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.