Archive for derby

AEK 3-0 PAOK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, football, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Jimenez, PAOK with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by alexaek

Araujo OE OE OE

I’ve always had a “fascination” with Argentina. I’ve never been there, but its always been high on my list of places to visit. I have to be honest though and admit that part of the reason I’ve been interested in the country for so many years now though is simply the fact that we’ve some incredible football players from Argentina play for AEK. Thats not to say that every Argentinian we’ve had play for us has been phenomenal. But the thing is, when they’re good, they’re really good. First Scocco, and now Araujo, a player who’s precence on the pitch has elevated the team to a whole new level.

Its not just that he can score, but he also the fact that he makes some great plays and brings so much energy to our attacks. Hes the kind of player that most defenses simply can’t handle, just like Scocco was back in the day. Today was the perfect example of it; when someone like Araujo is in form, hes untouchable.

Now before I go on any further about Araujo, I do have credit to the rest of the team. We played a pretty good game and though PAOK did have a few chances, we were solid overall. Perhaps the only complaint I could have had really about our performance was the fact that we sometimes went large stretches of time without really dictating the pace, but I guess its natural to see some of that urgency ease off when you score so early (as we did today with Araujo opening the scoring just 49 seconds into the game).

Barkas was phenomenal, making a number of key saves to keep us ahead. The same could be said about Glykos as well, as he made some fantastic saves to keep PAOK in the game when the score was still 1-0. Its safe to say that had he not been so sharp today, the score could have been a lot higher, a lot earlier on.

Along with Araujo, our entire offense and midfield was excellent. Simoes and Johansson were constantly pressing and Johansson especially showed so much confidence in some of the balls he played. Mantalos also helped to control the pace of the game while both Ajdarevic and Vargas had some great chances to put us ahead even further.

Something worth noting from this game too was the fact that this was Aravidis’ first match in months. It didn’t take him long to make his presence felt again as he managed to sneak the 3rd goal in just before the end.

Today’s win, aside from resulting in a well earned derby victory, also brought us back into 5th place after our 1-1 draw against Panionios earlier in the week. Things are starting to get interesting too as there are now only 5 points separating 7th and 3rd place. We currently occupy 5th but with a win against PAO in two weeks time, we could see ourselves jumping up to 4th fairly soon.

As has been the case for a while now, we still remain undefeated under Jimenez, 12 games after he took over. Our current goals scored under Jimenez adds up to 29, while we’ve only conceeded 3… Is that even possible? Looking at our results, it seems to be the case, but I have a hard time believing that considering our form before Jimenez returned.

Goals can be watched below. Araujo’s second is stunning, the kind of shot that couldn’t be more perfect. All I can say is that I hope Melissanidis gives Araujo whatever he needs to make him stay, though its safe to say some other teams very well might show some interest.

Its also worth noting that before the game, Original21 organized a large march in Nea Filadelfeia to show some support for our eventual return home to where we belong. Sounded like it was a great time with singing, flares, and banners, but whether it will change anything remains to be seen. All I know is that this mayor is proving to be even more stubborn than I thought. I just hope he realizes that over 90 years of history in Nea Filadelfeia can’t erased with one term as mayor.

Lets hope for many marches like this and that maybe some day we’ll be marching to our stadium once again.

Derby Weekend Disappoints

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Greek Football with tags , , , , , on January 16, 2017 by alexaek

Stalemate in the Athens Derby

Going into the match against PAO this weekend, I was kind of expecting a draw. Both teams haven’t been having a great season and ultimately its safe to say that the squads for either team have proven to be equally disappointing this season.

I’ll take the 0-0 draw because to be honest, I would not have been surprised if we found a way to lose this one. Its unfortunate though that we didn’t come away with more since, from what I read, we had quite a few chances during the first half. In fact it sounded as though we controlled much of the game until closer towards the end so its too bad that we couldn’t have snatched a goal and maybe lifted the spirits of our players a bit. On the other hand though, Barkas did make some incredible saves to deny PAO a few goals, so it does seem like it evens out in the end.

A couple things worth noting:

-Terrible offsides called against both sides

-Terrible defense from both sides

-Amazing goaltending from both sides (though special mention for Barkas, as some of those saves were outstanding)

I don’t have too much to say about the game, I was on a train in the middle of New York and the wifi was nonexistent (though I expected this going into the ride). Ultimately the game was what I expected it would be, and one of those “derbies”that are better off being forgotten.

I do miss the days of derbies like this one:

 

More Disappointment in Thessaloniki

Our basketball team had one of its most important games of the season this past Saturday as they took on Aris in Thessaloniki for a chance to make it to the Cup final. The last time we played in a Cup Final? April of 2001, when we beat PAO 66-64.

The game this weekend was far more entertaining than the football match back in Athens but in the end, we were painfully eliminated when Aris won the game with two seconds left on the clock. It was a far closer game than when we last played Aris and beat them comfortably, but its safe to say that both sides were expecting a close match. 77-76 was the final score, meaning Aris will now go on to face PAO in the final.

Olympiakos 3-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Dellas, Greek Football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , on October 2, 2016 by alexaek

So, that was painful. Not really able to write out a longer post at the moment, but if you would like to see some of the painful highlights, you can see them at the link below  (scroll through the videos to see the different goals. I’ll try to post a full highlight video when I find one afterwards.

http://www.novasports.gr/match-center/match-center-agonas/match/1282/olumpiakos-aek/#.V_G1qjRrge0

Just a few brief points about the game:

-This game could have been won by us. Olympiakos deserved the win, but we simply didn’t show up to play. Had we came with a different mentality and game plan, we would have seen a completely different result.

-Ketsbaia lost this game for us from the first minute with his choice of playing Lambropoulos in Simoes’ place (again). I know its not Lambropoulos’ fault, midfield just really isn’t his position. Dellas tried it before and it failed terribly, and now Ketsbaia seems fixed on the idea as well. He simply doesn’t have what it takes at the moment to exert any sort of influence in the middle of the pitch, especially not in a match of this caliber.

-We were far too passive defensively and going forward. There was no attempt to get in Olympiakos’ way, no idea of how to stop them and break up their play, and no idea of how to get our own plays going.

-For once in quite a while, we can at least finally say that we alone lost a game, rather than any influence from the refs or other factors. Like our derby in Karaiskaki last year, its an eye opening match that shows we still are nowhere near the level we seem to think we are at. Olympiakos lost to Larissa last week, and APOEL (at home) earlier this week, why the team wouldn’t be able to give Olympiakos a run for their money today is beyond me.

 

Anyways, thats all from me for now. Going from potentially being alone in 1st last week to now being 5th behind Panionios and Platanias isn’t really where I expected us to be at this point this season, but its still early. I’m curious to see how we rebound from this next game in two week’s time. Won’t be easy as we’re playing Larissa away, but it will be a good test at least to see if we’ve managed to change some things from our performances against Iraklis and Olympiakos.

AEK 0-0 Iraklis

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2016 by alexaek

A massive opportunity for AEK to make a statement was wasted earlier today when we failed to even sneak a win past Iraklis. Why was one game such an opportunity? Well if you haven’t seen the other results from the league yet, something pretty spectacular happened this weekend. It started when PAOK’s home game with Xanthi ending in a 0-0 draw before PAO saw a similar fate after their game against Panaitolikos also ended 0-0. Then, even more surprising than both those results, Olympiakos lost 1-0 in Larissa. Could the situation have become any better for us? We had the perfect chance to go alone in first place, all we had to do was beat Iraklis at home.

Ah but this is AEK we’re talking about, the team that has made a habit of making the easy tasks difficult. To be fair the absence of Mantalos and Almeida really hurt us, but to not even manage a goal when we needed one so badly really doesn’t sit well with me. Its still very early in the season and we’re still ahead of both PAOK and Olympiakos, but I really felt going into this season that we had a team that wouldn’t drop points in games like these. Don’t get me wrong, Iraklis is never a team that can be taken lightly, but we should be winning these games, especially when they matter so much. With the derby in Karaiskaki coming up this weekend, the three points from today would have helped us immensely. I know its asking a lot, but can you imagine if we won today and managed to sneak a win in Karaiskaki also, causing the reds to drop six points in two games? That would have felt pretty good if you ask me.

As for today’s game, I didn’t get to watch it since I was at work. It seemed to have followed a similar pattern to what I expected though: AEK controlling most of the game, creating some decent chances but not being able to put anything in the back of the net, with an Iraklis who was happy to sit back and take the occasional counter attack. It was an unfortunate result, but it gives Ketsbaia some food for thought. First of all, it sounds like Pekhart showed exactly why he isn’t considered a starter on the team. It also shows that somethings needs to be re-worked if we are to be more effective in front of goal. I know we really missed Mantalos and Almeida, but we should have some composure and creativity in and around the 18 yard box than we seemed to have today. The way Vargas and Bakasetas were linking up today at the front of our midfield just wasn’t working and its definitely a part of the pitch Ketsbaia will have to work out if Mantalos isn’t back in time for the derby this weekend.

An unfortunate result and a disappointing performance, but its still early. If anything this weekend showed that this seasons might at least be a little less predictable than usual. Olympiakos are clearly beatable with the right game plan (promising for us this weekend) and the other two still aren’t at their best yet either. Could it be close all the way to the end of the league? I certainly wouldn’t mind that for a change.

Highlights can be seen at Novasport’s site.

Yet again…

Posted in AEK, AEK Players, Basketball, Derby with tags , , , , , , on March 13, 2016 by alexaek

… Another derby thrown away by our basketball team. Today’s 93-100 home loss to Olympiakos means we only have one win from seven derbies this season. A couple years ago I may have expected that since we’ve rarely fielded a half-decent team these past few seasons, but I was hoping this year would be different.

Really, things very easily could have been different. Sure, the referees at some of the games were pretty terrible (today against Olympiakos, and two weeks ago against Aris, for example) but half the derbies we’ve played this season we could have easily won had we not given them up so easily. Today’s game was not lost because Olympiakos was the better team but because we made unnecessary errors and missed free throws that we should have easily scored. The loss against PAOK in Thessaloniki was lost because we somehow let a massive lead slip away due to poor defending and a lack of concentration when attacking. How many more derbies will we let slip away from us like this?

The team deserves credit, they really do. They’ve played some great games against the smaller teams in the league and had a good run in Europe. But for some reason as soon as they face either Aris, PAOK, Olympiakos, or Panathinaikos, they just can’t hold on. Even when they start games so well, even when all it takes to win is making one out of two three points, they just don’t seem able to do whats needed and I really don’t know why. Its getting rather unbearable at this point and it makes me scared of what they playoffs might have in store for us.

The worst part about all of this is the fact that our team has shown that they have what it takes to beat any team in this league, apart from maybe Panathinaikos. Just look at today’s game for example: Was it easy? Absolutely not, but we managed to play level with Olympiakos for the whole match and most of the two periods of extra time. Really, the only difference between the two teams was the lost free throws towards the end of the first period of extra time that could have won it for us. Even Olympiakos’ coach said that we could have won the game.

I don’t know what else we need to do at this point to be able to firmly place us back in the top three. The first choice might be to get more players but I wouldn’t even say thats our priority at this point. The team we have now has shown that they’re capable of winning against the bigger teams. The players aren’t our problem right now, our problem is something deeper. Is it with what the coach is saying? Is it a fitness issue? Or perhaps its Psychological? Hopefully someone finds the answers soon, because otherwise I fear we’ll see more of the same next season.

AEK 1-0 Panathinaikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Football with tags , , , , , on February 29, 2016 by alexaek

At the start of this season I wasn’t too sure we’d be able to compete too well when it came to the derbies. I figured with a mix of young players and players who had never experienced first division football in Greece, we’d struggle with the players and more experienced teams.

Our derby performances in the first half of the season seemed to comfirm what I was afraid of at first but I never expected things to turn around the way they have. Yetserday’s win against Panathinaikos has made it three derby wins in a row, something that both Poyet and the team should be immensely proud of. Of course it hasn’t been easy. There were some scares in the PAOK game, Olympiakos were certainly not easy to come up against, and Panathinaikos managed to give us quite the fright on more than one occasion yesterday. But the fact that we managed to score when we needed to in all three games and hold on for the wins shows the team really has developed some character and experience, qualities which we can really build on for next season.

As for our game yesterday, I unfortunately missed some of the first half and had a hard time finding a stream for the beginning of the second half but what I read and saw of our performance was certainly not all good news. To be honest, I thought we would have a pretty easy time with PAO. Afterall, we’ve had some good form recently and have played pretty well since the start of the new year (aside from the game against Iraklis but that was an exception as far as I’m concerned). Our confidence was high and we’ve just generally seemed a level above PAO in most regards. PAO on the other hand have had some terrible form, have looked poor in games that matter, and its safe to say their confidence was not the highest. All this, to me at least, pointed to what should have been a rather routine game for us.

Of course, football is never so straightforward, and especially not when it comes to derbies. Sometimes players have a bad day, sometimes a whole team can have a bad day, and that seems to be what happened to us yesterday. Was it over confidence? Was PAO just feeling the pressure and urgency more than us? Its hard to tell. It would have been one thing if PAO started strong and we fought back soon after, but it took almost the whole first period before we started to show some sort of urgency and motivation to get the ball forward. Our passing was sloppy, we lacked any sort of creativity, and our defense could hardly handle anything that PAO.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, our least reliable player on the pitch was Arzo. Despite having a couple good games lately, he seemed to have returned to his usual self, making a number of potentially costly errors, and marking rather poorly to the point where a number of our other defenders would have to cover for him regularly. Defensively, the only player who really stood out for me was Didac while both Kolovetsios and Bakakis seemed to struggle to get comfortable. Bakakis unfortunately picked up an injury late in the game though thankfully for us, we’ll be able to have Galo back for the next game if I’m not mistaken.

As far as midfield and attack is concerned, nobody really stood out for me yesterday. It seemed like the entire team was too afraid to really get themselves forward and find the players providing the support for their passes. Thankfully we managed to pick up the pace a bit later in the game and get some numbers forward, but we still never really looked all that dangerous. As has been the case for the past three derbies though, we finally managed to get our lucky break and make it count with none other than Vargas being the one to score. I know I criticize him on a regular basis for not contributing enough to the team when hes on the pitch but he really deserves credit. When we really need to count on him most, hes always managed to get the ball in the net when players like Aravidis and Djebbour have struggled.

Overall, it was hardly a performance to be proud of. But the team did well to hold on and come away with the win and, more importantly, put ourselves comfortably ahead of PAO by seven points. The season is still far from over but at this point I’d be very surprised if PAO manage to come back and over take us for second (having said that, it could very well happen).

Some great clips from the atmosphere inside OAKA yesterday (I really love the yellow and black smoke bombs at the start of the second half):

A video taken from the stands the moment Vargas scored:

And of course, highlights from the game:

http://aek365.novasports.gr

And one last link, this time to an AEK365 page which has videos of ten fantastic goals we’ve scored from fouls against PAO:

http://www.aek365.com/a-445270/oi-10-gkolare-th-aek-apo-faoul-me-pao-video.htm

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).