Archive for Anestis

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…

Club Brugge 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Europa League, football with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2017 by alexaek

It was a stalemate today in Brugge despite both teams coming close to scoring on a number of chances. Perhaps a disappointing result in terms of excitement, but its definitely a result which puts us in a good position to advance further in the Europa League. The result certainly doesn’t guarantee anything but starting on equal footing at home after a promising performance in the first leg sets us up nicely.

It was definitely an improved performance over how we played against CSKA based on what I’ve been reading and seeing in highlights. Even Anestis managed to have a solid outing despite some shaky games against CSKA in which his judgment left much to be desired. All in all it sounds like the entire team put in a good showing today aside from Klonaridis, though if I remember correctly I read an article which stated that he was playing with an injury.

As I was following the commentary it definitely seemed like we started strong. Unlike our matches against CSKA though, we were able to create some quality chances today. It was nice to see some creativity from the team too, something which goes to show that the chemistry might have improved considerably compared to our previous two matches. Jimenez even mentioned after the match that even though the team might still be lacking in a couple areas, they’re certainly playing with passion and grit.

Some nice highlights in the video below though my personal favourite would have to be that chance off the free kick right at the end. Had that managed to sneak in it would have been the perfect way to end a match. You’ll also notice during the highlights that Livaja got sent off in the 58th minute. I couldn’t see any legitimate cause for a second yellow and AEK365 seemed to feel the same way. Its unfortunate that we’ll miss him for the next match as he seemed to have played a good match today, but I’m sure Jimenez can work something out. Lazaros could start in his position next week or perhasps we can even see Giakoumakis being given a chance.

AEK 0-1 Olympiakos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Cup with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2017 by alexaek

The other day, Fourtounis made a comment claiming that on Wednesday (today), Olympiakos would “show which team is the best”. Now I’m kind of confused about this because surely, “the best” team would be the team that made it to the Cup Final? But in this case, Olympiakos didn’t in fact make it to the Final, so how can they be the best? Maybe Fourtounis was stuck in a little day dream where he imagined himself in a black and yellow jersey, celebrating in front of 50,000 supporters as he and his team booked their place in the finals:

All kidding aside, it has to be said that today’s performance wasn’t the greatest. We definitely created some chances but we left a lot to be desired and its really only thanks to Olympiakos’ inability to create anything worthwhile that we got away with the result we were looking for. Its unfortunate really since I was really expecting a win. Maybe not a blowout, but I was anticipating a 1-0 game for us, just something to really seal the deal without causing too much trouble.

But hey, why focus on the negatives you might ask? I don’t really plan on it, we just booked our ticket to the 23rd Cup final in AEK’s history so I really don’t have much to complain about. Having said that, we’ll definitely need to look better in the Final regardless of whether we play Panathinaikos or PAOK. At the end of the day though, its a Cup final and just being a part of it will give our players the energy and drive to give the best that they have to offer.

There were some interesting points to take from the match that deserve some attention, the first of which regards Vranjes. I love the guy and his passion, he clearly relishes the opportunity to play for AEK and even more so when a big game comes around. Having said that, he’ll have to be careful when the final comes around. He was close to getting sent off today and it took the intervention of his own teammates to make sure he didn’t go off the rails.

Its also worth noting the Anestis, who actually had a pretty solid game, got sent off in extra time. To be honest, he was quite clearly wasting time so I feel like the ref wasn’t left with much choice. What was particularly amusing about this situation was the fact that we had no remaining substitutions at that point which resulted in Almeida playing goal for the remaining few minutes. Luckily, he wasn’t really tested.

As is typical with games involving Olympiakos (particularly games in which the result doesn’t go Olympiakos’ way), a number of the higher profile members of the organization had some comments to make about what took place. In classic Savvas fashion, he came out with some very valid points about the officiating today, claiming that it was 80-20 in favour of AEK. I think he has a point, after all how can this reckless tackle on Ansarifard not be called as a penalty for Olympiakos:

Part of me wishes that Savvas never opens his mouth again but then the other part of me will miss his weekly comedy routine. 80-20 in favour of AEK, while giving five minutes of extra time and then another five minutes on top of that, and a red card to AEK’s keeper… I’ve doubted it for a while but now I really can’t believe that Savvas and his crew over at Olympiakos are actually serious.

Enough about them though, how about our supporters and the atmosphere they created in OAKA this evening? The scenes from the game earlier today really make me miss Athens… Definitely my favourite banner this season:

The photos below come from AEK365 and can be seen here as well:

Beautiful scenes as always. And now, the final! At the moment its scheduled for May 6th, but we won’t know until tomorrow whether we will face Panathinaikos or PAOK. To be honest, I don’t see PAOK turning around their two goal deficit to Panathinaikos, but it can definitely happen.

 

Well That Was Painful…

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC with tags , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2016 by alexaek

AEK 2-2 Atromitos

So far this season we have played four games at home for the league. These games were against respectable but seemingly beatable opposition: Xanthi, Iraklis, Panionios, and Atromitos. Aside from the first game, when we beat Xanthi 4-1, what do the last three home games have in common? They all ended in draws..

While a draw at home against a weaker team is never easy to swallow, today’s draw was really something else all together. I didn’t watch it (thankfully?), but the game got off to a phenomenal start with Mantalos scoring early. We played well from that point on and though Atromitos had some chances, it was finally looking as though the team was finding some confidence. We were rewarded for playing so well when Patito added a second for AEK with a beautifully placed shot that left the keeper with no chance.

At this point I was pretty happy. It sounded like we were playing well, we were so close to grabbing a crucial three points, and it started to look as though we might have just found some good form heading into our derby with PAO two weekends from now… Ah but this AEK were talking about after all. If this team has been consistent with one thing all season, its the fact that we so often find a way to make things more difficult for ourselves.

At around the 72nd minute I looked at my phone to check the score and I see that Atromitos had scored to make it 2-1. I wasn’t worried at this point, although I realize now that was a mistake. A few minutes later I check again expecting to see the same score, or even possibly 3-1 for AEK but instead I see 2-2. Surely I think to myself “we couldn’t possibly have let a 2-0 lead vanish at home?” but then I read AEK365’s description of the second goal and it all makes sense. Yep, another completely avoidable error by Anestis.

Coming into this season I had no problem with us keeping Anestis as our starting keeper. Sure he made some very costly errors the years before but he had finally started to show some maturity with his playing. I felt as though he might have been learning from his mistakes, improving his decision making, that sort of thing. Then Atromitos’ second goal today makes me have to question all of that. The goal he let in simply should not ever have happened. Not in a friendly, not in a Cup game where we were winning by a few goals, and certainly not in a league game where we have a fragile one goal lead and desperately need all the points we can get.

All in all I really don’t know what to feel about this game. Its a terrible result, but we did play quite well for 70 minutes. If Anestis never lets in that second goal and we finish the game with a 2-1 win, there would be a very different mood among the team and the supporters back in Greece. Instead, we now go into an extremely difficult derby with the fans doubting the team and perhaps the team doubting itself.

It has to be said that Anestis does not deserve all the blame (well, maybe he does). Afterall all the hype that surrounded Almeida after the first goal this season, what exactly has he done to contribute to the team this season? I want to see him succeed as much as anyone, but it sounded like he missed goals today that he really should not be missing. He is not a cheap player to keep on the team and I can’t help but feel as though perhaps there might be some young Greek talent out there that we could have on the team in his place at times. Experience helps, but it can only go so far when it isn’t actually contributing to results on the pitch.

Well, thats my “rant” for the day. It didn’t help that the hockey game I was at today saw the home team I was rooting for (the Ottawa 67s) go up 2-0 only to lose the game… 2-5. Thankfully the score for AEK’s game today didn’t quite end the same way, but seeing a 2-0 lead quickly diminish in front of my eyes while the same thing was happening with AEK in Athens was not exactly how I was hoping to spend my saturday…

Highlights, as usual, on the Novasports site (worth watching for Patito’s goal… and the Anestis blunder if you want something to make you chuckle). http://aek365.novasports.gr

At Least Our Basketball Team is Still Doing Well

What would I do if the basketball team was in the same shape our football club is. Its never easy being an AEK supporter, but its nice knowing that the basketball team can go into almost any match and expect to be competitive.

Today’s match, which ended in a 80-62 win over Rethymno was our fifth win from five games so far this season. It was another crucial win and one which puts us in first, for now at least, with 10 points. Next weekend is a huge one for us as take on PAOK up in Thessaloniki. It won’t be easy, but I’m confident we can, if anything, give PAOK a run for their money. A win in Thessaloniki would go a long way in confirming that we are on the right track.

PAOK 1-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Derby, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2016 by alexaek

Referee Mistakes Play Huge Role This Weekend

After an eventful Atromitos-Olympiakos macthup the day before which saw many questionable refereeing decisions go Olympiakos’ way, it was another poor call which ultimately led to PAOK’s extra time winner.

It was a shame really since AEK could have and really should have come away from this game with the point, a result which in all honesty I would have been pleased with considering how we fared in our last derby. We started the game with much more control than we did when we faced Olympiakos and while we never fully looked like the stronger team on the pitch, it was clear that the team had at least some kind of a game plan compared to that awful night in Karaiskaki a little while back.

I have to give credit to Morais. Just a few hours before the game, it was announced the Chyrgrinsky would have to sit the game out after picking up an illness. The loss of easily our best defender would be enough to worry any player and manager but the team didn’t seem bothered by his absence at all. In fact, it has to be said that both Kolovetsios and Lambropopoulos did very well to handle the numerous attacks that PAOK sent forward. What I was very pleased to see was the no-nonsense approach of the centre backs who opted to simply place the ball out of play rather than go for a risky move when such an option came around.

Lambropoulos specifically deserves a lot of credit for his performance today, handling himself very well in a high pressure situation despite having some rather terrible outings in an unnatural position for him earlier this season. He hadn’t had it easy before Morais’ arrival, with Ketsbaia insisting on playing him in midfield when he clearly wasn’t comfortable there. Today’s performance though suggested that he hasn’t let any of that get to him as he did well to intervene in a number of PAOK’s more dangerous scoring opportunities.

Anestis also had a fantastic game, making some great saves to deny PAOK throughout the game. He too also played the game well today, performing none of the errors that we’ve seen him do time and time again. Its safe to say that if wasn’t having a good day today, PAOK couldn’t have gotten the lead far earlier than they did.

Overall the team did better than I was expecting them to do. Thats not to say that they had a fantastic game, because they didn’t. But they managed to string some plays together and despite giving PAOK a little too much room up front, they managed to handle themselves well enough defensively so that most of PAOK’s good changes were quickly extinguished before they could really lead to anything.

PAOK were, as to be expected considering they were home and our form has been poor, the better team (but only slightly). With a slightly better attack today we could have put a lot more pressure on PAOK but we couldn’t capitalize on the few chances that came our way. Almeida had a great chance to put us ahead just before the half when his point blank shot just metres from the net missed the target. Lazaros also hit the cross bar after a great shot but it was not enough to get us in front which was a shame really because I feel like had we managed to sneak in a goal, we could have held on for the win today which was something we’ve struggled to do recently in Toumba.

As for PAOK’s goal, well I’ll let you see for yourselves in the highlights but basically it comes down to PAOK scoring off of a corner that never should have been called. Whether that bad call comes down to referee error or some other influence on the game I can’t say.

Also seen in the highlights is the moment a flare lands on the pitch after being shot from a flare gun. The game was called off temporarily at this point but what I find funny is the fact that many within the PAOK camp were complaining about the flares at their derby against Olympiakos the other week… where were those complaints when there own fans were guilty?

Highlights:

http://aek365.novasports.gr

Basketball Team Making Us Proud Again

Despite falling behind against Trikala earlier in the match, we managed to come away with a considerable 59-78 away win, partly thanks yet again to our fantastic away support. The result is yet another crucial win for us as we stay top of the league, undefeated after four league games this season.

AEK 1-0 Olympiakos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2016 by alexaek

I’ve been staring at this page for a good twenty minutes trying to figure out what to write, but its always difficult explaining in words what I (and most AEK fans around the world today) feel after a win like this. Its hard to know where to start, what to talk about first, when so much happened during the match. On one hand I feel like talking about our performance would be the natural place to start, but its hard to talk about this match without first mentioning some of the rather unbelievable things that happened.

I really could not believe my eyes when I saw what I was seeing today. Who can remember the last time Olympiakos received a straight red, only to receive another red later in the game in addition to having a penalty called against them? And in a derby of all games? Of course we have to keep in mind that Olympiakos has practically won the championship already and things would have certainly been different had that not been the case. We should also keep in mind though that until now Olympiakos had been pretty close to setting some records for penalties awarded and red cars given (to their opposition of course). The fact that that was all turned on its head and in a derby of all games is pretty noteworthy.

Aside from wondering what led to this change, the main questions that will be asked were whether the cards and penalty were the right calls. Judging by the reactions of the Olympiakos players and staff, they were some of the most atrocious calls ever awarded. I guess they just aren’t used to the feeling of having so many calls go against you? It makes sense considering for a team who is so used to having things go their way, they must have been in a rather uncomfortable position when all of a sudden they weren’t able to get away with everything and continue on playing as though nothing ever happened.

In my honest opinion, each of the calls involving red card and the penalties were more than fair calls by the referee. The only play I am uncertain about at the moment was the first red for the tackle on Aravidis since I haven’t seen a clear angle yet that clearly shows what happened. However, I really can’t imagine Aravidis would go down like that when he was the last man and left one on one with the keeper. Do people really expect Aravidis to go for the dive when he has the chance to score against Olympiakos in front of over 40,000 supporters and be the hero of the day? I certainly don’t.

As for the other calls, the hand ball that led to the second red card for Olympiakos and the penalty, I really don’t know how anyone can complain about it. Not only does Milivojevic clearly make contact with his arm, but he even lifts his arm up in the direction the ball was headed. The ref was right in front of him and in perfect sight of everything that happened, and well done to him for making the call. That’s not to say that the referee was perfect all game, but I know I personally would not want to be the one to make that call against olympiakos. It wouldn’t be the first time that a ref experienced some sort of violence after making a call against Olympiakos.

That’s enough from me now for the refereeing. Not only were the calls fair, but I really have no pity for Olympiakos to finally experience what every other team in the league has experienced every week for the past decade or more when playing against that team. I think its only fair that I talk about our players too since they are, afterall, the ones who deserve credit for giving me the first chance to talk about a win against in Olympiakos in years.

So how did we play? To be honest I had issues finding a good stream for the entire game but I managed to see enough to know that we did what we had to for the win. No, it was not a great performance and yes, I would like to see better. At no point however did we look like the weaker team. At no point did we look like the team that came from the second division while Olympiakos looked like the champions of Greece. At no point did we look like a team with maybe a quarter of the budget of Olympiakos, if not less. Our players came out to play and showed no fear against a team that has not lost in 22 league games.

Some players of course stood out over others. I felt that Mantalos did well to get involved in our attack whenever he could as well as making some good passes. I was also really grateful to see Simoes and Barbosa back in the starting XI as they’re presence really brings the team to a new level. Surprisingly I even felt like Arzo actually didn’t have a terrible game for once. That’s not to say he was phenomenal, but at least I didn’t see him make any critical errors (it is possible that I missed some plays though while my streams were down/unavailable).

On the other hand, Baroja felt a bit shaky, especially earlier in the game. There were a few times on set plays when he came out to clear the ball and missed entirely and he did not seem to be making his presence really felt in the box. Thankfully though he tightened up later in the game and ended up making some pretty good saves. I wonder though how Anestis would have done in the game. Its always nice to see Greeks playing in these games since they grew up understanding what they mean.

I know today’s result only means so much considering we have almost no chance of winning the league, but its still a noteworthy victory regardless. First of all, it shows we’re clearly at least headed in the right direction with Poyet with two derby wins in the second half of the season (and I see no reason why we can’t also win against PAO). Second, it gives me more confidence going into a possible cup semi-final, or even final, against them. We weren’t clearly the better side today, but at no point did we look like underdogs. Aside from maybe the first 15 minutes, at no point were Olympiakos the dominant team. If anything we seemed to be the more composed and focused team, even if we couldn’t create as many chances as we would have liked. With just a bit more composure and focus and possible some more confidence from today’s win, I really feel we can go into a Cup game against Olympiakos and come away with the win.

Highlights, as usual, can be found on the novasports page: http://aek365.novasports.gr/

A longer look at the goal:

Almost forgot. As if this day wasn’t already perfect, our basketball team also won today, 55-65 away against Kavala. A big win as every win is for us as it keeps us in third place, two points behind Olympiakos and PAO (though they both have a game less to play).

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: