Archive for Manduca

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.

 

AEK 2-1 Olympiakos and Im LOVING IT!!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by alexaek

Now, in my opinion we didn’t play the best football we could have but, WHO CARES!!!! It was the last game of the season, what mattered most was the result. And, to top things off, Aris also won which mean Oly finishes fifth in the league! IM LOVING IT!!!!

Alright, as I mentioned in the post before Oly had a very depleted squad. Squad depth was being mentioned as one of their greatest problems and it showed today. They were a weak side and though they did manage to create some dangerous chances up front their defense was nowhere to be found! Some tighter finishing by Blanco/Nemeth/Scocco could have seen us leave the game with a 4-1 victory though Saja kept us in the game in the dying minutes.

We had a perfect start to the game with none other than KOSTAS MANOLAS scoring the first goal six minutes in. However, the celebrating didn’t last too long as Olympiakos tied things up not long after. Never the less, we still managed to keep control of the match despite not creating as many chances as we would have liked. Olympiakos gave us the odd scare throughout the first half but the lack of overall quality on their team was evident and it was obvious that the game was ours for the taking if we came out stronger in the second half (don’t forget, we scored three goals in nine minutes against Aris, all in the second half).

Half time came with the score still tied at 1-1 but not long after the start of the second half AEK were creating chances and pressuring. We saw a bit of everything, two against one, one on ones with the keeper, balls going just wide of the posts on a number of occasions… the ball just never went in. Fortunately, Blanco got the job done with his left foot in the 54th minute and put a nice solid shot right in the Oly net. The guy has been far from great this season but he seemed to remember how to score for that one chance and it was enough to give AEK the win. Despite Olympiakos pressuring we held off the pressure well (thanks largely because of Saja) and after a few tense last minutes Kakos (who reffed a very poor game) blew the final whistle.

Well generally I must say it was obvious we need a stronger midfield. It was not there today at all; we would have a strong line of players in defense and some players up front waiting to attack but nobody was left in the midfield to act as a pivot between the opposite ends. Our wing play was good however (Lagos did very good on the left and Blanco/Georgeas were doing good on the right) and Gentzoglou managed to deliver some dangerous long balls so we still managed to get the ball up enough. However, we were constantly attacked through the middle and it was where Oly created most of their chances (their wing play on the other hand was terrible).

Alexopoulos (who?!?!) got to play some minutes today after being out nearly a year with injury. To be honest, I didn’t see enough of him in particular but he must have been doing his job good enough. Either way, its good to see him back on the team, I always like him and he obviously plays with passion on the pitch.

Manolas left the match early after requesting to be subbed (I will try and find pictures of his black eye which was very large) which meant Jahic had to come back to centre back to fill Manolas’ spot. I must say I was very pleased with Jahic today. Nothing superb but he did the job effectively in defense and seemed alot more reliable than normal.

Unfortunately this didn’t seem to be Nemeth’s best game. He did not have a chance to get as involved in the match, mind you I would never really expect a front three of Scocco-Blanco-Nemeth to work too effectively. Scocco had a good match though from what I saw it took him a while to get involved. Manduca also started quite strong but faded away as the match progressed and eventually started playing a very defensive role.

Alright, enough about that. We can critique all we want but its the last match of the season and things aren’t gonna change now for a while. I have to say I was extremely relieved that no serious incidents broke out with the Originals and the atmosphere in the stadium for the most part was a very good/optimistic/celebratory one. This match was one of the most important ones of the season and it was essential that all energy in the stands was put towards supporting our players and psyching out Olympiakos rather than threatening the coach (Bajevic deserves credit today since I feel he handled everything on the pitch quite well with regards to substitutions and the like).

So, Olympiakos, the team that started with +4 points, finishes last in the playoffs and fifth in the league. In case you didn’t read what I wrote before, IM LOVING IT!!! They start their preseason very early now as their first Europa League qualifying matches begin middle of July. We however, don’t begin ’till late August which gives us plenty of time to prepare and make some transfers.

Some pics below from AEK365. Enjoy.

Close your eyes, may be innapropriate for some viewers! 😛

ALEXOPOULOS!!

Zorro has returned (I believe I've said that a couple of times this season).

Why so sad?

Manolas had to go to the hospital.

Olympiakos 2-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, Europa League, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2010 by alexaek

Well, I’ve calmed down since last night so I’ll attempt to explain in a clearer way what I saw last night.

Below is a video showing some of the main highlights of the match (it unfortunately misses the hit to Scocco’s chin so I’ll keep an eye out for that one).

Well, after the draw with PAOK many people were commenting on the lack of energy or passion from the team. It was obvious to all of us, but I had thought it was a one time thing. Unfortunately, yesterday’s match proved me wrong. Once again our players showed no interest in the game at all (except for Manolas and Saja). Remember in January when we got that famous win in Karaiskaki? AEK turned the pressure on that night and there was nothing Olympiakos could do. Fact of the matter is, this is the worst Olympiakos team in years. But when we’re sitting back, not marking, leaving so much space for them to maneuver, they end up looking ten times better than they actually are.

Its something I’ve experienced a number of times. Because of the poor organization in my school’s league we played many different opponents. Sometimes we would come up against a team that could not match us in any way. The final outcome of these games would normally be 5-0, 7-0. Our players had space and time, they were able to make themeselves look like mini Maradonas. Unfortunately, we would be violently brought down to reality when we came up against a tougher opponent. We would never have space, we could hardly win the ball and we would normally end up losing 2-0. This is how football is, and that is how it was last night. Olympiakos are a terrible team, and they’re defense is useless. We saw that last night the few times we pressured or whenever we had a set piece. We also saw that when they lost 2-0 to Aris. But it doesn’t matter if they have a superb defense or a below average one, if you aren’t putting any pressure on them it will never matter. We had the players on the pitch last night: Scocco, Djebbour, Manduca and Nemeth when they came on. These players, when playing to their full potential, can rip up any defense. Scocco showed that when we beat PAOK earlier in the season. Scocco was able to almost walk through what was considered one of the best defenses in Europe before setting up Manduca for a simple tap in. Had we applied that pressure last night we would have created numerous chances.

Our defense yesterday, like Olympiakos’, was terrible. However, ours was pressured, unlike theirs. Manolas deserves credit, even in a derby like this with all the pressure on him, he still remained calm and played like the experienced center back Majstorovic should be. Majstorovic on the other hand…. this guy needs to go! I appreciated him his first season here, alongside Kyrgiakos, but he is falling asleep out there on the pitch. Not only are his constant back passes to the keeper getting on my nerves, but he has failed to grasp the concept of man marking. Take a look at the first Oly chance in that vid, Majstro simply let Oscar walk right in. Alright, you may not get the ball each time, but at least make a challenge, pressure him, rather than give him so much space.

The first Oly goal, what was Majstorovic doing? I don’t know, gazing into space maybe? Thinking about what he had for dinner the night before? MARK YOUR MAN! Its a corner kick, you got a tall, powerful, experienced center back (Mellberg) going up, you don’t give him space because he will score! The first goal was easily avoidable, but Majstro didn’t even put in the required effort to at least try and prevent the ball reaching his fellow Swede.

The second Oly goal. What was Lagos thinking? I don’t know, I have no clue. But a four year old footballer would have marked that man better than he did. There is an Oly player making a run in the middle of the box, with nobody around him. What do you do? Get on him, pressure him, you dont let him walk through doing whatever he wants.

So, both goals could have been avoided with some simple defending. But aside from that, we were on pressure almost the entire night. We gave them space, we granted them possession by not pressuring them and winning the ball, obviously you will be pressured.  Thankfully, their finishing was poor, Saja was awake, and luck was on our side (Oly had four posts in the match).

Ok, the Kafes penalty. I’m not denying anything, it was a dive. I don’t see contact, maybe somebody else does, I dont know. But what I do know is that Oly get away with those calls every week, any other team in the world gets away with those calls and in the end of the day, its the result that counts, so why shouldn’t we try and get a few that way? I hate to say it, but if everyone else is doing it, we have to get an edge also if we want to be competitive. Kafes knew what he was doing, he isn’t stupid. Even from the replay it looks close, without a doubt, and considering the ref had only a matter of seconds to make a choice, more than likely Kafes knew he would give him the penalty.

Anyways, even if you do want to complain about the penalty, what about the ones that were not called for us? Like I said, I’ll look for a video showing them, but the hit to Scocco’s face was a sure penalty, and I have no doubt about that.

Alright, our second goal. Nobody on this planet would say there was a foul in that play. The goal should have stood (but we all know the ref would not be doing his job if he allowed it), the score would have probably ended 2-2, and, while we still probably wouldn’t have a chance for CL football, we would have at least held Oly back. Now, we sit in the final playoff spot. A win against Aris this wednesday will help us move up, but after that I don’t know how long we can stay up.

Levadeiakos 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2010 by alexaek

We left Livadia last night with one point from a draw, enough to seal us fourth place as Aris fall 2-1 to Tripolis. Nothing spectacular really but a game worth commentating on regardless.

So, despite the 0-0 scoreline, both teams had some considerable chances to get a few in the net with the majority of them coming from Levadeiakos in the first half. The game has sort of left me now since its been a few days so I can’t remember too many specifics but I know that Saja stood out! Made some fantastic and critical saves to keep us in the game and had it not been for him (and some rather poor finishing from the Levadeiakos players) the score would have definately been in favor of Levadeiakos.

We lined up with Saja in nets, Georgeas, Majstorovic, Majstorovic, and Araujo in defense, Kafes, Gentzoglou, and Makos in the midfield and Manduca up front behind Nemeth and Djebbour (yes, no Blanco in the starting lineup!…. maybe resting him for the far more important playoffs). Majstorovic generally got poor ratings but I thought he had a decent game, though certainly nothing outstanding. Manolas and Araujo both had very good games though and Manolas seems to be getting better and better by the day.

Makos played alright compared to what we’ve seen at other times in the season. For the most part it seemed as if he was actually trying and while he didn’t do anything spectacular he at least didn’t mess up nearly as often as usual.

Nemeth looked good from what I saw and the chemistry between him and Djebbour seemed alright and should only improve (by the way, no new news with regards to Nemeth and next season).

Honestly not much more to say about this game, no point really in going on about it as we have the much more important playoffs coming up.

Anyways, week after week of games since the ban was put in place and the police finally decide they are going to actually enforce it this one game… when AEK are playing! I certainly agree they should enforce the ban if it is there (though I dont believe it should be there in the first place since AEK fans have caused no trouble at all this season) but they should enforce it at all games or none, rather than a select few (or in this case, a select one).

The saying “If there’s a will there’s a way” truly applies when talking about AEK supporters… an unfinished house looking right over the stadium was owned by AEK fans (from what I heard) and they invited in about 50 or 100 AEK supporters who set up banners on the balconies and started singing louder than the handful of Levadeiakos “Ultras”. Great to see them not give up when it comes to supporting AEK, but unfortunately a handful got arrested… even some who were watching the match at a cafe wearing AEK shirts.

An incident occurred after the match involving Georgeas and Levadeiakos owner Kobotis. Apparently, as Georgeas was giving an interview Kobotis walked by and asked “Where does AEK find the money to offer you bonuses?” (obviously bitter since his team will soon be playing 2nd division football). Georgeas replies with “Where do you find your money?” since its generally believed that Xanthi and Levadeiakos have been “involved” with Olympiakos. Kobotis replied with some very nasty language (too nasty to say on here)… to think that we want our league to advance when people like that are running the teams makes me laugh.

Updates

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer, Transfer Rumor with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2010 by alexaek

First of all, Happy Easter to everyone celebrating today.

Well, because of the the Easter Holidays there were no matches this weekend and therefore not so much to comment on. However, there has been some news lately.

Hull lost over the weekend, 2-0 to Stoke, meaning they still remain in the relegation zone. Now, whether the Geovani rumors are at all true I myself am not too sure (Hull president says he has not been talking with anyone at AEK), but if the rumors are in fact true than this loss is good news (though don’t offense, I have nothing against Hull).

Adamidis was in England discussing the possibility of keeping Nemeth one more season. I’m not quite sure what came out of the talks but Nemeth still says he has no problem with staying at AEK one more season. He gave an interview a few days ago where he mentioned that what he’d miss most if he leaves AEK is the supporters. Great to hear considering the supporters of AEK make up so much of the club.

Two more games left in the regular season before playoffs. As of right now only Scocco and Jahic will be unavailable for our next match with Levadeiakos, both due to cars. Other than that we have no injuries to deal with which is good news.

I still doubt Nemeth will start any time soon. Rather, I see Manduca starting the next match in Scocco’s place so Nemeth can be rested for the playoffs. To see Nemeth injured again would be a huge blow for us since I really doubt any team that we will face in the playoffs will be able to contain our offense at the moment.

As of right now, the playoffs look quite good for us. Nemeth has promised that we will make 2nd spot and I can honestly see that happening. Both Olympiakos and PAOK are falling apart at present, with Olympiakos having plenty of problems off the pitch (including financial problems and trouble with the players…. tough luck is all I can say, about time) and PAOK having a significant drop in form lately.

Aris are still a dangerous team, as they’ve been all season, with some spectacular players up front. While we could drop a few points to them I see us making up those points against the other two teams. I know it sounds crazy but right now we can certainly beat Olympiakos at home and away, that’s how bad they are right now.

Generally, things are much better for us at the moment. Everything is calm, all players have now been fully payed, and the psychology seems quite high overall. Contract renewals are being discussed and the Greeks have been dealt with first. After Easter a few more players (such as Manduca) will have their contracts discussed as well.

We’ve apparently seen some offers for Scocco from Spain around 3 million Euros. Not enough in my opinion, but my opinion doesn’t really much does it? Oh well, I guess as long as he doesn’t go to a Greek team. The 3 mil will still be enough to cover Geovanni.

PAOK 0-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by alexaek

So, our excellent form in the second half of the championship continued with only one loss since the December break. Shame we couldn’t have had this form from the start of the season but oh well, maybe next year.

Anyways, a great win away in a stadium which has only seen one loss (for the home side) before yesterday’s game this entire season. Blanco, who has scored in the past four AEK matches in Toumba, scored the only goal in the match.

By the way, before I go on to the match, I would like to point out that of the four teams currently in the playoffs (AEK, PAOK, Aris, and Olympiakos) AEK has won the most points between the four. After two wins against PAOK, a win and a draw against Aris, and a win against Olympiakos we got 13 points. Olympiakos, on the other hand, only have six points (after beating AEK and PAOK away but loosing at home to AEK and PAOK and loosing to Aris away) though they still play Aris at home. A favorable stat for us since the playoffs are just around the corner.

So, back to the game. But before that, some highlights:

So, to win in Toumba is always something big, especially with this year arguably being PAOK’s best season in recent memory. As I said before, only Oly managed to do that this season, and that was with some controversy from the referee.

I’ll give the lineup and in brackets my rating of the player. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section if you have a different opinion. Saja (9), Araujo (7), Manolas (8), Majstorovic (7), Georgeas (was subbed off early), Jahic (6), Kafes (8), Leonardo (7), Scocco (6), Djebbour (8), Blanco (8).

Our substitutes were Karabelas (8) who came on early for Georgeas who got injured, Gentzoglou (8) who came on for Jahic (who received a yellow and will now have to miss two of our final three games), Manduca (8) who came on for Leonardo.

Firstly, Sebastien Saja. The Argentinian, though he had some poor games earlier in the season, made some critical saves to keep us in the game. He was solid on the ball, clearly not the case with Chalkias, and confident, managing to collect most corners with ease.

Araujo held his ground well in my opinion. I don’t think many people will doubt it but this guy is a solid defender. Not much more to say for him.

Manolas played once again and once again did not fail to impress. His headers and clearances were exactly what we needed. He never fooled around, didn’t play any games, simply got the ball out and away from our box any way he could. He also defended well in the box and rarely let his men past him.

Majstorovic was always there when we needed him yesterday and defended well for the most part but I feel his marking was not as good as it should be. Often PAOK players were free to run into the box, runs which should have been halted by Majstorovic. I have a feeling the partnership between Manolas and Majstorovic may need a few more games to be completely solid. After-all, this was the first game they played together.

Georgeas came off early after leg or foot injury (I thought it was a cramp but whatever it was he couldn’t continue playing). He was replaced by Karabelas (the former Aris player was not warmly welcomed by the PAOK fans) who played a good game throughout, one of his best in a while in my opinion.

Our midfield in general was weak at first. Kafes was trying hard, and so was Jahic, but it was not until Gentzoglou and Manduca were introduced that we finally saw some control around the half line. However, when those two came on the difference was a noticeable one. Kafes was given some more freedom since Gentzoglou was covering his position well, so he was able to attack further up and gave some fantastic through balls for Blanco and Djebbour.

Scocco, aside from one left footed shot, contributed nothing to the match. He seemed absolutely uninterested in the match and rarely ran for the ball. I really believe Dusan should sit him out for a match or two until his attitude changes. I realise he wants to leave in the summer. Fine, bring in a good enough offer and your gone. Until then there his little he can do so he better start showing up 100% (even 50% would be better!) at our matches or he might as well not play at all. We would have been much better off starting with Manduca rather than Scocco.

Leonardo had a decent game. The kid is definately showing progress, hopefully he will continue this way.

Blanco and Djebbour really seemed to be into the match yesterday, unlike Scocco. They were both attacking whenever they could and clearly wanted nothing less than a win. Blanco had some great chances, and his finishing his looking better than earlier in the season.

Djebbour absolutely ripped open PAOK’s defense, the best in the league and one of the best in Europe, on a number of occasions. It was good to see him go all out in terms of effort. His attitude has really changed since last season, now all that’s left for him is to turn into a bit more of a team player. He gets the ball, makes space and room for himself, but always tries getting to the net the hard way rather than laying a simple pass to an open man in front of goal.

Our second half performance generally was far better than the first. For a few minutes at a time we had total control of the ball and were laying some nice one touch passes to each other. As was made evident at the Aris match (Aris 2-0 PAOK), PAOK’s defense is useless in these types of situations. I must say they were really nothing special in general. They played a simple game which was certainly effective at times, but their midfield lacked any creativity at all. Their finishing was also extremely poor as they had a number of chances early on to score. However, they were by no means an easy opponent and were probably one of the toughest teams we’ve played all season.

Panthrakikos 1-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2010 by alexaek

Seven games undefeated since January and we don’t look like slowing down any time soon.

Despite the recent court decision to ban all organized away fans in Greece 1,000 AEK fans we’re in the stadium of Komotini cheering on the boys louder than ever! Nothing will get in the way of AEK supporters. You gotta love it.

Well, as for the game, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Not only do you never know what can happen with this AEK team (despite our recent run of good form) but Panthrakikos had just won two games in a row (including a 2-0 victory away against Aris!) after failing to win a single match all season long.

We traveled north with a few key players out due to injury. Djebbour, Manduca, Kafes, Araujo, Nemeth (obviously) and Arabatzis were all our for this match. This meant we had to start with Saja, Georgeas, Majstorovic, Geraldo, Karabelas, Jahic, Makos, Scocco, Leonardo, Hersi, and Blanco.

Saja was, thankfully, quite reliable between the posts. The same cannot be said for our defense, unfortunately. We saw a number of weaknesses and had trouble resisting the pressure from Panthrakikos. Luckily for us, Panthrax were nothing special up front and only managed to get one goal.

Makos, I am pleased to say, didn’t play his worst game yet! His performance was certainly nowhere near spectacular but we’ve seen worse…. lets leave it at that. Jahic, who missed a couple of games because of cards, seemed more intent on playing offensively rather than helping out with the defensive duties. Though I didn’t see much of him, except a couple of shots (the guy certainly likes to shoot whenever he gets the chance), many times players like Scocco were forced to come back and help out, possibly where Jahic should have been.

Scocco is…. well, just watch his goal below:

The Argentine can split any defense whenever he wants, simple as that. Though I can never trust a player who may leave at any time, he is an integral part of this team when he wants to be.

Leonardo played a decent game but I personally didn’t see him play as big a role as Scocco. He’s a good player but cannot yet hold on to the ball the way Scocco can.

Hersi played a very good game. Aside from scoring the second goal he was involved constantly with our attacks from the right side.

Blanco had a number of chances and worked well with Scocco today. Shame he didn’t score, but I believe we will start seeing some more goals from him in the upcoming matches.

Generally, we controlled the game, especially the first half (the final ten minutes of the match were tense though). Despite poor pitch conditions, we managed to move the ball around well, runs were timed well, we were creating space. However, when it came time to score it seemed the players decided the effort required would be too much! We had a number of superb chances yet failed to score as many as we should have. Many the players confidence mixed in the knowledge that they were playing the lowest ranked team had an effect psychologically on the players. Hopefully we will see more concentration in front of the goal when we play Aris next weekend.

So, right now we are guaranteed to stay in the top four for at least another week. We currently sit four points ahead of Aris with 36 points (which means if the playoffs were to start now we would have 1 point). Aris still have to play tomorrow so the lead could be cut down to one point by tomorrow evening, though Aris play a tough match against Ergotelis away. Aris’ poor form plus Ergotelis’ incredible win last weekend against Tripolis (a fantastic match that was!) means its quite likely that Aris may leave Crete with one or no points tomorrow.

AEK handball won yet another derby over Veria after last weeks fantastic win against league leaders PAOK. Maybe it can be an even better weekend if AEK’s two game winning streak in Basketball can be extended with an away win against Peristeri tomorrow. Let’s all hope!