Archive for Ismael Blanco

Panserraikos 1-3 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Euro 2008, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2011 by alexaek

We NEEDED a win and thankfully that’s just what we got! Now, before we get too confident, this was Panserraikos we played. An AEK team that we the fans want should beat this team EVERY match, home and away, and comfortably, rather than having us threaten the team not to return if they lose. Yes, we got the win, but let’s not forget the fact that we still have many problems which need to be resolved, ASAP.

Ok, back to the game. All I can say is there was definitely an improvement from our last match (and thankfully so considering Kafes and Diop were out). I did miss the first thirty minutes of the match but the rest which I did manage to see showed an AEK who was able to take control of the game and make their point. Alot more confidence to our game today, the players seemed to be playing with more intent (and to be fair, we did manage to create plenty of chances last match but we were lacking elsewhere).

For the players, Ill start from the back and work my way up. Saja had a very fine game today. Was forced to be much more involved than against Kerkyra, and aside from letting in one goal (a fantastic goal, may I add), dealt with everything that came his way in a necessary manner. Dealt with one on one’s, reflex saves, and was collected in front of the goal when required.

Our defense had a little more to deal with than against Kerkyra but they also did they’re job for the most part. We were pretty secure down the wings today from what I noticed (Georgeas on the right and Karabelas on the left) and it seemed that both right back and left back defended a little more aggressively which payed off in the end. Karabelas also had another good game in terms of attacking and was very involved in plays from the left wing and his cross resulted in Libe’s goal to make it 2-0 for AEK. Manolas also defended very well and Im starting to wonder if this guy will ever have a poor game. As hard as I try I can’t remember the last time he wasn’t solid… pretty exceptional when one considers he’s only 19 years old (even I’m gonna be 19 in less than half a year!).

One weakness I did notice however was the Panserraikos came very close to scoring on at least two set pieces. There may have been more which I missed, but for some reason we let them slip by and it resulted in two goal scoring opportunities for the host… fortunately they failed to convert either.

Our midfield was able to control the match pretty well. From what I saw it seemed Makos was looking to play the ball forward whenever he had the chance rather than backwards as he tends to, and while he may not be the next Rivaldo (not that he even plays a similar position) it was certainly nice to see him play with more attacking intent. Scocco was also pretty busy in the middle of the pitch and helped out with distributing the ball and Lagos had a very good game.

Roger was alot tighter in my opinion. Less wasting around with the ball at his feet, more playing for the benefit of the team. He also took some nice free kicks and it was his which Blanco latched on to for the first goal. Still not sure if we’ve seen enough of him, but I’m sure we all know he must be capable of good things. He had some very strong games earlier in the season and a fantastic EURO in 2008 from what I read and heard… surely we can expect more? Not sure if I can say the same for Eder though who was useless the last match and didn’t come on today until very late in the game.

We were pretty sharp up front which nice to see after that dreadful performance against Kerkyra. Blanco, who missed all those chances last match, scored a stunning header, perfectly placed and one of his more memorable goals of recent memory as far as I can remember. Libe scored our second one, a close range, one time volley in front of the net. Nicely shot, down low and with enough power that the keeper had very little he could do to stop it. A great finish to a nice play inside their box.

Panserraikos evened things up before the half with a stunning goal, a perfectly placed volley from outside the box with enough of a downward curve and power that Saja could do little to stop it from the position he was caught in. Libe had a chance later in the match to make it 3-1 after a nice run led to Blanco feeding him inside the box, however he was called offside (and rightfully so in my opinion though it was very close). However, Libe did finally manage to seal the deal after scoring a penalty which was a result of Georgeas being brought down in the box (in my opinion it was a very soft penalty but there was not ball contact at all and it was a tough angle for the ref).

Overall, a much improved performance and a badly needed (and well deserved) three points, even if it was against lowly opposition. Hopefully we build on the momentum now! By the way, Jimenez proudly showed off his Serres Original21 shirt he promised he would wear. Awesome stuff to see, especially from a foreign coach who only started coaching in Greece this season! Let’s not get rid of this guy!

Also, some other news from this weekend. Panionios lost at home! (The quicker we get these guys in 2nd division the better!) and the Original club house in Kerkyra was attacked by about 10 olympiakos supporters. Some of them were caught and apparently charges will be laid.

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Half Time AEK 1-0 Larissa

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football with tags , , , , , on December 12, 2010 by alexaek

Half time and were up 1-0 thanks to a… you guessed it… goal by Zorro! He’s back!

Pretty dull performance by us. I wouldn’t say we were playing poor out there, but we really need to lift things up if we’re gonna hope for a result against St.Petersburg this week. Scocco and Leo had good opportunities in front of goal which resulted in little.

Referee has, from what I’ve been seeing, calling way too much! Not that this is anything new in our league, but we can’t touch a player today without getting a foul!

1-0 is nothing to settle on just yet when facing Larissa, they’ve looked a little dangerous the times they made it into our box, and unless we score more the game will go either way.

Oly is leading at half time and guess what, another penalty for them. Haven’t seen the play yet so it could be a fair call but I really wonder how many penalties this team is going to receive this season.

Panthrakikos 1-5 AEK!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by alexaek

If you remember from past year’s, we’ve never been extremely impressive in the cup. Narrow wins against teams like Xanthi, Panserraikos, and even smaller clubs had over time become the norm for us (aside from that eventful cup final two years ago).

Well, all that changed today! To be honest, after hearing Panthrakikos go up 1-0 I thought we were gonna be in for another long match. Never for a second did I think we would lose this match, but I never imagined the turnaround that eventually happened. Ismael Blanco (it’s been a while since we’ve seen him on the scoresheet) scored his first goal, and one which surprisingly wasn’t fed to him but actually required some footwork. Good, 1-1, still plenty of time left. Next, we get a penalty, one which Blanco converts with ease. 2-1 up, but still plenty of time left. I was thinking to myself at this point all we need is one more goal and we’re good.

Seems as though Blanco and co had other plans. Zorro (he’s back!) scored his third of the night, an easy one set up perfectly by Roger (who, from what I heard had yet another fantastic performance!). Then, Karabelas of all people scores to make it 4-1. Somewhere in between the third and fifth goal we hit a post with Leonardo and narrowly missed on more than one occasion, but Leonardo finally got one in, another perfectly set up goal, this time with the assist coming from Rafik Djebbour. That’s three goals coming from assists placed at the scorer’s feet. Something tells me this team is working on efficiency up front with the ball movement, assists, and positioning all very well done.

 

5-1, a score to thrill every already delighted AEK fan, despite the rain and cold up north. Bearing in mind that Panthrakikos’ goal was scored from a penalty (and ignoring the stumble in Belgium), that’s 10 goals scored in Greece (two league and one cup game) in three games! Guys, I think AEK is back!

Also, considering Blanco’s hat trick today and Roger’s great performances lately, I can’t help but feel we have a team in a great position. We have three great strikers (assuming Blanco keeps this up) and chances are at one given moment at least one of them will be on a patch of good form. In addition, with Roger performing so well, we are set in attacking mid (that is, if we can hold on to Scocco), and with Diop and Makos’ solid performances the past two or three games, our defensive mid is also set. Now, hopefully we can deal with injuries, though Manolo seems like the kind of guy that can almost always work out a solution with what he has.

Enjoy the goals below. Too bad I can’t find a more in depth highlights vid, because it seems we played some nice football up front at times at a few of those goals.

Great job to the supporters who were there and vocal despite the weather, and great job (though to be honest, I think that’s a bit of an understatement) to Manolo! He’s turned around this team incredibly, got players playing some great football, players who are happy to be training and playing and, most important of all, is getting results. Sure, you may stumble against Anderlecht, especially when it’s your first European game with a new team, but against Panthrakikos, these are games where you can really establish who’s boss in Greece and AEK certainly did that today.

 

VAMOS BIEN!!

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.

Nemeth for one more season!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , on April 30, 2010 by alexaek

According to sites here in Greece, Liverpool have agreed to allow Nemeth to stay with us for one more season. Fabulous news! All that remains is for Nemeth himself to agree, and while nothing official has been said, he has stated in the past that he would have no problem with staying for another year.

In other news, Blanco will not be playing this sunday against Olympiakos! Instead, Pavlis will be part of them team being brought to Karaiskaki.

Yet Another Huge Win For AEK!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , , , on March 21, 2010 by alexaek

AEK makes it two for two with PAOK this season before we face them another two times in the playoffs. Blanco, who has scored in his last four games in Toumba, scored the only goal of the match after a fantastic display by AEK (especially in the second half).

It’s late here however, and I could use some sleep so I’ll post a proper match report after school tomorrow. Until then, let’s all enjoy this lovely win by our team that proved once again what they are capable of when they play as a team and focus on their goal.

Lucky goal, sure, but doesn’t matter, that’s what Blanco is there for. Let Scocco and Djebbour do the fancy work but Blanco is there to knock those balls in the net when it matters most!

We actually had some FANTASTIC chances to score in the second half but Chalkias made some incredible saves to keep the score low.

Larissa 1-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2010 by alexaek

Well, Saturday came and I was all excited, waiting to watch my team continue it’s undefeated streak. Saturday evening came, I turned my television on and spent the next ninety minutes or so watching the most depressing performance from AEK in recent memory.

Our team looked dreadful. Honestly, the score could easily have been 3-0 or more for Larissa had our post, some luck, and a determined Saja not prevented that from happening. Larissa pressured from kickoff and looked set on getting nothing less than a win from early on. I had hoped things would change a little as the game progresses but that never happened. Larissa dominated throughout the entire match and they weren’t even happy sitting on their 1-0 lead.

Nobody on our team except perhaps Saja seemed interested in playing some decent football that night. Our defense did nothing against the likes of Metin and other attacking players for Larissa. Our midfield was just as useless on the pitch defensively as it was offensively. And our offense? Well, you would have thought they weren’t even there! Blanco was playing midfield/defense again, Scocco had a couple of shots but not one even forced a save from the Larissa keeper and Djebbour was with the ball in a good position on a number of occasions but always found a way to loose possession to the opposition.

Nemeth actually played this game! Came in as a sub (remember, Larissa at home was the last game he played for AEK before Saturday, and he also scored that day) but he really didn’t make a huge impact on the game. You could tell he wanted to score and he tried bringing some life to our forwards but he really didn’t have the ball enough to make any difference.

Saja was the one player who seemed willing to put in an effort after making some critical saves.

Aris drew the same day 1-1 against Kavala. A win on Saturday night would have meant our lead over them would have increased. Instead, it was reduced by one point. Sure, there is still some distance between us but our two next games coming up are Kavala at home and PAOK away. If we play the way we have been the past two games then I dont see us getting away with any more than a point in the next two weeks. Of course, we may be able to turn things around and pull off some decent results against Kavala (even our bext of this season will stand only a small chance against PAOK), but I’m not going to hold my breath.