Archive for Jimenez

AEK Returns to Champions League

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Soccer with tags , , , , , , , on May 31, 2017 by alexaek

After a ten year absence, AEK has the chance to book a place in the group stages of the Champions League next season. Of course it wont be easy as there is the potential of some big clubs standing in our way, but even just the chance to see us play in some Champions League qualifiers is an exciting prospect.

So, how did we end up here? Well it ultimately comes as a result of our win against Panionios today in Nea Smirni. The game got off to a rocky start with Panionios scoring first but it was clear AEK weren’t going to standby and gift a win to Panionios with the chances they were creating. Panionios didn’t end up holding on to their lead for long though as 13 minutes after they opened the scoring, AEK responded with a goal of their own courtesy of Mantalos.

The game got a little more interesting in the second half when Panionios had a man sent off which was followed by Lazaros getting a straight red. With ten players on each side, it was anyone’s game but it was Araujo who, in what was most likely his last game for AEK, scored the winner with a nicely taken header.

The win was a critical one since PAOK were right on our tails in the standings but Panathinaikos’ win in Toumba took off some of the pressure. With the playoffs having drawn to a close, we finished with 12 points from the six games; not perfect, but it was enough for the team to accomplish what it set out to.

Aside from clinching a place in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League, the game was also notable for quite likely being Araujo’s last with the team. I say “likely” because while I doubt we’ll see him back with the club next season, I’m still somewhat hopeful something can be worked out. Its clear he has enjoyed his time with the club (this was made even more evident today after he mentioned his love for the club and his desire to return as soon as possible) and he clearly has the potential to play a massive role in the team. His price tag is high but even if we cant outright buy him, maybe he’ll put some pressure on Las Palmas to extend his stay in Athens where he’ll have much more of an opportunity to develop as a player.

The game could also have been Jimenez’s final match in charge of the club. I certainly hope this isn’t the case as hes turned the club around significantly, but he hasn’t committed to the team yet and there have yet to be any negotiations between Jimenez and management. It would be a huge shame to see him leave after this season: hes established himself once again at AEK, he has gained the trust of the players, and he has brought some much needed stability to the club. I’m not sure what his demands will be in order for him to stick around next season, but I’m cautiously optimistic that they can be reached.

Highlights of the match:

Supporters chanting Araujo’s name after the match:

AEK 2-3 Panathinaikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer with tags , , , , , , on April 4, 2017 by alexaek

Well I guess all good things must eventually come to an end. After going undefeated for so long with Jimenez as coach, we finally faced our first defeat in months after a heartbreaking loss to PAO.

I was away for the weekend so I didn’t get the chance to watch the game live, but I did record it so when I get the chance I’ll try to catch a bit of it. From the sounds of it though, it seemed like it was quite the entertaining match. The result was definitely not what I had hoped for and to be honest, not what I was expecting. Unfortunately though, you never know what to expect when getting back to action after long international breaks. These breaks often seem to come at a terrible time, as they did for us these past two weeks when we seemed to have some momentum. I was afraid we’d come back a little hesitant and it seems like we did.

Thankfully, we’re still in a playoff spot but had we managed to hold on to the draw rather than concede in the last minute, we would have been only two points off of PAO. Our schedule from this point on though is, in theory, a comfortable one so I imagine we’ll manage to stay in fifth until the end of the season.

I won’t comment much on the game since I didn’t see it, but I will mention that it looked like, once again, our supporters put on quite the show. Although I will say I was a bit disappointed by the size of the crowd.

One final word though, with regards to some interesting news out of Greece last week. It was announced that, for the first time since the playoff format was setup in the Superleague, next season’s champion will also take part in the playoffs. I was never a big fan of the playoff format but having 1st through 5th play for the title at least makes a lot more sense, in addition to hopefully making the playoffs a whole lot more interesting in seasons to come.

On a basketball related note, today was the anniversary of our famous win against Slavia, when our basketball club became the first Greek side to win a European trophy. That famous result of course happened in 1968, and to see some pictures of the team honouring the event, check out this link.

AEK 0-3 Zenit

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League with tags , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2010 by alexaek

Europe is over for us once again yet things could have so easily gone the other way!

We played a well fought match and the passion was very obviously there from our players. Throughout the entire first half they pressured and never gave up chasing the ball. Our passing was smooth, players looked calm and collected when under pressure in the attack, and things really were going well for us for the first 40 minutes or so. We managed to force a number of corners, we were coming close, yet our finishing in front of goal was poor and we were generally not as tight as we needed to be during our scoring chances.

Things started looking even better however as AEK were rewarded a penalty after Scocco was taken down in the box. Not too long before half time, it was a great opportunity to make our mark on the game. Blanco, unfortunately, failed to convert though and instead sent the ball over the net.

To make things worse Zenit score the game’s first goal after a weak counter attack, one which was a result of a poor pass from Liberopoulos. And this, only minutes before half time.

The second half was much the same though it was clear the goal took some spirit out of our guys. Jimenez tried some changes such as bringing on Burn’s and putting Diop on for Dellas though the subs had little impact. We couldn’t finish, we couldn’t produce in front of the net, and we paid for this as Zenit were soon up 2-0 and ended the game with a third to make it 3-0. The result meant only a loss for Anderlecht would have got us through, however they were more successful than us and ended up with a 2-0 win.

Another season and Europe is over for us. I know we haven’t had as much success as we would have liked these past few years, but this particular loss hurts almost as much as that unfortunate draw with Anderlecht four seasons ago. If only Blanco had scored the penalty things would have very likely ended differently. We were in control until then and had our own fate in our hands, even a draw would have seen us through.

Attendance was a little less than 30,000 from what I hear and despite the cold and general strike, a match as important as this should have drawn a better crowd. An extra boost from our fans may have given the players the last bit of inspiration they lacked on the pitch, but the atmosphere I heard sounded like a pretty good one. However, games like these emphasize so strongly the fact that we urgently need our own stadium, one where opponents would never feel safe or comfortable on nights like these.

AEK 1-0 Xanthi

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Football with tags , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by alexaek

Not a brilliant result, but considering the circumstances and the opposition, I think we’ll take it and move on. Xanthi are rarely a pushover, but 3 points is what we needed most here and we got it.

I have only seen Leonardo’s goal so far (I’m not sure if its on youtube yet however it is uploaded on http://www.goal4replay.net) and it was quite the goal! Beautifully taken shot, nice control and set up leading to the goal, brilliant. However, I will hopefully watch the match, or at least some general highlights later on so I can comment. From what I heard it was an average game at best, and while we may have been alright in the first half it sounds like our second half performance was far from anything special.

Adamidis was at OAKA by the 20th minute after returning from Spain and it seems like he brought some great news with him. Nothing is anywhere near confirmed but the talks with Jimenez seem very promising! Hopefully more updates will follow shortly… I just hope we are not dissapointed, we really do deserve some good news (it seems we haven’t had any since the tournament in Sydney).