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.