Archive for Hugo Almeida

AEK 3-0 Larissa

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Jimenez with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2017 by alexaek

How long has it been since we’ve seen an AEK team playing with this much confidence and organization? I know, I might be getting carried away a bit, but its hard not too. We have an AEK team that is finally able to go into every game as favourites again, we have an AEK team that is finding ways to score and most importantly, for the first time in a while we have a team that is getting win after win.

Jimenez first and foremost deserves some credit for finding a way to turn this team around. Our last loss, the 3-2 loss to Panaitolikos, was the last game before Jimenez took control of the team. Since then, we’ve played nine games with three of those games ending as draws and six ending as wins for AEK. What is more impressive though is the fact that in the nine games that Jimenez has been in charge, we’ve scored twenty one goals and conceded only two. How that is even possible considering how poor our form was before Jimenez’s arrival is beyond me, but I’m not going to question what is clearly a working formula.

Yesterday’s game was yet another example of how things seem to finally be looking up for us. We opened the scoring with a header from Pekhart, something which I was especially happy to see since it had been a while since Pekhart scored and I was starting to wonder when he’d find his scoring ways again.

The scoring continued with yet another header, this time from Chygrynskiy. Despite being out for quite a while due to injury, the Ukrainian centre back returned in the best possible way with his goal. It wasn’t only Chygrynkskiy though who was returning to action and finding the net on their first appearance in a while. Almeida, the player who showed so much promise on the first game of the season only to see injuries affect his form drastically also returned to action and found the back of the net. As with the previous two goals scored during the game, Almeida’s was also scored with a header though this time following a beautiful ball in by Ajdarevic and a perfectly timed run by Almeida.

A couple things worth noting:

  • We still haven’t seen Vanjes and Chygrynskiy play together, but I can only imagine how solid our defense will be once their both playing alongside each other. All credit to Lambropoulos and Kolovetsios though for doing what has been needed of them
  • We managed to get yesterday’s result despite having a number of key players in the starting XI. In fact, almost our whole bench featured players who would normally be starters (Barkas, Araujo, Chygrynskiy, Ajdarevic, Simoes, and Almeida). This says a lot about the depth we all knew this team had. It seems as though we can finally really take advantage of it.

 

We’re clearly not in the title race at this stage of the game (though Panionios is causing quite the stir as they are starting to get awfully close to Olympiakos after a historic 1-0 win in Piraeus) but with the form we’ve managed to find lately, I’m at least feeling pretty good about our chances in the playoffs. With our recent wins we now find ourselves two points behind Panathinaikos and four behind PAOK and that can all change depending on how we fare when we play our remaining two derbies. Its never as much fun when you’re playing for 2nd rather than going for the title, but at least we now have a team that we can enjoy watching from now until the rest of the season. Who knows, maybe the playoffs might even be exciting to watch this year.

Highlights of the goals below:

And another behind the scenes video, this time from yesterday’s game against Larissa. I’ve really enjoyed the behind the scenes clips this season:

 

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PAOK 1-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Derby, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2016 by alexaek

Referee Mistakes Play Huge Role This Weekend

After an eventful Atromitos-Olympiakos macthup the day before which saw many questionable refereeing decisions go Olympiakos’ way, it was another poor call which ultimately led to PAOK’s extra time winner.

It was a shame really since AEK could have and really should have come away from this game with the point, a result which in all honesty I would have been pleased with considering how we fared in our last derby. We started the game with much more control than we did when we faced Olympiakos and while we never fully looked like the stronger team on the pitch, it was clear that the team had at least some kind of a game plan compared to that awful night in Karaiskaki a little while back.

I have to give credit to Morais. Just a few hours before the game, it was announced the Chyrgrinsky would have to sit the game out after picking up an illness. The loss of easily our best defender would be enough to worry any player and manager but the team didn’t seem bothered by his absence at all. In fact, it has to be said that both Kolovetsios and Lambropopoulos did very well to handle the numerous attacks that PAOK sent forward. What I was very pleased to see was the no-nonsense approach of the centre backs who opted to simply place the ball out of play rather than go for a risky move when such an option came around.

Lambropoulos specifically deserves a lot of credit for his performance today, handling himself very well in a high pressure situation despite having some rather terrible outings in an unnatural position for him earlier this season. He hadn’t had it easy before Morais’ arrival, with Ketsbaia insisting on playing him in midfield when he clearly wasn’t comfortable there. Today’s performance though suggested that he hasn’t let any of that get to him as he did well to intervene in a number of PAOK’s more dangerous scoring opportunities.

Anestis also had a fantastic game, making some great saves to deny PAOK throughout the game. He too also played the game well today, performing none of the errors that we’ve seen him do time and time again. Its safe to say that if wasn’t having a good day today, PAOK couldn’t have gotten the lead far earlier than they did.

Overall the team did better than I was expecting them to do. Thats not to say that they had a fantastic game, because they didn’t. But they managed to string some plays together and despite giving PAOK a little too much room up front, they managed to handle themselves well enough defensively so that most of PAOK’s good changes were quickly extinguished before they could really lead to anything.

PAOK were, as to be expected considering they were home and our form has been poor, the better team (but only slightly). With a slightly better attack today we could have put a lot more pressure on PAOK but we couldn’t capitalize on the few chances that came our way. Almeida had a great chance to put us ahead just before the half when his point blank shot just metres from the net missed the target. Lazaros also hit the cross bar after a great shot but it was not enough to get us in front which was a shame really because I feel like had we managed to sneak in a goal, we could have held on for the win today which was something we’ve struggled to do recently in Toumba.

As for PAOK’s goal, well I’ll let you see for yourselves in the highlights but basically it comes down to PAOK scoring off of a corner that never should have been called. Whether that bad call comes down to referee error or some other influence on the game I can’t say.

Also seen in the highlights is the moment a flare lands on the pitch after being shot from a flare gun. The game was called off temporarily at this point but what I find funny is the fact that many within the PAOK camp were complaining about the flares at their derby against Olympiakos the other week… where were those complaints when there own fans were guilty?

Highlights:

http://aek365.novasports.gr

Basketball Team Making Us Proud Again

Despite falling behind against Trikala earlier in the match, we managed to come away with a considerable 59-78 away win, partly thanks yet again to our fantastic away support. The result is yet another crucial win for us as we stay top of the league, undefeated after four league games this season.

Veria 0-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Temuri Ketsbaia with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2016 by alexaek

We got our second win today in Northern Greece as our good start to the season continued thanks to goals from Bakasetas and Vargas. To be honest the scoreline wasn’t as convincing as I was expecting it to be but at the end of the day the team were able to do what was needed to get the win.

My streams today were iffy at best, but I was able to get an idea of how we were playing for the most part and while there were some positives to take away from the match, I was still a bit worried at times with what I was seeing. We did well for long stretches of time to move the ball around and create very convincing opportunities but then we would sit back at other times and make no effort to take control of the match. From what I remember we did this especially after scoring our first goal and at the start of the second half, possibly the worst moments of the match to do so (especially if we were to do so against a stronger team). I’m not sure what it is that makes the team do that but I noticed something similar against Xanthi once we had a decent lead built up, as if the whole team collectively decides to relax a little too much.

Thankfully we were able to pick things up eventually and start creating some chances again though I was worried for a while that we weren’t going to score a second goal. Its not that we weren’t creating chances, because we were, but we struggled to get things to click right in front of the net. So many great opportunities were stopped by either the keeper or the post, but many others were let down by poor finishing (noteably some of the opportunities involving Bakasetas and Platellas). I’m really happy to see us creating these chances but if we struggle to put these many away, we’ll really be made to pay for that when the derbies come around.

Enough about the negatives though, lets talk about what worked well for us. Two players stood out for me: Patito and Bakasetas. Patito was a constant threat on the right side of the pitch, constantly working the ball further towards goal and sending in perfectly placed passes. Normally when I see a player with the ball near the box I’d rather they just got it in with a pass rather than try to dribble past some defenders but Patito doesn’t cause those same kind of worries with me. He, much like Scocco, has that tight ball control that enables him to seemingly effortlessly make his past one, two, or more defenders. Its beautiful and exciting stuff to watch and its only a matter of time until he scores a phenomenal goal himself (I’m thinking something along the lines of Scocco’s goal against Olympiakos back in that 4-4 cup final).

Bakasetas also had a great game which I was very happy to see. While the singings of Almeida, Lescott, and Patito were all great moves during the summer, it was Bakasetas’ singing that I was most excited about. Today proved why he was such a great catch by us and I can only hope that we’ll see more of him in games to come. He was a constant threat upfront, provided the assist for the second goal, and showed great awareness of what was going on around him on a few occasions. All too often a young Greek talent comes to one of the big teams and ultimately fails to make any significant impact but I genuinely feel that Bakasetas could be the exception to that.

Aside from those two players, the rest of the team did well too. Mantalos was dangerous, Almeida had some great chances before he had to be subbed off (hopefully his injury isn’t much worse this time around). We were sound defensively and while I feel Lescott still needs another game or two to really settle in, I feel like hes starting to get comfortable with what he has to do.

Ketsbaia did alright today, everyone seemed to know their roles well and though the starting lineup was predictable, it was the one that made the most sense to go with. One thing he did though which really confused me was taking off Patito and subbing on Platellas. Platellas ultimately did alright, but I really didn’t understand the logic behind the move. We were still looking for a goal, Patito didn’t show any sign of injury and was still contributing to the match. Why Ketsbaia decided to take him off for a player who plays a similar role I can’t quite figure out. But hey, we got the result in the end so I won’t question it too much yet. Whether his decisions will cost us in the derbies we’ll have to see.

As usual a round of applause is due for our supporters in Veria today. Though I was only able to watch from my computer a few thousand kilometres away from the stadium, it never once seemed like an away game. AEK supporters filled a curve at the end as well one of the main stands along the side of the pitch and if the reactions from some of the players and Ketsbaia is anything to go by, their support really made a difference throughout the match.

Highlights, though not in great quality, can be seen here:

And, if you have some extra time you can watch the whole match here:

 

AEK 4-1 Xanthi

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Jerseys, Keepers with tags , , , , on September 11, 2016 by alexaek

Our Superleague campaign got off to the best possible start today with a convincing 4-1 win over Xanthi. While there may have been a few scares provided by Xanthi and their determined offense, we also saw glimpses of what could be one of the best AEK teams of the past five to ten years.

The MVP of the match award deservedly went to Almeida after he scored two goals, one of which will without a doubt be the goal of the week. It was the perfect start to the season that Almeida would have been hoping for, helping to quiet all those within the press (not to mention the supporters of some of our rivals) who said he was unfit, old, and past his prime. He may not be the youngest striker out there but he showed today exactly why we signed him: a physical presence that allows him to be a threat in the box and to hold the ball up well, as well as being someone who possesses the technique to pull off some amazing goals when the moment presents itself.

While Almeida certainly deserves the credit for today’s performance, it has to be mentioned that we had some other players who also put in some fantastic performances. Patito was a noticeable one, providing excellent speed through the middle and down the flanks. He also played a crucial role in our first two goals, setting up both of them with perfect balls in that placed the goals on a platter for the two scorers (Almeida and Mantalos).

Chygrynskiy also did well, keeping up the good form he had during the pre-season. He was solid at the back but also did very well to carry the ball up the pitch on a couple occasions. He did so well going forward that he could have had a goal himself had his shot not been narrowly saved by Xanthi’s keeper Zivkovic. We were also lucky to have the fantastic keeping of Anestis who, despite once letting a ball slip underneath him, pulled off some fantastic saves to keep AEK in the game.

It has to be said that the rest of the team did well too. There were a couple weaknesses, such as with Lambropoulos covering in central midfield to cover for Simoes (who started on the bench so as not to aggravate a minor injury picked up in training). To be fair to Lambropoulos, its a position he is not too familiar with and he had a fair bit of pressure. All things considered, he didn’t do all too badly.

As fantastic as the performance was today, I can only imagine how much better the team will be once they’ve had a couple more games to gel together. We also have to keep in mind that both Lazaros was out due to injury and Simoes didn’t start the match. With both those players fit and in the starting XI, we’ll have the most well rounded team that we’ve had in as long as I can remember.

Overall its looking like we might be in for the best Superleague season of recent memory. Its still early but AEK, Panathinaikos, and PAOK are all looking strong and I think its safe to see that any of us can challenge Olympiakos for the title. If this keeps up, this championship could go down to the last couple of weeks. How great would it be if all four teams were still in it with a week to go in the championship? I can’t remember that happening for as long as I’ve been following the league.

Highlights, as usual, can be watched at NovaSports site.

I must say that the kits looked great during the match today:

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Our supporters were fantastic as usual:

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AEK Sign Hugo Almeida

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Singings with tags , on July 18, 2016 by alexaek

AEK have made a pretty big statement (and taken a big risk) with their seemingly out of the blue signing of Hugo Almeida. We’ve shown interest in him in the past, but I woke up this morning to find that not only we’re we showing interest in the Portuguese forward, but that he was actually already in Athens.

He wasn’t exactly cheap for us. I believe something like 1 million euros for two years, which is a fair amount of money to be spending on a 32 year old player. Considering his age, and the fact that he hasn’t been in the greatest form lately, the move is definitely a risk but to be honest, I’m glad to at least see us taking a risk and going out on a limb. I know more often than not these types of signings do little more than attract a few more season tickets, but every now and then they make the kind of impact we all hope for.

Its far too early to tell what kind of impact he’ll have, but we definitely need more presence up front and someone who knows how to finish so if Almeida can find some form with us, the impact he could have on the team could potentially be huge. I was happy to see him get straight into training after signing today, especially if it means we get the chance to see him in action in our friendly this wednesday (against Aris Limassol).

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Maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll see him score a goal like this against Olympiakos: