Archive for Kafes

Anderlecht 4-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2011 by alexaek

Yep. Not looking good for us.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much at all from this match. However, after seeing our players give it their all for much of the first half, I almost felt like we had a chance for the three points. But sadly fatigue, and terrible goaltending (if it can even be called that?) meant that any hard work we may have put in during the first half was soon forgotten.

Quite a few points can be taken from the match, the first of our Europa League Group Stage campaign:

1. Our supporters are simply the best. In a stadium of that size, during a financial crisis like the one they’re experiencing right now back in Greece, they still managed to get enough out to Brussells to easily outsing the home fans.

2. Konstantopoulos MUST NOT play for AEK. Ever. Again. I never had a problem with him, seems like a great guy, and might be a decent keeper for a second division side. But he’s terrible. And he easily could have kept us in this game today had he been bothered to try and make some saves.

I really hope this is the last we see of him for a while. There is no reason Arabatzis should be on the bench. I am confident the score would have been even going into half time had he been between the posts.

3. We can’t keep up with teams like these. The pressure we applied during the first half was great, but when you have players like Dellas, Libe, and Eidur all on the same starting XI, there is no way they can last the entire 90 minutes. Beleck should have started in Eidur’s place today with Jose Carlos starting in Libe’s place. As much as I respect both players (Libe more so than Eidur), they do not have what it takes any longer to keep up.

4. We desperately need Makos and Kafes back. Gentz was not good enough today, and failed to gain any control in the midfield. Thankfully Leo and Vargas were able to handle the ball distribution, but Lagos and Gentz could not compete with Anderlect’s midfield. And that was where we ended up losing most of the game.

5. WHAT A GOAL BY LEO! I’ll be forgetting about this game quickly, but our only goal today, scored by Leonardo, was a beauty. One of the best Ive seen all week (and that’s saying something considering the Benfica-Man U game yesterday itself had two beauties scored).

So. Poor start. Terrible start, rather. But what really hurts with this loss is that, with better goalkeeping, the match could have gone in a completely different direction. It was obvious, however, that we’re lacking in quality, simple as that. We’ll see what the other games bring us. Sure, its early. And things could get better… but I dont see it happening.

And to make things worse,  Manolas (our best player today along with Leonardo) picked up a silly and unnecessary red card today. Yep, we’ll be without him and Makos for the next match. Lovely.

And a slightly off topic note, but I was very pleased to finally hear an English speaking commentator on my stream who A) actually knew AEK and B) could actually pronounce the names correctly. Definitely the first time Ive ever heard an English commentator pronounce “Georgeas” correctly.

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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.

AEK 0-0 Kerkyra

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by alexaek

I was really looking forward to this game today as it was going to be my first AEK match that I’d be seeing live since last season. I’m now sitting here wondering what I was all excited about in the first place!

First match of the new year after a fairly quiet holiday period and we needed a win to keep a good grip on third place. We needed a win to start the new year on a positive note, to get revenge on Kerkyra for beating us in the first round… yet we could not even score a goal!

The Kerkyra team we faced today played football like amateurs. They couldn’t create any decent attacks and their defense had trouble handling even the smallest amounts of pressure. AEK teams of previous seasons would have won this game 3-0 at least and should the AEK team of today! To be fair, we did manage to create a few chances, but never did it look like our team really have what it took. Unfortunately, if this is the best AEK can offer right now we are in for a rough few months.

What is obvious from today’s match is that a) we need to clean up a fair bit (players like Eder specifically must go NOW!) and b) we must find a replacement for Djebbour! First, let’s deal with Eder. To be honest I had high hopes for him during the pre-season. He showed alot of potential and I truly thought he could play an important role within our team. Today however was a different story. No passion at all, he contributed nothing to the match, was absolutely useless when off the ball (he forced Libe to run more than he should have had to to pick up his slack), completely disappeared for long periods of time, and was a huge waste of a spot on the pitch. There is no room for players like him though I suppose Jimenez did need one final performance like his today to confirm his opinion on him. I pray that we never see him play again!

We also need a new striker up front now that Djebbour is gone. Sure, Blanco might be in some good form lately, but he missed some good chances today and him and Libe alone up front simply will not last the rest of the season.

I was pleased with Nasuti and Dellas today. Both did what was required of them today and I feel they complimented each other well… however, things may quite possibly have different had we faced a team with a half decent attack. Karabelas gave a decent performance, but I feel he could be a bit more aggresive when marking players. Also, while his footwork may be alright and he is capable of providing an attacking option down the left, he really must improve his corsses.

Georgeas received the MVP award today and rightfully so in my opinion. The guy is the personification of the word passion and had others on the pitch today showed the passion he did things might have turned out differently. He may have been a bit sloppy at times but he always ran and contributed what he could, when he could.

Kafes and Makos had decent games though Makos will have to give a bit more in my opinion.

Overall we created chances today, managed to get the ball up in their end plenty of times, but things will need to change and improve drastically if we are to expect better results and a chance at getting the cup! Some players need to go, others will need to provide more for the team and in general we will have to tighten up as a unit!

I was terribly disappointed with the atmosphere today. Sure, it may have been cold today, and our attendance may have been terribly low, but the atmosphere I remember just wasn’t there. Plenty of cursing, applause when it was deserved, but no flares, no singing… very little to give the players some added motivation.

AEK 4-0 Larissa

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

Lovely 4-0 score, Blanco (twice), Libe, and DELLAS all on the scoreboard, such a great site to see! Blanco’s form has been incredible lately and now that Zorro is back it feels like a day hasn’t passed since three years ago.

Unfortunately, we still sit a fair bit back from the top. However, what is important is that we took care of getting a positive result against a team who has always been a bit of a struggle for us. We didn’t play the best football we’ve seen all season long, but we turned things on when we needed to, took advantage of having an extra player, and made sure didn’t slip points like we did last week.

Arabatzis started in net and did well. He’s been looking quite solid in the air lately, rarely fails when he commits to the ball and I can’t complain with him at all. We needed him to be in top form seeing as Larissa came to the game with the intention of picking up some points. They created a number of decent chances, particularly in the first, which fortunately for us resulted in nothing.

I’m going to hold back on commenting much on individual players since my stream wasn’t the greatest, but I did notice a huge improvement in our play when Lagos and Kafes came on in exchange for Leonardo and Scocco. Scocco was busy upfront from what I saw, though the addition of Kafes and Lagos to the match seemed to improve our attack as a whole. Leonardo created little from what I saw, but I did miss alot so I don’t want to be too hard on the guy.

The referee was horrendous today, to the point where I was starting to feel quite outraged (well, not quite but I was certainly irritated). I can only imagine what everyone in the stadium was feeling. Unfortunately, only around 6,000 showed up for the match however as it was a very cold weekend in Athens (from the pictures I saw it looks like they received a decent amount of snow for so early in December). Hopefully we’ll see a better attendance figure at the match with Zenit, despite the late start time of 10:00 at night (well done UEFA, well done).

Also, it’s worth noting that Jimenez was kicked out of the match today and forced to watch much of it from the stands. He was off when the substitutions were made however it looked like he was still contacting his assistants on the pitch.

So, a decent performance, yet a fantastic result. Hopefully this gives us a confidence boost ahead of our critical match with Zenit!

As always, leave comments below. I would appreciate any as it is hard to watch these matches with such poor streams available!

Big Game Tomorrow

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2010 by alexaek

Tomorrow will be Jimenez’ first test, and it comes at a pretty critical time. Playing Aris away is NEVER an easy outing. We need the three points more than anything else right now and, though it’s still early, I hope the team and staff is ready. Libe will miss this one due to injury, and it sounds like Eder may get the start over Burns (I’ve liked what Burns has done for us so far but I wouldn’t mind seeing Eder get some time considering how promising he looked during pre-season friendlies). Diop will probably also start in the middle with Kafes.

Both Oly (Xanthi 0-3 Olympiakos) and PAO (PAO 1-0 PAOK) got wins today which means anything less than three points will not help us at all. Of course, its easier said than done, but I still think we have a chance. Either way, I hope Jimenez has managed to work some of his magic already!

AEK 2-0 Panserraikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2010 by alexaek

For teams like AEK, games against opponents such as Panserraikos, Kerkyra, Thrasivoulos, etc, should be MUST WINS. Three points are crucial and while we will unfortunately drop them at times in the derbies, there is no excuse to not take advantage of weaker opposition. Fortunately for us this weekend, we did manage to get all three points, and while it is still early, these three points could prove to be vital.

The starting lineup was somewhat different compared to what I was anticipating. Arabatzis started in net, Jahic covered right back, Manolas and Dellas were centre, Lagos on the left. Midfield was Kafes, Makos, and Scocco while Djebbour, Libe, and Burns (!) took care of things up front (yes, seven Greeks in the starting eleven). The lineup seemed questionable at first, and while it took a good five minutes for us to gain control of the game (I was at first worried that Panserraikos might have proven to be a tougher opponent than anticipated), things started to settle together well as time progressed. Our attack was alive! Djebbour, Libe, and Burns were all eager and there were some good plays linking up between the three. Libe was often seen feeding some deadly through passes for both Burns and Djebbour to latch onto in front of the net. It still took a while before we managed to go one up but we eventually did after Djebbour controlled a beautiful chip pass from Libe and notched it down low before the keeper could get to it (that makes it two goals in two games for him).

Eventually, fairly late in the second, Kafes scored to make it 2-0 for AEK. However, it took chance, after chance, after chance, to get the ball in the net for us. We did look very good up front, but we wont always be playing against teams like Panserraikos. We have to make sure we can finish our chances when we make them.

The biggest (and most pleasing) surprise of the first half was Burns. He has constantly showed (ever since the tournament in Sydney) that he deserves to play a bigger role in this team and today he showed why. Great runs, superb control, he was always there on the wing when we needed him but he was just as dangerous in the box. If he gets some good playing time he can become a key player for AEK.

Scocco, on the other hand, was a huge disappointment. Sure, he did come close on a couple of free kicks, and he did manage to hit the post off a corner, but the eagerness we saw in Djebbour and Libe was n0ne-existent in his passionless play. Unfortunately it looks like we’ll be seeing more of what we saw from him last season.

Lagos gave a solid performance. He was very smooth bringing the ball up to attack and his speed and ball control was far from disappointing.

The stadium was almost full (it seemed there were some unoccupied seats in the vip section) and the atmosphere from my computer screen seemed nice and intimidating, just how we like it. I personally would be all for us playing some more games here (aside from the derbies). If there were a fourth stand added Rizoupoli could prove to be a very suitable temporary solution for us (Im not suggesting AEK adds another stand but simply stating scenarios from an ideal world).

Some tension was expected between the fans regarding Bajevic. The situation was not made any better when Dusan was sent off by the referee. To be honest, I still have no idea why the referee ordered him to leave but hopefully Ill find out soon enough.

AEK-Panserraikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2010 by alexaek

AEK face Panserraikos tomorrow in Rizoupoli. The game is sold out (not surprisingly considering season tickets are almost as many as the stadium’s capacity) which should make for a great atmosphere in a football friendly stadium… assuming we get the result we desperately need!  Both Olympiakos (2-0 against Kerkyra in a closed doors Karaiskaki) and PAO (1-0 away to Aris) won this weekend meaning we have a tough hurdle to overcome if we want to stay near the top (if we lose that is). A nice three points will keep us in a good position, despite it being early in the season.

Patsatsoglou will most likely start, along with Nasuti. Arabatzis is likely to be keeper, while the rest of the lineup is said to remain similar to what we’ve seen so far this season (Manolas, Lagos, Kafes, Leonardo, Scocco, Libe, and Djebbour).