Archive for the PAOK 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.

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PAOK 71-78 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Players, Basketball, Derby, PAOK with tags , , , on November 12, 2016 by alexaek

An extremely important win for AEK in the league today, one which saw us struggle but ultimately show the character needed to come away from Thessaloniki with the win. Seeing as we had yet to play a derby until today, this match was one of our first major tests and though it wasn’t always smooth sailing for us, the team did well to do what was needed to keep our perfect start to the season.

Dixon was one of the standout players for us with 22 points including a crucial 3 pointer towards the end of the match to seal the win for us. Ukic also, unsurprisingly, had a great game with 16 points to his name. We trailed for most of the match and despite closing the score down a few times, it wasn’t until the 3rd period where we were finally able to go in front after a 12 point run. PAOK managed to keep the score close from that point on but we never relinquished our lead and managed to hold on despite a nervous final few minutes.

It must be said that despite the win, today’s performance was not among our best this season. To be fair, playing against PAOK up north is never easy and Vaseiliadis, a lifelong PAOK supporter who has never played against them at home, was clearly struggling.

Highlights can be seen here: http://aek365.novasports.gr

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

PAOK 2-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, EPO, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Panathinaikos, PAOK, Playoffs with tags , , , , , on May 12, 2016 by alexaek

Possibly the worst start to the playoffs that we could have hoped for, dropping all three points as well as falling to third in the standings. We got lucky in considering Panathinaikos only managed to draw 1-1 with Panionios, but yesterday’s result certainly puts the pressure on us from an early stage.

I didn’t get to watch the match but I was able to follow the live commentary for much of it and sounded like a very uninspired performance for the most part. At one point we had barely over 25 percent of the possesion and while we managed to create a few decent chances, it seems like only a draw would have been a fair result. I have to give credit to PAOK for scoring two fantastic goals but its really too bad we couldn’t at least come away with the point. We went up first after Johansson tucked away a dropped ball by PAOK’s keeper just before half time, but I was never confident that we would hold on to the lead if what people were saying online was anything to go by. Its a shame really that we couldn’t put in a better performance considering the game was played behind closed doors. If we struggled this much in an empty stadium, I imagine we’re not going to be much better off when we’re playing in front of Panionios and Panathinaikos supporters.

A couple things worth noting from the game: You’ll notice if you watch the highlights below that we were originally awarded a penalty for a hand ball fairly early on, but it was unfortunately called back due to offsides. I have to admit, it seems like it was the right call. Also worth noting that both Barbosa and PAOK’s Katse got red cards after the match due to the standoff the two had which eventually led to an all out brawl between the two sides. The scene that transpired afterwards seems to sum up much of the game really, a game that was played with a lot of nerves and tension almost from the start.

 

If you’ve been wondering when the Cup final will be played, I unfortunately no concrete news to report. EPO came out and said that the final will take place on the 17th but at the moment that still can’t really happen. First of all, EPO has not yet agreed to either use foreign refs, or at least use Sidiropoulos’ usual team of assistants. In addition, NovaSports and all the teams involved would have to agree on some sort of change to the playoff schedule. As it stands, AEK would have to play a playoff game on the 15th, the Cup final on the 17th, and another playoff game on the 18th, something that for obvious reasons simply could not happen. Even if a change to the schedule were to happen, it would mean an almost unreasonable amount of games within such a short period of time for AEK, something that the team has said they are not on board with at the moment (and I can’t say I blame them).

In case you were wondering why the final couldn’t just happen in June once the playoffs have ended, you’ll have to keep in mind that with the Euro coming up, all league and cup play must be over by the end of May. As of now, the only way the final could be played after May would be if a exception were to be made by FIFA and UEFA, something which seems highly unlikely.

Panaitolikos 1-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Panathinaikos, PAOK, Playoffs with tags , , , on March 20, 2016 by alexaek

For what I believe was the first time in Panaitolikos’ history, the small team from Agrinio managed a well deserved victory against AEK. I hate to say it, but at times we were actually outclassed today and even though we weren’t exactly the worst team on the pitch, we certainly didn’t deserve a win with only a draw or a loss being the fair results.

If our performance today is any indication of whats to come during the playoffs, then we won’t have any easy time at all when our time to play PAOK and Panathinaikos comes around. Its still early at this point and I’m hoping what we saw today was just a fluke, but I am a bit worried considering we also had a hard time to make anything happen when we played Tripolis two games back.

Today’s match wasn’t one of those games where just a few key players were having an off day. Instead it seemed like the whole team just couldn’t make anything happen. We had a few half chances but we never really managed to take control, get any sort of a rhythm going and every attack seemed unorganized, as if our players had never played together before. We still managed to create a couple decent opportunities and came very close to scoring once or twice, but even when we looked like scoring the play was wasted through what seemed like a lack of concentration really.

Our offense was not the only part of our team that was having a hard time as our defense also struggled to handle almost everything Panaitolikos threw at us today. Thankfully Baroja had a pretty solid game because he was the only who seemed capable of preventing Panaitolikos from scoring.

Not a good game at all, but its not the end of the road for us quite yet. We still have a decent five point lead ahead of Panathinaikos, although they looked pretty good in their 4-0 win yesterday. Our lead over PAOK is also pretty much untouchable from this point on, but what worries me more than anything is the fact that both PAOK and Panathinaikos seem to be finding some form. If this keeps up, we’ll definitely have to see better from AEK in the remaining three games with our match against Panionios likely being our best indicator of where we stand going into the playoffs.

Highlights:

http://aek365.novasports.gr

AEK 3-0 Panthrakikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, PAOK, Playoffs, Superleague with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2016 by alexaek

Such a disappointing finish to a game which started so well. I have no complaints about the score, of course, but when you score three goals within the first twenty minutes I can’t help but build up a sense of expectation. I wasn’t surprised to see the first half end at 3-0, but I was certainly expecting another goal at least.

To be fair to the players though, it wasn’t exactly their fault. The fact that we had two injuries and were forced to make two substitutions very early in the game affected our rhythm from what I read and that’s definitely understandable. We also have to keep in mind the fact that the weather in Athens was dreadful today (cold and wet) as well as knowing that the team probably so no reason in wearing themselves out when we have some important playoff games to get ready for.

MVP of the match I believe was Buonanotte and I can’t help but be happy for him. He’s been given very few chances this season, and he’s hardly ever started a match. Despite this, he always manages to give Poyet a reason or two to trust that he can contribute when we need him. His goal so early on showed exactly the kind of ball movement we need in front of the goal. We have players who can hold on to the ball well in the centre of the pitch and players who can play well down the wings, but very few of our players can draw out defenders while working the ball into the 18 yard box the way Buonanotte can.

Aside from Buonanotte, another player well worth mentioning from today was Mantalos. As is often the case, he showed yet again how desperately we miss his presence when hes not playing. The way he can so confidently keep the ball at his feet until the right moment to make a pass is a huge factor in so many of our plays and when hes in form, he is easily our main player in attack.

The two injuries we picked up today were pretty unfortunate, especially for Soiledis since he had a great start to the game. Aside from Soiledis, Kolovetsios was also injured early on but thankfully for us, both Cordero and Buonanotte managed to play the whole game without injuring themselves.

Today’s win puts eight points ahead of PAO and a comfortable thirteen points ahead of fifth placed Panionios. What this means for us is that if the playoffs were to start today, we would start with three points, Panathinaikos with one, and both PAOK and Panionios with none. At this point I really can’t see us dropping many points and I’m pretty confident we’ll be starting the playoffs with three points. Considering we might have to have our fans banned from some of the home games during the playoffs, any point advantage we can get could potentially go a long way.

Highlights as usual at the NovaSport page below:

http://aek365.novasports.gr

AEK Through to Cup Semi-Finals

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Draw, Greek Cup, Greek Football, PAOK with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2016 by alexaek

It wasn’t the easiest of wins for us today as Iraklis proved to be quite determined for a goal, but we managed to do enough for a 0-1 win. Of course, this now puts us at 9 wins out of 9 games so far in 2016, a stat which I find reassuring going into four very difficult league games.

Today’s win was very much a formality as we almost all but guaranteed our progress to the next round, but I was glad Poyet took the time to give our new signings some playing time. Zuculini started the match and from what I read did a pretty decent job for his first appearance of the season. Generally, we were holding back quite a bit in the first half so there were only so many opportunities for him to get involved but judging from the commentary I was following, he looked promising every time he was involved with a play.

Pekhart also got some time on the pitch, though he came on as a sub for Buonanotte later in the match. Hard to say how he looked since he came on so late, but hopefully we’ll be seeing more of him this weekend.

Our only goal was scored by Mantalos, the second goal in a row for him now. The finish was well taken but what really made the goal one worth watching is the passing that led up to it. Its the kind of passing that I feel really highlights why we’ve been doing so well under Poyet. Both Buonanotte and Djebour, the two involved with setting up the goal, took the extra second to seek out the better pass rather than simply passing the ball forward and hoping it leads to a chance. If we can play like this against Olympiakos and PAO, we can definitely do some damage.

Unfortunately, we did not really manage to make our mark on the game despite creating some chances, though its understandable. We had the game wrapped up before it started and we have some big games coming up so I understand if Poyet wanted the team to take it easy and not go all out if they didn’t have to. It was too bad to see Soiledis be subbed off so early though with what seems to be a pulled muscle.

We finally got to see Baroja return to action as Poyet decided to give Anestis a well earned break, and I found this promising to see. It gives me the impression that Poyet really does take Anestis seriously and considers him an option for starting keeper, something I was worried wouldn’t happen.

All in all we got the result we needed and we’ve booked our place in the semi-finals of the cup. Still to early to tell who we’ll be facing in the next round as the draw isn’t until next week, but there’s definitely the possibility we could be facing either PAOK, PAO, or Olympiakos. At this point I can’t see Olympiakos not making it to the final and even though I don’t want to get ahead of myself, there’s nothing I would love to see more than us get our revenge against them in the final. We’ll find out for sure either way at the draw next week.

Highlights for the game can be watched below: