Archive for Europa League

AEK 0-1 Saint Etienne

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League with tags , , , on August 4, 2016 by alexaek

I really thought we had a chance of winning this one, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. The team deserves credit first and foremost though; we went into this game as clear underdogs, if only because of our lack of European football in recent years. After the two games though, its clear that neither team really stood out as significantly better than the other as it was only one lucky goal which made the difference.

We didn’t have luck on our side for this match ever since the news broke out that Johansson might be missing the game. Late last night I read that the outlook for him had become more positive and there was hope he might just manage to be match fit for the game but in the end he wasn’t, and we suffered greatly without him on the pitch. To be honest, I don’t think Ketsbaia handled his absence and you’ll probably find most people saying the same thing. To try and fill the massive void left by Johansson, Ketsbaia started with Lambropoulos in the middle along aside Simoes. This clearly turned out to be a rather poor choice as the gap in midfield was a big part of why we struggled to get a rhythm going. I know many people have been saying that Tzanetopoulos should have started in Lambropoulos’ place but I’m not so sure we would have been any better off. I know Tzanetopoulos has played that position a couple times before, but that was against far easier opposition. It was just as big a risk with both players and considering Lambropoulos looked alright in pre-season friendlies, I can’t blame Ketsbaia too much for his choice.

Its unfortunate that we had to bow out of Europe so early on, especially when we had such a good chance of going through just before the game started. Dwelling on the past and thinking about what could have been can only get us so far though so I think its worth looking at some of the positives for the game. Though I only managed to catch bits of it, one player who absolutely stood out for me (again) was Chygrynskiy. He has been proving himself lately and today was no exception. I went to watch Roma play a friendly yesterday against Montreal and watching Chygrynskiy after watching Roma less than 24 hours ago really made me feel as if I was watching De Rossi again. I know De Rossi and Chygrynskiy play two different positions but the way they both handle things on the pitch, in a calm and no-nonsense kind of way, really stood out to me.

The other biggest positive I can take from the game is, yet again, our supporters. Considering the match was on a weekday and in the peak of the summer holiday season, it was a pretty respectable sized crowd. What made me even happier to hear though was how the team was applauded at the end of the match. At the end of the day, the team is still building and transitioning from the turmoil of the past four years and it makes me happy to see that now, when the team needs it most, our supporters are still for them. We might not have the strongest AEK we’ve seen in years, but we definitely have a decent team that can beat any other team in the league on a good day. Combine that with solid support throughout the season and I think we could be in for some great games.

Highlights from today:

And for anyone who hasn’t seen the match in France yet, you can catch it in its entirety here:

Saint Etienne 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League with tags , , , on July 28, 2016 by alexaek

December 14th, 2011: AEK beat Sturm Graz in what would be our last European match in almost five years. Well, we are finally back where we belong! I know we’ll never be a European power house, but its safe to say that we deserve to at least have a presence on the European stage. The atmosphere our supporters create, some of the big teams we’ve managed to beat, it all goes to show that AEK are a worthwhile club to feature in a European competition and after today, we are that much closer to finally being back in the group stages.

Theres still a lot of work to be done but after today, I think I can take a deep breath and relax a bit. The tie is far from over but to head to OAKA on equal footing gives me a lot of reason to be cautiously optimistic. Of course the away goal would have made things that much easier for us too but what makes me happier than the result was the performance the team put in.

We were solid defensively, both on set plays but also when the ball was moving. Most of the chances Saint Etienne managed to muster were far shots which Anestis was able to deal with quite comfortably. When Saint Etienne did manage to get a ball in the box, Chygyrinsky was always there to make sure nothing happened. We were also able to count on Kolovetsios when needed and both Galo and Didac did a great job of getting the ball up the wings.

We held our ground nicely in the midfield too as Simoes and Johansson did all they could to stamp their authority on the match. In fact, pretty much from our net up to midfield was almost always in our control and when Saint Etienne did manage to get forward, we never looked too shaky at all. I have to give a lot of credit to Ketsbaia here for this. During our friendlies we looked okay but it was hard to tell how the team would handle under pressure since we never faced any particularly strong opposition. Today proved though that we’re on the right track and players are starting to understand both each other, and the playing style Ketsbaia wants to see from them.

The only disappointing aspect of our play would have to be our offense. We did manage to create some chances, but our finishing was still letting us down. Having said that, scoring many goals was never the main priority today compared to holding Saint Etienne at bay (which we successfully did), so I’m not too worried. I’m sure we’ll see a much more spirited attack on the return match in front of our supporters.

All said and done it was a very promising return to Europe. Considering we had a few new players on the pitch today as well as a new coach with a very different approach from what we were used to, it has to be said that the team did well for not only their first competitive match of the season, but also the first European game in so long. There would undoubtedly have been some pressure on our players, not least of all because we were playing one of the favourites of the 3rd qualifying round, but they showed little sign of it. In fact, I’d say going into the next game that both teams are 50/50 now with no clear favourite between the two.

 

As usual, a great display from our supporters on the European stage. Hopefully we’ll see plenty more scenes like these:

f5d7651006edd426f3d079daa6191cc9_471678

67f873643da356e472ec165318b3e394_471678

AEK 3-0 MKP Pogon (Plus the Europa League draw)

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League with tags , , , , on July 15, 2016 by alexaek

We played our final pre-season friendly in Poland against 2nd division side MKP Pogon. First half didn’t show all that much life though it sounded like we at least created a few more chances than we did in the previous game. Second half of the game however saw a much improved AEK that was eager to attack and it paid off when we scored three goals. Platellas scored the first, Bakakis (his first goal with AEK) the second, and an own goal for the third.

Since the game yesterday the team has returned to Athens for a short break before they get back to work. They’ll certainly need to work hard after learning that our first opponent for Europa League will be Saint Etienne. Of all the teams that we could have been drawn against, Saint Etienne were one of the teams I was really hoping we would avoid.

I’ve been browsing some Saint Etienne forums and their supporters seem as worried about playing AEK as I am about us playing them which I was surprised to see. It won’t be easy at all, I can say that much. But I also feel that its definitely not impossible. We seem to have a decent defense so far so if we can hold off for a draw in France, we could definitely sneak a win in Athens and progression to the next round.

Something that gives me hope is the fact that Marseille is relatively close to Saint Etienne. I’m definitely expecting some Marseille supporters to lend a hand in the stands with our own supporters.

Anderlecht 4-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2011 by alexaek

Yep. Not looking good for us.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much at all from this match. However, after seeing our players give it their all for much of the first half, I almost felt like we had a chance for the three points. But sadly fatigue, and terrible goaltending (if it can even be called that?) meant that any hard work we may have put in during the first half was soon forgotten.

Quite a few points can be taken from the match, the first of our Europa League Group Stage campaign:

1. Our supporters are simply the best. In a stadium of that size, during a financial crisis like the one they’re experiencing right now back in Greece, they still managed to get enough out to Brussells to easily outsing the home fans.

2. Konstantopoulos MUST NOT play for AEK. Ever. Again. I never had a problem with him, seems like a great guy, and might be a decent keeper for a second division side. But he’s terrible. And he easily could have kept us in this game today had he been bothered to try and make some saves.

I really hope this is the last we see of him for a while. There is no reason Arabatzis should be on the bench. I am confident the score would have been even going into half time had he been between the posts.

3. We can’t keep up with teams like these. The pressure we applied during the first half was great, but when you have players like Dellas, Libe, and Eidur all on the same starting XI, there is no way they can last the entire 90 minutes. Beleck should have started in Eidur’s place today with Jose Carlos starting in Libe’s place. As much as I respect both players (Libe more so than Eidur), they do not have what it takes any longer to keep up.

4. We desperately need Makos and Kafes back. Gentz was not good enough today, and failed to gain any control in the midfield. Thankfully Leo and Vargas were able to handle the ball distribution, but Lagos and Gentz could not compete with Anderlect’s midfield. And that was where we ended up losing most of the game.

5. WHAT A GOAL BY LEO! I’ll be forgetting about this game quickly, but our only goal today, scored by Leonardo, was a beauty. One of the best Ive seen all week (and that’s saying something considering the Benfica-Man U game yesterday itself had two beauties scored).

So. Poor start. Terrible start, rather. But what really hurts with this loss is that, with better goalkeeping, the match could have gone in a completely different direction. It was obvious, however, that we’re lacking in quality, simple as that. We’ll see what the other games bring us. Sure, its early. And things could get better… but I dont see it happening.

And to make things worse,  Manolas (our best player today along with Leonardo) picked up a silly and unnecessary red card today. Yep, we’ll be without him and Makos for the next match. Lovely.

And a slightly off topic note, but I was very pleased to finally hear an English speaking commentator on my stream who A) actually knew AEK and B) could actually pronounce the names correctly. Definitely the first time Ive ever heard an English commentator pronounce “Georgeas” correctly.

Half Time Dundee 0-1 AEK!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , on August 19, 2010 by alexaek

Djebbour scored an early goal ten minutes into the first half to put us up 1-0. First subsitution for AEK, Nathan Burns coming on for Leonardo. Fantastic support from the AEK fans despite being largely outnumbered by Scottish supporters.

Some Unfortunate Events This Week

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2009 by alexaek

We lost 2-1 to Benfica yesterday in a game which made no difference to either side (Bate beat Everton 1-0 away). The funny thing here, however, is despite this match meaning nothing to AEK (except a little pride) we saw some pleasing football from our players.

Benfica hit the post on a penalty early on which kept us in the game for quite a while but our luck didn’t last too long as Benfica scored two goals (the first one took a nasty bounce though Saja still should have been able to save it) without response from AEK. However, we kept the pressure on and at times we had total control of the match. This led to many chances including an agonizing post by Hersi and a missed one on one with Kafes. Eventually, one of our chances did make it in the net, with Blanco scoring the goal. It wasn’t anything special but at least it was a sing of the old Blanco we know (the one that would get the ball in the back of the net no matter what).

So, we got nothing from this game, but at least we saw some promising football. Whether we will keep up this football, however, is another question.

So, now for the worse news. Firstly, Goumas, one of the shareholders of AEK, gave up his shares to the Amateurs, which now means they have 44%! He also gave them 1.5 million euros to ensure that the players get paid.

Thanopoulos was insulted in the lack of trust they were showing towards him and has now resigned.

The players were all sick with a stomach virus (Makos was throwing up in the locker rooms at half time yesterday) and now it looks like many of them wont be able to play on Sunday against Tripolis. AEK is trying to get the match postpned so we will have to wait and see what happens there.

So, a pretty terrible week is coming to an end right before the holidays. Let’s see if things get any worse in the upcoming days.

AEK 2-2 BATE

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2009 by alexaek

So, one point from a game where it won’t really do much to help us. In reality though, we could have come away with all three points had we managed to score one more of our chances, or had Saja not made a terrible mistake that the goalkeeper on my own amateur team would likely avoid.

Well, AEKBaltimore will watch the match on TV soon, since I believe he recorded it, and I’m not sure if AEKMAN74 watched as well. I watched from the stadium and have yet to see a highlights show so I can only comment on what I saw from my seats.

We got off to a dream start, literally. Actually, I didn’t imagine we would get a better start, I thought it was too good to be true. We scored the opener in the 15th second. Yes, thats rights, 15th second, not minute! A record for a Greek team in European competitions, and perhaps a record in the new Europa League.

We got off to a great start, but the game was quickly back in the balance with both teams having a few chances if I remember correctly. Unfortunately, we conceded next, after a mistake from Nsaliwa I believe (remember, we had Majstorovic out for this one), and we were again next to conceed after a poor clearance from Saja was controlled by a BATE player who scored an open net shot from 45 meters out.

The Originals starting singing chants against the players, but I was glad to see the rest of the stadium boo them, telling them to get out. Our players were trying, and Saja’s mistake was one that could happen to any keeper. We had no coach for this one, players were out, they were still holding in.

Second half came on and it was clear our players were going for nothing less than three points. By full time we had three posts but no goals from them.

Manduca scored before the half time mark. Other than that, I cant remember any other facts, hopefully one of our other two posters will have some more news to say, but I cant remember much else. My heart was going crazy with all the chances we missed, I couldnt keep track of what was happening.