Archive for the Greek Super League Category

The Fiesta We’ve All Been Waiting For

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Champions League, Greek Football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , on May 5, 2018 by alexaek

A fiesta that we’ve waited 24 years for, a fiesta that has been long overdue, finally Nea Filadelfia was able to celebrate the only way we know how. Flares, chanting, and a party that probably still lingers on the streets hours after the bus carrying the champions passed by.

The celebrations really started after our 1-0 win against Apollon Smyrnis, a game which technically was an away match though in reality was played in front of about ten thousand AEK supporters.

An open roof bus, painted specifically for this occasion, made its way from Rizoupoli stadium to Nea Filadelfia where it was, as expected, greeted by a sea of singing supporters. When I was re-watching some of the live coverage, people were estimating about thirty thousand supporters in the streets, and it certainly seemed that way from the video footage that I saw.

 

Its times like these when I would give anything to have the chance to be back in Greece. Its one thing to watch videos of this thousands of kilometers away but I truly cannot even imagine what it would have been like to be in Athens tonight. I’ve been around for some great moments, such as when we won the cup in 2011, but I have a feeling the atmosphere in Athens tonight would have been pretty unbelievable with the league now over, our basketball team in the Champions League final (tomorrow!) and the stadium on its way to being completed.

Now, as Melissanidis said earlier tonight, we look forward to more championships. With time, we might just be able to celebrate them in our new stadium before we know it!

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Kerkyra 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Euro Cup, Greek Super League, Handball with tags , , , , on April 29, 2018 by alexaek

The Champions of Greece faced off against 2nd Division bound Kerkyra today in a match that was, to be quite honest, pretty lackluster. The game did come to life towards the end as we managed to create some chances but Kerkyra’s keeper was in fine form and seemed determined to not concede.

To be fair to the team, as much as I would have liked to see us close out the season with 2 wins, I can understand the more laid back pace. We have just clinched the title and have a Cup game coming up in a couple weeks which could give us our first double in over 40 years, so I’m not surprised the team weren’t pushing too hard for all three points.

Despite the lack of chances on the pitch, the atmosphere in Kerkyra seemed to be electric from the moment the team arrived on the island. Not surprisingly, the reception for the team was enthusiastic to say the least:

In other AEK news, on top of the success this season for our football and basketball clubs, our handball team has also made it to the final of the EHF Challenge Cup after knocking out Portuguese club Madeira. The final, which will take place against Romanian side Potaissa Turda, will be played over two legs on the 13th and 20th of May.

Champions Again, 24 Years Later!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , on April 22, 2018 by alexaek

I know, I know, its not official yet as we’re still (!) waiting on the court case regarding the PAOK-AEK match in Toumba. But, its hart to not feel like we’re champions following the scenes that were a result of our 2-0 victory over Levadeiakos.

In front of 70,000 cheering and chanting supporters, we practically sealed our 12th Championship in history, and our first since the 1993-1994 season. Bakasetas was the hero today as he scored both goals, including one from the penalty spot. The highlight of the game though is when Mantalos made his way onto the pitch, 172 days since he last played a match for AEK after recovering from a serious knee injury.

Its amazing to think we’ve finally achieved this considering where we were playing not that long ago. As Tzanetopoulos said, the team has been dreaming about this moment from when they were playing in the 3rd division and it has finally happened!

Theres a lot that can be said about what happened today in Athens, but I’ll let some video footage do the talking.

I was relieved to see that the supporters in the stands didn’t cause any trouble during and after the match. I was sure that just a few flares or a few fans storming the pitch afterwards would have had some teams demanding some kind of punishment for AEK.

Instead of causing any trouble in the stadiums, our supporters left the more “rambunctious” celebrations for the streets of Nea Filadelfia.

The celebrations inside the locker room meanwhile were equally enthusiastic:

Theres not much that can be said really after a day like this. All I can say is that this team deserves credit. The players, the staff, Jimenez, Melissanidis, everyone has done an incredible job to get this far. We’ve all but won the league, we’re in the Cup Final, we were undefeated in the Europa League, its hard to remember a better time to be an AEK supporter in recent memory. Lets just hope the court case goes favorably for us so that we can well and truly host a fiesta like we did back in Nea Filadelfia!

One Step Closer to the Double

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Cup, Greek Super League with tags , , , , on April 21, 2018 by alexaek

AEK took huge two steps towards “the Double” this past week after beating Platanias 1-0 in the league and beating Larissa by the same scoreline for the Cup Semi-Final 2nd leg.

The scoreline for the game against Platanias might seem disappointing at first glance, but we did have our chances and Platanias, as would have been expected, played a rather defensive game. Our lone goal was scored by Lazaros, one of the players currently approaching the end of their contracts. It must be said that between the game against Platanias and the cup game against Larissa, hes making a valid case for a contract extension.

Disappointing scoreline or not, it was yet another huge result with regards to our title chase. We’re currently two points ahead of PAOK, but keep in mind a court decision hasn’t yet been reached so we are still very likely to end up being further ahead than that.

The nicest part about the win in Crete against Platanias is that it sets us up to be in the position to win the league tomorrow, at home against Levadeiakos (assuming the court decision goes our way). With this in mind, AEK fans from across Greece, and indeed from across the world, have picked up tickets to the game with the hopes of seeing AEK clinch our first Championship since 1994. From what I’ve been reading, its looking like OAKA might actually sell out which would, as I’m sure we could all imagine, lead to a great atmosphere come kick off.

The Cup game was a rather tense one for me to follow online as with each passing minute, our chances of going through to the final were getting slimmer and slimmer. As the 90th minute approached and the officials signaled for 5 minutes of extra time, it became increasingly clear the some kind of “miracle” was needed for us to get that crucial goal which would put us through to the final. Of course, who other than Lazaros would find a way to get the winner, and with yet another gorgeous goal.

The goal was the talk of Greece the next day, and rightfully so as it was a beauty. It sets us up for a final against PAOK for the second year in a row and all I can hope for is that the result isn’t as disappointing as last year’s result was.

One Step Closer!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2018 by alexaek

AEK took one huge step closer to the Championship today after beating Panionios 1-0 at home. However, it wasn’t our victory alone but rather what happened with PAOK and Oly that has made the difference. Prior to our game today, Asteras clinched an unbelievable 3-2 over PAOK in the 98th minute, a minute after PAOK had made it 2-2 in the 97th minute. On top of that, Olmympiakos and PAO played to a 1-1 draw after ten man PAO managed to tie the score in the 87th minute. Both those results mean we are now two points clear of PAOK and seven points clear of Oly.

All of that could change depending on whether Oly get awarded three points and PAOK get three points deducted after last week’s fiasco in Toumba, something which would also play out nicely in our favour. On top of that we play PAOK next weekend, a game which if we win could see us ultimately move eight points clear of them.

As for our game today, well it was really a game of two halves. The first half was rather enjoyable to watch as an AEK supporter. We created numerous chances (I think we had 13 by the end of the first half) and had a few legitimate goal scoring opportunities including a tet-a-tet which Araujo failed to put away. It was Livaja who made the difference though after latching onto a Galo cross and heading the ball in.

On top of attacking well, we also pressured Panionios relentlessly, so much so that they didn’t have a single chance at the end of the first 45 minutes. We defended well when they did move forward and overall looked well on track to sealing the three points.

The second half however was a different story. We were sloppy and careless, gifted Panionios way too much space, and struggled to really build and substantial attacks. I’ll blame it on fatigue for now, but hopefully we don’t see more of the same when we play in Toumba next week otherwise we won’t get away so easily. Thankfully, Panionios’ attack was fairly disjointed and failed to really threaten much and we were able to do enough to hold on.

Our match against Panionios today wasn’t the only match we played this week. I never got a post up about it, but we also faced Larissa in the first round of the Cup Semi-Finals. Unfortunately, the news to report isn’t good. We lost 2-1 which, on the bright side of things means we have a crucial away goal and should be in a good position to clinch our spot in the final when we play them again in Athens. The bad news about the result is that our undefeated streak has now come to an end. Its sad to the streak, which lasted around 24 games, come to an end like that but really in the grand scheme of things streak or no streak will hardly matter if we manage to hold on and win the league.

Like I said, I’m not worried about this result. Larissa are hardly a threat and a regrouped AEK should have no trouble beating this team when we face again in Athens.

AEK 2-0 Lamia

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2018 by alexaek

And just like that, were back in the race. Thanks to our 2-0 win against Lamia and Olympiakos’ 1-1 draw in Tripolis, only two points separate 1st and 3rd. As it stands, we currently sit 3rd with 41 points, behind Olympiakos on 42 and PAOK on 43. Its safe to say we haven’t seen a top 3 that was this close in as long as I can remember and it certainly sets up a high stakes encounter when we face Olympiakos in Karaiskaki this coming weekend.

Wasn’t able to catch the game myself as I was away for the weekend, but our goals came courtesy of Lazaros and, unsurprisingly, Livaja. Livaja now sits on 7 goals this season, even with Araujo. Lazaros meanwhile isn’t too far behind either with 5 goals thus far. His goal particularly was a pretty one, not so much for the finish but for the play that lead to it.

The result over the weekend wasn’t anything noteworthy on its own, but it is worth noting that prior to Saturday’s win, we hadn’t scored a goal in two games. Thankfully we managed to get the job done seeing as a loss would have seen us sit 5 points out of 2nd place. As things currently stand, we could very well see ourselves leapfrog Olympiakos into 2nd place, something which I genuinely think we have a chance at doing. Is it likely? No, it never is when you face them in their own stadium, but at the moment I’d say we’re pretty even with them and if the Cup game was anything to go by, we definitely have what it takes to grind out a result. If anything, I would argue that we are even more prepared having just faced them in their own grounds less than a week ago.

 

 

 

Panetolikos 1-4 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , on January 7, 2018 by alexaek

Well its certainly nice to be back! Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, and getting back to work and the daily routine that comes with it wasn’t all that exciting but hey, if theres one good thing to take from this time of year, its the fact that we get to watch AEK again!

This year especially is an exciting time since for the first time in as long as I can remember, we start a new year with a legitimate chance at a Championship. Its still far too early to make any guesses as to what might happen come the end of this season, but our game yesterday against Panetolikos was certainly an indication that this team means business.

Now its worth pointing out that despite the fact that we comfortably outscored Panetolikos, it wasn’t always an easy match. They certainly came close a few times but some brilliant goal keeping from Tsintotas kept us in the match. Having said that, our performance offensively was really enjoyable to watch. We saw some great ball movement, brilliant finishing, and it seemed clear to me that not only were the players well rested, but they seemed confident in what their approach to the match should be.

Our first goal came from Bakasetas, a long range effort off of a free kick. It was a beautifully struck shot that had just the right mix of power and dip. Our second goal came from the penalty spot after Lazaros tucked his penalty shot in the lower corner of the net. The penalty was won by Bakasetas after he was taken down in the box. I don’t think there was any doubt that it was a penalty after watching the replays.

Our third goal was the result of some composure on the part of Araujo, who did well to put the ball in the back of the net after a great effort by Bakasetas. Starting to see a theme here? Three of our four goals were either scored by Bakasetas, a result of a penalty he drew, or directly from an assist of his. AEK365 were justified in giving him a 10 out of 10 rating as it was quite easily his best match with AEK in my opinion. His assist on the third goal is worth watching multiple times as it really is quite brilliant. In fact, everything about that goal from the build up to the finish was beautiful to watch.

Our fourth goal was also quite a special one to watch. Not only was the one time football leading up the goal played out perfectly, but the goal itself was scored by the substitute Lopes who had come on less than a minute earlier.

Great stuff overall and though our defense did slip a bit at times, I couldn’t ask for a better start to the new year.

Over the holidays, we made two singings that could help provide some depth to the squad. One of the singings is Erik Moran, the Spanish defensive midfielder we bought from Spanish side Leganes. In addition to that, we also acquired Masoud Shojaei from Panionios, an Iranian midfielder who has played many years of his career in Spain, as well as with the Iranian national team. He had a good season and a half with Panionios and I was personally quite happy to see the singing go through.

Moran didn’t feature in yesterday’s game, but Masoud did. He came on in the 52nd minute and though he had less than half a game to make an impression, he certainly seems to be off to a good start with the club. He played a huge role in our fourth goal and generally showed some composure along with some great ball distribution. Its still a little early to say for sure but I think he could fit in very well with this team.