Archive for Makos

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.

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.

THIS IS AEK!!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by alexaek

Im pretty sure Ive used that title before but Im going to use it again because I feel it works for the occasion. Today, in the same stadium, against the same team we so miserably drew 0-0 with five days ago, we witnessed a performance from AEK that was unlike anything we’ve seen yet this season (in my opinion). Why? Maybe because Manolo decided to make the changes that were needed soon enough (some of the changes most of us were calling for before the last game as well!)…

I don’t know how start off other than by saying we were superb! We dominated them in the midfield, in their own end… we out passed them, we were better lined out tactically, our players were up for the task at hand, and it was just all around a wonderful game from our boys. The score line of 4-0 certainly suggests the same however to be honest the match could have very easily ended up with a few more goals for AEK.

Saja? Didn’t have to do much to be honest… I may have missed a few bits here and there but from what I saw our defense did most of the dirty work, forcing Saja to have very little to deal with.

Our defense? I don’t know what to say, but I loved everything our defense today represented. Passion and experience from Georgeas and Dellas, young talent from Mateos, and hard  work and dedication from Karabelas… it was enough to get the job done, and with ease. The Mateos-Dellas combination at centre back is one Im really a fan of and I hope Manolo keeps going with it… I feel the two compliment each other very well when on the pitch. Georgeas had a wonderful assist on Scocco’s first goal today and did everything he needed to, just like every match he plays in. I realise he never was and certainly never will be an outstanding talent in terms of wing backs, but he plays with some much heart and has a great understanding of the game, something which many other players lack… ultimately though, it leads to us seeing the most we can from him both in terms of going forward and defending. Karabelas also had a good game and to be honest, Ive been quite pleased with him this season. He’s another player who always puts the effort in, his crosses have been improving, and I see him getting involved in plays far more often (though that may just be me).

In midfield we had Michel, Diop, Makos, and Guerreiro and it was a combination which worked! I just hope Manolo takes note and doesn’t change things come next match. To be honest, I don’t remember Makos standing out today however, poor streams means I missed some of the match. I did read that he played very well so I guess I just overlooked him. The same I would have to say for Michel… in fact it was Diop and Guerreiro who stood out today (that’s not to say Michel and Makos didn’t do their job, they most certainly must have considering the way we controlled things in the midfield today).

Before going in to specifics, I’d like to just say that our midfield as a whole was almost perfect today. It was as if they all were on the same page with each other… positioning, passing, defending, moving the ball around and controlling it when needed, we were doing everything we could to control the play and create when the opportunity arose, and our activity inside the PAOK box today suggests the same (compared to how rarely we broke their defense down just five days ago). Diop has certainly been bringing his best with him recently and he was finally rewarded today with a goal (after hitting the post twice last match). Roger brought the creativity we so desperately lacked last match and to see the whole team played when he was in control was wonderful. Id also like to point out that his set pieces are superb. A free kick and a corner he took today both led to goals and every ball he was sending in the box was perfect.

Up front things got interesting, with Blanco starting and Scocco playing a free role alongside him. At the end of the match Scocco said he finally played his best position after two and a half years and his two goals (both classic Scocco goals) support what he said. Ive thought about how he would be up front before and Im glad to see it tried out… with Guerreiro taking control of things behind the forwards, I think we can afford to see Scocco up front. Blanco played well and tried hard to get a goal to his name but things just didn’t work out for him today… I still hope to see him start next match, and especially in Toumba… he always seems to find a way to score up there 🙂

Also, our fourth goal came from Dellas… a lovely timed run resulted in him latching on to Guerreiro’s cross before PAOK’s keeper could get his hands to it. Fantastic seeing him get on the score board today.

I must say, looking at our goals scored today, we saw two goals scored with headers (shows we have options in the box from both Diop and Dellas, as well as Libe when fit), a goal from from team work and crisp passing, and a goal created from some fantastic individual talent (as well as good decision making from Michel)… overall a perfect set of goals scored today, clearly showing how we took control of the game today in every aspect.

Now, will we see the same thing from our boys the next matches coming up? I suppose some of that depends on Manolo, but things are going well and after today only a fool would tinker with the team further. The win today sees PAOK remain further behind while we reclaim third (however Oly Volou and Kavala are not far behind) and PAO’s slip against Larissa means if we keep putting in solid performances, we could end up in a decent position come play off time.

However, what I hope for more than anything is that we go to Toumba and play exactly like we played today. If we do, the qualification to the final is ours WITHOUT A DOUBT. Even in Toumba, this PAOK team today will have no chance if we play the way we did.

FORZA AEKARA!!!! Vamos Bien!

4-0... its been a while since we've seen that scoreline!

Panathinaikos 0-2 AEK!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2011 by alexaek

What a sweet, sweet victory for all of us AEK fans today! A 2-0 victory over PAO in their own stadium, with both goals being scored by Libe.

 

The match was a fairly even affair throughout with neither side absolutely dominating possession. The match started with a very low pace with neither team looking to risk too much offensively too early in the game. Things started going PAO’s way the final 15 minutes or so of the first however, when they started playing much more effective football inside our box forcing Saja to be on his toes for a while.

The balance of the match changed however soon after Libe scored in the second half. It seemed all life was taken out of PAO as soon as they went down and while they failed to show any attacking intent we were seeming to venture forward with more comfort. Libe’s second goal to put the result of the match almost beyond doubt came after his free kick rebounded off the back of Leto leaving PAO’s keeper helpless.

Despite PAO controlling things for part of the game they failed to create many clear cut chances and while the same could be said for us, we didn’t manage to capitalize when it counted most.

Saja had a fantastic game (though I can’t think of many recent matches where he didn’t) and did exactly what was needed of him. He was confident in net and didn’t risk much.

Our defense also did it’s job today though played much riskier football than Saja. Fortunately playing it risky rather than safe payed off for us as it meant cutting many PAO chances off before they could develop into anything dangerous. I was quite satisfied with Nasuti really and hes pleased me his past few performances. Dellas also had a pretty solid game and, together with the rest of our defense, made sure PAO had a hard time in front of our net. They did look slightly vulnerable at times however.

Makos had another impressive game for me and did a great job at getting himself involved whenever possible. Did great defensively and also managed to hold the ball up and distribute when he could. I wasn’t as happy with Diop however as I feel he could have contributed a bit more but he used his strength well when needed.

Lagos had a good game and became more active offensively in the second half though Scocco was fairly quiet in this match. He did try his luck on goal a few times, once after a lovely touch by Roger inside the box, but he failed to find the target. Roger had a good game as well but his touch and free kick’s were very well taken this match.

Oh, and by the way, I never got a report up but we also beat Tripolis away over the weekend with a score of 3-0.

Things are looking better for us now than they initially did after the new year with two good away results in the championship, a great position in the Cup, and a good offensive record despite recently cutting Djebbour’s contract short. Now all we can hope for is that we build on our momentum to get ourselves a good position in the playoffs and a Cup victory! A few transfers to boost our squad where needed and we can achieve something decent before the season ends.

Tripolis 0-3 AEK

PAO 0-2 AEK!

Such a fantastic win! And once again I ask myself where we would be this season had we not gotten Libe when we did. Huge part of our offense this season and has given us a boost on the pitch despite his legs slowing down considerably. Also recieved much applause from many PAO supporters.. only a guy like Libe would ever recieve such appreciation from both sets of fans.

Panserraikos 1-3 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Euro 2008, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2011 by alexaek

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.

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.

Panionios 1-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2010 by alexaek

You gotta love AEK. The minute a golden opportunity comes around to put us within two points of first place, what do we do? We waste it!

Panionios hasn’t been our luckiest team to play against recently, and today proved to be no different. However, very little, not even luck, could have assisted us today with the way our players played (as was evident considering the fact that Saja saved a penalty). There was no will evident in the majority of the players, no team chemistry, a stupid red which could have easily been avoided by Dadomo… just a poor performance all around.

To be honest, I would have loved to see us beat Panionios, but I had a feeling this would happen. Regardless, the team has proven they can play nice football against tougher opponents, and I’m sure they can bounce back, but there was no excuse for today’s performance.

To make matters worse, both Dellas and Diop picked up injuries.

Our starting lineup had Saja in net (who had a good game, including saving a penalty who’s rebound could have ended up in the net), but a defense which really wasn’t good enough. Argyriou has shown some good things but his performances have been far from flawless (it was his clumsy tackle which led to the penalty). I can’t go into much more detail since the ANT1 quality in Canada was just terrible and I missed part of the second half, but they will need to improve greatly for our game with Anderlecht, one which I still feel they can win if they show up and play football.

Djebbour had a brilliant chance to put AEK up by one after getting onto the receiving end of a Leonardo freekick but his finish wasn’t good enough.

Makos received verbal abuse throughout the match which led to our players being attacked by the Panionios fans as they were boarding the bus. Panionios fans,  living up to their name the Paninios kittens (sorry, is that supposed to be Panthers?) How pathetic can you get, to the point where you would attack unexpected and unprotected players? Police were nowhere to be found and the players were forced to defend themselves. Additional support came from Lagos, Arabatzis and Manolas who went to the aid of Libe, Dellas, and Djebbour. Pathetic… more reason to see Paninios and their kittens sink down to second division.

Kittens… always running.

 

 

Hopefully we can put these events and this match behind us. We have a good team, an experienced and passionate coach, a new training ground ready soon, this is a prime opportunity for us to win some silverware, even if its only a cup. Hopefully the players regroup and focus on the task at hand.