Archive for Burns

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!!

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AEKARA!!

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.

Is There Any Hope Left?

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by alexaek

I seriously wonder sometimes… if it wasn’t for what our badge stands for and some of the legends that have worn our shirt, why would any of us bother even paying the slightest attention to this joke of a league. I’m referring specifically to yesterday’s derby between Oly and PAO though also our match today as well as yesterday’s match between Tripolis and Kerkyra. Its been a while since such a clear reminder of how much of a joke our league really is has been sent to us fans (at least those not with red glasses distorting their view). There has even been talk of PAO considering leaving the league, or forming a league of their own and I for one would be completely for such a move (however unrealistic and unlikely it may be at the moment). Aside from Oly’s B teams (Panionios, Xanthi, Oly Volou), many teams would benefit from such a move since it is clear as day that NOTHING will ever change with our league as long as pigs such as Marinakis are still involved.

Yesterday’s match was a disgrace with a handball from Torosidis in the box not given as a penalty, a perfectly legit goal to give PAO a 2-1 lead ruled for offside, and an illegal goal in many ways scored by that other pig Djebbour in extra time giving Oly the win and sealing their championship. In addition, a number of Oly supporters stormed the pitch and physically attacked a number of PAO players including Cisse and Simao. At half time and after the match, more hooligan like behavior witnessed, this time coming right from Superleague PRESIDENT, Marinakis (less than a week after Beos’ pathetic comments towards Larissa). How will our league ever advance in any way with thugs such as Marinakis, Beos, Psomiadis, and Co running things… whether its their unbelievably obvious influence they have off the pitch or their incredibly childlike attitude, it is obvious that no progress will ever be made towards improving our league… if anything, this weekend has confirmed the worst, and it will only be a matter of time before things get worse, and quickly.

Now, I mentioned yesterday’s match between Kerkyra and Tripolis. Why I mention it was because of the following video. Even for those who don’t understand much Greek, or any at all, the confusion coming from the commentator’s voice is painfully obvious.

Right… so the Kerkyra player gets taken down in the box and it should be awarded a penalty, correct? The Tripolis keeper receives a yellow card, yet the ref goes on to give a yellow to the Kerkyra player (his second of the match in fact, leading to his red). Why? Diving? Yet the ref still awards the penalty… even the commentator is left wondering who recieved the cards and for what reason…

Now, as many of you have noticed, neither myself or AEKMAN74 commented on our 3-1 loss to PAO last weekend. It was a terrible match in every way. A terrible offside was given on Blanco with the score 2-1 in PAO’s favour. However, Blanco was onside considerably and had the offside not been called he would have been 1 0n 1 with the PAO keeper. Now, aside from poor officiating, AEK simply looked terrible at the match. We played with no intent at all (aside from a brief 20 minute spell in the second where we applied considerable pressure) and our defending was atrocious at times.

As for today’s match… again, we looked terrible. We managed to score a goal late in the first half thanks to Libe (again, what will we do once he retires at the end of the season?) however the goal was canceled out almost 45 minutes later when, Mitroglou of all people, score the equalizer with very little time remaining (and, of course, the assist came from another player on loan from Olympiakos, Galitsios). Riera should have been sent off after he pushed Kafes from behind (when neither had the ball near them if I remember correctly), yet apparently all four officials, including the linesman who should have been near the two at the time, happened to miss it? I find it quite unlikely, but who knows anymore…

Aside from poor officiating though (also, Ill remind you that this match was played behind closed doors), as I said, we looked terrible. No attacking intent at all for the entire first half, we could not get plays together, there was very little sense of structure within the team, and we simply could not create. Also, Im starting to get very tired of seeing Scocco play, ever since his contract extension was signed. I much rather would have seen Leo or Burns start today… what they lack in skill compared to Scocco they would have made up for today with their speed or… simply trying to do something, anything, to get an attack together.

I know we can complain about the officiating today, however I would like to point out that both Manolas and Karabelas were lucky not to recieve more than just a yellow card today. They were both involved in some very dangerous plays a number of times, and while I dont mind seeing that, I think they got off easier than they could have.

Overall, its a shame we couldn’t get the 3 points today. To be honest, I dont care how ugly it would have been, I just wanted a win to help keep Panionios close to the relegation zone and us as high as we can in time for the play offs. I believe it is now for games in which we have not won a match at home, and if I understood correctly, the last time we have beaten Panionios was 2009? I could be wrong, but thats disgusting if true.

I do apologize for the unorganized post, but Im simply starting to lose my patience with everything going on, either with AEK or the league in general.

Also, some more terrible news for us AEK supporters. It seems our Basketball team, a team which was once the team that made Greece most proud, the first Greek team to win a European trophy, will be playing next season in the 2nd divisioin. Words simply cannot describe what a shame this is to see.

Up… and then back down again.

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by alexaek

The roller coaster ride that has been AEK this season continues yet again, this time as a result of a 2-1 home loss to Aris (only the 3rd time Aris has beaten us at home).

It wasn’t all bad for me personally as I felt there were some positives to take from the game including some nice football we were playing, particularly in the first half. However, the defence, as well as Jimenez’s decisions, will probably take most of the blame for the loss.

We started with Arabatzis in nets today. I’m not sure if Saja was being given a break but I feel his absence was noticed. However, I dont feel that goalkeeping was the biggest issue considering the defense should have handled both goal scoring situations for Aris better. From individual viewpoints, I felt both Manolas and Mateos did well but our defense overall was far too unorganized and vulnerable at times. Argyriou and Dadomo (though I did feel Dadomo had a few good moments) were both simply not good enough and if you ask me I personally would still like to see Georgeas get more game time

Offensively we weren’t too bad. The ball was being moved around and off the ball movement was smooth and co-ordinated. Both Roger and Mateo impressed me at times however who stood out most on our wings was Burns. His speed was put to good use today and he was looking very strong on the ball… unfortunately, I still can’t say the same for Scocco and it seems I havent been able to say that of him ever since he signed his contract extension.

Blanco looked good when he was up front today as his goal shows however we still lack severely up front without Libe’s presence. In fact, I thing its safe to say that AEK was not the same today without Dellas and Libe on the pitch… they bring character and leadership to the when she plays, something that many of the most talented players can’t even bring to a team.

Papa Bouba, Baja, and Gentz were our substitutes today though I must say that Baja impressed me most. He looked very dangerous and I think if he gets enough game time he become quite a threat.

We managed to take control for much of the match in the first period and we were coming close on a number of occasions such as a missed header by Mateos and a good opportunity for Burns however, something gave me the feeling that if we werent to score quickly Aris would take advantage and that is exactly what they did in the 29th minute.

Blanco managed to get the score even at the 51st minute mark with a nice finish though it was not enough for us and once again, our failing to score saw us punished by Aris who scored in the 75th to put them up 2-1.

You know, the more I watch the video the more I think Arabatzis really could have done better on both goals unfortunately…

Christos Kostis was honored at the match today.

AEK 0-3 Zenit

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League with tags , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2010 by alexaek

Europe is over for us once again yet things could have so easily gone the other way!

We played a well fought match and the passion was very obviously there from our players. Throughout the entire first half they pressured and never gave up chasing the ball. Our passing was smooth, players looked calm and collected when under pressure in the attack, and things really were going well for us for the first 40 minutes or so. We managed to force a number of corners, we were coming close, yet our finishing in front of goal was poor and we were generally not as tight as we needed to be during our scoring chances.

Things started looking even better however as AEK were rewarded a penalty after Scocco was taken down in the box. Not too long before half time, it was a great opportunity to make our mark on the game. Blanco, unfortunately, failed to convert though and instead sent the ball over the net.

To make things worse Zenit score the game’s first goal after a weak counter attack, one which was a result of a poor pass from Liberopoulos. And this, only minutes before half time.

The second half was much the same though it was clear the goal took some spirit out of our guys. Jimenez tried some changes such as bringing on Burn’s and putting Diop on for Dellas though the subs had little impact. We couldn’t finish, we couldn’t produce in front of the net, and we paid for this as Zenit were soon up 2-0 and ended the game with a third to make it 3-0. The result meant only a loss for Anderlecht would have got us through, however they were more successful than us and ended up with a 2-0 win.

Another season and Europe is over for us. I know we haven’t had as much success as we would have liked these past few years, but this particular loss hurts almost as much as that unfortunate draw with Anderlecht four seasons ago. If only Blanco had scored the penalty things would have very likely ended differently. We were in control until then and had our own fate in our hands, even a draw would have seen us through.

Attendance was a little less than 30,000 from what I hear and despite the cold and general strike, a match as important as this should have drawn a better crowd. An extra boost from our fans may have given the players the last bit of inspiration they lacked on the pitch, but the atmosphere I heard sounded like a pretty good one. However, games like these emphasize so strongly the fact that we urgently need our own stadium, one where opponents would never feel safe or comfortable on nights like these.

Kavala 2-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , on November 21, 2010 by alexaek

Exactly the kind of result I was expecting. Disappointing to say the least, almost repulsive at times. Our team showed very little will to win, no hunger for any from of result. It is clear that everyone out their needs to wake up, and soon. We have a great coach leading us but with the way things are not even Mourinho could get much out of these guys if they don’t put in the effort required.

With the way things are in the superleague now, there are no easy matches. Ten years ago, five years ago, maybe even two or three years ago, the vast majority of the teams below fourth place would be considered pushovers for AEK. Things are no longer this way. Larissa, Kavala, Tripolis, Iraklis, these are all teams able to knock off points from the big three on a regular basis and unless a team shows up to play football they will not succeed in the 1st division. Unfortunately, it seems our players haven’t realized that 100 percent effort is required 100 percent of the time!

Our defense today will not cut it, not in Greece, and not even in the Uzbekistan 2nd division. If you see some of the goals being scored lately in the league it becomes clear that there are some talented attacking players out there right now, both Greek and from abroad, and if you give them any space you will be punished for it. Our defense needed to be alot tighter today and much less sloppy, generally and with both the goals we let in.

Up front, we really lacked creativity. Scocco didn’t come in until the second half, and Djebbour wasn’t with the team due to injury, and without either of them we were dull. Leonardo tried at times but just wasn’t working, and Burns could have done better. We did miss a few easy chances in front of goal but those chances were quite rare throughout the game.

To be honest, there wasn’t really a time when either team had full control of the match. My stream did cut out at times, and I missed about 10 minutes in the second half, but if AEK had showed up to play some football they could have come out with a more positive result. Having said that, they have a great chance to turn things around next week when we take on Olympiakos at home. Surely the championship hopes for us are passed, but we can still turn our season around and leave our mark on the league. We had perfect opportunities to do so earlier in the season but we blew them, lets make sure we don’t do the same this time!

As always, please leave your feedback. If anyone has specific opinions on players I would love to hear them since after spending half the time switching between streams trying to find one that works, you lose track of such things.

AEK 2-0 Panserraikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2010 by alexaek

For teams like AEK, games against opponents such as Panserraikos, Kerkyra, Thrasivoulos, etc, should be MUST WINS. Three points are crucial and while we will unfortunately drop them at times in the derbies, there is no excuse to not take advantage of weaker opposition. Fortunately for us this weekend, we did manage to get all three points, and while it is still early, these three points could prove to be vital.

The starting lineup was somewhat different compared to what I was anticipating. Arabatzis started in net, Jahic covered right back, Manolas and Dellas were centre, Lagos on the left. Midfield was Kafes, Makos, and Scocco while Djebbour, Libe, and Burns (!) took care of things up front (yes, seven Greeks in the starting eleven). The lineup seemed questionable at first, and while it took a good five minutes for us to gain control of the game (I was at first worried that Panserraikos might have proven to be a tougher opponent than anticipated), things started to settle together well as time progressed. Our attack was alive! Djebbour, Libe, and Burns were all eager and there were some good plays linking up between the three. Libe was often seen feeding some deadly through passes for both Burns and Djebbour to latch onto in front of the net. It still took a while before we managed to go one up but we eventually did after Djebbour controlled a beautiful chip pass from Libe and notched it down low before the keeper could get to it (that makes it two goals in two games for him).

Eventually, fairly late in the second, Kafes scored to make it 2-0 for AEK. However, it took chance, after chance, after chance, to get the ball in the net for us. We did look very good up front, but we wont always be playing against teams like Panserraikos. We have to make sure we can finish our chances when we make them.

The biggest (and most pleasing) surprise of the first half was Burns. He has constantly showed (ever since the tournament in Sydney) that he deserves to play a bigger role in this team and today he showed why. Great runs, superb control, he was always there on the wing when we needed him but he was just as dangerous in the box. If he gets some good playing time he can become a key player for AEK.

Scocco, on the other hand, was a huge disappointment. Sure, he did come close on a couple of free kicks, and he did manage to hit the post off a corner, but the eagerness we saw in Djebbour and Libe was n0ne-existent in his passionless play. Unfortunately it looks like we’ll be seeing more of what we saw from him last season.

Lagos gave a solid performance. He was very smooth bringing the ball up to attack and his speed and ball control was far from disappointing.

The stadium was almost full (it seemed there were some unoccupied seats in the vip section) and the atmosphere from my computer screen seemed nice and intimidating, just how we like it. I personally would be all for us playing some more games here (aside from the derbies). If there were a fourth stand added Rizoupoli could prove to be a very suitable temporary solution for us (Im not suggesting AEK adds another stand but simply stating scenarios from an ideal world).

Some tension was expected between the fans regarding Bajevic. The situation was not made any better when Dusan was sent off by the referee. To be honest, I still have no idea why the referee ordered him to leave but hopefully Ill find out soon enough.