Archive for Soccer

Cup Is Canceled… Again

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Derby, EPO with tags , , , , , on May 6, 2016 by alexaek

So it looks like the Cup has been canceled for the second time this season. Really never expected something like this to happen, to have a Cup final canceled twice in season, but I guess its not that surprising at all given the way things are run in Greece at the moment.

The official reason for the cancellation was that the police were concerned about safety, even though the only people in the stadium would have been the players and the 300 or so friends and family members of the players. Does that sound like much of a threat to you? I didn’t think so. The police did also mention that there was a general strike in Athens and all their resources were being used up as the article below mentions. But even so, is it really not possible to gather up enough police for a game being played behind closed doors?

I guess they’re also worried about the potential for clashes between supporters after the game, especially considering people would have only been more roused up by the accusatory statements put out by both clubs recently, but that seems like an awfully desperate and unconvincing reason for canceling the game.

It doesn’t seem like the issues regarding the assistant refs was worked out at all, so maybe the police excuse was a way for Kontonis to get some cover? I obviously have no idea who was behind what, but in the end I maybe this will work out for the better. I mean, even if we had won, how can a cup final without supporters in the stands ever go down well in history? It would have been an embarrassment to future generations who would have watched the highlights of the game, just as I have with highlights from previous cup finals. Some of the best moments for me were watching the team lift the Cup in 2011 in front of a sea of yellow jerseys. I couldn’t imagine watching the team parade the trophy around an empty OAKA…

Greek Cup final postponed at request of police

In other AEK news, we played our second playoff game against Olympiakos and while we still didn’t manage a win, we at least managed to keep the game considerably closer than the last time around. We managed to get a decent run going in the fourth quarter and I even thought we might have had a chance of mounting a memorable come back but simply wasn’t enough in the end as the game ended 80-67.

Despite the improved performance, it wasn’t all good news. I’m not sure what happened, or what caused it, but Zdovc and Green had a bit of a “argument” so to speak, one which seems to have led to the end of Green’s time with AEK. AEK seems to place the blame on Green but I’m not convinced. I haven’t been too pleased with how Zdovc acts during games sometimes, its certainly not conducive to creating an environment where the players want to interact in any sort of positive way with the coach and some of the comments he has made in the past have suggested that he doesn’t really trust his players. I can’t speak for them, but I imagine it doesn’t inspire them all that much and I wouldn’t be surprised if thats part of the reason we’ve seen so many ups and downs with this team so far.


Thats all for now from me. Of course I’ll post some news as soon as I can if I hear anything else about a new date for the final but I’m really not holding my breath at this point. Theres also talk of the playoffs being canceled (which would result in Panathinaikos finishing 2nd automatically), but I don’t think there has been anything official regarding that yet.

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PAS Giannina 0-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Dellas, Derby, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Keepers, PAOK, Superleague with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2016 by alexaek

Our fantastic start to 2016 got even better after we got an important three points away against in cold and wet Northern Greece. Conditions for the match were less than ideal as the rain that had fallen the previous couple of days meant the pitch was in terrible shape, but our players handled the situation very well. In fact, with how well they were moving the ball around at times I often forgot that there was even anything wrong with the pitch.

It was a good game from most of the team though there were certainly a few players who never really managed to get into the game. From what I could see, Djebbour especially stood out. From the moment he came on in the second half, I rarely saw him make any effort. I hardly even saw him run as he spent most of his time taking jogging slowly and idly around the pitch, almost as if he wasn’t even really aware of what was going on around him. He  can play, we all know it, but the effort he gives, especially beside someone who never stops like Aravidis, is disappointing. I know he’s always been like this, but it seems to be getting worse, to the point where its really not worth playing him. I’d much rather we call up someone from our academy or make a cheap singing of another striker from the Superleague rather than play Djebbour when he’s being a spectator the way he is.

Another player who disappointed me yet again was Vargas. Sure he scored the goal, but I hardly see him contribute aside from scoring. When he has players like Simoes and Johansson around him, players who are constantly getting involved, he really has to carry his weight some more. Otherwise, it just ends up holding Simoes and Johansson back and ends up giving them one less option, options we desperately need when we play against a team that defends like PAS.

Defensively I thought we were mediocre today, not terrible but we certainly still allowed PAS far too much time near our goal. PAS do have a good team for sure, but we need to be able to hold back teams a lot better than we do. We need to be able to apply more pressure but without leaving ourselves too vulnerable, something we can’t quite do yet with the centre backs we have. It too often seems to be one or the other; either we apply some pressure and end up leaving ourselves vulnerable and open at the back, or we hold back but then end up giving our opposition too much time on the ball and too much time to form an attack. Hopefully we sign a more experienced centre back soon to help us a bit, its been far too long since we had players like Dellas or Kyrgiakos back there.

Players who stood for me were Johansson (is anybody surprised?), Simoes, and Barbosa, all players who seem to have settled very well into the positions Poyet is playing them in. However, most of my credit and praise has to go to Anestis. For the second game in a row he saved a penalty, a penalty which could have tied the game for PAS. He also managed to keep a clean sheet again (in fact, in the five games we’ve played in 2016, hes only conceeded once) and just generally had a solid game. I saw one corner where he seemed a bit shaky but otherwise, he did everything he had to which is all we can ask of him at this point. Without a doubt his confidence is skyrocketting and I can only hope he continues to keep it up. Of course, his real test will be next weekend against PAOK, a game we absolutely must win.

All in all it was a good performance. By no means was it perfect, but we did what we had to, getting the three points away at a difficult team. The three points meant even more after PAO dropped points at home to Panionios, drawing 0-0. That draw now means we are four points ahead with 36 points while PAO have 32. PAOK also have 32 (though they’ve also played a game less), so a win for us in the derby next weekend will mean we keep our distance between us and PAOK as well.

Highlights, as usual, can be found on the NovaSports site here: http://aek365.novasports.gr

 

Unfortunately, our basketball team had a far more disappointing weekend. We played PAOK away, a game I was worried about. We’ve already beaten them this season, and I feel we have a slightly better team, but an away game against PAOK will never be easy.

The game started off well, almost too well. I woke up about a quarter of the way through the game to find that we were not only winning, but we were winning by 20 points. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I quickly got out of bed and set myself up with a stream in time to catch the third and fourth quarter. Unfortunately, it was then that things took a very quick turn for the worse. Just like that, PAOK had managed to close the gap. All of a sudden they were outplaying us, and we could hardly handle them. Too make things worse, our shooting (which was pretty good for the first two quarters) became terrible, with three pointer after three pointer missing the target. It was painful to watch, seeing us miss all these three pointers rather than just trying to go for the safer two pointers. I could quite tell if the team was told to go for three, or they just couldn’t break PAOK’s defense enough to be able to get close enough for any safe two pointers. Either way, it was not nice to watch. Sure enough, with just a couple minutes to go, PAOK managed to claw their way back into the lead for good, winning the game 79-75. We’re still in third place but with Aris’ loss and a win over PAOK, we would have been able to put some good distance between us fourth place. It was a terrible game to watch, but I’m hoping the team can learn something from it.

UEFA Against Match Fixing

Posted in football, Soccer with tags , , , , , on September 27, 2008 by alexaek

UEFA will be strengthening its forces against match fixing and corruption in European Football.

UEFA and Yahoo both have articles describing the plans.