It Just Doesn’t End! (AEK 2-1 Olympiakos)

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby with tags , , , , on February 7, 2018 by alexaek

For the 3rd time this season, Olympiakos have been outclassed in every way by an AEK team that seems to thrive when playing against our rivals. Today’s match, which sealed our place in the Cup Semi-Finals, was the 4th time we’ve played Olympiakos this season and ensured we remain unbeaten against them after winning 3 and drawing 1 (our previous Cup game against them which ended 0-0 in Karaiskaki).

Both our goals were pure class and will be remembered for ages. Not to take away from Lazaros’ goal which opened the scoring but Araujo’s goal to make it 2-0 was extra special. As others pointed out on-line, it was the kind of goal we would have seen from Demis back in the day and it further cemented Araujo’s role in our team and in the history books.

Thankfully we managed to avoid any crowd troubles, since we all know they would have been looking for any reason to call off the game as they had a few years ago. The game itself was one in which AEK took its time to find some rhythm. Once we did though, it became clear who was going to be the more likely winner. This seems to be the way we have approached many of our games with Olympiakos recently and it seems to have payed off well. Start slow, let them build a false sense of confidence, and then get into the game when they’ve relaxed and opened up.

Our first goal came courtesy of Lazaros who calmly headed in a perfectly placed cross from Bakakis. The goal, which came in 56th minute, was what we were all hoping for but it was the incredible goal by Araujo which sealed the deal less than 20 minutes later. In the 72nd minute Araujo was able to latch onto a ball thrown deep into Olympiakos territory and with one perfect touch from his chest set himself up for a beautifully taken volley. I would assume that when this season is done, that will be one of those goals we remember most, much like Cesar’s free kick against Milan and that long range shot from Liberopoulos when we beat Olympiakos 4-0 back in the 06-07 season.

Olympiakos did provide me with a bit of a scare when former AEK player Tachtsidis managed to pull one back. The former AEK midfielder had no problem celebrating a goal against his former club but it was AEK who had the last laugh after they managed to weather the storm of countless Olympiakos corners towards the end of the match.


I love when we beat Olympiakos but this is almost becoming too easy. I can’t remember the last team we dominated them this much. It goes further back than this season too: in the last 10 games against them, we’ve won 7 games and have lost only 2. But hey, I’m okay with this!


AEKARA!! (Olympiakos 1-2 AEK)

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Football, Jimenez with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2018 by alexaek

Greek derbies… you gotta love them! You never know what can happen and with the way AEK has played this season, expecting anything but the unexpected is just foolish.

So when AEK were down 1-0 in Karaiskaki, with under ten minutes to go, all one had to do was remember our 3-2 come from behind win earlier this season to get some hope that the same thing could happen again. Sure enough, as we had already seen from our previous league encounter with Olympiakos, this AEK team won’t give up when it matters most. With league standings on the line and a huge psychological advantage over our Cup opponents up for grabs, AEK had everything to play for and they did just that.

Jimenez’s timing with his substitution of Giakoumakis for Bakasetas proved to be a stroke of genius as the Cretan played a role in our first goal (which was ultimately scored by Chygrinskiy) and scored the game winner with his first Superleague goal for AEK. If he was looking for his chance to make an impression, he certainly took advantage of it today.

The team in general handled the game pretty well. Tsintotas was brilliant overall in nets, making some big saves to keep us in the game. To be fair to him there was nothing he could do on the goal we conceded.

Our defense was decent overall, but their sloppiness at times almost cost us. Overall though they did what they had to and for the most part limited Olympiakos’ chances of scoring. In fact prior to their goal, they hadn’t even had a genuine chance at scoring for the first 30 minutes of the 2nd half.

Our midfield was pretty good overall too. It took a little while but once the game settled in, they were able to take control for much of the game. One thing I would have liked to have seen more was moving the ball forward. We tended to hold on to it without actively looking for space up ahead, but in an away derby against Olympiakos, it makes sense that we wouldn’t want to risk too much. It was a physical game with over 50 fouls committed by the two sides so our midfielders had to grind out much of the game. It didn’t help that the ref was letting so much slide resulting in a constant barrage of dangerous tackles.

Offensively we were pretty effective. We might not have created many chances for ourselves, but the ones we did create often resulted in great chances. One such chance came from a Masoud header that was just cleared off the line by Olympiakos defender Cisse.

Its hard to describe just how good a result like this feels. Derby wins are always so special on a number of different levels, but this one might just be one of the best ones recently. Not only did we beat them in their own home, with a last minute game winner, but we now leap frog them into 2nd place. The top 3 in the league is now PAOK with 46 points, AEK with 44, and Olympiakos with 42. A loss, or even a draw, would have almost put 1st place out of reach but now we’re one win away from being top again. We should also keep in mind that we only have two derbies left while PAOK still have three, including a game against us which we could easily win.

One of my favourite parts about winning a derby is that its not just the win itself, but what comes after it for us supporters. Needless to say, the celebrations in Athens were pretty crazy. The reception the team got at their hotel was pretty crazy, and its making me wonder what the scenes will be like if we manage to win the league this year.

The scenes inside Karaiskaki meanwhile were far less celebratory. Rioting quickly ensued after the game and from what I’ve heard it wasn’t pretty. Begs the question, will Olympiakos be punished? A game or two without fans is the least they should face, with a point deduction being totally possible here as well. Will it happen? I won’t hold my breath.

Oh I forgot to mention that on its approach to the stadium, AEK’s bus had a window smashed with a rock. Classic Greek scenes… oh well, I’m sure the Olympiakos fan who threw the rock feels great about his team now. Meanwhile a broken bus window is the last thing on our minds right now 🙂

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.




Olympiakos 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby with tags , , , on January 26, 2018 by alexaek

So we played the first quarter final game two days ago, our first of three games against Olympiakos within two weeks. A win would have been nicer for sure but overall I guess a draw isn’t a terrible result. Like Jimenez said, a 1-1 draw would have been ideal, but I guess we’ll still be able to go into the game next match with a decent chance of going through.

While we did eventually manage to claw our way into the game, it wasn’t a pretty start. In fact we were lucky not to concede early on after Barkas made some huge saves to keep us in the game. After weathering the storm early on, it eventually became a matter of grinding Olympiakos down and taking whichever chances happened to come our way.

Of course, with this being a derby against Olympiakos, the match was not without controversy. We know Olympiakos fans would dispute it all, but they very well could have been given a red card and we had strong justification for a penalty which wasn’t awarded. Having said that, the chances of either of those being given by the ref in Karaiskaki were unfortunately always going to be slim.

Overall its a result I can live with, but we’ll have to better for the next game. It might have been a draw, but Olympiakos had the upper hand when it came to creating chances and it came down to some good saves by Barkas and some poor finishing. With a little more luck on Olympiakos’ side, its very likely they could have scored a goal or two. With the next Cup game being in OAKA though, I’d say we have a pretty good chance of advancing to the next round. Considering how Cup games have been between AEK and Olympiakos lately, we’re likely to be in for a tight one but the key will obviously be to prevent Olympiakos from scoring. If we can get off to a good start in the next game, I’d feel very good about our likelyhood of going through.

Larissa 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, Greek Soccer with tags , , on January 21, 2018 by alexaek

So that was disappointing…

At least the result doesn’t signal the end of the road for us just yet. The 1 point we managed to salvage is still a big one as it still keeps us within reach of first, but I think its fair to assume these draws are starting to become a bit tiring. Yesterday’s result marks our fifth draw so far this campaign. Thats five draws out of 18 games, which means a lot of dropped points that we simply can’t afford to drop. It also doesn’t help that both PAOK and Oly secured 3-0 wins earlier today against Apollon and Xanthi respectively.

I was only able to watch the first half but what I saw from it didn’t exactly fill me with confidence for the second half. We had a couple sporadic chances but we never really showed any control over the game. It didn’t help that Larissa came into the game with the idea of defending as much as possible and the highlight reel below suggests just that. Most of our legitimate chances were limited to far shots from outside of the box while the few times we managed to break into the box, our efforts were quickly pushed aside by Larissa’s defense.

Overall there isn’t too much to be happy about with yesterday’s result but if there is one thing worth noting, its that we have now gone 17 games undefeated in all competitions (League, Cup, and Europa League). The last time we went 17 games undefeated in all competitive matches was in 2002, the season in which we drew all of our Champions League group stage matches (including against Roma and Real Madrid). For a little trip down memory lane, heres a reminder of some of the great players we had that season: Chiotis, Kostenoglou, Zagorakis, Tsiartas, Nikolaidis, Kasapis, Katsouranis, Lakis, and Kapsis. Don’t get me wrong, we have a decent squad this season but I would give anything to be able to see an AEK squad like that play again…


AEK 3-1 PAS Giannena

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , , on January 15, 2018 by alexaek

Our strong start to 2018 continued with another win, this time against 11th placed PAS Giannena. Overall it was a fairly decent game, but Giannena did manage to tie the match at 1-1 for a while which resulted in some uncertainty. Ultimately though, despite the generally slow pace to the match, our finishing was critical enough when we needed it to be.

Our scorers were, unsurprisingly, Livaja with the opener and Araujo with the 2nd and 3rd goals. Araujo’s goals today mean he has now scored 5 goals in the last 5 games while Livaja has also scored 4 goals in the last 6 games. Pretty decent numbers overall and despite Araujo getting off to a slow start for us this season, its safe to say that he has earned his spot in the roster yet again.

The commentators mentioned today that the match had a generally slow pace and I would have to agree. That’s not to say we played poorly, because we did have some chances, but overall it seemed like we were lacking some urgency at times. Thankfully, that changed a bit when we conceeded and the Giannena red card also seemed to serve as motivation for the team, but for a while I was nervous about whether we would actually regain the lead.

One thing worth pointing out about today’s match was that our defense was definitely the weakest link in the team today. It was a poor clearance which led to Giannena’s goal, and there were a number of occasions where other poor clearances took place which luckily didn’t result in more goals against us. We struggled to deal with routine balls a few times and if it was another team we were playing against, we may not have been so lucky.

In any case, its another huge 3 points as the top of the table is still extremely tight. Olympiakos play tomorrow and assuming they win, we’ll be tied for second with PAOK, just one point behind first place.

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.