Archive for OAKA

AEK Set To Face CSKA

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, Jerseys with tags , , , , , , on July 24, 2017 by alexaek

The day many of us have been awaiting patiently (more likely rather impatiently) has finally arrived. In less than 24 hours from the publishing of this post, AEK will have finally played a Champions League game, the first in essentially a decade.

Our opponent for this 3rd qualifying round match is the Moscow based club CSKA. Most sources are understandably listing CSKA as the favourites, not least because their season has already been underway. AEK, on the other hand, have yet to play a competitive match with many of our new singings but that doesn’t worry me all that much. We’re expected to have a good crowd supporting the team in OAKA as ticket sales have been pretty steady over the past week and the team will definitely have enough motivation to put in a good performance. In fact I’ve just read that 15,000 tickets have been sold, plus the approximately 7,000 season tickets. That puts us at a crowd of around 21,000 though that will surely increase more throughout the day tomorrow.

AEK365 is reporting that Anestis will get the start in nets after Barkas sustained a rather serious injury that could see him sidelined for up to three months. In front of Anestis we can expect to see Bakakis, Chygrynskiy, Vranjes, and Lopes. Simoes will likely be paired with either Johansson or Galanopoulos with Livaja a little further up the pitch. Completing our attack will be Mantalos and Lazaros with Klonaridis expected to be up front if he is match fit.

Its not a bad lineup with some pretty good Greek representation. Its reassuring to see that Jimenez isn’t afraid to play Greeks when they deserve the spot since those are more often than not the players that the club will be built around.

Tomorrow’s match will take place at 8:30 PM Athens time which is 1:30 PM New York time or 3:30 AM Sydney time (on the 26th of July). I can’t really say what to expect from CSKA as I’m not at all familiar with the club, but they did just come off a 3-1 loss in the league against Lokomotiv Moscow. Having said that, they’re still undoubtedly a strong side but a positive result for AEK in Athens is more than possible. Its supposed to be a warm afternoon in Athens with a high of 32°C which could play in our favour as Moscow seems to be averaging mid to high 20s around this time of year. 

I’m not certain which kits we’ll be wearing but they’ll definitely be different than last season’s kits as new kits were released earlier in July. The First kit is similar to last year’s striped one, but with a slightly different style. Its not radically different but I still quite like it:

Its also possible we could wear our Third kit, one which I must say is quite gorgeous. I’m not convinced that it works as a jersey really simply because the details get lost when watching in the stands or on TV and it ends up looking like a plain black training kit. As something that I would want to purchase and wear myself though, it is stunning. Maybe a little more yellow around the edge of the Dikefalo would have helped make everything stand out a little more though:

Its an exciting day tomorrow and while I’m disappointed that I’ll have to be at work, I’ll definitely try to follow it as much as possible. Fingers crossed one of the Greek TV channels I have on TV will also be showing it so I can watch it after work. Either way theres a lot to look forward to and if we can come away with a positive result tomorrow, anything will be possible. Forza AEKara!

AEK 0-1 Olympiakos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Cup with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2017 by alexaek

The other day, Fourtounis made a comment claiming that on Wednesday (today), Olympiakos would “show which team is the best”. Now I’m kind of confused about this because surely, “the best” team would be the team that made it to the Cup Final? But in this case, Olympiakos didn’t in fact make it to the Final, so how can they be the best? Maybe Fourtounis was stuck in a little day dream where he imagined himself in a black and yellow jersey, celebrating in front of 50,000 supporters as he and his team booked their place in the finals:

All kidding aside, it has to be said that today’s performance wasn’t the greatest. We definitely created some chances but we left a lot to be desired and its really only thanks to Olympiakos’ inability to create anything worthwhile that we got away with the result we were looking for. Its unfortunate really since I was really expecting a win. Maybe not a blowout, but I was anticipating a 1-0 game for us, just something to really seal the deal without causing too much trouble.

But hey, why focus on the negatives you might ask? I don’t really plan on it, we just booked our ticket to the 23rd Cup final in AEK’s history so I really don’t have much to complain about. Having said that, we’ll definitely need to look better in the Final regardless of whether we play Panathinaikos or PAOK. At the end of the day though, its a Cup final and just being a part of it will give our players the energy and drive to give the best that they have to offer.

There were some interesting points to take from the match that deserve some attention, the first of which regards Vranjes. I love the guy and his passion, he clearly relishes the opportunity to play for AEK and even more so when a big game comes around. Having said that, he’ll have to be careful when the final comes around. He was close to getting sent off today and it took the intervention of his own teammates to make sure he didn’t go off the rails.

Its also worth noting the Anestis, who actually had a pretty solid game, got sent off in extra time. To be honest, he was quite clearly wasting time so I feel like the ref wasn’t left with much choice. What was particularly amusing about this situation was the fact that we had no remaining substitutions at that point which resulted in Almeida playing goal for the remaining few minutes. Luckily, he wasn’t really tested.

As is typical with games involving Olympiakos (particularly games in which the result doesn’t go Olympiakos’ way), a number of the higher profile members of the organization had some comments to make about what took place. In classic Savvas fashion, he came out with some very valid points about the officiating today, claiming that it was 80-20 in favour of AEK. I think he has a point, after all how can this reckless tackle on Ansarifard not be called as a penalty for Olympiakos:

Part of me wishes that Savvas never opens his mouth again but then the other part of me will miss his weekly comedy routine. 80-20 in favour of AEK, while giving five minutes of extra time and then another five minutes on top of that, and a red card to AEK’s keeper… I’ve doubted it for a while but now I really can’t believe that Savvas and his crew over at Olympiakos are actually serious.

Enough about them though, how about our supporters and the atmosphere they created in OAKA this evening? The scenes from the game earlier today really make me miss Athens… Definitely my favourite banner this season:

The photos below come from AEK365 and can be seen here as well:

Beautiful scenes as always. And now, the final! At the moment its scheduled for May 6th, but we won’t know until tomorrow whether we will face Panathinaikos or PAOK. To be honest, I don’t see PAOK turning around their two goal deficit to Panathinaikos, but it can definitely happen.

 

AEK 3-1 Panathinaikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Playoffs with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2016 by alexaek

Huge win for the team today, a win that puts us back in with a shot of getting first in the playoffs. A loss today would have essentially ended all hope for us, but the win now means that if we win both of our upcoming matches, we finish top. I’m feeling pretty confident at this point and if it wasn’t for the fatigue really getting to the players, I would be certain that we could win both games. We play PAOK at home first and as we all know, our home form for the derbies has been pretty solid. The final game of the season is away against Panionios, a game which is never easy but I fancy our chances now given the fact that Panionios has been so poor during these playoffs.

So how did we win today? To be honest, a little bit of luck helped. PAO had two goals called back (though both were the right calls from what I’ve read… still looking for replays though) and they also got a straight red which was supposedly a bit controversial though I have yet to see the replay for that either. Aside from that though, we did everything we needed to get away with the win: taking advantage of set plays and counter attacks. For much of the game PAO controlled possesion but it sounded like they had a harder time breaking through today compared to when we played them on Monday. We were lucky that Leto didn’t get the start since his presence was noticed afterwards when he scored the only goal for PAO.

The two key players for us today in my opinion have got to be Mantalos and Barbosa. Mantalos directly set up our first and third goal while he was also the one to start the counter attack on our second goal. As for Barbosa, well its pretty obvious why I consider his impact on the game today to be so important. Two of today’s three goals were scored by him and both were finished so perfectly that they left Steele with no chance of making the save.

I haven’t really found any decent quality highlights on youtube but you can check out the goals at the following link: http://www.novasports.gr/match-center/match-center-agonas/match/1021/aek-panathinaikos/#.V0ewlTdrhD8 You’ll just need to go down to the live goals section down the page, and watch each goal individually. The third by Barbosa is especially worth taking a look at.

So where does today’s result leave us? Well PAOK are still first in the playoffs with 10 points, followed by AEK with 8 points and Panathinaikos with 7 (Panionios have only managed to pick up one point until now). Really, its still very open at the top with two games left to play so anything could happen.

AEK 1-0 Panathinaikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Football with tags , , , , , on February 29, 2016 by alexaek

At the start of this season I wasn’t too sure we’d be able to compete too well when it came to the derbies. I figured with a mix of young players and players who had never experienced first division football in Greece, we’d struggle with the players and more experienced teams.

Our derby performances in the first half of the season seemed to comfirm what I was afraid of at first but I never expected things to turn around the way they have. Yetserday’s win against Panathinaikos has made it three derby wins in a row, something that both Poyet and the team should be immensely proud of. Of course it hasn’t been easy. There were some scares in the PAOK game, Olympiakos were certainly not easy to come up against, and Panathinaikos managed to give us quite the fright on more than one occasion yesterday. But the fact that we managed to score when we needed to in all three games and hold on for the wins shows the team really has developed some character and experience, qualities which we can really build on for next season.

As for our game yesterday, I unfortunately missed some of the first half and had a hard time finding a stream for the beginning of the second half but what I read and saw of our performance was certainly not all good news. To be honest, I thought we would have a pretty easy time with PAO. Afterall, we’ve had some good form recently and have played pretty well since the start of the new year (aside from the game against Iraklis but that was an exception as far as I’m concerned). Our confidence was high and we’ve just generally seemed a level above PAO in most regards. PAO on the other hand have had some terrible form, have looked poor in games that matter, and its safe to say their confidence was not the highest. All this, to me at least, pointed to what should have been a rather routine game for us.

Of course, football is never so straightforward, and especially not when it comes to derbies. Sometimes players have a bad day, sometimes a whole team can have a bad day, and that seems to be what happened to us yesterday. Was it over confidence? Was PAO just feeling the pressure and urgency more than us? Its hard to tell. It would have been one thing if PAO started strong and we fought back soon after, but it took almost the whole first period before we started to show some sort of urgency and motivation to get the ball forward. Our passing was sloppy, we lacked any sort of creativity, and our defense could hardly handle anything that PAO.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, our least reliable player on the pitch was Arzo. Despite having a couple good games lately, he seemed to have returned to his usual self, making a number of potentially costly errors, and marking rather poorly to the point where a number of our other defenders would have to cover for him regularly. Defensively, the only player who really stood out for me was Didac while both Kolovetsios and Bakakis seemed to struggle to get comfortable. Bakakis unfortunately picked up an injury late in the game though thankfully for us, we’ll be able to have Galo back for the next game if I’m not mistaken.

As far as midfield and attack is concerned, nobody really stood out for me yesterday. It seemed like the entire team was too afraid to really get themselves forward and find the players providing the support for their passes. Thankfully we managed to pick up the pace a bit later in the game and get some numbers forward, but we still never really looked all that dangerous. As has been the case for the past three derbies though, we finally managed to get our lucky break and make it count with none other than Vargas being the one to score. I know I criticize him on a regular basis for not contributing enough to the team when hes on the pitch but he really deserves credit. When we really need to count on him most, hes always managed to get the ball in the net when players like Aravidis and Djebbour have struggled.

Overall, it was hardly a performance to be proud of. But the team did well to hold on and come away with the win and, more importantly, put ourselves comfortably ahead of PAO by seven points. The season is still far from over but at this point I’d be very surprised if PAO manage to come back and over take us for second (having said that, it could very well happen).

Some great clips from the atmosphere inside OAKA yesterday (I really love the yellow and black smoke bombs at the start of the second half):

A video taken from the stands the moment Vargas scored:

And of course, highlights from the game:

http://aek365.novasports.gr

And one last link, this time to an AEK365 page which has videos of ten fantastic goals we’ve scored from fouls against PAO:

http://www.aek365.com/a-445270/oi-10-gkolare-th-aek-apo-faoul-me-pao-video.htm

AEK 0-1 Olympiakos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer with tags , , , on March 11, 2015 by alexaek

How close can it get. We were two minutes away from booking our place in the semi finals, in front of over 65,000 peaceful and well behaved AEK supporters, when it all ended.

I’m not sure how to feel right now to be honest. There’s some dissapointment, anger, pride, I guess a bit of everything. On the one hand, I want to focus on the positives, but I can’t help but dwell on the fact that we were so close to one of the greatest moments of the past three years for us. After all that we’ve been through, nothing could be more indicitave of the progres we’ve made and how well we’ve turned things around, than winning a Cup as a second division team.

The game started off fairly slowly, with both teams taking a while to settle into some sort of rythm. Olympiakos seemed to be controlling pressure early on, but it was clear their creativity in front of our net was lacking, and they were having a hard time coping with the pressure we were applying high up. Just as with the first match in Karaiskaki, it was AEK who were the only team making something of the possesion when they had it.

Eventually the chances started coming, with Aravidis and Mantalos both coming agonizingly close before the first half ended. Nonetheless, after the first 45 minutes the score was 0-0, and it started to seem like AEK were settling for the draw which would take them to the next round.

The second half started comfirming my fears further of AEK settling for a draw. We were defending well, and still moving the ball, but we began applying pressure deeper into our own territory, and were soaking up Olympiakos’ chances as they came.

Fortunately for us, our defence was almost flawless today. We were organized and solid, with Johansson in particular coming back often to stop any attacks before they could develop too much. Unfortunately for us though, there was only so much they could take before they would crack, and they finally did in the 89th minute with Jara taking advantage of some sloppy defending on our part and scoring an equally sloppy goal.

At that point, it all fell apart. The moment Olympiakos scored their goal, a number of people invaded the area surrounding the pitch and came close to getting their hands on some Olympiakos players, even managing to throw some flares inches away from them. Of course, Olympiakos’ players ran into the lockers immediately and from then on never appeared again on the pitch. AEK’s players remained, waiting anxiously for some sort of announcement, an announcement which ultimately never came.

The whole thing is a shame really. With a crowd of almost 70,000 fans, the entire match was peaceful until that last moment, and even then it was only a handful who ruined it for the rest of us. I don’t even know if they were AEK fans, or who they were, but it was clear whoever it was, they were waiting for that moment to make it onto the pitch.

Its safe to say we all have a right to be disappointed. We could have won the last game, we came close to winning this one, and for much of both matches we were the better team.

On the other hand, we all have a right to be proud too. Its clear to everyone who has been following the team that we are headed in the right direction. If you told an Olympiakos fan that it would take a lucky 89th minute goal to get past a second division AEK, they would have likely laughed in your face. Through all this, AEK, its management, and its supporters have proven to the rest of Greece that they will be back strong and ready come next season.

There has been talk on the refereeing from tonight’s match, and rightfully so. Olympiakos’ players went down awfully easily, and we had a couple non existent offside calls made against us. However, is there really a point in commenting on the refereeing? We can talk all we want about change, but its pretty apparent that things will never change, particularly when certain teams are involved..

Instead, I’d like to focus on some of the positive aspects we can take away from tonight’s game:

As always, I look forward to your comments!

AEK – Olympiakos Next Wednesday

Posted in AEK with tags , , , on March 4, 2015 by alexaek

For those of you haven’t seen the comments from my last post, the second leg of the cup game against Olympiakos will be next Wednesday, March 11th (7 PM Greek time). After 24 hours, the entire first level of OAKA has entirely sold out (that puts us at least 30,000-35,000 so far). The second level has now opened up, and if things keep up, all of OAKA will be sold out for the match. Considering we’re still a little less than a week away until the match, I’d say theres a very good chance we can get our first sold out game for years, and its certainly something I’m looking forward to.

If any readers here will be lucky enough to watch the match live, enjoy! I would give anything to be able to see this in person.

AEK 2-0 Archanaikos

Posted in AEK, Basketball, Football League, Greek Cup with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2015 by alexaek

Laid back game from the sounds of things, though I guess at this point there’s no reason to push too hard, particularly with the game against Olympiakos coming up in less than a month (possibly).

Going by what I saw in the highlight video, there were a number of chances for AEK to score, though Acharnaikos had their fair share of chances too. Barbosa and Aravidis particularly looked very dangerous, though Mantalos too was quite involved. Defensively it looked like we were a bit too open at times, though I’m not particularly worried, since I have the feeling that was more the result of the team feeling rather relaxed more than anything else. Especially after watching how tight and organized the defense was against Olympiakos, I know our back four are more than capable of handling most situations quite well.

I’m gonna have to mention Anestis, because there seems to be a recurring theme here with him. Overall he’s been quite solid this season but it seems ever game now, there is a play where he makes a serious mistake. Luckily for us we’ve not been punished too often for his mistakes, but we very well could have. I’m not sure why it is this keeps happening, but if he wants to be our first keeper next season, he’ll have to work on his judgment because you can bet that in games against teams like Olympiakos and PAO, they will take advantage of his mistakes.

MVP of the match was once again Anakoglou, though AEK365 considered Barbosa to be the best player of the match. I remember when we first signed Barbosa, I had really high expectations but I wasn’t seeing too much consistency from him. He certainly had his moments where he looked fantastic, but I was getting the feeling it wasn’t enough at the time. I have to say that he has really stepped up his performances with each passing game and hes now becoming a key part of our team. With him and Mantalos leading the midfield and Johansson and Anakoglou providing the support behind them, we definitely now have a very solid midfield core.

Possession for the match was 74 percent in our favour, and we managed to get off twenty shots (twelve of which were on target).

There was another game today, this time with our basketball team. The classic Athens derby between AEK and PAO. Now, I hate to say it but we all know PAO is a powerhouse, not just in Greece but in Europe. They have been for a while, and looks like they still will be for a while. I was still hoping for a win though, considering how promising our play has been since things turned around for the team, but unfortunately the win was still too far out of our grasp. The final result was 62-70 for PAO, and even though a loss is a loss, I’m sure the score would have been worse had we not had the team we have today. Of course we still have a long way to go until our basket team can challenge for the title, but we have also come a long way since where we were a year or two ago. I think that as long as our management stays focused and continues to provide us with the best players possible, we will only continue to improve. With some of the recent signings we’ve made, we will without a doubt be able to attract even more high quality team, and hopefully by next season will have a top three team once again.

As was to be expected, the atmosphere for the game was fantastic:

A quick word about our next Cup game against Olympiakos… For those who have been wondering when the game will be, I unfortunately cannot say, because I, as well as the rest of the Greece, don’t know. It was originally scheduled for the 4th of March. However, Olympiakos play Tripolis on Monday, March 2nd, so technically they aren’t allowed to play another game within 48 hours. Unfortunately, March 5th there is a PAO basket game at OAKA for the Euroleague, which of course cannot be postponed. So, the obvious solution would be to move the Olympiakos-Tripolis game to Sunday, March 1st, right? Well, you would figure, but Olympiakos like to get things their own way, and since they are obviously now worried about playing us, they are looking to move the game to a later week all together. As a reported mentioned in an article I read today, why was this not discussed before the first leg game? Why were Olympiakos’ concerns for the “well being” of their players not brought up when they thought they would comfortably beat us in the first leg?

All I know is that this is Greece, and if history is anything to go by, Olympiakos will get their way.