Archive for Larissa

Catching Up…

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2017 by alexaek

Its been a few weeks since my last post and as is often the case early on in a season, lots has happened. Luckily for us, things have been going pretty well so most of what I have to talk about is good news.

PAS Giannena 0-0 AEK

We’ve played three games since my last post, the first of which was a disappointing draw away against Giannena. I was only able to follow this game from the radio but in the end I think I was glad I didn’t watch it on TV. It wasn’t an awful game… after all, we didn’t lose. The game did leave a lot to be desired though with neither team managing to really make much happen. The good news though is that we weren’t really outplayed that much.

To be fair the game was only three days after our match against Club Brugge so I could see fatigue playing a part. On top of that there was probably a lot of pressure on the team to put in another good performance as they did against Brugge and perhaps they struggled to deal with those expectations. Its early in the season and we’re still figuring things out so I’m not too worried about the result.

AEK 4-0 Larissa

Our next game was a home game against Larissa, the third Superleague game of the season for us. The score was impressive but our performance was anything but. We seemed uninspired and the tempo of the match was more like what would be expected from a training session.

Thankfully we were rewarded with some goals, a couple of which were particularly impressive. I don’t know if its the fact that we were playing against a team that was clearly not going to be hard to beat, or if it was the empty stands for yet another game (I believe we have one more game with no fans before we are allowed to let them watch again), but there didn’t seem to be much urgency within the team. Thankfully though they managed to get the job done at least since we needed to make up for the points dropped from the previous match. Whats worth noticing with this game is that this is the first time since the 2007-2008 season that we have started the league and have not conceded in our first three games. The 2007-2008 season was also the season when we should have won the championship, so thats promising.

 

Rijeka 1-2 AEK

Our Europa League group stages campaign got off to an excellent start after 2-1 away win in Croatia. As the score suggests, the game wasn’t a blow out and both sides had there chances to add to their tallies. Ultimately though it sounds like AEK were the stronger team. One thing worth mentioning is Lazaros’ goal was a beauty. It sounds like Lazaros wasn’t even supposed to take the free kick that resulted in the goal but he stepped up and took it anyways, silencing anyone who was not expecting him to be able to score it.

Its still very early as there are another five  games to play but the talk is that AEK is looking likely to finish second in the group. I don’t want to jinx anything but I’d say our chances look pretty good. Having already won an away game and considering we’re in pretty good form, I’d say the home games against Austria Wien and Rijeka will quite likely result in wins and the away game to Wien is also one that could very well result in a win for AEK as well.

Looking Forward

We play tomorrow against Lamia in a game which I’d say we have a pretty good chance of winning. Doing so would put us comfortably in 1st place as Olympiakos only managed a 1-1 draw against Tripolis today (in their own stadium!) so a win would see us 1st on 10 points, two ahead of Olympiakos and PAOK. We’ll certainly face a boost as though we are playing “away” against Lamia, the game will be played in Athens and AEK supporters will be allowed in the stands effectively making it a home game for AEK. This will be the first time this season that our players have played against our fans so I’m sure its something the team is looking forward to.

Personnel Changes

We have seen some personnel changes both on and off the pitch since my last post. I’ll start with the behind the scenes chances: Majstorovic has left his post as director to take up a similar role with Wolverhampton. It sounds like Majstorovic and the team parted ways under good terms and its worth noting that I believe Majstorovic waited until his contract with AEK was over before he switched to a different team. Its a good opportunity for him so I don’t blame him for taking it, but its also a good opportunity for us since it means a place has opened up for Limberopoulos again. I’m glad to see Limbe back with AEK again since hes the kind of person who everyone expects. Its a good time for him to be at AEK, so hopefully his second stint in the position brings some memorable success.

We also saw some more changes on the pitch was. Firstly, Almeida has left the team and joined Hajduk Split. I’m glad he found another team since he definitely still has something to offer, but I dont think AEK or even Almeida himself would have been happy with his output while with us. Its a good move from the team since it frees up some space and budget which means the long awaited news we’ve wanted to hear all summer could become reality. Thats right, Araujo has rejoined AEK on a year long loan from Las Palmas. I know AEK wanted to sign him outright rather than keep him on another loan, but its a great move regardless as he was clearly a good fit for AEK under Jimenez. He got off to a great start scoring in his first game back with the club and while he hasn’t played as a starter yet, its only a matter of time until he is fully integrated back into the team again.

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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:

 

Larissa 1-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2016 by alexaek

We’re Still In It

Three points that couldn’t have come at a better time. With today’s win we manage to keep ourselves within two points of 1st, so its safe to say that another loss would have really put a dent in any progress we may have made before the Karaiskaki game.

Its an important win for other reasons too. We have to remember after-all that Olympiakos lost in this same stadium a few weeks ago and that an away game against Larissa is almost never an easy task. Today proved exactly that as, even though we got off to a great start scoring first in the 4th minute, it was still never a particularly comfortable outing for the team.

I unfortunately didn’t manage to watch the game since I was at work, but it sounds like although we managed to do well offensively, we struggled to exert any control over the middle of the pitch. I can’t say I’m entirely surprised since not having Simoes helping us out leaves a huge gap that most players just can’t fill. There is only so much Johansson can do on his own and why management didn’t think to look for another player in the off-season who could help hold up the ball a bit in the midfield is beyond me. Sure with Simoes fit we have a much better chance of doing something but with him gone the task becomes that much harder. And what happens when Johansson gets injured too? I can’t imagine how weak we’d be in the middle of the pitch if we ever lose both Simoes and Johansson for a game.

The scorer for both of our goals was, surprisingly, Platellas. I don’t mean to say “surprisingly”in a negative way because there is no doubt that he is a talented player. Its just that he somewhat lets me down when we really need him to perform but today he did everything we could have asked for. Aside from Platellas, it seems like the rest of the team was good enough to downright disappointing. Its unfortunate since I would have hoped that the two week break would have allowed us to gel a little more but on the other hand its promising that we still managed to hold on to the three points.

What is less promising though is the fact that not only did Galo get a red for a second offense during the game, but Lazaros also received a red after time was called for an altercation involving either the ref or another player (I still haven’t read for sure what happened. This means that we’ll be missing three important players for the next match after Patito was also banned for three games following an incident he was involved with at Karaiskaki.

Highlights as usual can be found on Novasport’s site: http://aek365.novasports.gr

 

Basketball Team Also Has a Good Weekend

It was not only our football club that managed to get a good result as our basketball club also got a convincing 96-56 win against Lavrio. The game started with a celebration retiring the jersey of AEK basketball great Georgios Trontzos and the performance of the team was a great way of honouring one of the greatest players to wear our shirt. Trontzos won five championships with AEK and was a key part of the team that won the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1968 and as such the retiring of his number 6 jersey was well deserved.

The game, for anyone interested, is available in its entirety on youtube.

 

Olympiakos 3-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Dellas, Greek Football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , on October 2, 2016 by alexaek

So, that was painful. Not really able to write out a longer post at the moment, but if you would like to see some of the painful highlights, you can see them at the link below  (scroll through the videos to see the different goals. I’ll try to post a full highlight video when I find one afterwards.

http://www.novasports.gr/match-center/match-center-agonas/match/1282/olumpiakos-aek/#.V_G1qjRrge0

Just a few brief points about the game:

-This game could have been won by us. Olympiakos deserved the win, but we simply didn’t show up to play. Had we came with a different mentality and game plan, we would have seen a completely different result.

-Ketsbaia lost this game for us from the first minute with his choice of playing Lambropoulos in Simoes’ place (again). I know its not Lambropoulos’ fault, midfield just really isn’t his position. Dellas tried it before and it failed terribly, and now Ketsbaia seems fixed on the idea as well. He simply doesn’t have what it takes at the moment to exert any sort of influence in the middle of the pitch, especially not in a match of this caliber.

-We were far too passive defensively and going forward. There was no attempt to get in Olympiakos’ way, no idea of how to stop them and break up their play, and no idea of how to get our own plays going.

-For once in quite a while, we can at least finally say that we alone lost a game, rather than any influence from the refs or other factors. Like our derby in Karaiskaki last year, its an eye opening match that shows we still are nowhere near the level we seem to think we are at. Olympiakos lost to Larissa last week, and APOEL (at home) earlier this week, why the team wouldn’t be able to give Olympiakos a run for their money today is beyond me.

 

Anyways, thats all from me for now. Going from potentially being alone in 1st last week to now being 5th behind Panionios and Platanias isn’t really where I expected us to be at this point this season, but its still early. I’m curious to see how we rebound from this next game in two week’s time. Won’t be easy as we’re playing Larissa away, but it will be a good test at least to see if we’ve managed to change some things from our performances against Iraklis and Olympiakos.

Larissa 0-5 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Football League, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2015 by alexaek

Three wins in three games, twelve goals scored and none conceeded, and just like that we finish the first round of the cup in first place in our group.

I did not expect the first round to be the easy, especially not after our first game ending with a rather unimpressive 1-0 score, but whether it came down to good playing from us, weak opposition, or a bit of both, we certainly took advantage of the easier games to show what we’re capable of. Something worth noting about this particular game is the fact that the last time we beat Larissa by an impressive score in their own home was a 0-4 win in the 2010 Cup. Of course, we went on to win the Cup that season so I’m hoping yesterday’s match is a good sign for us.

Its nice when we not only score so many goals, but when all the goals are very well taken. Mantalos’ chip and Djebbour’s shot with his back towards the net were both very well played, but the player who really showed his class was Buonnanotte. Its certainly nice to see goals like that again, bringing back memories of when we had Scocco doing similar thing to opposition defense’s. Whether we’re going to see more of this in the coming games I can’t say, but the signs are definitely there and I look forward to seeing what else he can do.

Poyet gave some bench players a run for this game and while they did not have too much to worry about from Larissa, its nice to see they handled the game pretty well. Tzanetopoulos, Anestis, Bakakis, and Soiledis all started the game and I think its safe to say that they’ve given Poyet a reason to give them another chance. I also appreciate Poyet giving our Greek players some solid playing time. I was worried at first that they wouldn’t be a part of his plans, but the fact that six out of the starting eleven were Greek is reassuring to see.

Highlights are well worth the watch, not only for the goals that we score, but those that we missed. Djebbour had a great chance but his well taken header was just saved. Vargas also missed an incredible opportunity, but he did well to score later in the game and make up for the miss.

Cup Group Stage Draw

Posted in AEK, Greek Cup with tags , , , , on September 18, 2015 by alexaek

The draw for the group stages of the Cup took place today and while I’m optimistic about our chances of going through, I have to admit it will be anything but easy. We’ll be playing in the 7th group along with Xanthi, Larissa, and Panelefsiniakos. Obviously our biggest threat here will be Xanthi, but I don’t think any of the games will be particularly easy.

The first game, which will be away against Xanthi, will take place between the 27th and 29th of October. Its a tough match to start, but a win here will do wonders to help guarantee our progression through to the next round.

Dellas For Another Year

Posted in AEK, Playoffs, Transfers with tags , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2015 by alexaek

Big news yesterday following a meeting with Bajevic, Mellisanidis, and Dellas, news that I’m quite relieved to hear. I know its a bit early to make significant judgments on Dellas’ ability as a coach considering we’ve yet to consistently face tough opposition, but he really deserves the chance to prove himself as far as I’m concerned. He’s done well with the team and budget hes had until now and I can’t help but appreciate his dedication to the team. Not only did he come in at a time when not many people were willing to, but he also stuck with the team through what have been the two most difficult years since AEK was formed ninety one years ago.

It wont be easy for him next year when he will face more difficult opposition both on and off the pitch, but I think its important we not have our expectations too high. Do I want us to win the championship? Of course I do, but I have to remember that we’re still building the team and as of now, we certainly don’t have a team that is ready to win it all yet. Perhaps that could change as the summer goes on, but that all depends on what kind of players we go for, and how much management is willing to spend.

As most of you will by now have learned, the playoffs are now officially over, and it didn’t really end as well as we all would have liked. Our final two results were a 1-1 draw against Larissa and a 1-0 loss to Oly Volou and while I’m not exactly happy about the scores, at this point all I want to do is forget the past two years even happened. From here on things can only get better, and they certainly will.

Transfer talk has been the usual throwing around of names, but we are apparently close to singing Ronald Vargas (I believe its just a matter of receiving the signed contract, but I really couldn’t say for sure). I haven’t seen Vargas play personally but judging from youtube clips, I think he would definitely be a great addition to the team. We’ve also signed Stavros Vasilantonopoulos, a 23 year old from Apollon Smyrnis. I haven’t seen much of him either but he was apparently Apollon’s best player this season, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do during the preseason.