Archive for Dusan Bajevic

Another Season Finished…

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2011 by alexaek

So, I know its a bit late, but I figured I’d get a short review of the season up (even though its a season, one of many, that I would ultimately like to forget about)..

I guess it would be most appropriate to start from the beginning though in all honesty, I can barely remember much from the first half of the season! Pre-season started well for us, with a trip to Australia where we took part in a small football tournament. The friendly tournament consisted of AEK, Rangers (Scotland), Blackburn (England), and Sydney FC (Australia), three respectable opponents. I must admit that, after the positive results of the tournament (AEK scored five goals in her first match and ultimately ended up winning the tournament after beating all three teams), I had very high expectations of the team. Despite having  very little time to adjust to the jet lag, AEK played some very impressive attacking football at times (I remember Libe, Leo, and Burns all standing out for me in those games) and things were looking good early on. The team was clearly gelling well together.

Unfortunately, it was not long after that  until we were brought back down to earth with the reality of Greek football. At a friendly in Athens some time in August, Bajevic was attacked by a bunch of AEK supporters (though there were thankfully just as many, if not more, defending him).

It was not long after the events in Athens that AEK traveled to Scotland to take on Dundee in the first leg of the Europa League Qualifiers. Our record against Scottish opposition before the game was fantastic (two victories against both Hearts and Rangers, both in official European games) and Dundee did not seem to pose much of a threat to us. Thankfully, we left Scotland with a 0-1 away win, putting us in a fantastic position for the return leg.

Things were not looking good for AEK, however. Repair work going on at OAKA meant the stadium was not available for us to use. After looking for other solutions, the team decided the match would be played in Panionios’ stadium. Of course, with this being Greece, and AEK, things did not work out as smoothly as we would have liked. The Panionios supporters seemed to have a problem with AEK playing the match in their stadium (pity for them, as I can hardly see their scum team playing another European match in that stadium for a very long time…) and they thought it would be a good idea to vandalize the stadium to the point where it would not be usable for the match. After damaging goal posts, spraying graffiti, and tearing up half the grass on the pitch, the stadium was in fact deemed not usable and AEK were again forced to find another location to host the match.

Again, as I mentioned before, things are never easy for AEK. Eventually, we managed to secure Karaiskaki stadium for the match. However, due to the location of the stadium, right in the heart of enemy territory, AEK fans were not allowed to attend the match (so yes, Dundee ultimately ended up playing two home matches as only their supporters were allowed in). The match ended 1-1, which meant AEK were through thanks to our away goal in Scotland.

So, thats all I can remember from the pre-season, but feel free to add whatever I may have missed in the comments section below.

I could go through the entire season, but it was a rather depressing one to be honest. Sure, we had some good results (derby wins against PAO and Oly, as well as a fantastic 0-4 away win against Aris) but it also saw us end up with some of our worst results in history. A 0-4 home loss to Olympiakos Volou, and a 6-0 away loss against Olympiakos (both matches were with Jimenez as coach) showed that the situation with our club and the current team we have are clearly not up to the standards they need to be. I didn’t watch the 0-4 loss, but I certainly will put some of the blame for our 6-0 loss on the ref, and other circumstances, however, it was clear in that match that we were badly outplayed at times.

Overall, it was a dreadful championship for us. After the playoffs, we ended up fourth in the league. Throughout the championship, whether we had Bajevic or Jimenez as coach, we struggled against teams which AEK should NEVER struggle against, teams such as Kerkyra, Olympiakos Volou, Panionios, etc… We were painfully inconsistent, playing beautiful football one match, sloppy the next… as a supporter I must say that this AEK team was the most difficult to follow that I can remember. Especially when I compare the current team to the Championship winning team we had four years ago (lets face it, a team like we have right now will never compare to a team with Papastathopoulos, a younger Dellas and Libe, Zikos and Ribo controlling the midfield, a Blanco who could score anything). Sure, this past season we had some hard working Greeks like Georgeas, Kafes, and Makos, as well as Dellas and Libe. And sure, we had a solid keeper in Saja, and a fantastic player in Scocco, but overall as a team, we have been lacking greatly these past couple of years.

Anyways, as dreadful as the championship was, the Cup did manage to bring us some happiness. We knocked out some tough opposition on the way to the final including PAO (thanks to a wonder goal from Michel), and PAOK (thanks to the one and only Traianos Dellas), and we ended up winning the final 3-0 against Atromitos. Above all, the greatest moment of this season for me was seeing Libe raise the trophy. Its a pity that great men and players like Libe can end up going their entire career without ever raising a trophy, while teams like Oly end up buying their way to Championship after Championship… thats the reality of Greek football, and to be honest, I don’t ever see it changing, as it is also the reality of Greek life in general. However, for us, AEK is a sickness, something we can never leave, never abandon, and despite all the obstacles she will face in the future, we will always support her. I really do not see next season being any better than the last one. If anything, it will only be worse (I simply can no longer see the hope that others might see). Our management is slowly abandoning us, and like our basketball club, things will only get worse if something does not change. The supporters club has a good idea set up with its current plan. How long it will last, and what difference it will make, only time will tell. Until then, we will all still forever support our club.

And before I end this post, I want to once more bring our attention to the handball club, and team of guys who have all but dedicated their lives to AEK. The results in the championship, cup, and European tournaments, all show what a team can do when they put all their energy into playing for the love of your club rather than simply awaiting the next paycheck… MANY players from our football club could learn a thing or two from them.

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WELCOME MANOLO!!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC with tags , , on October 6, 2010 by alexaek

Well, I’m not sure what the exact situation is, whether he’s actually signed or not, but as far as I know, there has been an agreement between the two sides and Jimenez is pretty much ours! If you told me after that loss to Volou that we would sign as high a profile coach as Jimenez, I would have laughed in your face… but it looks like its happening!

Regardless of who we signed, I think it was time either way for change. Of course Bajevic deserves more than just a thank you for all that he has done for our club, and he unfortunately deserved much better than what he faced his past two times in charge… but it just wasn’t working this season so far, and with all the tension in the stands something had to change.

Welcome to the club Manolo Jimenez!

Now hopefully I don’t wake up tomorrow to find out that we didn’t sign him!

Bajevic is done with AEK!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC with tags on September 26, 2010 by alexaek

As reported by AEK365, Bajevic told Adamidis and the players that he has resigned as manager of AEK. I really don’t know what to make of this. We have our hardest match of the Europa League group stages coming up, we haven’t even encountered a truly strong team in the Superleague yet. The way things are looking right now, I think we’re in for one our worst seasons yet. Who could possibly take over now? With these players its gonna take a little more then a change in manager to start seeing some results.

Regardless, I always supported the guy, he stuck with us through some very low points in our history these past two years, he got us some great wins, and with some proper investment, he could have turned AEK into the champions of Greece.

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.

Extended Highlights

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC with tags , , , on May 20, 2010 by alexaek

For those who missed the match or simply would like to see the chances again the video below has the main moments from yesterday’s game.

AEK 2-1 Olympiakos and Im LOVING IT!!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by alexaek

Now, in my opinion we didn’t play the best football we could have but, WHO CARES!!!! It was the last game of the season, what mattered most was the result. And, to top things off, Aris also won which mean Oly finishes fifth in the league! IM LOVING IT!!!!

Alright, as I mentioned in the post before Oly had a very depleted squad. Squad depth was being mentioned as one of their greatest problems and it showed today. They were a weak side and though they did manage to create some dangerous chances up front their defense was nowhere to be found! Some tighter finishing by Blanco/Nemeth/Scocco could have seen us leave the game with a 4-1 victory though Saja kept us in the game in the dying minutes.

We had a perfect start to the game with none other than KOSTAS MANOLAS scoring the first goal six minutes in. However, the celebrating didn’t last too long as Olympiakos tied things up not long after. Never the less, we still managed to keep control of the match despite not creating as many chances as we would have liked. Olympiakos gave us the odd scare throughout the first half but the lack of overall quality on their team was evident and it was obvious that the game was ours for the taking if we came out stronger in the second half (don’t forget, we scored three goals in nine minutes against Aris, all in the second half).

Half time came with the score still tied at 1-1 but not long after the start of the second half AEK were creating chances and pressuring. We saw a bit of everything, two against one, one on ones with the keeper, balls going just wide of the posts on a number of occasions… the ball just never went in. Fortunately, Blanco got the job done with his left foot in the 54th minute and put a nice solid shot right in the Oly net. The guy has been far from great this season but he seemed to remember how to score for that one chance and it was enough to give AEK the win. Despite Olympiakos pressuring we held off the pressure well (thanks largely because of Saja) and after a few tense last minutes Kakos (who reffed a very poor game) blew the final whistle.

Well generally I must say it was obvious we need a stronger midfield. It was not there today at all; we would have a strong line of players in defense and some players up front waiting to attack but nobody was left in the midfield to act as a pivot between the opposite ends. Our wing play was good however (Lagos did very good on the left and Blanco/Georgeas were doing good on the right) and Gentzoglou managed to deliver some dangerous long balls so we still managed to get the ball up enough. However, we were constantly attacked through the middle and it was where Oly created most of their chances (their wing play on the other hand was terrible).

Alexopoulos (who?!?!) got to play some minutes today after being out nearly a year with injury. To be honest, I didn’t see enough of him in particular but he must have been doing his job good enough. Either way, its good to see him back on the team, I always like him and he obviously plays with passion on the pitch.

Manolas left the match early after requesting to be subbed (I will try and find pictures of his black eye which was very large) which meant Jahic had to come back to centre back to fill Manolas’ spot. I must say I was very pleased with Jahic today. Nothing superb but he did the job effectively in defense and seemed alot more reliable than normal.

Unfortunately this didn’t seem to be Nemeth’s best game. He did not have a chance to get as involved in the match, mind you I would never really expect a front three of Scocco-Blanco-Nemeth to work too effectively. Scocco had a good match though from what I saw it took him a while to get involved. Manduca also started quite strong but faded away as the match progressed and eventually started playing a very defensive role.

Alright, enough about that. We can critique all we want but its the last match of the season and things aren’t gonna change now for a while. I have to say I was extremely relieved that no serious incidents broke out with the Originals and the atmosphere in the stadium for the most part was a very good/optimistic/celebratory one. This match was one of the most important ones of the season and it was essential that all energy in the stands was put towards supporting our players and psyching out Olympiakos rather than threatening the coach (Bajevic deserves credit today since I feel he handled everything on the pitch quite well with regards to substitutions and the like).

So, Olympiakos, the team that started with +4 points, finishes last in the playoffs and fifth in the league. In case you didn’t read what I wrote before, IM LOVING IT!!! They start their preseason very early now as their first Europa League qualifying matches begin middle of July. We however, don’t begin ’till late August which gives us plenty of time to prepare and make some transfers.

Some pics below from AEK365. Enjoy.

Close your eyes, may be innapropriate for some viewers! 😛

ALEXOPOULOS!!

Zorro has returned (I believe I've said that a couple of times this season).

Why so sad?

Manolas had to go to the hospital.

THIS IS AEK!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, Europa League, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2010 by alexaek

So, we drew to PAOK and Lost to Oly. Things were looking very bad and people were wondering “what’s wrong with the players???”. Well, I don’t know what was wrong with them but yesterday’s 4-2 win against Aris saw a completely different team on the pitch. Sure, a little late to start playing some football but better late than never and to be honest we still have a chance of getting something worthwhile out of these playoffs if we keep this up.

First of all, I want to say that in three years and over 60+ games that I’ve never missed at OAKA these past seasons I cannot remember even one game where I’ve experienced these many emotions in the span of 90 minutes. There were four red cards throughout the game, a number of yellows, questionable referring, AEK taking the lead, losing it, evening things up, and taking the lead once again. I’m telling you, it was fantastic.

Now enough of that, lets talk about the players. I cannot think of one game this season where we saw our guys go out there with so much passion, not even the win against Oly (though it is a different experience watching on TV and live). I don’t know what happened but these players have woken up, finally realized what shirt they’re wearing, finally realized what exactly is at stake here. We played with passion, we had direction to our play (something that we had sorely been missing the past few matches), we saw a dangerous offense and some phenomenal goal tending, we saw our players do everything they had to to win. Now, I must say Aris were nothing special. In fact, they were terrible, though they still managed to create some very dangerous counter attacks on a number of occasion. However, if AEK had played this way from the start of the playoffs without a doubt we would be in a much different situation right now.

So, the match itself. One could tell from the start it was going to be a rather exciting game. Aris created the first dangerous chance very early on however there was alot of back and forth play between the two teams from the get-go though AEK managed to take control of most of the passion with Aris looking quite weak on the ball. After a number of decent chances for AEK we finally went up with a superb shot from none other than Rafik Djebbour after Scocco’s pass deflected off an Aris defender. The crowd erupted after the goal (though it was a terribly small crowd at OAKA that night the atmosphere was fantastic for the most part) however cheering soon turned to booing after less than ten minutes later Jahic was kicked out for his second yellow. I’ll let you make your own decision from the video below. He is pushed, as he said he was, but it also looks like he intended on having his hand there so its a tricky decision.

Three minutes later the players were even again as Calvo received a red card as well. Again, some say the red was not required, so I personally don’t know. Either way, a yellow was needed since he kicked the ball for no reason. I just can’t remember if that was his second card.

So half time came and went and at the start of the second we were up 1-0. Things changed shortly later however as Saja received a red card for taking down Campora when in reality in was not necessary. Campora scored the penalty and the score was even once again. Regardless, our players never gave up their attack but failing to quickly restore the lead punished them as Aris’ American forward scored another for them to put them up 2-1. Well, by this point tension was building up again in the crowd but once again the fans were up and cheering  when Leonardo scored only three minutes later. Two more goals followed, a penalty by Scocco and a header by Leonardo, giving AEK three goals in nine minutes and a 4-2 lead.

So, a few players in particular deserve credit (actually, pretty much almost the whole team). Firstly, Gentzoglou! Wow, the kid is still young but, as is the case with Manolas (who didn’t play today because of an injury of some sort), he plays like someone with ten years experience at this level. He has a great vision, and holds up the ball expertly.

Saja and Arabatzis. Both of these guys had great games yesterday. Saja, until he got kicked out, was solid, but Arabatzis was just incredible! Made a number of critical and phenomenal saves to keep AEK in the game.

Leonardo. Now, I know this guy hasn’t been a star this season, but yesterday was a fantastic performance from him. Aside from his two goals he was fighting with passion and was dangerous when on the ball.

Scocco, who scored and had two assists yesterday, and Djebbour, both played very good games. I was surprised to see the level of passion coming from Scocco, but it seems even he wanted nothing less than a win. Djebbour scored a goal and played a killer pass for Kafes to set up Leonardo. The guy’s technical skills are among the best in the league and it would be a terrible loss if we got rid of him this summer. I hope management acknowledge this fact.

Aside from these select players, I want to give credit to the whole team for playing hard despite the heat and being down two players for quite a while. I also want to give Dusan credit since he clearly knew what he was doing when he put Leonardo in and I can’t complain about any of his choices yesterday considering the absence of Manolas and the number of cards the players received.

Okay, so we got a fantastic win and one much needed for the players and the fans. Will we keep up this level of play? I hope so, because of we do we can definately get second place in the playoffs and quite possibly first if we have a little luck and PAOK loses where they should.

As of right now the standings are PAOK with 10 points, Oly with 7, AEK with 5, and Aris with 3.

AEKARA!!!!