Archive for Blanco

Episkopi 0-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, Basketball, Football League, Greek Cup with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2015 by alexaek

Another match, another win (though I’d say the win here was never really much in doubt).

Judging by what I saw in the highlights and from the official statistics, Episkopi never really threatened us all that much. They managed to get 5 shots off, though none of them were able to reach the target. We managed a more impressive, though still relatively tame, total of 11 shots on net with 6 reaching the target.

Aravidis was the player who stood out for us yet again, scoring both our goals (including one in the first two minutes of play). I’m not sure what it is about him, but he just seems to have that knack for scoring goals that certain players seem to have. In a way it reminds me of Blanco during his first season with us. As long as the ball manages to get to his feet, he’ll find a way to get it into the net.

While Aravidis deserves much of the credit, we can’t forget about the rest of the team. In fact, AEK365 gave very high ratings to a number of players including Mantalos, Joahansson, Bakakis, Soiledis, and Anakoglou. The critique of a number of our players including Bakakis, Johansson, and Soleidis mentioned what I’ve seen often in the few games I’ve watched this season: our transition from defense to attack has been very smooth and efficient. A big part of that I feel has to come down to the fact that we have a number of players who are almost just as solid offensively as they are defensively, meaning we have options for getting the ball up instead of relying on one or maybe two players.

No news yet on when the second leg of our cup game with Oly will be, but our next league game is next Sunday against Emionida.

Solid performance today from our Basketball team in thei 105-78 win over Panelefsiniakos:


Panionios 0-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by alexaek

So, a lot has happened since my last post, and not much of it was good.

Before talking briefly about today’s match, Ill mention the other two we played this week, even though Id much rather not.

So, PAOK-AEK in Toumba. Of all the derbies we play each season, the PAOK one rarely gives as much trouble as others. Even Toumba, despite being filled with incredibly intimidating and passionate PAOK supporters, is a stadium AEK always seems to have a chance in. I cant seem to figure it out, but our record there these past few years has been quite good.

Things did change last weekend when we lost 3-0. Ill be honest with all of you, this was the first time I closed the computer early during an AEK match. Things weren’t looking good right from the start, our defence was terrible, we were lacking creativity, and as soon as PAOK went one up as a result of some terrible man marking (or lack of, rather), I gave up. I knew we had no chance of getting back in the game. We didn’t have Roger playing (the man responsible for assisting two of our four goals against Xanthi a few days before) and we were creating nothing, going nowehere. PAOK on the other hand, who have got off to a very good start this season and are playing some attractive football, clearly seemed the better team, and I couldn’t see them giving up their lead. And seeing as I had other stuff to do at home, I figured it wasn’t worth watching the rest, so I listened on the radio. As I expected, things only got worse.

Aside from our terrible defending, it was so clear in this game, as it was the next, and especially today’s match with Panionios, that we lack creativity. Despite his attitude and on-and-off performances, I would give anything to have someone like Scocco, and even Manduca, back in our squad. Roger can certainly create, but he isn’t enough, we need someone who can get the ball forward on his own, someone who can pull defenders out and then ease past them, and someone who can score after doing all this work. Scocco was someone who could do this, and even when he didn’t score, he was a nightmare for defenders.

Sure, Leonardo has played great this season, but he isn’t nearly the same level. Jose Carlos has the potential, but I havent seen too much from him yet. Sialmas wont get us anywhere. Belleck works hard and has some speed, but still cannot move with the ball the way Scocco could. Gudjonsen is way too old, and has done nothing in my opinion to warrant the money we pay him.

We have nobody going forward that can open up defenders, create plays and opportunities, someone who will get the ball up there, and will get it in the net. Its quite sad really to see how low AEK has fallen, considering even last year we had a player Like Scocco. Before then we had a Blanco who could score anything, and a young Libe, with Rivaldo pulling the strings. Go further back and we had players like Nikolaidis, Tsiartas, Mavros, Papaioannou. Sure, these players all play different positions, but the point Im trying to make is AEK has always been blessed with great attacking talent… these days, we simply dont have that. Yes, Leonardo is a fine player, Belleck has potential, but aside from these guys, we have nobody. Libe is too old, and can only be used a sub these days, Gudjonsen can’t really do too much.

No matter who we have as coach, until we have a team that can be dangerous up front, we wont be getting the results we want. Sure, Manolo is to blame for our poor results this season and last, more so maybe than our players. But I think it was especially obvious from our game today against Panionios, that this AEK team cannot go far. We have a good group of players with young talents like Leo and Manolas, experience in Dellas and Libe, but we need more. Desperately.

So, I’ve gotten a bit off topic by now. Maybe its because I dont quite feel like talking about our match against Sturm, but I guess I will.

First game of the season with fans in oaka. We didn’t get a good result against PAOK a few days earlier, but we were hoping for something here, and with Carlos’ goal early in the second half, we thought we’d clinched the three points. But, thanks to a pointless red card for Dellas, we let our lead slip away as well as all three points. I’m not going to talk too much about the game, but I would like to say that its incredibly disappointing to lose a game like this, in this way. We were the better team, we dominated throughout the first half. I would even go as far as saying that Sturm was the worst European team Ive seen AEK play in a while. They were nowhere, they could not create a chance, their defending was terrible. A stronger AEK team, such as our team of 07-08, would have taken this game with a 3-0 scoreline. And thats what disappoints me the most. AEK should not be losing these games, these games should be a fairly easy three points. Even the away match to Anderlecht. A previous AEK team with a better defense could have comfortably gotten at least a draw.

So, I wont say anymore about that match. We’re pretty much out of Europe already and its only the second day of October. Wonderful…

And finally, Ill mention our game today against Panionios. Poor match, terrible match rather, but the result was great. Panionios has given us a hard time lately, especially in Nea Smyrni. And to get a win like this, in the 92nd minute, feels just wonderful. We played terribly (Ive heard people mention it was the worst game from AEK they can recall seeing), only created one or two chances, but we got the three points away from home. And thanks to Oly beating PAOK today, we’re tied for first (though Oly have played a game less). I know its still early and I can’t see us staying first for much longer, but hey, at least its something.


Transfer Updates

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2011 by alexaek

Really not sure where to start this one, but I guess Ill begin with Scocco transfer (though I’m sure most of you have heard by now). Yep, Nacho Scocco is no longer a player of AEK. And I really don’t know what to say about this… literally.

Three seasons he’s been with us and in during those three seasons he has left us with so many great memories: his two goals in the 4-4 Cup Final, his two goals against Oly to give us the win in Karaiskaki, his two goals (one of them being an outrageously beautiful shot, as were most of his goals) against Aris, his two goals against Vaslui, his fantastic shot against Panionios, a number of goals against PAO… some of his goals, a majority of them even, were game winners for us. To be honest, and I’m not simply saying this because he played for AEK, I think he was the best player in the league the past few seasons when he wanted to be. Unbelievable skills and technique, his fair share of assists, beautiful goals, he was a joy to watch. But, again, WHEN HE WANTED TO BE.

I’ve seen many AEK fans on the internet claim he was simply inconsistent as most footballers are. That, however, I cannot agree with. I loved the guy for everything he did for us, but to me, it is a fact that when there were no scouts watching or when the game wasn’t high profile, he simply didn’t show any motivation. There were so many games where he completely disappeared, where he simply refused to put any effort into the match, where he refused to assist his teamates on the pitch. And this is coming from someone who saw him live at every home game for his first two seasons with AEK. His body language for the majority of the matches he played for us suggest that he simply didn’t care about putting effort in that was required of him to help the team.

His off the pitch attitude was not much better at times, with him being extremely difficult to negotiate with whenever it came time to agreeing to new contracts. Fortunately he did agree to a “decent” contract (with a rather low sellout price) however I was never once convinced that a move to one of our rivals was ruled out of his mind.

So, I don’t know what to say about this transfer. I’m confident in saying we will not find a player like him no matter how hard we look (at least nobody within our budget or anything near it). He will not be replaced anytime soon. However, if it was up to me, I’d rather we have the team we had in the 2007-2008 season with Ribo, Zikos, Dellas, Libe, Papastathopoulos and co, a team that worked effectively as a unit, and give up Scocco, than have things the other way around. Obviously, this will never happen, but the point I’m trying to make is there have been better AEK teams before Scocco and there will certainly be better AEK teams after Scocco. Having said that though, after the departure of Djebbour (good riddance), then Blanco, and now Scocco… what attacking creativity will we have? Fine, Libe might be around for another year. But who else? Baha was a joke, and we don’t have one decent striker or attacker who is AEK material. Roger might have a good game occasionally, and Michel was solid though we probably wont even keep him. Scocco was without a doubt our most dangerous weapon, a weapon any superleague defense would fear, and now we have lost him and have no chance of replacing him. I’m not saying AEK will be far worse off without him, but without any immediate plans to boost our attack somewhat, we will only continue heading downhill as we have been for the past few seasons.

Having said that, this transfer was not something management could simply pass off. The nearly three million euros we gained from the transfer will certainly help things financially, at least for the time being.

Anyways, like I said, I don’t know what to say. Sure I would have liked to keep him, but I can’t imagine management passing up any offer near or over three million euros (though I think we deserve much more for him). He did say that if he ever returned to Greece, it would only be for AEK, so who knows what the future will bring… but really, who knows what the future will bring for AEK in general. Will we just end up like our basketball team? Its possible…

As of so far this summer, we have made three singings. A young centreback from Aris who is supposed to be very promising (we’ll see), Kontoes from Panionios (I’m happy with this, always liked him, and he even accepted lower wages at AEK than he was offered at Panionios, which is a nice slap to the face for Panionios and its supporters), and an attacker from Giannina, Salmas (haven’t seen much of him at all, but his goal, a fabulous one with an even better assist, his one of the possible votes for European goal of the season, so vote for it here!)

Decent singings for the future, or as possible bench players, but nothing to get excited about at all. They are Greek however, so they will likely respect the shirt they’re wearing a little more than a foreigner, but still… we need some better signings than this if we want to see an AEK that has a chance of making a difference in the league this season.

To end this post, I’d like to post some Scocco videos. I might have some negative opinions of him at times, but he has left me with some memories that I will simply never forget!


PAOK-AEK Live Updates

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by alexaek

I’ll try to keep some live updates of the match here for those without a way to watch it. From what I know, the three links below will show a stream of the match:

I’ll add more streams if I come across any.

PAO is currently beating Oly Volou 2-0 with about twenty minutes to go. I was hoping PAO would lose this one or it would end up in a draw but our fate is still entirely in our hands (the match has now ended with a 3-0 victory for PAO). Either way, tonight will be a huge game.

Our starting XI for the match includes Saja, Georgeas, Manolas, Dellas, Karabellas, Makos, Michel, Diop, Lagos, Scocco, and Blanco. Arabatzis, Nasuti, Mateos, Roger, Leonardo, Dadomo, and Baha are the substitutes.

Game has started. PAOK came close off a free kick about three minutes in.

PAOK seem to have much more control of the game than they did over the weekend so far (only six minutes in).

Great chance for AEK after a defensive error by PAOK but Scocco couldn’t get a good delivery into the box.

GOOOAL! Scocco! 13th minute!! Long rage free kick, tricky bounce in front of Chalkias.

Saja playing risky at the back so far. I hope he tightens up.

Huge chance for PAOK with a critical save by Saja. And another huge chance for AEK in the 22nd. Blanco is in the mood for scoring it seems, hopefully he’ll keep up his good record in Toumba.

Freekick for PAOK in a very dangerous location. 1-1, 28th minute after Garcia’s freekick finds it way under our wall and into the bottom corner of the net.

Flares on the pitch at the 31st minute so the ref has temporarily paused the match. It seems it will continue again.

Good header from Dellas off of a corner in the 33rd, save from Chalkias.

Penalty for PAOK, and goal. 2-1.

Very close chance for AEK off a Blanco header in the 38th minute, ball wasn’t directed well enough.

We are very shaky at the back so far.

Half time, 2-1 for PAOK. Not nearly good enough from us, far too many mistakes. We’ve still managed to create chances, but we must tighten up for the second half.

Nice shot from Michel after being set up by Blanco, just out.

Close for PAOK after a Vierinha shot rebounded off of Georgeas’ foot.

First substitution of the match, Baha on for Lagos. And now Leonardo on for Blanco. And I must say, the diving by the paok players is really getting quite ridiculous.

Red card for Makos.

Third change, Roger on for Scocco. Can’t say Im too happy about this choice.

Red card for Garcia. Disgusting behaviour from him as usual, but this is the worst Ive seen yet from that animal.

2-1, fulltime.


Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by alexaek

Im pretty sure Ive used that title before but Im going to use it again because I feel it works for the occasion. Today, in the same stadium, against the same team we so miserably drew 0-0 with five days ago, we witnessed a performance from AEK that was unlike anything we’ve seen yet this season (in my opinion). Why? Maybe because Manolo decided to make the changes that were needed soon enough (some of the changes most of us were calling for before the last game as well!)…

I don’t know how start off other than by saying we were superb! We dominated them in the midfield, in their own end… we out passed them, we were better lined out tactically, our players were up for the task at hand, and it was just all around a wonderful game from our boys. The score line of 4-0 certainly suggests the same however to be honest the match could have very easily ended up with a few more goals for AEK.

Saja? Didn’t have to do much to be honest… I may have missed a few bits here and there but from what I saw our defense did most of the dirty work, forcing Saja to have very little to deal with.

Our defense? I don’t know what to say, but I loved everything our defense today represented. Passion and experience from Georgeas and Dellas, young talent from Mateos, and hard  work and dedication from Karabelas… it was enough to get the job done, and with ease. The Mateos-Dellas combination at centre back is one Im really a fan of and I hope Manolo keeps going with it… I feel the two compliment each other very well when on the pitch. Georgeas had a wonderful assist on Scocco’s first goal today and did everything he needed to, just like every match he plays in. I realise he never was and certainly never will be an outstanding talent in terms of wing backs, but he plays with some much heart and has a great understanding of the game, something which many other players lack… ultimately though, it leads to us seeing the most we can from him both in terms of going forward and defending. Karabelas also had a good game and to be honest, Ive been quite pleased with him this season. He’s another player who always puts the effort in, his crosses have been improving, and I see him getting involved in plays far more often (though that may just be me).

In midfield we had Michel, Diop, Makos, and Guerreiro and it was a combination which worked! I just hope Manolo takes note and doesn’t change things come next match. To be honest, I don’t remember Makos standing out today however, poor streams means I missed some of the match. I did read that he played very well so I guess I just overlooked him. The same I would have to say for Michel… in fact it was Diop and Guerreiro who stood out today (that’s not to say Michel and Makos didn’t do their job, they most certainly must have considering the way we controlled things in the midfield today).

Before going in to specifics, I’d like to just say that our midfield as a whole was almost perfect today. It was as if they all were on the same page with each other… positioning, passing, defending, moving the ball around and controlling it when needed, we were doing everything we could to control the play and create when the opportunity arose, and our activity inside the PAOK box today suggests the same (compared to how rarely we broke their defense down just five days ago). Diop has certainly been bringing his best with him recently and he was finally rewarded today with a goal (after hitting the post twice last match). Roger brought the creativity we so desperately lacked last match and to see the whole team played when he was in control was wonderful. Id also like to point out that his set pieces are superb. A free kick and a corner he took today both led to goals and every ball he was sending in the box was perfect.

Up front things got interesting, with Blanco starting and Scocco playing a free role alongside him. At the end of the match Scocco said he finally played his best position after two and a half years and his two goals (both classic Scocco goals) support what he said. Ive thought about how he would be up front before and Im glad to see it tried out… with Guerreiro taking control of things behind the forwards, I think we can afford to see Scocco up front. Blanco played well and tried hard to get a goal to his name but things just didn’t work out for him today… I still hope to see him start next match, and especially in Toumba… he always seems to find a way to score up there 🙂

Also, our fourth goal came from Dellas… a lovely timed run resulted in him latching on to Guerreiro’s cross before PAOK’s keeper could get his hands to it. Fantastic seeing him get on the score board today.

I must say, looking at our goals scored today, we saw two goals scored with headers (shows we have options in the box from both Diop and Dellas, as well as Libe when fit), a goal from from team work and crisp passing, and a goal created from some fantastic individual talent (as well as good decision making from Michel)… overall a perfect set of goals scored today, clearly showing how we took control of the game today in every aspect.

Now, will we see the same thing from our boys the next matches coming up? I suppose some of that depends on Manolo, but things are going well and after today only a fool would tinker with the team further. The win today sees PAOK remain further behind while we reclaim third (however Oly Volou and Kavala are not far behind) and PAO’s slip against Larissa means if we keep putting in solid performances, we could end up in a decent position come play off time.

However, what I hope for more than anything is that we go to Toumba and play exactly like we played today. If we do, the qualification to the final is ours WITHOUT A DOUBT. Even in Toumba, this PAOK team today will have no chance if we play the way we did.

FORZA AEKARA!!!! Vamos Bien!

4-0... its been a while since we've seen that scoreline!

Simply Not Enough

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2011 by alexaek

Everything leading up to kick off was looking good for us. We came off a solid away win over the weekend, PAOK stumbled at home, the atmosphere inside OAKA was fantastic, Vierinha would not be playing… how could our players not take advantage of the prime opportunity to nail a few past our rivals!

Some players deserve some credit for today however there are many who simply didn’t pull their weight on the pitch or failed to contribute anything worthwhile to the match. Jimenez will probably also recieve some criticism (for leaving Blanco off till later, not getting Michel in sooner perhaps…) though with the performance of some players such as Scocco and Baha, there is really only so much blame the coach can take…

Scocco…. I really do not want to see him start for a while. AEKMAN74 suggested leaving him as a sub till later in the game for the next match and I would have to agree (depending on how the score is going). He refused to distribute well today when he had the chance, held on for far too long and simply failed to produce much of anything worthwhile. Same goes for  Baha… I would rather have seen Blanco on from eariler.

Libe also did not play as important a role as I would have liked to have seen. He didn’t provide much of an attacking threat and his passing was not as effective as usual. However, Libe being the living legend that he is, will never receive a negative word from me… the guy is not getting any younger, has played many games already this season, and has already contributed more than many others on the team…

Burns was probably our most dangerous player going forward… made many runs with his speed and was almost always involved in every attack from the right. He keeps on impressing me and I hope to see this keep up.

Our midfield did its job for the most part. We controlled the middle of the pitch for most of the match while PAOK simply sat back (as we were all expecting). We were poor when they countered (however the defense can also take the blame for that) but other than that I feel our midfield did what was needed of it.

Our defense was shaky at times. They weren’t pressured often but almost every time they were led to PAOK coming very close to scoring. Thankfully Saja was alert today.

As for the match itself, what can I say. We controlled things really however our attack was simply not producing. Papa Bouba however hit the cross bar twice from corners though really those were probably our two best chances of the match. PAOK also received two red cards yet despite playing with two more players we simply could not break through and get the ball in the net. Sure, the ref didn’t call a penalty for us, and the extra time was far too short, but we have nobody to blame for this result but ourselves.

We go to Toumba with a 0-0. At least we didn’t concede. In reality, this PAOK team is very much for the taking. We get one goal and things could very well go our way. I certainly never expected PAO to show up and score three against us, but they did, and nothing is stopping us from doing the same.

We face PAOK again this weekend at OAKA for the Championship. Im praying for a win here… not since December of last year have we won at home!

Also, our handball won an important league match today bringing us one step closer to the Championship! Well done guys!!


Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by alexaek

The enthusiasm might come as a surprise considering how terrible things have been lately with AEK however today, Im a pretty happy AEK fan. Before I touch on the match today in Crete I would first like to bring some attention to our Basketball and Handball teams.

As many of you may know, our basketball team, one of the most historic teams in Greek and European basketball history, is facing relegation. Nothing is certain yet, however we must win all of our upcoming matches to give us hope and our boys started well after beating Peristeri yesterday. I know the chances of staying in the first division are slim, but all points give hope and hopefully the wins keep coming.

Now, our Handball team. Cup winners a few seasons ago, currently doing very well in the championship, these guys play with a passion that I would love to see from our football team. Their passion and hard work payed off yesterday as they managed to qualify for the quarter final of the European Challenge Cup! What was more incredible is they managed to come back after losing 27-23 in the first leg by winning by the same score in Athens, forcing the match to penalties. It might also be worth noting that we knocked out Sporting Lisbon, last years winners of the Challenge cup! Well done to the team, and the supporters in the stand who without a doubt gave a massive boost for our guys.

Now, time for our football club. We managed to get a win today, a narrow 3-2 victory over Ergotelis in Crete. Blanco opened the scoring for us in the first half before Burns scored another one. Ergotelis managed to pull one back after scoring a penalty (for a handball inside the box from Manolas which led to his second yellow of the match) which led to a rather tense second half where Ergotelis were clearly not afraid to apply some pressure. Fortunately, our ten man squad managed to hold on long enough for Georgeas to score the third for AEK late in the game, giving him his second goal this season (one in the cup and one in the championship) and, to be honest, nobody deserves it more than him if you ask me.

Ergotelis managed to pull one back again however it was too little too late for them. To be honest, we played some pretty poor football at times (just like last weekend) however I wont complain just yet. It was an away win, and an important three points which sees us land in the 3rd place (do keep in mind though that PAOK still have an extra game to play) though Oly Volou are not far behind. Incredibly, PAOK lost at home to Kavala, a result which now sees them drop down to fifth.