Archive for Georgeas

Ermionidas 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, Football League with tags , , , , , on December 14, 2014 by alexaek

I guess all good things must, unfortunately, come to an end. I was not expecting our win streak to come to an end after winning the previous match 7-0, but I suppose a loss would have made things worse.

Sounds like the entire day was simply not the best, partly due to (and this certainly is no excuse for the draw, though it doesn’t help either) the terrible condition of the pitch in which we had to play. My father told me that the stadium was so bad that, at times, when the ball was kicked too far it would end up on the streets… I can’t help but remember how many times that happened during breaks at school.

I do wish I had some good news at this point, but things only seem to get worse. Not only will we be forced to sit out Cordero during one of our upcoming matches due to having accumulated too many yellow cards, but Barbosa also suffered an injury during today’s match which saw him have to leave the game. Not sure yet what the status is regarding the injury, and how long he’ll be out for, but I do hope hes back soon as he seems to have found some form over the past couple games.

The critique from AEK365 was not too positive, especially compared to last week’s critique. Players in all positions, except for keeper Anestis, seemed to have played rather poorly. Georgeas, who had been out for quite a while, failed to make a good impression and was unfortunately considered one of our weaker players on the pitch. Hopefully that’s more a matter of lack of playing time rather than anything else, though I do fear his playing days may soon be coming to an end.

AO Peristeriou 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK with tags , , , on October 5, 2013 by alexaek

Unfortunate we couldn’t get all three points here, especially considering the amount of chances we had (again!).

There was much complaining about the officiating throughout the match, and the game had to be delayed at least once as a result of the assistant referee not feeling safe (apparently there were no police present for quite a while and there were fears that AEK supporters would storm the pitch). I haven’t been able to see every call but apparently a number of the calls being made were very questionable. Two goals were called off for offside (apparently the second one was a good call) and a number of poor offside calls were made throughout the match.

The ratings of our players from what Ive seen were not the best, though Georgeas, for the second week in a row, apparently played a fairly solid match (according to the AEK365 ratings at least). Argiriou also apparently played a good game, which is good news considering in the last few friendlies of the season, our defense was what was letting the team down.

Yet again the support by our fans was outstanding, and we far outnumbered the home supporters (not saying much I guess, considering who we were playing). Hopefully we get another good crowd at OAKA this weekend.

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.

PAOK-AEK Live Updates

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by alexaek

I’ll try to keep some live updates of the match here for those without a way to watch it. From what I know, the three links below will show a stream of the match:

http://aektv.weebly.com/

http://aektv.weebly.com/aektv2.html

http://aektv.weebly.com/aektv1.html

I’ll add more streams if I come across any.

PAO is currently beating Oly Volou 2-0 with about twenty minutes to go. I was hoping PAO would lose this one or it would end up in a draw but our fate is still entirely in our hands (the match has now ended with a 3-0 victory for PAO). Either way, tonight will be a huge game.

Our starting XI for the match includes Saja, Georgeas, Manolas, Dellas, Karabellas, Makos, Michel, Diop, Lagos, Scocco, and Blanco. Arabatzis, Nasuti, Mateos, Roger, Leonardo, Dadomo, and Baha are the substitutes.

Game has started. PAOK came close off a free kick about three minutes in.

PAOK seem to have much more control of the game than they did over the weekend so far (only six minutes in).

Great chance for AEK after a defensive error by PAOK but Scocco couldn’t get a good delivery into the box.

GOOOAL! Scocco! 13th minute!! Long rage free kick, tricky bounce in front of Chalkias.

Saja playing risky at the back so far. I hope he tightens up.

Huge chance for PAOK with a critical save by Saja. And another huge chance for AEK in the 22nd. Blanco is in the mood for scoring it seems, hopefully he’ll keep up his good record in Toumba.

Freekick for PAOK in a very dangerous location. 1-1, 28th minute after Garcia’s freekick finds it way under our wall and into the bottom corner of the net.

Flares on the pitch at the 31st minute so the ref has temporarily paused the match. It seems it will continue again.

Good header from Dellas off of a corner in the 33rd, save from Chalkias.

Penalty for PAOK, and goal. 2-1.

Very close chance for AEK off a Blanco header in the 38th minute, ball wasn’t directed well enough.

We are very shaky at the back so far.

Half time, 2-1 for PAOK. Not nearly good enough from us, far too many mistakes. We’ve still managed to create chances, but we must tighten up for the second half.

Nice shot from Michel after being set up by Blanco, just out.

Close for PAOK after a Vierinha shot rebounded off of Georgeas’ foot.

First substitution of the match, Baha on for Lagos. And now Leonardo on for Blanco. And I must say, the diving by the paok players is really getting quite ridiculous.

Red card for Makos.

Third change, Roger on for Scocco. Can’t say Im too happy about this choice.

Red card for Garcia. Disgusting behaviour from him as usual, but this is the worst Ive seen yet from that animal.

2-1, fulltime.

A Fine Weekend To Be AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2011 by alexaek

So, just a little over a week after we won our first Cup in so many years (despite the rather depressing events which followed after the match), us AEK fans were treated to yet another pleasing weekend. This time, however, the attention was not only on our football team, but also our Handball guys, a group of players who have fought hard and gave everything they had to offer to the club for the past three years. Saturday afternoon, our players took on PAOK in Thesaloniki, a match which was a must win if they wanted to claim the Championship. And, as is the norm recently, AEK emerged victorious over our rivals from the North. That’s right folks, only six years after our handball club was formed, we, for the first time in our history, are champions of Greece!

I went to wait for the players last night in Nea Filadelfia along with thousands of other AEK supporters and though the bus’ arrival was delayed by AEK fans from all over Greece (almost literally, as the bus had to make numerous stops on its way down so supporters could congratulate the players), the players received a reception that only true Champions deserve! It wasn’t until about 2:30 in the morning that the bus arrived in Filadelfia, along with a caravan of motorcycles and flares from fans who greeted the bus at the tolls outside Athens, but the celebrations were phenomenal. The entire street outside the offices of the Amateur division of AEK which runs the handball club was blocked off by bon fires and thousands of AEK fans who sang non stop for the entire hour or so that I was there after the bus arrived (and they were still singing when I left at 3:30) while the players were on the balcony of the offices with the trophy, joining in the celebrations as well. And I’ll tell everyone reading this post one thing: These players on our handball teams are true AEK supporters, people who love the club as much as we do! I hope they, along with us, will always remember this day, as it was a true celebration of what it means to be AEK!

As for the match itself, it was close, very close. We managed to take a firm lead quite early in the game thanks to some fantastic attacking, however PAOK slowly managed to cut back the lead as the match progressed. Towards the end, however, PAOK actually managed to take the lead, and with only 15 seconds left, they were leading 22-21. However, AEK, who refused to give up, managed to tie the game up at 22-22- with only seven seconds left before the one and only Christoforos Bakaoukas scored the game winning goal to clinch the Championship! I honestly can’t think of a better way to win the championship than by beating PAOK in their own home in such a way. If you watch the video below, you even see the PAOK fans calling their players champions as they were so sure the win was theirs.

So, on to football. We started the game (at the lovely time of 9:45 on a Sunday night) knowing PAOK had beaten PAO 2-1 in Toumba, meaning a win for us would bring us to first place in the playoffs. I’m not sure if this was what the players were thinking, or maybe they were inspired by their cup win last weekend, but they came out strong and seemed intent on showing no mercy to the scum team from Volos. Lovely passing football and complete control of the match was all we saw from AEK from the first 10 minutes or so, with Leonardo playing a very active role in the match from early on. For the most part, our positioning was superb and the players were really gelling well together, with Leonardo forcing the ball into the box with his runs and Michel distributing superbly.

As the game progressed the tempo did drop slightly, though Olympiakos Volou rarely managed to gain much of an upperhand. Having said that, and despite the pressure we were applying, we still urgently needed a goal. Sure, we were playing some attractive football, and the players were clearly doing things right, but in front of the net we were simply not good enough for much of the match. The fact that our only goal of the match came from a penalty is an obvious indicator of this. However, I feel its too early to worry. We were creating chances, we came very close on a number of times and even hit the cross bar on one occasion, and with a bit more confidence and decisiveness in front of goal, we shouldn’t have as much of a hard time scoring in our upcoming matches.

And while I’m on the topic of scoring (or lack of), I feel obliged to bring up a certain player by the name of Nabil Baha. USELESS. He could hardly run after the first half, was clearly not match fit (or possibly just lazy), and missed two clear goalscoring opportunities (opportunities which Blanco would have had no problem scoring). I thank Baha for his goal in the Cup final, but the guy cannot play for us anymore. What Jimenez sees in him I will never know, but I really hope to see Blanco start the next match instead of him.

As for the rest of our players, a handful in my opinion deserve much credit. Dellas, Manolas, Georgeas, Michel, and Diop all played vital roles in our win today. Dellas brings experience to our team that very few players could provide while Manolas alongside him at centre back was simply solid in defending. Georgeas, though he may have been slightly sloppy at times, provided another dimension to our play down the right flank and, as always, defended with passion. Diop was simply solid at the back, providing cover for our defenders and midfielders. Also may have been sloppy and careless at times, but he still manages to hold on to the ball well, win it back when we lose it, and is always moving, always looking to do something, whether it be winning the ball back or providing cover for a player. Michel also provided a vital role today as his ball distribution was by far the best of anyone else today. He may not have played many fancy defense ripping through balls like Rivaldo, but his passes were always calculated and well placed.

Unfortunately, Libe was forced to leave the match as he picked up an injury. I have no idea at the moment how serious it is, or if he will be ready for the next match, however I truly hope we will be match fit by next Thursday as we will definitely be lacking without him up front.

So, not sure what else should be mentioned. First place in the playoffs and it looks like were heading in the right direction if we want to reach Champions League qualification. PAO were simply dreadful in their game with PAOK, so to be honest, I’m kind of looking forward to our game with them on Thursday because I’m confident we can get a win if we play solid.

Its getting late here, so tomorrow I’ll upload some videos and pictures from the celebrations in Nea Filadelfia.

Atromitos 0-3 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2011 by alexaek

Alright, so I’m not sure whether I should start with the positives, or the negatives from this match. Either way, I’m sure most of you have read about yesterday’s events by now.

So, the big day had come. For months I had been waiting for it, as I’m certain you all have also, and slowly the hours passed by, one by one, until it was time to finally head off to OAKA for my first time in almost five months. To be honest with you, I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about AEK match, possibly one of the derbies with Olympiakos from last season. Either way, we finally reached the stadium and things were looking good. Two hours before the game and already a very large crowd of AEK fans were there, with many more coming by the minute. Soon enough, both sections started to fill, ours with AEK fans, and the Atromitos one with their own fans who had arrived slower than us since they were forced to make their way to OAKA by organized busses. The atmosphere was fantastic from the start and I was feeling more pumped up than I ever had… however, the incidents began early. First it started with two AEK fans running to the Atromitos section to steal a banner (which they managed to do). Of course, Atromitos supports refused to sit back and let them get away with it, so some of their fans made their way onto the track surrounding the pitch. By this time however, a number of AEK supporters made their way to the Atromitos section and sure if enough some fighting occured, forcing the cops to get involved.

It wasn’t a pretty sight, however, who can say they weren’t expecting it. My father  even said what we saw at the beginning wasn’t even close to what was experienced at AEK-OLY cup final a couple years ago…

Alright, so a few fights, flares (some being shot from flare guns) being thrown by each set of fans, however, eventually, the situation was brought under control and the game was allowed to start. The rest of the match (which I’ll discuss later) went on without too much trouble from what I remember. Sure, a couple minor incidents here and there I may have forgotten about, but before the end, the only incident worth mentioning that I can recall was the stoppage of the match for a few minutes due to flare smoke. Again, this was to be expected, its happened before, and if this was the only thing that happened, I would not have even considered it a big deal. Kakos eventually allowed the match to continue (possibly a little too soon in my opinion as the smoke obviously still managed to cause trouble for our guys in defence), and again, we managed to see some more football without too much trouble.

However, and this where the worst of it all began, towards the end a few fans (I prefer to refer to these guys as hooligans but fans is simply involves less writing) began making their way onto the pitch yet again. Why the cops sat by and let them walk around I do not know. Of course, these few fans were joined by others, and before we knew it, 50, 75, maybe 100 had made their way onto the track without even allowing the match to finish. And, knowing the trouble these guys have caused before (as well as similar thugs from pao, oly, paok, panionios… any team in this country for the most part), its safe to say a handful of them weren’t simply waiting to celebrate. Now, the match was stopped with around 5 or so minutes of extra time left to play, though I can’t remember if riots had started before the match had finished, or Kakos simply felt it wasn’t safe to play with so many fans so near to the pitch (by this time it was considerably above 100 fans, and many were literally on the pitch). So, Kakos blew his whistle, fans stormed the pitch (they were bound to any second now regardless of if Kakos had blown or not), some went to cheer on the players, some attacked police, some attacked Atromitos players, other attacked Atromitos fans, and from what I heard, many were attacking members of the Atromitos vips (though, I didn’t see this from where I was sitting… doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, my attention was just elsewhere at the time). Nobody was really sure if the match was called for fulltime, or if Kakos had intended for the players to return to the pitch to finish the remaining few minutes of extra time… either way, the pitch was no longer able to played on, adverts along the side and camera equipment was destroyed, and the nets had been completely torn off, so eventually the match was finally called, and AEK was awarded the cup…

Yes, we were awarded the cup, but by the end of the match I was in no way pleased or happy with what had happened. Even when we went to Nea Filadelfia after the match to join in with the celebrations, I simply couldn’t. Having said that, I often have to take a step back and consider everything else. Yes, some embarassing events took place, probably the worst I have ever witnessed, but we came a long way to reach this cup final, beating Larissa, PAOK, and PAO on the way here. Our players, especially guys like Georgeas, Dellas, Kafes, others, and, most importantly, LIBE, also deserved this cup. I know we had a terrible season, but some of these players have been with us for a while. Some were with us when our championship was taken away in ’08, others were with us when the Cup which was so close to being ours was snatched from our hands in ’09… nobody deserved some silverware more than some of these players.

And us fans, who have seen our team come so close to winning a trophy many times the past two decades, we also deserved this. But we deserved to enjoy it under better circumstances, without having a few thugs ruin it for the rest of us. I know its hard for me to feel completely satisfied with this Cup, though Im sure in a few days my anger at what happened will die down and I’ll be able to appreciate it more. Also, I do apologize for the fans who were more excited about it then I am, sorry to be so depressed about it all 😛

Now, I said I’d talk about the match itself a bit, so I will do so. It wasn’t a great game of football by any means. Both teams took their time to make any impression, neither team seemed to want to risk much early on, and it was a while before the match developed any sort of pace. Despite a few chances being created, it wasn’t until later in the first half that the first goal was score by none other than the one and only, LIBEROPOULOS. A perfect cross from Scocco (left foot as well) leaving Libe with a perfect ball to head in to the net. Nothing made me happier than seeing this man, who has given everything for AEK, score the opener. There was talk of offside after the game… firstly, as if I care. With the number of onside goals we’ve had called for offside, with the number of favourable offside calls the reds (sure, others teams also, but we all know its mostly for the reds) have received, see if I care if its offside or not. This league is a joke, and now these reds, the biggest bandwaggon hypocrites to ever exist in the history of sport, have the nerve to call us out on this one goal? I have some words to say to them but I wont do so here.

Either way, offside or not, AEK were always clear favourites, despite what others may say. Sure, this is football. Its a beautiful sport where anything can happen, but all AEK needed to do was come out and play some decent football against a mediocre opponent and the result would take care of itself. And thats exactly what happened. Two goals, one from Baja and a beauty from Kafes, clinched the victory for us later in the second half. And had AEK came out stronger, and played the beautiful football we’ve seen her play in the past, the score would have been an embarrassment for Atromitos. Regardless, fair play to Atromitos (lets not get started on their coach though). They had to go just as far as we did to make it to the final, and for that alone they deserve some respect. They also came out and weren’t afraid to risk a bit during the game… there were certainly a few moments when they came very close to scoring.

Anyways, thats all I have to say. We won the Cup. We deserve it, even though I really can’t enjoy it as much as I’d like to. Ill post some videos and pictures later on. Please leave any comments in the comments section, I’d love to heard what all of you have to say for the game.

THIS IS AEK!!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by alexaek

Im pretty sure Ive used that title before but Im going to use it again because I feel it works for the occasion. Today, in the same stadium, against the same team we so miserably drew 0-0 with five days ago, we witnessed a performance from AEK that was unlike anything we’ve seen yet this season (in my opinion). Why? Maybe because Manolo decided to make the changes that were needed soon enough (some of the changes most of us were calling for before the last game as well!)…

I don’t know how start off other than by saying we were superb! We dominated them in the midfield, in their own end… we out passed them, we were better lined out tactically, our players were up for the task at hand, and it was just all around a wonderful game from our boys. The score line of 4-0 certainly suggests the same however to be honest the match could have very easily ended up with a few more goals for AEK.

Saja? Didn’t have to do much to be honest… I may have missed a few bits here and there but from what I saw our defense did most of the dirty work, forcing Saja to have very little to deal with.

Our defense? I don’t know what to say, but I loved everything our defense today represented. Passion and experience from Georgeas and Dellas, young talent from Mateos, and hard  work and dedication from Karabelas… it was enough to get the job done, and with ease. The Mateos-Dellas combination at centre back is one Im really a fan of and I hope Manolo keeps going with it… I feel the two compliment each other very well when on the pitch. Georgeas had a wonderful assist on Scocco’s first goal today and did everything he needed to, just like every match he plays in. I realise he never was and certainly never will be an outstanding talent in terms of wing backs, but he plays with some much heart and has a great understanding of the game, something which many other players lack… ultimately though, it leads to us seeing the most we can from him both in terms of going forward and defending. Karabelas also had a good game and to be honest, Ive been quite pleased with him this season. He’s another player who always puts the effort in, his crosses have been improving, and I see him getting involved in plays far more often (though that may just be me).

In midfield we had Michel, Diop, Makos, and Guerreiro and it was a combination which worked! I just hope Manolo takes note and doesn’t change things come next match. To be honest, I don’t remember Makos standing out today however, poor streams means I missed some of the match. I did read that he played very well so I guess I just overlooked him. The same I would have to say for Michel… in fact it was Diop and Guerreiro who stood out today (that’s not to say Michel and Makos didn’t do their job, they most certainly must have considering the way we controlled things in the midfield today).

Before going in to specifics, I’d like to just say that our midfield as a whole was almost perfect today. It was as if they all were on the same page with each other… positioning, passing, defending, moving the ball around and controlling it when needed, we were doing everything we could to control the play and create when the opportunity arose, and our activity inside the PAOK box today suggests the same (compared to how rarely we broke their defense down just five days ago). Diop has certainly been bringing his best with him recently and he was finally rewarded today with a goal (after hitting the post twice last match). Roger brought the creativity we so desperately lacked last match and to see the whole team played when he was in control was wonderful. Id also like to point out that his set pieces are superb. A free kick and a corner he took today both led to goals and every ball he was sending in the box was perfect.

Up front things got interesting, with Blanco starting and Scocco playing a free role alongside him. At the end of the match Scocco said he finally played his best position after two and a half years and his two goals (both classic Scocco goals) support what he said. Ive thought about how he would be up front before and Im glad to see it tried out… with Guerreiro taking control of things behind the forwards, I think we can afford to see Scocco up front. Blanco played well and tried hard to get a goal to his name but things just didn’t work out for him today… I still hope to see him start next match, and especially in Toumba… he always seems to find a way to score up there 🙂

Also, our fourth goal came from Dellas… a lovely timed run resulted in him latching on to Guerreiro’s cross before PAOK’s keeper could get his hands to it. Fantastic seeing him get on the score board today.

I must say, looking at our goals scored today, we saw two goals scored with headers (shows we have options in the box from both Diop and Dellas, as well as Libe when fit), a goal from from team work and crisp passing, and a goal created from some fantastic individual talent (as well as good decision making from Michel)… overall a perfect set of goals scored today, clearly showing how we took control of the game today in every aspect.

Now, will we see the same thing from our boys the next matches coming up? I suppose some of that depends on Manolo, but things are going well and after today only a fool would tinker with the team further. The win today sees PAOK remain further behind while we reclaim third (however Oly Volou and Kavala are not far behind) and PAO’s slip against Larissa means if we keep putting in solid performances, we could end up in a decent position come play off time.

However, what I hope for more than anything is that we go to Toumba and play exactly like we played today. If we do, the qualification to the final is ours WITHOUT A DOUBT. Even in Toumba, this PAOK team today will have no chance if we play the way we did.

FORZA AEKARA!!!! Vamos Bien!

4-0... its been a while since we've seen that scoreline!