Archive for the Friendlies Category

Pre-Season Friendlies Have Begun

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Friendlies, Singings with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2017 by alexaek

Its that time of year again, where we start to get a first look at how the team might line up this season. Of course, theres only so much we can gather from these games as the experimental lineups and lower pace don’t provide an accurate representation of how we’ll play when the season properly starts, but it gives us a good look at some of our recent signings and what we can expect of them.

Our first friendly was yesterday, a game against Karpaty Lviv which ended in a 1-1 draw. Giakoumakis was the goal scorer for us in this game and from most accounts it sounds like he got off to a promising start. I’m expecting pretty good things from him this season seeing as he looked quite promising this past season. We’ve seen players in his situation before, arriving at the team with high expectations only to ultimately let us down, but the talent is definitely there with Giakoumakis.

 

Our second friendly which took place earlier today was against a familiar opponent: Korona Kielce. We played them in a friendly last summer as well, a game which AEK won by a score of 2-0. Our result was less impressive today with us winning 1-0, but again there was apparently some impressive play from a lot of our players. Klonaridis scored a wonderful goal and has definitely provided us with reason to be excited for this season. He also looked good this past season and I have a feeling we could see some good play up front with Mantalos, Giakoumakis, and Klonaridis linking up well. I’m not yet sure if Klonaridis and Giakoumakis will be playing similar roles but if theres a way to have them both playing, we could definitely be in good shape offensively.

 

There have also been some singings since my last post, the three most notable being Marko Livaja, Uros Cosic, and Arnor Traustason. Agonasport have a nice writeup on the three players here. Traustason definitely sounds extremely promising, but Cosic also has some solid experience for someone on the younger side.

 

 

Anorthosis 1-3 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Friendlies with tags , , , , , on September 3, 2016 by alexaek

Seeing as the season has yet to start (who knows, maybe next weekend it will finally kick off?), AEK managed to schedule another friendly against a team Ketsbaia is all too familiar with. Anorthosis, the team Ketsbaia coached for almost five seasons, were our hosts today in Larnaca.

The game got off to a quick start with AEK scoring 2 minutes in thanks to an own goal from a defensive error. From then on we managed to control much of the game for a decent amount of time until Anorthosis managed to assert some control of their own, with a penalty being the reward for their efforts. Gonsalves managed to convert the penalty and in doing so evened the game up at 1-1.

We managed to get ourselves ahead once again in the 49th minute after a great run by Christodoulopoulos resulted in a pass to Aravidis who was waiting in the box, though it was Almeida who ultimately finished the play. The finish might not have been anything spectacular but it shows why we went for a player like Almeida. He knows how to position himself, and knows what to do to get the ball in the back of the net.

The game was put to rest in the 73rd minute when Christodoulopoulos did well to finish off on a great pass from Almeida. It was a beautiful finish that nicely capped an impressive AEK debut for our latest signing, a performance that will put him in contention for a place in the starting XI.

Overall it was a great game for AEK. A good performance, a great display from our supporters, and some promising signs for the season to come. Lescott even managed to get some playing time and though its clear he still needs time, the fact that he was considered for the game alone shows that he is coming along nicely. All things at the moment are pointing towards this being one of our best seasons in years: we have a solid defense, some great players in attack, stability on and off the pitch, and a team that looks like it will be able to compete with any other team in the league. Now, if only the league will actually start…

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.

Buonanotte Signs for AEK

Posted in AEK, Friendlies, Singings with tags , , , , on August 15, 2015 by alexaek

Diego Buonanotte has officially signed for AEK, after being greeted by about one or two hundred AEK supporters at the airport. He arrived in Athens at about 8:45 PM Athens time and signed his contract (two years until 2017) this morning.

To see video of the reception as seen from inside the car Diego was driving in, see the bottom of this link. He wanted to play in our friendly with Inter tomorrow but he was able to actually practise with the team today which was great to see. Its unfortunate that he wont be able to get any match experience with us before our first league game, but I’m not too worried. I think he’ll be able to fit in quite nicely with the rest of the team.

Our friendly tomorrow with Inter will be at 8:00 PM Greek time and I’m not yet sure if there will be a stream for it. I’m pretty sure there will be though, and I finish work tomorrow just when the game is about to start. If I find a stream when I get home, I’ll be sure to post it as soon as possible.

AEK 1-1 Sevilla

Posted in AEK, Friendlies, Singings with tags , , , on August 8, 2015 by alexaek

Well well, it looks like things are starting to come together for the team. Obviously this match was yet another friendly and so there is only so much we can take from it, but our performance something to be proud of regardless. I managed to catch about thirty minutes from the first half and from what I saw, we’re definitely starting to play some good football as a team. Our defense was pretty well organized and Baroja seemed pretty solid (a relief to say the least), but what really stuck out to me was how effective our attacking play was. We were able to nicely hold on to the ball, move it around, and create opportunities from all sorts of plays.

I always really enjoyed seeing how much we were pressuring offensively, and how we didn’t show any hesitation in attack, even against such a strong team. It reminded me of the 1-1 against Olympiakos in Karaiskaki from last season. I was expecting us to approach that game rather cautiously but AEK went all out, just as they did today.

With a couple more singings, I think we’re going to have a solid team this season. We’ve got some strong players and it looks like we’re starting to gel together quite nicely. One thing that did worry me today however was Djebbour’s lack of finishing up front. The Djebbour I remember from a few seasons back would have had no problem at least threatening a little more on many of the plays he was involved in, but today he looked off. Maybe it was a bad day, maybe he still needs some time, but unless we see something more from him, I’m going to be a bit worried to say the least. It would be a shame to have a midfield thats able to move the ball around so nicely and create plays without an attacker who can finish things off and get goals scored. Of course we still have Aravidis, but we cant rely on just him.

Oh and our new jerseys we’re officially revealed today, and I love them. They really remind me of some of our older kits from the 30s through to the 60s.

Highlights from our match (Credit to Sevilla for that beautiful goal).

Didac Villa, who I mentioned in my previous post, has officially signed for us. Am I relieved? You bet! Definitely a solid singing for left back in my opinion. We’re also looking into singing Diego Buonanotte and from what I’ve read, it seems like everyone has agreed to the terms of the deal. He’s a player who, if he finds his form with us, will be a huge addition to our midfield. Considering we’d have Diego, Simoes, and Vargas (plus Barbossa, Mantalos and Platellas) as attacking midfield options, I think it would be safe to say that we’re pretty much set in terms of attacking power.

AEK 2-0 Miedz

Posted in AEK, Friendlies, Singings with tags , , , , , on August 5, 2015 by alexaek

Our final friendly in Poland thankfully ended in a 2-0 win with goals scored by Anakoglou and Chrisantus. From what I was reading during the game, our performance was anything but great, with very little pressuring, lots of mistakes, and lots of fouls. Worrying commentary to say the least, but I’m hoping that comes down to fatigue and the fact that Dellas is still trying out some different formations, but we will definitely need to start showing some more composure as a team.

There have been some developments in the singing of Karim Hafez and it looks like the deal has fallen through. There were quite a few details that weren’t agreed upon judging from what I read, but I’m starting to think this may have been a blessing in disguise since it seems like we would have had nothing but headaches trying to work out the details of his loan.

As a backup plan, it seems we are now going for one of our earlier targets for left back, Spaniard Didac Vila. At 26 years old hes still got quite a few good years ahead of him, and his experience defending in the Spanish league for most of his career can only be a good thing. Hopefully this singing works out since we desperately need a reliable left back, and soon.

Not quite there yet..

Posted in AEK, Friendlies, Singings with tags , , on August 4, 2015 by alexaek

Over the weekend we played a friendly against one of our tougher pre-season opponents, Anorthosis. I had a feeling this wouldn’t be an easy game, and it turned out not to be. The game ended in a 2-1 loss for us with our only goal coming courtesy of Grontis and while it wasn’t a great result, it really highlights the fact that we still have a lot of work to do. To be honest I’m not entirely confident with the team we have at the moment though I would love to see them prove me wrong. Don’t get me wrong, we have a good squad for sure, but I still feel like we’re really lacking in some key positions and we’re lacking the kind of players who could make a difference either with their skill (Scocco) or experience (Liberopoulos, Zikos, etc…). I think there’s definitely potential with our current squad but another solid singing or two can really help ensure we have the quality needed to make a strong statement for our first season back in the first division.

In other news, Karim Hafez has arrived in Athens. His singing hasn’t been officially announced but it seems like its pretty much a done deal with just the formalities, such as a medical, remaining. I’m really excited about this singing, possibly more excited than any other so far. He’s young, very talented, and fills a position (left back) where we’re really lacking at the moment. I doubt he’ll be ready for our upcoming friendly against Sevilla, but I would love to see him play when we play against Inter.