Archive for Barbosa

AEK 3-1 Panathinaikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Playoffs with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2016 by alexaek

Huge win for the team today, a win that puts us back in with a shot of getting first in the playoffs. A loss today would have essentially ended all hope for us, but the win now means that if we win both of our upcoming matches, we finish top. I’m feeling pretty confident at this point and if it wasn’t for the fatigue really getting to the players, I would be certain that we could win both games. We play PAOK at home first and as we all know, our home form for the derbies has been pretty solid. The final game of the season is away against Panionios, a game which is never easy but I fancy our chances now given the fact that Panionios has been so poor during these playoffs.

So how did we win today? To be honest, a little bit of luck helped. PAO had two goals called back (though both were the right calls from what I’ve read… still looking for replays though) and they also got a straight red which was supposedly a bit controversial though I have yet to see the replay for that either. Aside from that though, we did everything we needed to get away with the win: taking advantage of set plays and counter attacks. For much of the game PAO controlled possesion but it sounded like they had a harder time breaking through today compared to when we played them on Monday. We were lucky that Leto didn’t get the start since his presence was noticed afterwards when he scored the only goal for PAO.

The two key players for us today in my opinion have got to be Mantalos and Barbosa. Mantalos directly set up our first and third goal while he was also the one to start the counter attack on our second goal. As for Barbosa, well its pretty obvious why I consider his impact on the game today to be so important. Two of today’s three goals were scored by him and both were finished so perfectly that they left Steele with no chance of making the save.

I haven’t really found any decent quality highlights on youtube but you can check out the goals at the following link: http://www.novasports.gr/match-center/match-center-agonas/match/1021/aek-panathinaikos/#.V0ewlTdrhD8 You’ll just need to go down to the live goals section down the page, and watch each goal individually. The third by Barbosa is especially worth taking a look at.

So where does today’s result leave us? Well PAOK are still first in the playoffs with 10 points, followed by AEK with 8 points and Panathinaikos with 7 (Panionios have only managed to pick up one point until now). Really, its still very open at the top with two games left to play so anything could happen.

Advertisements

AEK 2-0 Panionios

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2016 by alexaek

A pretty big result for us today against Panionios, and a decent performance as well. I was a bit worried going into this match since I knew Panionios  were coming off of a very big win and have one of the league’s most in form players with Bakasetas. I was also afraid that our poor form from the past few matches would carry through but it seemed the team was determined to put an end to that. In fact, I would have to say that the way we played today was some of the best football I’ve seen us play since we had that winning streak back in January.

There was nothing drastic with our starting lineup today, though the second start in a row for Buonanotte was a positive straight from the get go. Unfortunately, I don’t really think he played as well as AEK365 seems to think he did. I don’t think it really has to do with his ability as a player, but more to do with how he fits in to the formations and style of football we play. He was positioned towards the wing but more often than not ended up playing more centrally, a position on the pitch where he just doesn’t have the presence required to hold up the ball. I personally would like to see him lineup in a formation where we have two forwards with Buonanotte as one, and a larger player like Pekhart or Aravidis playing beside him so that we could still have a larger target man when needed. He definitely has the skill to make huge impacts the way Scocco was able to, but we need to see him playing in a position where his attacking instinct can come into play more easily. Especially when we already have strong players who can hold onto the ball well such as Simoes, Vargas, and Barbosa, I would love to see him play in a position where every first touch he takes is in a position where he can go straight for goal and take a shot or dribble the ball into a dangerous position.

AEK-Panionios

Image source: http://www.aekfc.gr

 

For the most part we played very well going forward. We managed to create some decent chances throughout the first half with Johansson even hitting the post and Aravidis barely missing what would have been a simple tap in. A lot of our effectiveness in attack arose from the fact that we managed to play the ball low and direct, avoiding pointless long balls in the air whenever we could. We managed to keep the ball down and moved it around efficiently with Mantalos, Vargas, and Johansson all linking up very well. Didac also made some fantastic contributions going forward, always providing an option down the wing and often getting the ball dangerously close to Panionios’ net. With some more in form attacking players, we could have gone up by a couple goals before the close of the first half.

Defensively we were okay, but shaky at times. Arzo specifically made what could have been a very costly mistake, one which could have also potentially given a penalty against us. For the most part though, our defense wasn’t quite as active as I thought they would be since Panionios ended up playing far less aggressively than I expected them to. They still managed to get up to our box on a few occasions but they were happy to soak up the pressure for the most part and when they did manage to venture forward, they never ended up looking too dangerous.

With the game still at 0-0 with twenty minutes left, Cordero got sent off for his second yellow of the match. I feared the worse at that point but luckily for us, Poyet made two fantastic changes just before then, bringing on Barbosa for Aravidis, and Pekhart for Vargas. Just two minutes after Cordero’s expulsion from the match, Barbosa and Pekhart linked up brilliantly and put us ahead 1-0 after Pekhart did well to finish a pass from Barbosa despite the angle being less than favourable.

The difference in the tempo of the match after Barbosa was brought on was noticed immediately, and having a new face to target going forward seemed to provide a boost to the team as not long after our first goal Barbosa and Pekhart again linked up very well, this time with Barbosa sending a wonderful long ball forward for Pekhart to latch on to. The shot took a lucky deflection for us, but Pekhart did well to get the ball quickly under control before taking the shot.

Despite only playing for twenty minutes, Pekhart more than deserved the MVP award for doing exactly what was needed when we needed it most. I’ve been a bit harsh on him from after previous games, but he really hasn’t had a great chance to really settle in with the team. Performances like today though really show that if he is in fact given the chance to really find his place in the team, I think he can be a critical player for us. His size and finishing skill make him a perfect target man up front, someone who is tough to defend and can play both high and low balls just as effectively.

All in a all a good performance from the team, and definitely a good sign that we can expect some decent games from the team during the playoffs, as long as they play like today and not like last week (or the week before that). I’m curious if Pekhart’s performance today will land him a position in the starting lineup next match, but I personally wouldn’t mind seeing him as an impact sub off the bench again.

I haven’t found a highlight video yet, but the two goals from today are on YouTube for those who would like to see them. In case you were wondering why the stadium was so quiet today, we were unfortunately playing the first of two home games without fans for our punishment due to the events of our game against Atromitos.

 

A quick note about our basketball team too, after their 87-74 win over Arkadikos over the weekend (a bittersweet win for me since its always disappointing to see a team from my region of the Peloponnese get relegated, as was the case for Arkadikos after their loss) . The win means we finish the league in fourth, setting us up to play PAOK in the playoffs. To be honest, I think we have a good chance of getting past PAOK and into the next round assuming we play well defensively. We beat them early in the season, and had the chance to beat them quite comfortably in Thessaloniki if we hadn’t let that game slip out of our hands due to error after error. With a focused performance in all the games, we can definitely make it through.

 

Atromitos 1-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, Dellas, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Injuries with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2016 by alexaek

Just like that, our winning streak comes to an end. It was an unfortunate way for us to lose but I’m hoping that the loss at least serves as a wake up call for the team, a wakeup call which we desperately need following our performance today.

So how did we play? Terribly. Did we deserve to lose? Absolutely. Its hard to find one person to blame the performance on since it seemed like there were very few players who came out today to win. Djebbour did absolutely nothing today, Mantalos seemed to have no imagination, Vargas was quieter and sloppier than Djebbour, and our defense had no idea how to handle any counter attack that was thrown at them.

The game started off slowly, but I was sure that it was just our players getting a feel for how Atromitos would be playing. I was sure that by about the 20th minute we’d start to see some life from our players but the whole first half ended up passing by without one solid chance being created.

Part of me wants to blame Atromitos for playing so defensively that we just couldn’t find a way through but I know that the blame falls on us entirely. Throughout the first half we had possession, we were able to keep Atromitos at bay, but could not find any way of getting a dangerous ball into their box. Even corners for us consistently lead to nothing at all with the corners we were taking more often than not landing right in the keeper’s gloves.

Games like this really make me wonder why Poyet refuses to give Buonanotte more of a chance. Could it be that he thinks he lacks the physicality to be able to hold his ground? Does he something at practice that we aren’t able to experience ourselves? Its possible, but could playing Buonanotte really be any worse than playing Djebbour and Vargas? On games like today’s, with Atromitos parking so many men in front of the net, we need players who can dribble a ball in to the box rather than relying on long balls which will always be defended with ease from one of Atromitos’ eight defenders. Playing Buonanotte from at least half time would have really given us far more options, options which we just did not have otherwise. Even the addition of Platellas in the second half added a bit of life to the team but it still wasn’t enough.

Aside from the awful performance by players such as Djebbour, Vargas, and Arzo, what hurt us most today was the absence of Simoes and Barbosa. Without Simoes today, Johansson was forced to do most of the hard work himself with Zuculini also providing support either beside or behind him. On top of that, the shaky performance from our defenders meant that Johansson and Zuculini had to stay back often to provide defensive support while not being able to contribute to creating any solid attacking plays. Unlike previous games where Johansson and Simoes were able to hold on to the ball and bring it into the half where they could distribute to one of our attacking players, we instead had to rely on Mantalos and Aravidis coming back to set up plays to Djebbour and Vargas (a set up which really did not work well).

Overall we seemed tired, unimaginative, and perhaps even a bit complacent. Of course we were on a good roll, but at no point can we take any match for granted. I hate to say it, but we are nowhere near the level where we can be considered clear favourites against any team in the league. Hopefully the players were reminded of that today because if they play the way they did today against Olympiakos next week, we’ll be in for quite the embarrassment.

Highlights:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w62qG02W9s

By the way, the standings from AEK below are: AEK with 42, Panathinaikos with 38, and PAOK with 34. Both PAO and PAOK lost over the weekend meaning today’s game would have been a huge chance to go 7 points clear of PAO and 11 clear of PAOK… Unfortunate that we couldn’t take advantage of that. To make things worse, there was some trouble after the match involving our supporter’s after the match which means we possibly face bans for our fans, and even point deductions. Its unclear whether we’ll have fans in the stands for the game against Olympiakos next week, but it seems quite likely that we’ll be facing PAO in an empty OAKA…

 

PAS Giannina 0-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Dellas, Derby, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Keepers, PAOK, Superleague with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2016 by alexaek

Our fantastic start to 2016 got even better after we got an important three points away against in cold and wet Northern Greece. Conditions for the match were less than ideal as the rain that had fallen the previous couple of days meant the pitch was in terrible shape, but our players handled the situation very well. In fact, with how well they were moving the ball around at times I often forgot that there was even anything wrong with the pitch.

It was a good game from most of the team though there were certainly a few players who never really managed to get into the game. From what I could see, Djebbour especially stood out. From the moment he came on in the second half, I rarely saw him make any effort. I hardly even saw him run as he spent most of his time taking jogging slowly and idly around the pitch, almost as if he wasn’t even really aware of what was going on around him. He  can play, we all know it, but the effort he gives, especially beside someone who never stops like Aravidis, is disappointing. I know he’s always been like this, but it seems to be getting worse, to the point where its really not worth playing him. I’d much rather we call up someone from our academy or make a cheap singing of another striker from the Superleague rather than play Djebbour when he’s being a spectator the way he is.

Another player who disappointed me yet again was Vargas. Sure he scored the goal, but I hardly see him contribute aside from scoring. When he has players like Simoes and Johansson around him, players who are constantly getting involved, he really has to carry his weight some more. Otherwise, it just ends up holding Simoes and Johansson back and ends up giving them one less option, options we desperately need when we play against a team that defends like PAS.

Defensively I thought we were mediocre today, not terrible but we certainly still allowed PAS far too much time near our goal. PAS do have a good team for sure, but we need to be able to hold back teams a lot better than we do. We need to be able to apply more pressure but without leaving ourselves too vulnerable, something we can’t quite do yet with the centre backs we have. It too often seems to be one or the other; either we apply some pressure and end up leaving ourselves vulnerable and open at the back, or we hold back but then end up giving our opposition too much time on the ball and too much time to form an attack. Hopefully we sign a more experienced centre back soon to help us a bit, its been far too long since we had players like Dellas or Kyrgiakos back there.

Players who stood for me were Johansson (is anybody surprised?), Simoes, and Barbosa, all players who seem to have settled very well into the positions Poyet is playing them in. However, most of my credit and praise has to go to Anestis. For the second game in a row he saved a penalty, a penalty which could have tied the game for PAS. He also managed to keep a clean sheet again (in fact, in the five games we’ve played in 2016, hes only conceeded once) and just generally had a solid game. I saw one corner where he seemed a bit shaky but otherwise, he did everything he had to which is all we can ask of him at this point. Without a doubt his confidence is skyrocketting and I can only hope he continues to keep it up. Of course, his real test will be next weekend against PAOK, a game we absolutely must win.

All in all it was a good performance. By no means was it perfect, but we did what we had to, getting the three points away at a difficult team. The three points meant even more after PAO dropped points at home to Panionios, drawing 0-0. That draw now means we are four points ahead with 36 points while PAO have 32. PAOK also have 32 (though they’ve also played a game less), so a win for us in the derby next weekend will mean we keep our distance between us and PAOK as well.

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

 

Unfortunately, our basketball team had a far more disappointing weekend. We played PAOK away, a game I was worried about. We’ve already beaten them this season, and I feel we have a slightly better team, but an away game against PAOK will never be easy.

The game started off well, almost too well. I woke up about a quarter of the way through the game to find that we were not only winning, but we were winning by 20 points. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I quickly got out of bed and set myself up with a stream in time to catch the third and fourth quarter. Unfortunately, it was then that things took a very quick turn for the worse. Just like that, PAOK had managed to close the gap. All of a sudden they were outplaying us, and we could hardly handle them. Too make things worse, our shooting (which was pretty good for the first two quarters) became terrible, with three pointer after three pointer missing the target. It was painful to watch, seeing us miss all these three pointers rather than just trying to go for the safer two pointers. I could quite tell if the team was told to go for three, or they just couldn’t break PAOK’s defense enough to be able to get close enough for any safe two pointers. Either way, it was not nice to watch. Sure enough, with just a couple minutes to go, PAOK managed to claw their way back into the lead for good, winning the game 79-75. We’re still in third place but with Aris’ loss and a win over PAOK, we would have been able to put some good distance between us fourth place. It was a terrible game to watch, but I’m hoping the team can learn something from it.

AEK 2-1 Xanthi

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, football, Greek Super League, Keepers with tags , , , , , , , on January 9, 2016 by alexaek

A good Saturday for AEK with wins for both our football and basketball teams (Arkadikos 74-78 AEK).

We played well today, especially offensively. We managed to get most of our attacking players quite involved with Barbosa, Cordero, Mantalos, and Aravidis all constantly playing some sort of a role in our attacks. Its been especially nice to see Cordero back as a starter since he has for two games in a row now been one of our better players. He plays a similar role to Johansson when we’re attacking in the sense that he can hold on to the ball well and pick out the right pass rather than just getting rid of it first chance he gets.

With a little more concentration and organization up front, possibly another striker playing alongside Aravidis from the start, we would have quite possibly ended the game with a much higher score for us. We made chance after chance but we just failed to create the right options inside the box. Personally for today, I would have gone with Aravidis and Djebbour as strikers from the start, and would have kept Vargas on the bench. I know Vargas scored last game (in our 0-1 win against Levadeiakos for the cup), and he did provide the assist for our second goal today, but I just felt like he dissapeared for far too long at a time. There were stretches of time when I would forget he was even playing until I heard the commentator mention his name. Especially considering we had Simoes, Cordero, Barbosa and Mantalos all providing attacking options, I think we would have been alright holding Vargas off until possibly the end as a sub. All I know is that I really feel we could have benefited from having another attacker playing alongside Aravidis.

Defensively today we weren’t too great. Galo and Didac both provided a lot of options down the wings when we were attacking, but our entire back four seemed to be caught off guard on a number of Xanthi’s attacks. Personally, I’m really not too happy with Arzo. He seems slow, especially when facing a quick counter attack, and just generally does not provide the kind of energy we need to be seeing from him. Thankfully, despite our defense not being on their best form, Anestis had a great game in goal. He made one poor clearance which could have resulted in a chance for Xanthi, but otherwise he was pretty solid. He positioned himself well, made good saves both from set plays and live play, and on top of all that he saved a penalty which ultimately allowed us to hold on to the win. He got the MVP award of the game and personally I feel that he deserves it. I know he has constantly made mistake after mistake, but a couple games like this will do wonders as far as helping boost his confidence and giving him the chance to keep the mistakes to a minimum. He’s a good keeper and when he’s not making stupid mistakes, he can be very reliable. He just needs the chance to get a few good games under his belt to prove to himself and the fans that he can be relied on when he needs to be.

Highlights for the game can be seen either here or on youtube for poorer quality. Our second goal by Barbosa was absolutely beautiful.

Platanias 0-3 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball with tags , , , , , , on January 4, 2016 by alexaek

First off, I hope anyone reading this enjoyed their holidays. I managed to escape the cold of Canada for a couple weeks which is always a good thing..

I’m still recovering from a flu I got over the holidays, so I’ll just make a quick post today. Two important games worth noting though from yesterday. Obviously, we got a convincing three points from our game against Platanias in Chania, but we also played PAO in basketball. Unfortunately, the result wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but the team definitely put in a good effort and ended up just barely losing 64-67. For much of the game we were ahead and had we just made a few less errors, or scored a couple more three pointers, we could have come away with our biggest win of the season. Unfortunate loss, but the team is on the right track and as the commentator on the radio said during the game, its nice to finally see a real derby between AEK and PAO.

As far as our game against Platanias, our scorers were Barbosa and Djebbour with Barbosa scoring the first two. His first goal is especially worth watching. Unsurprisingly, since its happened to us before this season, we had a perfectly good goal called back for no valid reason, but the match was never really too much in doubt for it to matter all that much. The win ensures we stay in second place, with 30 points, though PAOK and PAO are still awfully close.

Highlights can be found here: http://www.aek365.com/a-435254/to-magiko-1-0-tou-mparmposa-video.htm

PAO 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, Derby, football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2015 by alexaek

A point from the first derby for our new coach is not a bad result at all, even if we could have come away from this game with all three points. Considering he has only had two practice sessions to get familiar with the players, he did a fairly decent job in my opinion, even if I personally would have liked to have seen a couple different changes. We were set up pretty well defensively but it was our midfield set up which allowed us to keep the game from getting out of our control. The pressure we applied throughout prevented PAO from ever getting really comfortable in the middle of the pitch both when attacking and defending, forcing them to attack from the wings quite often (something which they weren’t too good at today). When they did manage to get an attack to end up in the center of the pitch, they were only ever able to get an effort on goal via long shots, shots which very rarely threatened us except for one shot from Berg which hit the cross bar.

Offensively, we were able to get the ball to transition quite quickly, with Johansson, Simoes, Barbosa, and Galo doing well to move the ball around and control the centre and the wings. Unfortunately though, we were clearly lacking in the final third of the pitch, with Chrisantus not providing the attacking options that he should have and Vargas not being dangerous enough aside from a couple chances.

I’ll have a go at some of my own player ratings for today’s game. For once in as long as I can remember, I had a stream which did not skip or cut out once for the entire match so I was able to get a good sense of how we were playing.

Baroja: He was solid, positioning himself perfectly and making the saves he had to. Could not ask for any more from him really, did the job he had to and did it with confidence. Definitely something we were missing last year with Anestis.

Galo: Provided a lot of energy to the match, did well offensively and defensively. He did make some mistakes, but his pace meant he was often able to make up for them. He also came close on a free kick.

Lambropoulos and Kolovetsios: They were both pretty solid in the back, stopping PAO from getting too close to our net whenever they had the chance. They were decent on the set plays and generally managed to handle whatever PAO had to offer. Had this been a stronger PAO team, perhaps things would have different, though that would be impossible to tell. Either way, a solid centre back pair that Poyet should definitely consider sticking with.

Didac: Also did a pretty good job defensively and offensively. He didn’t have as much to work with defensively as PAO had fewer attacks come down our left wing, and he also did not provide the kind of runs that Galo would, but he still ventured forward and offered support whenever needed. He did make a few mistakes though.

Johansson: WIthout him, this may have been a very different game. I know I’ve said this before, but he is without a doubt one of the best singings we’ve made in the past three years. Always such a calm and assuring presence in the middle of the pitch, he is able to win balls well and hold on to them until the right pass can be made. He doesn’t stand out the way a player like Barbosa or Simoes does, but I would say his contribution to our performances is possibly more important than any other player on the pitch.

Simoes: He had a good game, though I’m not sure I would give him the 9 out of 10 that AEK365 gave him. He linked up well with the rest of our midfield and provided options and runs when needed.

Vargas: Had a phenomenal chance early on, but he seemed to be quiet for large periods of the game. In fact, I often saw Chrisantus coming back to link up with our central midfielders often when Vargas was nowhere to be found.

Mantalos: Had some very good runs and was key to any attack we had down the left, but unfortunately his crosses and set play deliveries were very poor today. What makes Mantalos such a critical player is the way he can get balls into dangerous places so well, and when he isn’t doing that as was the case today, the whole team suffers. I know he can do better, and I’m confident he will in our next game, assuming the injury he picked up today does not turn out to be too serious.

Barbosa: Probably the best attacking player for us today, showing a lot of ambition going forward. His effort was unfortunately more often than not wasted as we had no attacking presence in front of the PAO goal, but he was involved whenever he could have been and with a solid striker or two, he can end up being one of our most important players. Unfortunately, he was not linking up well with Chrisantus today.

Chrisantus: I’ve heard a lot of negativity towards Chrisantus, though I still have to say that I disagree. Is he my first choice for striker? Of course not, but with the way we played today, it hardly mattered what strikers we had up front. With so few good balls being played into the box, there was only so much he could do. It got to the point where he was playing deeper and deeper into midfield as the game progressed, looking to help create something up front. His presence in the box on set plays was not the best, but neither were the balls being played in so again I don’t feel like he is to blame. He will definitely need to calm down when he was possession though. Far too often he looks uncomfortable and nervous when he has the ball, and it was definitely a reason he was making so many poor passes. I truly believe that if he learns to calm down a bit when he’s playing, he can be a very effective player upfront.

Overall, neither team looked very dangerous. Overall PAO created the better chances, but there were spells when they were non-existent such as when they lost Lagos to injury early on. We had our chances to, but as with PAO none of the chances we created were very convincing. In fact, if it were not for PAO’s cross bar, I would say that both teams were equally dull offensively. As far as midfield is concerned, we were able to take control with far more confidence than PAO, but I would have to say that PAO overall played a better defensive game than we did, but only slightly.

It was an unfortunate result since a stronger AEK would have taken this game with ease. But the reverse could also be said about PAO. If they had the teams they had in the past, I would have to say that they would have walked all over us. Its unfortunate that both teams are so weak compared to what they used to be because if that were not the case, Olympiakos’ lead at the top of the table would have been far smaller at this point.

In terms of coaching, as I mentioned above I felt that Poyet had us set up quite well. Possibly the only thing I would have done differently (and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way) would have been to put Buonanotte in far earlier. I possibly also would have taken Mantalos out earlier and put Platellas on to replace him. Poyet’s decision to put Cordero one however was a very good one since it was a move that allowed us to keep our control of the midfield at a time when it was starting to slip away from us.

Surprisingly, I felt the ref had a pretty good game. It was a pretty high contact game but he made the right choices for the most part as far as calling fouls, and he stayed away from the cards when he was able to. It was quite refreshing actually to see a derby played where the ref wasn’t a key factor. The same can’t be said for Olympiakos’ game with Veria yesterday, but what else is new…

At the moment, the only highlights I can find are on NovaSport’s site here: http://aek365.novasports.gr