Archive for Leonardo

AEK 0-0 Doxa Dramas HT

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , on January 3, 2012 by alexaek

First of all, happy new year everyone. I hope your holidays were great.

New Year started, Im hoping to get some more posts up on the blog from now on. First, Ill start with what Ive seen so far during the first half of our match with Doxa Dramas.

1. Sialmas needs to learn how to finish! (The same can be said for Beleck, but he has already scored a handful of goals so Im not so worried). He has technique, speed, he understands and reads the game, but when he’s in front of the net, he just cannot put the ball in. We could’ve had two or three goals just from him so far… instead, we have none.

2. Not sure if the holidays affected the team, but we got off to a very poor start. Fortunately, Doxa is a weak team, so we haven’t paid the price today, but we started off looking completely out of it.

Fortunately, things did change as the game progressed. We don’t look great yet by any means, but we are slowly starting to get the right idea. But we clearly still need some time for our players to get used to playing with each other again.

3. Cala had a perfectly legitimate goal called offside. Shame, it would’ve been great going into the break a goal up.

 

Im sure we’ll come away with three points from this match, but its not gonna be pretty. I think Leonardo might be coming in so hopefully he’ll bring some life to our play. Lets see..

Advertisements

Panionios 0-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by alexaek

So, a lot has happened since my last post, and not much of it was good.

Before talking briefly about today’s match, Ill mention the other two we played this week, even though Id much rather not.

So, PAOK-AEK in Toumba. Of all the derbies we play each season, the PAOK one rarely gives as much trouble as others. Even Toumba, despite being filled with incredibly intimidating and passionate PAOK supporters, is a stadium AEK always seems to have a chance in. I cant seem to figure it out, but our record there these past few years has been quite good.

Things did change last weekend when we lost 3-0. Ill be honest with all of you, this was the first time I closed the computer early during an AEK match. Things weren’t looking good right from the start, our defence was terrible, we were lacking creativity, and as soon as PAOK went one up as a result of some terrible man marking (or lack of, rather), I gave up. I knew we had no chance of getting back in the game. We didn’t have Roger playing (the man responsible for assisting two of our four goals against Xanthi a few days before) and we were creating nothing, going nowehere. PAOK on the other hand, who have got off to a very good start this season and are playing some attractive football, clearly seemed the better team, and I couldn’t see them giving up their lead. And seeing as I had other stuff to do at home, I figured it wasn’t worth watching the rest, so I listened on the radio. As I expected, things only got worse.

Aside from our terrible defending, it was so clear in this game, as it was the next, and especially today’s match with Panionios, that we lack creativity. Despite his attitude and on-and-off performances, I would give anything to have someone like Scocco, and even Manduca, back in our squad. Roger can certainly create, but he isn’t enough, we need someone who can get the ball forward on his own, someone who can pull defenders out and then ease past them, and someone who can score after doing all this work. Scocco was someone who could do this, and even when he didn’t score, he was a nightmare for defenders.

Sure, Leonardo has played great this season, but he isn’t nearly the same level. Jose Carlos has the potential, but I havent seen too much from him yet. Sialmas wont get us anywhere. Belleck works hard and has some speed, but still cannot move with the ball the way Scocco could. Gudjonsen is way too old, and has done nothing in my opinion to warrant the money we pay him.

We have nobody going forward that can open up defenders, create plays and opportunities, someone who will get the ball up there, and will get it in the net. Its quite sad really to see how low AEK has fallen, considering even last year we had a player Like Scocco. Before then we had a Blanco who could score anything, and a young Libe, with Rivaldo pulling the strings. Go further back and we had players like Nikolaidis, Tsiartas, Mavros, Papaioannou. Sure, these players all play different positions, but the point Im trying to make is AEK has always been blessed with great attacking talent… these days, we simply dont have that. Yes, Leonardo is a fine player, Belleck has potential, but aside from these guys, we have nobody. Libe is too old, and can only be used a sub these days, Gudjonsen can’t really do too much.

No matter who we have as coach, until we have a team that can be dangerous up front, we wont be getting the results we want. Sure, Manolo is to blame for our poor results this season and last, more so maybe than our players. But I think it was especially obvious from our game today against Panionios, that this AEK team cannot go far. We have a good group of players with young talents like Leo and Manolas, experience in Dellas and Libe, but we need more. Desperately.

So, I’ve gotten a bit off topic by now. Maybe its because I dont quite feel like talking about our match against Sturm, but I guess I will.

First game of the season with fans in oaka. We didn’t get a good result against PAOK a few days earlier, but we were hoping for something here, and with Carlos’ goal early in the second half, we thought we’d clinched the three points. But, thanks to a pointless red card for Dellas, we let our lead slip away as well as all three points. I’m not going to talk too much about the game, but I would like to say that its incredibly disappointing to lose a game like this, in this way. We were the better team, we dominated throughout the first half. I would even go as far as saying that Sturm was the worst European team Ive seen AEK play in a while. They were nowhere, they could not create a chance, their defending was terrible. A stronger AEK team, such as our team of 07-08, would have taken this game with a 3-0 scoreline. And thats what disappoints me the most. AEK should not be losing these games, these games should be a fairly easy three points. Even the away match to Anderlecht. A previous AEK team with a better defense could have comfortably gotten at least a draw.

So, I wont say anymore about that match. We’re pretty much out of Europe already and its only the second day of October. Wonderful…

And finally, Ill mention our game today against Panionios. Poor match, terrible match rather, but the result was great. Panionios has given us a hard time lately, especially in Nea Smyrni. And to get a win like this, in the 92nd minute, feels just wonderful. We played terribly (Ive heard people mention it was the worst game from AEK they can recall seeing), only created one or two chances, but we got the three points away from home. And thanks to Oly beating PAOK today, we’re tied for first (though Oly have played a game less). I know its still early and I can’t see us staying first for much longer, but hey, at least its something.

 

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.

PAOK-AEK Live Updates

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by alexaek

I’ll try to keep some live updates of the match here for those without a way to watch it. From what I know, the three links below will show a stream of the match:

http://aektv.weebly.com/

http://aektv.weebly.com/aektv2.html

http://aektv.weebly.com/aektv1.html

I’ll add more streams if I come across any.

PAO is currently beating Oly Volou 2-0 with about twenty minutes to go. I was hoping PAO would lose this one or it would end up in a draw but our fate is still entirely in our hands (the match has now ended with a 3-0 victory for PAO). Either way, tonight will be a huge game.

Our starting XI for the match includes Saja, Georgeas, Manolas, Dellas, Karabellas, Makos, Michel, Diop, Lagos, Scocco, and Blanco. Arabatzis, Nasuti, Mateos, Roger, Leonardo, Dadomo, and Baha are the substitutes.

Game has started. PAOK came close off a free kick about three minutes in.

PAOK seem to have much more control of the game than they did over the weekend so far (only six minutes in).

Great chance for AEK after a defensive error by PAOK but Scocco couldn’t get a good delivery into the box.

GOOOAL! Scocco! 13th minute!! Long rage free kick, tricky bounce in front of Chalkias.

Saja playing risky at the back so far. I hope he tightens up.

Huge chance for PAOK with a critical save by Saja. And another huge chance for AEK in the 22nd. Blanco is in the mood for scoring it seems, hopefully he’ll keep up his good record in Toumba.

Freekick for PAOK in a very dangerous location. 1-1, 28th minute after Garcia’s freekick finds it way under our wall and into the bottom corner of the net.

Flares on the pitch at the 31st minute so the ref has temporarily paused the match. It seems it will continue again.

Good header from Dellas off of a corner in the 33rd, save from Chalkias.

Penalty for PAOK, and goal. 2-1.

Very close chance for AEK off a Blanco header in the 38th minute, ball wasn’t directed well enough.

We are very shaky at the back so far.

Half time, 2-1 for PAOK. Not nearly good enough from us, far too many mistakes. We’ve still managed to create chances, but we must tighten up for the second half.

Nice shot from Michel after being set up by Blanco, just out.

Close for PAOK after a Vierinha shot rebounded off of Georgeas’ foot.

First substitution of the match, Baha on for Lagos. And now Leonardo on for Blanco. And I must say, the diving by the paok players is really getting quite ridiculous.

Red card for Makos.

Third change, Roger on for Scocco. Can’t say Im too happy about this choice.

Red card for Garcia. Disgusting behaviour from him as usual, but this is the worst Ive seen yet from that animal.

2-1, fulltime.

A Fine Weekend To Be AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2011 by alexaek

So, just a little over a week after we won our first Cup in so many years (despite the rather depressing events which followed after the match), us AEK fans were treated to yet another pleasing weekend. This time, however, the attention was not only on our football team, but also our Handball guys, a group of players who have fought hard and gave everything they had to offer to the club for the past three years. Saturday afternoon, our players took on PAOK in Thesaloniki, a match which was a must win if they wanted to claim the Championship. And, as is the norm recently, AEK emerged victorious over our rivals from the North. That’s right folks, only six years after our handball club was formed, we, for the first time in our history, are champions of Greece!

I went to wait for the players last night in Nea Filadelfia along with thousands of other AEK supporters and though the bus’ arrival was delayed by AEK fans from all over Greece (almost literally, as the bus had to make numerous stops on its way down so supporters could congratulate the players), the players received a reception that only true Champions deserve! It wasn’t until about 2:30 in the morning that the bus arrived in Filadelfia, along with a caravan of motorcycles and flares from fans who greeted the bus at the tolls outside Athens, but the celebrations were phenomenal. The entire street outside the offices of the Amateur division of AEK which runs the handball club was blocked off by bon fires and thousands of AEK fans who sang non stop for the entire hour or so that I was there after the bus arrived (and they were still singing when I left at 3:30) while the players were on the balcony of the offices with the trophy, joining in the celebrations as well. And I’ll tell everyone reading this post one thing: These players on our handball teams are true AEK supporters, people who love the club as much as we do! I hope they, along with us, will always remember this day, as it was a true celebration of what it means to be AEK!

As for the match itself, it was close, very close. We managed to take a firm lead quite early in the game thanks to some fantastic attacking, however PAOK slowly managed to cut back the lead as the match progressed. Towards the end, however, PAOK actually managed to take the lead, and with only 15 seconds left, they were leading 22-21. However, AEK, who refused to give up, managed to tie the game up at 22-22- with only seven seconds left before the one and only Christoforos Bakaoukas scored the game winning goal to clinch the Championship! I honestly can’t think of a better way to win the championship than by beating PAOK in their own home in such a way. If you watch the video below, you even see the PAOK fans calling their players champions as they were so sure the win was theirs.

So, on to football. We started the game (at the lovely time of 9:45 on a Sunday night) knowing PAOK had beaten PAO 2-1 in Toumba, meaning a win for us would bring us to first place in the playoffs. I’m not sure if this was what the players were thinking, or maybe they were inspired by their cup win last weekend, but they came out strong and seemed intent on showing no mercy to the scum team from Volos. Lovely passing football and complete control of the match was all we saw from AEK from the first 10 minutes or so, with Leonardo playing a very active role in the match from early on. For the most part, our positioning was superb and the players were really gelling well together, with Leonardo forcing the ball into the box with his runs and Michel distributing superbly.

As the game progressed the tempo did drop slightly, though Olympiakos Volou rarely managed to gain much of an upperhand. Having said that, and despite the pressure we were applying, we still urgently needed a goal. Sure, we were playing some attractive football, and the players were clearly doing things right, but in front of the net we were simply not good enough for much of the match. The fact that our only goal of the match came from a penalty is an obvious indicator of this. However, I feel its too early to worry. We were creating chances, we came very close on a number of times and even hit the cross bar on one occasion, and with a bit more confidence and decisiveness in front of goal, we shouldn’t have as much of a hard time scoring in our upcoming matches.

And while I’m on the topic of scoring (or lack of), I feel obliged to bring up a certain player by the name of Nabil Baha. USELESS. He could hardly run after the first half, was clearly not match fit (or possibly just lazy), and missed two clear goalscoring opportunities (opportunities which Blanco would have had no problem scoring). I thank Baha for his goal in the Cup final, but the guy cannot play for us anymore. What Jimenez sees in him I will never know, but I really hope to see Blanco start the next match instead of him.

As for the rest of our players, a handful in my opinion deserve much credit. Dellas, Manolas, Georgeas, Michel, and Diop all played vital roles in our win today. Dellas brings experience to our team that very few players could provide while Manolas alongside him at centre back was simply solid in defending. Georgeas, though he may have been slightly sloppy at times, provided another dimension to our play down the right flank and, as always, defended with passion. Diop was simply solid at the back, providing cover for our defenders and midfielders. Also may have been sloppy and careless at times, but he still manages to hold on to the ball well, win it back when we lose it, and is always moving, always looking to do something, whether it be winning the ball back or providing cover for a player. Michel also provided a vital role today as his ball distribution was by far the best of anyone else today. He may not have played many fancy defense ripping through balls like Rivaldo, but his passes were always calculated and well placed.

Unfortunately, Libe was forced to leave the match as he picked up an injury. I have no idea at the moment how serious it is, or if he will be ready for the next match, however I truly hope we will be match fit by next Thursday as we will definitely be lacking without him up front.

So, not sure what else should be mentioned. First place in the playoffs and it looks like were heading in the right direction if we want to reach Champions League qualification. PAO were simply dreadful in their game with PAOK, so to be honest, I’m kind of looking forward to our game with them on Thursday because I’m confident we can get a win if we play solid.

Its getting late here, so tomorrow I’ll upload some videos and pictures from the celebrations in Nea Filadelfia.

Is There Any Hope Left?

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by alexaek

I seriously wonder sometimes… if it wasn’t for what our badge stands for and some of the legends that have worn our shirt, why would any of us bother even paying the slightest attention to this joke of a league. I’m referring specifically to yesterday’s derby between Oly and PAO though also our match today as well as yesterday’s match between Tripolis and Kerkyra. Its been a while since such a clear reminder of how much of a joke our league really is has been sent to us fans (at least those not with red glasses distorting their view). There has even been talk of PAO considering leaving the league, or forming a league of their own and I for one would be completely for such a move (however unrealistic and unlikely it may be at the moment). Aside from Oly’s B teams (Panionios, Xanthi, Oly Volou), many teams would benefit from such a move since it is clear as day that NOTHING will ever change with our league as long as pigs such as Marinakis are still involved.

Yesterday’s match was a disgrace with a handball from Torosidis in the box not given as a penalty, a perfectly legit goal to give PAO a 2-1 lead ruled for offside, and an illegal goal in many ways scored by that other pig Djebbour in extra time giving Oly the win and sealing their championship. In addition, a number of Oly supporters stormed the pitch and physically attacked a number of PAO players including Cisse and Simao. At half time and after the match, more hooligan like behavior witnessed, this time coming right from Superleague PRESIDENT, Marinakis (less than a week after Beos’ pathetic comments towards Larissa). How will our league ever advance in any way with thugs such as Marinakis, Beos, Psomiadis, and Co running things… whether its their unbelievably obvious influence they have off the pitch or their incredibly childlike attitude, it is obvious that no progress will ever be made towards improving our league… if anything, this weekend has confirmed the worst, and it will only be a matter of time before things get worse, and quickly.

Now, I mentioned yesterday’s match between Kerkyra and Tripolis. Why I mention it was because of the following video. Even for those who don’t understand much Greek, or any at all, the confusion coming from the commentator’s voice is painfully obvious.

Right… so the Kerkyra player gets taken down in the box and it should be awarded a penalty, correct? The Tripolis keeper receives a yellow card, yet the ref goes on to give a yellow to the Kerkyra player (his second of the match in fact, leading to his red). Why? Diving? Yet the ref still awards the penalty… even the commentator is left wondering who recieved the cards and for what reason…

Now, as many of you have noticed, neither myself or AEKMAN74 commented on our 3-1 loss to PAO last weekend. It was a terrible match in every way. A terrible offside was given on Blanco with the score 2-1 in PAO’s favour. However, Blanco was onside considerably and had the offside not been called he would have been 1 0n 1 with the PAO keeper. Now, aside from poor officiating, AEK simply looked terrible at the match. We played with no intent at all (aside from a brief 20 minute spell in the second where we applied considerable pressure) and our defending was atrocious at times.

As for today’s match… again, we looked terrible. We managed to score a goal late in the first half thanks to Libe (again, what will we do once he retires at the end of the season?) however the goal was canceled out almost 45 minutes later when, Mitroglou of all people, score the equalizer with very little time remaining (and, of course, the assist came from another player on loan from Olympiakos, Galitsios). Riera should have been sent off after he pushed Kafes from behind (when neither had the ball near them if I remember correctly), yet apparently all four officials, including the linesman who should have been near the two at the time, happened to miss it? I find it quite unlikely, but who knows anymore…

Aside from poor officiating though (also, Ill remind you that this match was played behind closed doors), as I said, we looked terrible. No attacking intent at all for the entire first half, we could not get plays together, there was very little sense of structure within the team, and we simply could not create. Also, Im starting to get very tired of seeing Scocco play, ever since his contract extension was signed. I much rather would have seen Leo or Burns start today… what they lack in skill compared to Scocco they would have made up for today with their speed or… simply trying to do something, anything, to get an attack together.

I know we can complain about the officiating today, however I would like to point out that both Manolas and Karabelas were lucky not to recieve more than just a yellow card today. They were both involved in some very dangerous plays a number of times, and while I dont mind seeing that, I think they got off easier than they could have.

Overall, its a shame we couldn’t get the 3 points today. To be honest, I dont care how ugly it would have been, I just wanted a win to help keep Panionios close to the relegation zone and us as high as we can in time for the play offs. I believe it is now for games in which we have not won a match at home, and if I understood correctly, the last time we have beaten Panionios was 2009? I could be wrong, but thats disgusting if true.

I do apologize for the unorganized post, but Im simply starting to lose my patience with everything going on, either with AEK or the league in general.

Also, some more terrible news for us AEK supporters. It seems our Basketball team, a team which was once the team that made Greece most proud, the first Greek team to win a European trophy, will be playing next season in the 2nd divisioin. Words simply cannot describe what a shame this is to see.

Mateo Impresses with AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Soccer with tags , , , , , on January 31, 2011 by alexaek

Davide Mateo, 23 year old centre back signed on loan by AEK, had his first training session with the team today and nothing but praise has been said about him.

According to team mates and management, he is excellent with the ball at his feet and has an excellent sense of the pitch and positioning. Reports are saying he will be ready to play against PAO this week and it’s up to Manolo to make the choice. I can’t see fitness being an issue at this point, and considering Dellas will be out and Manolas only returned to training today, I wouldn’t mind seeing him play, though with a match as important as this one, it may be a tough decision to make.

 

After Libe’s fantastic header over the weekend against Xanthi, our beloved striker received the goal of the week award. Good for him, they guy deserves nothing but the best… every week I shudder when I think about where we might be this season without him.

Also, Leonardo received the MVP of the week award. I can’t, unfortunately, comment on his performance (aside from his goal). Both Libe and Leo received about 60% of the votes for their awards.