followed the Cup win with a win of their own, a 80-58 away win over Belgin side Proximus Spirou. Its our second Champions League win in a row and our sixth straight competitive win of the season following our Cup win and three League wins. A great start to the season for sure for what is one of the more promising teams we’ve had in a while. Ukic was the key player of yesterday’s match, leading the scoring with 18 points.

We play Trikala this weekend, a game which I feel we should win, followed by Rethimno the week after. However, the 12th of November is when things get interesting as we face PAOK in Thessaloniki. It will be our biggest test of the year so far in the league, but I’m actually confident we can get a decent result since we’ve had decent results up there the past season or two.

The match that will really be worth watching will be our game against Besiktas next Tuesday. Winning this game will go a long way to getting us out of the Champions League group stages and will be a great test as to where we currently stand as a team.

Veria 0-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Temuri Ketsbaia with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2016 by alexaek

We got our second win today in Northern Greece as our good start to the season continued thanks to goals from Bakasetas and Vargas. To be honest the scoreline wasn’t as convincing as I was expecting it to be but at the end of the day the team were able to do what was needed to get the win.

My streams today were iffy at best, but I was able to get an idea of how we were playing for the most part and while there were some positives to take away from the match, I was still a bit worried at times with what I was seeing. We did well for long stretches of time to move the ball around and create very convincing opportunities but then we would sit back at other times and make no effort to take control of the match. From what I remember we did this especially after scoring our first goal and at the start of the second half, possibly the worst moments of the match to do so (especially if we were to do so against a stronger team). I’m not sure what it is that makes the team do that but I noticed something similar against Xanthi once we had a decent lead built up, as if the whole team collectively decides to relax a little too much.

Thankfully we were able to pick things up eventually and start creating some chances again though I was worried for a while that we weren’t going to score a second goal. Its not that we weren’t creating chances, because we were, but we struggled to get things to click right in front of the net. So many great opportunities were stopped by either the keeper or the post, but many others were let down by poor finishing (noteably some of the opportunities involving Bakasetas and Platellas). I’m really happy to see us creating these chances but if we struggle to put these many away, we’ll really be made to pay for that when the derbies come around.

Enough about the negatives though, lets talk about what worked well for us. Two players stood out for me: Patito and Bakasetas. Patito was a constant threat on the right side of the pitch, constantly working the ball further towards goal and sending in perfectly placed passes. Normally when I see a player with the ball near the box I’d rather they just got it in with a pass rather than try to dribble past some defenders but Patito doesn’t cause those same kind of worries with me. He, much like Scocco, has that tight ball control that enables him to seemingly effortlessly make his past one, two, or more defenders. Its beautiful and exciting stuff to watch and its only a matter of time until he scores a phenomenal goal himself (I’m thinking something along the lines of Scocco’s goal against Olympiakos back in that 4-4 cup final).

Bakasetas also had a great game which I was very happy to see. While the singings of Almeida, Lescott, and Patito were all great moves during the summer, it was Bakasetas’ singing that I was most excited about. Today proved why he was such a great catch by us and I can only hope that we’ll see more of him in games to come. He was a constant threat upfront, provided the assist for the second goal, and showed great awareness of what was going on around him on a few occasions. All too often a young Greek talent comes to one of the big teams and ultimately fails to make any significant impact but I genuinely feel that Bakasetas could be the exception to that.

Aside from those two players, the rest of the team did well too. Mantalos was dangerous, Almeida had some great chances before he had to be subbed off (hopefully his injury isn’t much worse this time around). We were sound defensively and while I feel Lescott still needs another game or two to really settle in, I feel like hes starting to get comfortable with what he has to do.

Ketsbaia did alright today, everyone seemed to know their roles well and though the starting lineup was predictable, it was the one that made the most sense to go with. One thing he did though which really confused me was taking off Patito and subbing on Platellas. Platellas ultimately did alright, but I really didn’t understand the logic behind the move. We were still looking for a goal, Patito didn’t show any sign of injury and was still contributing to the match. Why Ketsbaia decided to take him off for a player who plays a similar role I can’t quite figure out. But hey, we got the result in the end so I won’t question it too much yet. Whether his decisions will cost us in the derbies we’ll have to see.

As usual a round of applause is due for our supporters in Veria today. Though I was only able to watch from my computer a few thousand kilometres away from the stadium, it never once seemed like an away game. AEK supporters filled a curve at the end as well one of the main stands along the side of the pitch and if the reactions from some of the players and Ketsbaia is anything to go by, their support really made a difference throughout the match.

Highlights, though not in great quality, can be seen here:

And, if you have some extra time you can watch the whole match here:

 

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.

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.

Panathinaikos 3-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Derby, football, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Panathinaikos, PAOK, Playoffs with tags , , , , on May 23, 2016 by alexaek

Three games in six days, I’m really not sure whose bright idea that was. Regardless, the effects were apparent today and there was little the team could do to hold off PAO. I’m not trying to make excuses for the team, but who can expect better when they play a Cup final, followed by a game against Panionios three days later and then an away derby three days after that.

We were poor today in every way possible. We couldn’t string together more than two passes without giving the ball away far too easily, we were beaten to every lose ball by a PAO player, and our defense simply couldn’t handle the pace and strength of their opponents. I’m sure the team tried, but they couldn’t get anything going. It was only once Leto was subbed off that PAO’s attack became less efficient and we finally had a couple chances to move forward.

Of course it doesn’t help that Manolas still hasn’t returned as manager, and both Vargas and Simoes but either way, this was one game that we’ll want to put behind us as soon as possible. The sooner we can put the game behind us the better since just three days from now, on Friday the 26th, we play PAO again but this time at OAKA. Thats right, that’s another game within three days, followed by the game against PAOK three days after that, and the game against Panionios two days later.

The more I look at this schedule, the less I can understand it. Once all is over and done with, AEK would have played six games in less than two weeks. And why? Because EPO and the Superleague are two of the most incompetent organizations ever to have been involved in the sport of football. This could have all been avoided had EPO just stuck with the referees that they had agreed to use for the Cup final but instead, Gritzikis and his entourage decided to act like a bunch of children so that he could have things his way.

We’ve all known this for years, but this year’s playoffs have once again proven how much of a joke this whole system is. The fact that the Superleague continues to apply it and somehow believes it is good for the sport is beyond me.

Anyways, thats enough for my little rant (for now). You can see the highlights below but there isn’t much to take from it all. All I can hope for is that we can turn things around for the next three games since we still have a shot of getting 2nd. Having two home derbies in a row is the best shot we’ll have of getting maximum points. All I can hope for is that we get a decent crowd at OAKA for these games.

http://aek365.novasports.gr