Archive for the Greek Super League Category

AEK Start Season With a Win

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Greek Football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , on August 20, 2017 by alexaek

A 2-0 win today means that we get off to a good start this season, although the game wasn’t exactly pretty for much of the time.

We got off to a pretty good start after Traustason was brought down in the box which resulted in a penalty being awarded to AEK. Marcos Paulo was lucky to get only a yellow when he really should have been sent off, but Panaitolikos weren’t so fortunate as Almedia comfortably converted the penalty shot to put us ahead fourteen minutes in.

The game never really picked up from then on for either side though Panaitolikos did come close on a couple occasions. The next real turning point came when Almeida was sent off with a straight red for elbowing Chantakia in the face. At first I thought that it was a harsh decision but the more I look at the replays, the more it seems like the right call. Either way it really wasn’t a smart move by Almeida as the red gave Panaitolikos some new found energy which they quickly converted into more chances. Some poor finishing on Panaitolikos’ part along with some good saves by Anestis were pretty much all that kept us in the game for the remainder of the first half.

The second half saw another red, this time for Panaitolikos after Marcos Paulo received a second yellow. It was at this point where the balance started to tip in AEK’s favour again, ultimately resulting in a second goal for AEK. Johansson was the scorer after Mantalos sent a pass across to the Swede across an empty goal. The goal was originally called back supposedly for offside, leaving myself and the commentators rather confused. Thankfully the decision was overturned and the goal ultimately awarded to AEK after replays showed that there was no offside and no foul on the play. It was nice to see that instant replays, which are being piloted in the Greek and Russian leagues at the moment, might actually work in Greece.

The game ultimately ended 2-0 and while it wasn’t always pretty, its a great three points to start the season off with. The game was played in an empty OAKA as a punishment for the incidents that took place in last season’s Cup Final so to come away with a win without home support and playing a man down for much of the first half was a relief.

Overall I’d have to say that Anestis actually looked pretty good, and our defense wasn’t terrible. It was our offense that really let us down again, just as in the games against CSKA. We struggled to really create many worthwhile chances and there was an obvious lack of creativity going forward. Even the set plays were a disappointment as they more often than not ended up being intercepted by a defender. We might be lucky to get the three points today but without a noticeable improvement to our offense I can see us struggling to score goals against a lot of teams in the league this season. Araujo would be a great addition to the club right about now…

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AEK Bounces Back with Two Great Wins

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2017 by alexaek

After our unfortunate result against PAO last weekend, the team wasted no time in finding some form again with two impressive results: a 2-0 away win against Platanias and a comfortable 5-0 win against Kerkyra in Athens.

The 2-0 win against Platanias was particularly noteworthy for two reasons, first of which was the fact that not only did Vinicius start the game at left back, but he also played a fantastic game which also saw him score the opening goal. Also worth noting from the game in Chania was the fact that Aravidis came on as a sub and scored yet again. His goal was a beautifully taken one and judging by what Jimenez had to say after the match, I think we might see Aravidis play at least a few more times before the season ends.

Our second game, which took place today, was an all too easy 5-0 win against Kerkyra. Didac, Pekhart, and Bakasetas were the scorers with Pekhart and Bakasetas both scoring two. Definitely a performance which helps boost confidence heading into the homestretch before the playoffs but what I appreciated just as much as the score was seeing Bakasetas hold a Lambropoulos jersey after the game as a show of support for his injured teammate. Hearing the comments that players have made, it sounds like the atmosphere in the locker rooms is more positive than it has been all season which is something that was sorely missing with previous managers, and our performances so far with Jimenez certainly suggest the same.

It was an interesting day in the superleague today with PAOK beating Panathinaikos 3-0 and Olympiakos barely holding on for a 1-1 draw with Levadeiakos. The results don’t chance anything at the top of the table, but it sets up an exciting final two games as far as the 2nd through 5th place teams are concerned.

 

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 3-0 Larissa

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Jimenez with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2017 by alexaek

How long has it been since we’ve seen an AEK team playing with this much confidence and organization? I know, I might be getting carried away a bit, but its hard not too. We have an AEK team that is finally able to go into every game as favourites again, we have an AEK team that is finding ways to score and most importantly, for the first time in a while we have a team that is getting win after win.

Jimenez first and foremost deserves some credit for finding a way to turn this team around. Our last loss, the 3-2 loss to Panaitolikos, was the last game before Jimenez took control of the team. Since then, we’ve played nine games with three of those games ending as draws and six ending as wins for AEK. What is more impressive though is the fact that in the nine games that Jimenez has been in charge, we’ve scored twenty one goals and conceded only two. How that is even possible considering how poor our form was before Jimenez’s arrival is beyond me, but I’m not going to question what is clearly a working formula.

Yesterday’s game was yet another example of how things seem to finally be looking up for us. We opened the scoring with a header from Pekhart, something which I was especially happy to see since it had been a while since Pekhart scored and I was starting to wonder when he’d find his scoring ways again.

The scoring continued with yet another header, this time from Chygrynskiy. Despite being out for quite a while due to injury, the Ukrainian centre back returned in the best possible way with his goal. It wasn’t only Chygrynkskiy though who was returning to action and finding the net on their first appearance in a while. Almeida, the player who showed so much promise on the first game of the season only to see injuries affect his form drastically also returned to action and found the back of the net. As with the previous two goals scored during the game, Almeida’s was also scored with a header though this time following a beautiful ball in by Ajdarevic and a perfectly timed run by Almeida.

A couple things worth noting:

  • We still haven’t seen Vanjes and Chygrynskiy play together, but I can only imagine how solid our defense will be once their both playing alongside each other. All credit to Lambropoulos and Kolovetsios though for doing what has been needed of them
  • We managed to get yesterday’s result despite having a number of key players in the starting XI. In fact, almost our whole bench featured players who would normally be starters (Barkas, Araujo, Chygrynskiy, Ajdarevic, Simoes, and Almeida). This says a lot about the depth we all knew this team had. It seems as though we can finally really take advantage of it.

 

We’re clearly not in the title race at this stage of the game (though Panionios is causing quite the stir as they are starting to get awfully close to Olympiakos after a historic 1-0 win in Piraeus) but with the form we’ve managed to find lately, I’m at least feeling pretty good about our chances in the playoffs. With our recent wins we now find ourselves two points behind Panathinaikos and four behind PAOK and that can all change depending on how we fare when we play our remaining two derbies. Its never as much fun when you’re playing for 2nd rather than going for the title, but at least we now have a team that we can enjoy watching from now until the rest of the season. Who knows, maybe the playoffs might even be exciting to watch this year.

Highlights of the goals below:

And another behind the scenes video, this time from yesterday’s game against Larissa. I’ve really enjoyed the behind the scenes clips this season:

 

AEK 0-0 Panaitolikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Greek Super League with tags , on January 4, 2017 by alexaek

Is one goal too much to ask for?

If one were to look at only the statistics today and ignore the score, they might have a rather different impression of the game. After all, you would expect a team with 71% possession and 19 goal attempts (with 11 on target), to manage to score a goal or two.

So what can be going so wrong for us now that we’re at the point where we can create 19 goal attempts but not even get one in the back of the net? To be fair, Panaitolikos played a very stubborn game defensively. They clearly came into this game planning on defending and hoping for a counter attack or two. Every man was behind the ball and their box was crowded, to the point where even getting a shot through all the traffic was nearly impossible.

It also didn’t help that Kyriakidis, Panaitolikos’ keeper, seemed especially determined to not let anything in. Any chance that was within reach was stopped by him and it became more and more evident as the game wore on that it would take something special to beat him.

Still, despite the resilient defending by Panaitolikos and Kyriakidis’ amazing performance in goal, a team like AEK, a team that might one day hope to challenge for the title, should be able to score when they manage to control so much of the game. Having said that, we are clearly not there yet and until we stop signing mediocre players, we’ll be stuck at our current for a while still. Watching today’s game, it was clear that no player was able to rise to the occasions and single handedly make the difference when it was needed. Now, I’m not saying we need to play more individually and less as a team, but we need someone who can make the difference when needed, someone who can spark some life into the game, someone like Scocco (or, at this point, even Rivaldo). Either that or we need a team that is able to play so well together that it gets to the point where they go into almost every match as clear favourites (I’m thinking of teams like our 2007 roster, with players like Sokratis, Dellas, Zikos, Kafes, and Liberopoulos all playing so well as a team).

At this point, we have a team that doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing. We managed to control possession well today and the ball was moving around nicely. There were a few things though which especially frustrated me today. Up front, we had no shape, no plan, nothing. Panaitolikos were fine with sitting men in the box and creating traffic which is understandable. We as a team need to be able to adjust to that but there were no adjustments being made at all. Our attackers were rarely venturing out of their zones and offering support, they rarely made any runs, and they lacked the creativity that was needed to break open the defense.

I was also frustrated by the lack of support after a pass was made. So many times a player would make a pass and then just stand there, as if they did not know where to go next. Obviously we were going to be easy to defend against when play so statically, not providing any moving parts for the Panaitolikos defense to keep track of. It also didn’t help that our plays were so predictable. Most of the time the ball ended up at Galo’s feet as he tried to carry it down the line before sending in a cross or, if the play wasn’t started by him, we would hopefully pass the ball around the edge of the box before letting a shot go which more often than not would be blocked by the wall of bodies created by Panaitolikos. It was frustrating to see the team struggle so desperately to find a way through.

Tough match this weekend

To make matters worse for us, we play away against Tripolis this weekend. If we play like we did today, I can’t see this being an easy game for us, especially since playing in Tripolis is never a walk in the park for any Superleague team. A win is desperately needed at this point because the teams beneath us are quickly catching up. I know its still early but at this point I’m starting to wonder whether we can even hold on to a playoff spot…

Poor Start for Morais

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, Basketball, Derby, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , on October 22, 2016 by alexaek

AEK 0-0 Panionios

I guess all things considered, things could have gotten off to an even worse start for Morais… after all, we could have lost. But really, even though it was only his first game in charge the team really should have been able to find a way to score against Panionios.

How It All Unfolded

There were a few uncertain variables going into this game: how we would do without Galo and Patito, how Morais would line up the team, etc… Even so, I wasn’t terribly worried. We’ve been decent at home this season and the Larissa game not too long ago gave me hope that maybe the team has started to find ways of winning regardless of how they play. I hate to say it but really, if we want to have any hope of staying in the title race, results have to come first and then we can focus on playing attractive football.

Well, today, none of that seemed to be the case for the team. Sometimes after a result like today’s, I can at least say that the team played well and deserved more but that just wasn’t the case. The football I saw from the team was rather painful to watch at some points. To be fair to the defense, they did a decent job. Panionios didn’t venture up the pitch too often since they struggled to gain any meaningful possession but when they did, they rarely looked like they would threaten us.

Offensively however, we were lacking in every way. It took a good amount of time before we created any sort of a chance and when we did manage to get some chances, they were few and far between. Mantalos was maybe the only player actually contributing to our attack while Didac was also trying to provide some options down the wing. Aravidis, Platellas, Bakasetas and (I hate to say it) Almeida provided very little  to our attack though Almeida can only be blamed so much since he was hardly getting any balls into the box that he could work with.

So What Needs To Change?

Well, I’m hoping our play will smoothen out a bit as the team spends more time with Morais. They’ve only had four or five days to work with him and I imagine his system is quite different from what they were used to with Ketsbaia so I’m sure time will help a bit. To be honest though, there is only so much he can do. In fact, I have to give him some credit for fielding a decent lineup with the players he had available and though it didn’t exactly pay off, that was hardly his fault.

Who has to be blamed here is our players. There was no creativity going forward at all. Every ball that caused any danger to Panionios was a high ball in and while they could sometimes cause a scare, more than often they would end up comfortably in the keeper’s hands. The team could not come up with anything different, they could not string together any meaningful passes and they sorely lacked composure in front of the net.

From what I see, it seems as though the team needs to take a step back and approach the way they play with a clearer state of mind. Maybe they’re over thinking things, maybe they don’t trust themselves, but they should be able to be more precise offensively than they were today. Patito’s absence today was really felt, but surely we should be able to create something worthwhile without him on the pitch?

I know its still early and I know we didn’t lose the game so maybe it seems like I’m making a bigger deal of today’s result than I should be. But we absolutely need to be winning games like this, and the one against Iraklis where we also drew 0-0 at home. Especially when you take a look at our schedule for the next three games, you start to realize just how much the dropped points here will hurt us: we play PAOK away, followed by Atromitos at home, and Panathinaikos away. To be completely honest, aside from the Atromitos game I don’t see us picking up many points, if any at all, at the two away derbies. Before the season started I felt differently about these games but seeing how we’ve been playing lately, I’ll be very surprised if manage to even sneak a draw at those games.

At Least We Fared Better in Basketball

Earlier in the day our basketball club played an away game (which again felt like a home game due the wonderful presence of our supporters) against Kymis, a game which we never looked like losing from the first minute. It was a great game both defensively and offensively, and what excites me most of all is the fact that we finally seem to have a team that can score some three pointers. Too many times last season we would throw a game away by missing so many three pointers, but it seems like that might not be the case the season.

The win puts us at three for three in the league. For highlights of both the basketball and football game, check out Novasport’s page here: http://aek365.novasports.grl

Olympiakos 3-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Dellas, Greek Football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , on October 2, 2016 by alexaek

So, that was painful. Not really able to write out a longer post at the moment, but if you would like to see some of the painful highlights, you can see them at the link below  (scroll through the videos to see the different goals. I’ll try to post a full highlight video when I find one afterwards.

http://www.novasports.gr/match-center/match-center-agonas/match/1282/olumpiakos-aek/#.V_G1qjRrge0

Just a few brief points about the game:

-This game could have been won by us. Olympiakos deserved the win, but we simply didn’t show up to play. Had we came with a different mentality and game plan, we would have seen a completely different result.

-Ketsbaia lost this game for us from the first minute with his choice of playing Lambropoulos in Simoes’ place (again). I know its not Lambropoulos’ fault, midfield just really isn’t his position. Dellas tried it before and it failed terribly, and now Ketsbaia seems fixed on the idea as well. He simply doesn’t have what it takes at the moment to exert any sort of influence in the middle of the pitch, especially not in a match of this caliber.

-We were far too passive defensively and going forward. There was no attempt to get in Olympiakos’ way, no idea of how to stop them and break up their play, and no idea of how to get our own plays going.

-For once in quite a while, we can at least finally say that we alone lost a game, rather than any influence from the refs or other factors. Like our derby in Karaiskaki last year, its an eye opening match that shows we still are nowhere near the level we seem to think we are at. Olympiakos lost to Larissa last week, and APOEL (at home) earlier this week, why the team wouldn’t be able to give Olympiakos a run for their money today is beyond me.

 

Anyways, thats all from me for now. Going from potentially being alone in 1st last week to now being 5th behind Panionios and Platanias isn’t really where I expected us to be at this point this season, but its still early. I’m curious to see how we rebound from this next game in two week’s time. Won’t be easy as we’re playing Larissa away, but it will be a good test at least to see if we’ve managed to change some things from our performances against Iraklis and Olympiakos.