Archive for the PAOK Category

You Can’t Win Them All…

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, PAOK with tags , , , on May 13, 2018 by alexaek

I was hoping this post would be a celebration of AEK winning its first double in over forty years. It seems like almost all of my posts lately have been nothing but good news. Naturally, there will be times when we can’t seem to win even if things are going our way and yesterday was one such example.

To be honest, I was attending a wedding all day and wasn’t able to watch the match live (or follow it for that matter as the ceremony was taking place as the game was going on). I did record it on TV here but after reading and hearing about what happened, I can’t even really bring myself to watch it. By all accounts, it seems as though AEK, with the exception of Barkas, simply did not show up to play.

I expected more from the team since the momentum definitely seemed to be in our favour, but on the other hand I know PAOK was the team that had more to prove. In the end, it showed as I haven’t heard anyone say that PAOK wasn’t clearly the better side. Its unfortunate, but at least the loss comes down to simply a matter of being outplayed rather than any other off the pitch incidents. Worth noting is the fact that a Spanish ref officiated the match. Again I wasn’t able to see much aside from a few highlights but it sounds like he did a great job of calling the match fairly and keeping things under control. Maybe we should get foreign refs for all derbies next season…

Oh well, all this means is that we’ll have to wait for next year to clinch the double!

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AEK 3-0 Panathinaikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Panathinaikos, PAOK with tags , , , , , , on April 1, 2018 by alexaek

The league finally started back up this weekend and AEK wasted no time getting back into their groove. Going into the match, its fair to say that I didn’t expect PAO to really trouble us much and, aside from a few scary moments at the start of the match, it was a game that went pretty much as I expected.

Before I go into a bit of detail about the game, its worth going over some news from earlier this week. The courts in Greece finally released their final decisions regarding the PAOK-Olympiakos match, and the PAOK-AEK match and while some may say that PAOK got off lightly (which I think they did), the news was overall pretty positive from an AEK perspective. Specifically, we were awarded the 3-0 win on paper after the fiasco involving Savidis and his gun after storming the pitch during our match against PAOK.

Bearing that in mind, along with our win today over PAO, we now find ourselves four points away from winning the league. Thats right, four points is all we need from our next four games against Platanias, Levadeiakos, Kerkyra, and Apollon. Three of those teams make up the bottom three of the standings and considering this has been one of our most successful seasons in recent memory, the championship is practically guaranteed to be ours as far as I’m concerned. Now obviously we don’t want to jump to any conclusions but its hard to not get excited about that. On top of that, we still have a pretty good chance of advancing in the cup, our stadium is making good progress, our basketball club has already won the cup and is close to a spot in the Champions League final four, all of that is making this one great season to be an AEK supporter all around.

Back to today’s game: it was a bit of a nervous start for us as PAO managed to create some chances early on. They even forced a huge save by Barkas that kept things even at 0-0 after Coulibaly managed to get a shot off from close range. Once things settled down though after about 10 minutes of play, it was mostly AEK from that point onwards. Araujo opened the scoring for us after yet another tremendous finish before Galo calmly put away a second goal for us. Araujo featured once again on the score sheet after scoring again to make it 3-0 and seal the win for us.

It helped our cause that PAO’s Insua received a red card in the first half but its safe to say that AEK were always going to be favourites against this PAO team. Araujo had an exceptional game once again, but Lazaros, Hult, and Galo also played great. On the other hand, I was a little concerned by Vranjes who at times seemed a little too relaxed in defense. Usually he’s extremely solid so I’m not too worried, but I feel like it was one of his weaker performances with AEK this season.

Our first goal is definitely the highlight of the match (and most likely of the week), but the other two goals were also very well taken. Its also worth keeping an eye out for Lazaros’ crossbar. If Lazaros had managed to score that, we would have had yet another contender for goal of the season from him.

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.

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