Archive for the Greek Cup Category

Olympiakos 1-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Cup with tags , , , , , , , on April 13, 2017 by alexaek

On AEK’s 93rd birthday, we were treated to an incredibly important win, one which sees us put a foot into the Cup Finals. As Jimenez said today, the future of this team is bright and what we’ve seen up to and including our victory in Karaiskaki, I see no reason at all for us not to go ahead and win the Cup for a second straight season.

Now I don’t want to get too carried away since nothing in football is certain, especially considering despite the fact that we came away with a win, Olympiakos were still very much in the game. In fact both teams had a few good chances to increase the score throughout the match so we definitely cannot discount Olympiakos at this point. Having said that, with two critical away goals and the next game in an OAKA which I feel will be very close to sold out, I’m pretty confident that we’ll be playing in the final in less than a month’s time. Its also worth keeping in mind that our form against Olympiakos has been surprisingly good with AEK winning four of the last five matches between the two sides.

As I said, Olympiakos did have a couple chances so I won’t sugarcoat our performance and say it was flawless since it clearly wasn’t. We were great going forward, but we did allow a little to much space at times in the back. Overall though, what I really noticed with AEK today was that this was the most confident performance I’ve seen from our team in Karaiskaki since our last 2-1 victory there. Previous matches we’ve played in Piraeus seemed shaky, uncomfortable, and as if we just generally didn’t have a plan. In the past, at least for the last three or so seasons, we tended to play in a way that resulted in us sitting back and hoping for a couple counter attacks. Today, however, was a different story. We played with total control for much of the game, a clear game plan, and a team that didn’t seem to be affected at all by nerves. It was definitely a breath of fresh air and one of the clearest signs yet that Jimenez knows what hes doing with the club.

There was the usual shenanigans that follow an Olympiakos loss, with players and management alike criticizing the officiating. Truth be told, I genuinely don’t even know what they were complaining about today as every handball/penalty they called for were, in realities, clean plays. I guess they need to blame someone though? Although if anyone should complain it would be AEK in this case as Seba should have received a straight yellow for his deliberate trip of Araujo (see video below).

Araujo was, as is pretty much expected at this point, our standout player. Considering the technique and vision he possesses, I really don’t see a way we can keep him past the summer. I would love nothing more than to see that happen, but theres no way Las Palmas aren’t noticing the amazing performances hes been consistently been putting in and while I wish we could offer whatever they would ask for him, I just don’t see any way we could possibly afford his price tag.

Mantalos also put in a great performance and I thought the way he and Araujo linked up on the first goal was just brilliant. Also worth noting was the fact that both Vranjes and Chyrinskiy were in the starting lineup today and while I found our defense to be a little porous at times, they both had great games.

For those who wish to mark it in their calendars, the second leg will take place on the 26th of April. Its still early to say but the crowd will definitely be a sizable one, if not a sell out.

Highlights:

 

The Seba trip:

 

One of the “penalties” Olympiakos called for (I don’t see it either):

 

Another “penalty” they were calling for (maybe if they would just focus on playing the game they wouldn’t be so embarassed in front of their own supporters):

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 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).

 

Catching Up…

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

Its been a while since my last post (over a month at this point), mostly due to the final couple months of school taking up a lot of my time. Now that all of that is behind me, I figured it was time for a quick post going over what I’ve missed.

Disappointing League Results

Things have been less than ideal in the league over the past month and a half. We’ve had four league games since my last post and while they were all against what should in theory be weaker teams, only two out of those four games actually ended in wins. The first win was a 3-0 home victory over Platanias and we also got a comfortable 4-0 home win over Levadeiakos. Both those results were followed by draws against Kerkyra and, just yesterday, a home draw against PAS Giannena. Now I know nothing ever comes easy but had we won those two games we drew, we would have been sitting in 2nd with 24 points and a far smaller gap between us and Olympiakos. Instead, we find ourselves 5th with 20 points, behind Xanthi, PAO, and Panionios.

Yesterday’s result was one of those results that are that much harder to swallow. It was a strange game from the start really, with Aravidis being sent off on a straight red with a Zidane imitation headbutt. Surprisingly though we played pretty well considering we were a man down and then got gifted one of the easiest goals Pekhart will ever have to score. To top the whole game off though, we conceded an extra time goal which was clearly offside. Not the result we deserved, especially considering it sounded like the team looked really promising even when playing a man down, but I’ve come to expect this sort of thing from this league.

To make matters worse, Mantalos also missed a penalty yesterday…

 

Disappointing Cup Results As well..

After our 4-0 Cup win against Kerkyra, we ended up with some pretty disappointing results after drawing Karditsa 2-2 and Lamia 0-0. Safe to say we should have done better, especially against Karditsa when we were ahead 2-0 before letting them back into the game. Thankfully the results were still enough to get us through to the next round where we’ll face Levadeiakos, but I’ll definitely be hoping for some better results from this point on. Since it seems as though we’re already out of the title race, it would be nice if we can make a decent attempt for the Cup again this year.

 

 

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.

Catching Up…

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Greek Cup, Transfer Rumor with tags , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2016 by alexaek

There was a mix up with our new internet provider here at home and so I had no connection to the web from about Friday morning until now. I am happy to report though that everything is up and running very smoothly, but this now means I have some catching up to do on the AEK news. For starters, heres a brief summary:

-We won our game against Panionios, 1-0 courtesy of Mantalos

-We also won our second game against Aris for third place in the basketball league by a score of 89-84

-Reports are suggesting that we’re very close to singing Olympiakos target Tasos Bakasetas (would be a great signing if this is true)

So, I didn’t get to watch the game against Panionios since I was working (though I should get to watch our game tomorrow), but it seems like we played pretty well from what I saw during the highlights. We had a few players out such as Barbosa and Vargas, but it sounded like Platellas made a great impression, despite having not played for a while now. Particularly good news since we could really use him in some of the upcoming games.

Seemed like a pretty good game with chances on both sides, as was to be expected since Panionios have been a pretty strong side lately. Worth noting that the officiating was pretty terrible with two clear penalties not awarded to us (not to mention the fact that Panionios should have recieved a red card as well). Its too bad the officiating was once again a talking point, since it was generally pretty good in the cup final. Thankfully we still got away with the win, as I’m sure the complaints would have been even worse had the missed penalty calls cost us a point or three.

The win puts us back in control of our own destiny after Panathinaikos and PAOK tied 1-1 in Athens. With our win, we are now first with 5 points, followed by Panathinaikos and PAOK on 4, and Panionios on 1.

 

Our basketball game against Aris seemed like it was a pretty exciting one. We started off well, going ahead early on, but something I’ve gotten very used to over the seasons started to happen. That’s right, I started to see our lead slowly but surely shrink until Aris managed to tie up the game. Luckily for us we managed to keep Aris at bay while also managing to sink a good number of our own shots but the excitement didn’t end there. Towards the end of the match there were some scuffles on the court, likely a result of nerves since Aris realised they were about to find themseleves down 2-0 in the series. To add to the drama, the officials ultimately decided to eject the benches of both teams as well as two players who were on the court at the time of the events, leading to only three players per team being on the court for the final moments of the game. To be honest, I don’t really know myself what happened; who hit who, who started what. The highlights below are unfortunately a bit inconclusive.

 

So as I also mentioned above, AEK365 is reporting that we are very close to agreeing with both Panionios and Bakasetas. They’ve even gone ahead and made the claim that the singing will be happening on the 1st of June. He’s had a fantastic season, and was also a target of Olympiakos so if this does go through, it will be a victory for us in more ways than one. Like someone commented on AEK365, with Olympiakos losing the cup final and facing a tough challenge of overcoming PAO for the basketball title, losing the singing of Bakasetas to AEK would only help to make this week even worse for Olympiakos supporters. I certainly hope it happens for that reason alone. Plus, hes a pretty decent player…

The Cup Is Ours!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , on May 17, 2016 by alexaek

I try to look at things rationally most of the time. I like to take things for what they are and not take from them something that simply isn’t there since doing so usually just leads to disappointment. Tonight though, I have to make an exception.

I’ll have to start off by saying that I didn’t get the chance to watch the match live since I had things booked from a while back that I couldn’t change at all. At first I wasn’t as upset as I normally would have been about missing the game; afterall, with how long the whole fiasco had been dragged out I was more just hoping it would all be over. Knowing we wouldn’t have any fans in the stands also didn’t help and on top of that, I figured one way or another, someone or something, would have made sure we didn’t get the chance to win.

I knew we already beat Olympiakos once this season, but part of me figured certain influential factors would be at play to make sure Olympiakos getting the double would just be a formality. As we saw when they played Tripolis last year, things seem to happen to make sure games like these go their way.

I guess I didn’t realise that it was possible to have a Cup final in Greece where refereeing didn’t interfere with the game at all. I guess I also didn’t realise that we do in fact have a better team than them. Obviously the rational side of me would still be saying that no, Olympiakos still has a stronger team than us. But tonight, I can’t help but look back at what we did and feel that we are absolutely the stronger team. Twice this season we took them on, shut them out of the game, and took our chances to come away with the win. Maybe we didn’t get the humiliating wins we all would have liked, but we got the job done and that in itself is an accomplishment considering the different budgets involved between the two sides.

I saw the highlights and I must say that we did really well to finish the chances we had. Both of our goals were solid plays, not goals scored through flukes or good luck, which is always nice to see. They might complain that we beat them off a penalty last game, but they can’t say a thing about the goals we scored today, even if certain players and staff might have the nerve to do just that.

 

More importantly than how we played though, is what this game meant for the team, the supporters (including all of us), and Greece in general. Firstly, I can’t imagine a better way of ending our first season back. Sure, the championship would have been nice but that was obviously never an option. To win the Cup though, with players who were not too long ago playing with AEK in the third and second divisions of Greece, is an incredible accomplishment. And not only is it an accomplishment for the team, but it shows that AEK is finally back. Work still needs to be done, we’re nowhere near the level we can be, but the team we all know and love is finally back.

The win also means so much for us supporters of the teams, those of who love the team through the good times and the bad times, through all the wins and all the losses. Supporting AEK isn’t always easy, especially not in a country where everything seems stacked against you but we have no choice since this team means so much to us. We’ve supported this team through all the times we all hoped we would never see and so I have to say that, though this Cup is for the players, I feel like its also ours in a way. We don’t support this team looking for recognition since the support we give is unconditional, or at least I like to think that it is. Still, its nice to see some reward for all that we give whether its going to stadium every week, travelling to away games, waking up at ridiculous hours to watch the games in places like Australia, or just simply being a supporter even when first division football is still two years away.

For those of who had to follow the game away from Greece like I did, the videos in the links below are well worth a watch. They give just a tiny sample of what the atmosphere was like at Nea Filadelfeia tonight as the team bus carried the players through a sea of supporters. I remember being there after we won in 2011 and I would have given anything to have been there again tonight.

http://www.aek365.com/a-458635/kolash-sth-filadelfeia.htm

http://www.aek365.com/a-458654/magike-stigme-apo-th-nea-filadelfeia-fwto.htm

http://www.aek365.com/a-458653/to-epiko-video-tou-soiledh-panw-apo-to-poulman.htm

Greek Cup winners for the 15th time in our history. Take a moment if you can to let that sink in. It seems like just yesterday we were playing in the third division, slowly making our way back to where we belong. Now, after three years, we are finally back with the biggest statement we could have hoped for. Hopefully we’ll have plenty more Cups to celebrate in the years to come. Maybe even a championship or two.