Archive for Superleague Greece

AEK 3-0 Larissa

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Jimenez with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2017 by alexaek

How long has it been since we’ve seen an AEK team playing with this much confidence and organization? I know, I might be getting carried away a bit, but its hard not too. We have an AEK team that is finally able to go into every game as favourites again, we have an AEK team that is finding ways to score and most importantly, for the first time in a while we have a team that is getting win after win.

Jimenez first and foremost deserves some credit for finding a way to turn this team around. Our last loss, the 3-2 loss to Panaitolikos, was the last game before Jimenez took control of the team. Since then, we’ve played nine games with three of those games ending as draws and six ending as wins for AEK. What is more impressive though is the fact that in the nine games that Jimenez has been in charge, we’ve scored twenty one goals and conceded only two. How that is even possible considering how poor our form was before Jimenez’s arrival is beyond me, but I’m not going to question what is clearly a working formula.

Yesterday’s game was yet another example of how things seem to finally be looking up for us. We opened the scoring with a header from Pekhart, something which I was especially happy to see since it had been a while since Pekhart scored and I was starting to wonder when he’d find his scoring ways again.

The scoring continued with yet another header, this time from Chygrynskiy. Despite being out for quite a while due to injury, the Ukrainian centre back returned in the best possible way with his goal. It wasn’t only Chygrynkskiy though who was returning to action and finding the net on their first appearance in a while. Almeida, the player who showed so much promise on the first game of the season only to see injuries affect his form drastically also returned to action and found the back of the net. As with the previous two goals scored during the game, Almeida’s was also scored with a header though this time following a beautiful ball in by Ajdarevic and a perfectly timed run by Almeida.

A couple things worth noting:

  • We still haven’t seen Vanjes and Chygrynskiy play together, but I can only imagine how solid our defense will be once their both playing alongside each other. All credit to Lambropoulos and Kolovetsios though for doing what has been needed of them
  • We managed to get yesterday’s result despite having a number of key players in the starting XI. In fact, almost our whole bench featured players who would normally be starters (Barkas, Araujo, Chygrynskiy, Ajdarevic, Simoes, and Almeida). This says a lot about the depth we all knew this team had. It seems as though we can finally really take advantage of it.

 

We’re clearly not in the title race at this stage of the game (though Panionios is causing quite the stir as they are starting to get awfully close to Olympiakos after a historic 1-0 win in Piraeus) but with the form we’ve managed to find lately, I’m at least feeling pretty good about our chances in the playoffs. With our recent wins we now find ourselves two points behind Panathinaikos and four behind PAOK and that can all change depending on how we fare when we play our remaining two derbies. Its never as much fun when you’re playing for 2nd rather than going for the title, but at least we now have a team that we can enjoy watching from now until the rest of the season. Who knows, maybe the playoffs might even be exciting to watch this year.

Highlights of the goals below:

And another behind the scenes video, this time from yesterday’s game against Larissa. I’ve really enjoyed the behind the scenes clips this season:

 

Catching Up…

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , on December 20, 2016 by alexaek

Its been a while since my last post (over a month at this point), mostly due to the final couple months of school taking up a lot of my time. Now that all of that is behind me, I figured it was time for a quick post going over what I’ve missed.

Disappointing League Results

Things have been less than ideal in the league over the past month and a half. We’ve had four league games since my last post and while they were all against what should in theory be weaker teams, only two out of those four games actually ended in wins. The first win was a 3-0 home victory over Platanias and we also got a comfortable 4-0 home win over Levadeiakos. Both those results were followed by draws against Kerkyra and, just yesterday, a home draw against PAS Giannena. Now I know nothing ever comes easy but had we won those two games we drew, we would have been sitting in 2nd with 24 points and a far smaller gap between us and Olympiakos. Instead, we find ourselves 5th with 20 points, behind Xanthi, PAO, and Panionios.

Yesterday’s result was one of those results that are that much harder to swallow. It was a strange game from the start really, with Aravidis being sent off on a straight red with a Zidane imitation headbutt. Surprisingly though we played pretty well considering we were a man down and then got gifted one of the easiest goals Pekhart will ever have to score. To top the whole game off though, we conceded an extra time goal which was clearly offside. Not the result we deserved, especially considering it sounded like the team looked really promising even when playing a man down, but I’ve come to expect this sort of thing from this league.

To make matters worse, Mantalos also missed a penalty yesterday…

 

Disappointing Cup Results As well..

After our 4-0 Cup win against Kerkyra, we ended up with some pretty disappointing results after drawing Karditsa 2-2 and Lamia 0-0. Safe to say we should have done better, especially against Karditsa when we were ahead 2-0 before letting them back into the game. Thankfully the results were still enough to get us through to the next round where we’ll face Levadeiakos, but I’ll definitely be hoping for some better results from this point on. Since it seems as though we’re already out of the title race, it would be nice if we can make a decent attempt for the Cup again this year.

 

 

Veria 0-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Temuri Ketsbaia with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2016 by alexaek

We got our second win today in Northern Greece as our good start to the season continued thanks to goals from Bakasetas and Vargas. To be honest the scoreline wasn’t as convincing as I was expecting it to be but at the end of the day the team were able to do what was needed to get the win.

My streams today were iffy at best, but I was able to get an idea of how we were playing for the most part and while there were some positives to take away from the match, I was still a bit worried at times with what I was seeing. We did well for long stretches of time to move the ball around and create very convincing opportunities but then we would sit back at other times and make no effort to take control of the match. From what I remember we did this especially after scoring our first goal and at the start of the second half, possibly the worst moments of the match to do so (especially if we were to do so against a stronger team). I’m not sure what it is that makes the team do that but I noticed something similar against Xanthi once we had a decent lead built up, as if the whole team collectively decides to relax a little too much.

Thankfully we were able to pick things up eventually and start creating some chances again though I was worried for a while that we weren’t going to score a second goal. Its not that we weren’t creating chances, because we were, but we struggled to get things to click right in front of the net. So many great opportunities were stopped by either the keeper or the post, but many others were let down by poor finishing (noteably some of the opportunities involving Bakasetas and Platellas). I’m really happy to see us creating these chances but if we struggle to put these many away, we’ll really be made to pay for that when the derbies come around.

Enough about the negatives though, lets talk about what worked well for us. Two players stood out for me: Patito and Bakasetas. Patito was a constant threat on the right side of the pitch, constantly working the ball further towards goal and sending in perfectly placed passes. Normally when I see a player with the ball near the box I’d rather they just got it in with a pass rather than try to dribble past some defenders but Patito doesn’t cause those same kind of worries with me. He, much like Scocco, has that tight ball control that enables him to seemingly effortlessly make his past one, two, or more defenders. Its beautiful and exciting stuff to watch and its only a matter of time until he scores a phenomenal goal himself (I’m thinking something along the lines of Scocco’s goal against Olympiakos back in that 4-4 cup final).

Bakasetas also had a great game which I was very happy to see. While the singings of Almeida, Lescott, and Patito were all great moves during the summer, it was Bakasetas’ singing that I was most excited about. Today proved why he was such a great catch by us and I can only hope that we’ll see more of him in games to come. He was a constant threat upfront, provided the assist for the second goal, and showed great awareness of what was going on around him on a few occasions. All too often a young Greek talent comes to one of the big teams and ultimately fails to make any significant impact but I genuinely feel that Bakasetas could be the exception to that.

Aside from those two players, the rest of the team did well too. Mantalos was dangerous, Almeida had some great chances before he had to be subbed off (hopefully his injury isn’t much worse this time around). We were sound defensively and while I feel Lescott still needs another game or two to really settle in, I feel like hes starting to get comfortable with what he has to do.

Ketsbaia did alright today, everyone seemed to know their roles well and though the starting lineup was predictable, it was the one that made the most sense to go with. One thing he did though which really confused me was taking off Patito and subbing on Platellas. Platellas ultimately did alright, but I really didn’t understand the logic behind the move. We were still looking for a goal, Patito didn’t show any sign of injury and was still contributing to the match. Why Ketsbaia decided to take him off for a player who plays a similar role I can’t quite figure out. But hey, we got the result in the end so I won’t question it too much yet. Whether his decisions will cost us in the derbies we’ll have to see.

As usual a round of applause is due for our supporters in Veria today. Though I was only able to watch from my computer a few thousand kilometres away from the stadium, it never once seemed like an away game. AEK supporters filled a curve at the end as well one of the main stands along the side of the pitch and if the reactions from some of the players and Ketsbaia is anything to go by, their support really made a difference throughout the match.

Highlights, though not in great quality, can be seen here:

And, if you have some extra time you can watch the whole match here:

 

Catching Up…

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Greek Cup, Transfer Rumor with tags , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2016 by alexaek

There was a mix up with our new internet provider here at home and so I had no connection to the web from about Friday morning until now. I am happy to report though that everything is up and running very smoothly, but this now means I have some catching up to do on the AEK news. For starters, heres a brief summary:

-We won our game against Panionios, 1-0 courtesy of Mantalos

-We also won our second game against Aris for third place in the basketball league by a score of 89-84

-Reports are suggesting that we’re very close to singing Olympiakos target Tasos Bakasetas (would be a great signing if this is true)

So, I didn’t get to watch the game against Panionios since I was working (though I should get to watch our game tomorrow), but it seems like we played pretty well from what I saw during the highlights. We had a few players out such as Barbosa and Vargas, but it sounded like Platellas made a great impression, despite having not played for a while now. Particularly good news since we could really use him in some of the upcoming games.

Seemed like a pretty good game with chances on both sides, as was to be expected since Panionios have been a pretty strong side lately. Worth noting that the officiating was pretty terrible with two clear penalties not awarded to us (not to mention the fact that Panionios should have recieved a red card as well). Its too bad the officiating was once again a talking point, since it was generally pretty good in the cup final. Thankfully we still got away with the win, as I’m sure the complaints would have been even worse had the missed penalty calls cost us a point or three.

The win puts us back in control of our own destiny after Panathinaikos and PAOK tied 1-1 in Athens. With our win, we are now first with 5 points, followed by Panathinaikos and PAOK on 4, and Panionios on 1.

 

Our basketball game against Aris seemed like it was a pretty exciting one. We started off well, going ahead early on, but something I’ve gotten very used to over the seasons started to happen. That’s right, I started to see our lead slowly but surely shrink until Aris managed to tie up the game. Luckily for us we managed to keep Aris at bay while also managing to sink a good number of our own shots but the excitement didn’t end there. Towards the end of the match there were some scuffles on the court, likely a result of nerves since Aris realised they were about to find themseleves down 2-0 in the series. To add to the drama, the officials ultimately decided to eject the benches of both teams as well as two players who were on the court at the time of the events, leading to only three players per team being on the court for the final moments of the game. To be honest, I don’t really know myself what happened; who hit who, who started what. The highlights below are unfortunately a bit inconclusive.

 

So as I also mentioned above, AEK365 is reporting that we are very close to agreeing with both Panionios and Bakasetas. They’ve even gone ahead and made the claim that the singing will be happening on the 1st of June. He’s had a fantastic season, and was also a target of Olympiakos so if this does go through, it will be a victory for us in more ways than one. Like someone commented on AEK365, with Olympiakos losing the cup final and facing a tough challenge of overcoming PAO for the basketball title, losing the singing of Bakasetas to AEK would only help to make this week even worse for Olympiakos supporters. I certainly hope it happens for that reason alone. Plus, hes a pretty decent player…

AEK 2-0 Panionios

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2016 by alexaek

A pretty big result for us today against Panionios, and a decent performance as well. I was a bit worried going into this match since I knew Panionios  were coming off of a very big win and have one of the league’s most in form players with Bakasetas. I was also afraid that our poor form from the past few matches would carry through but it seemed the team was determined to put an end to that. In fact, I would have to say that the way we played today was some of the best football I’ve seen us play since we had that winning streak back in January.

There was nothing drastic with our starting lineup today, though the second start in a row for Buonanotte was a positive straight from the get go. Unfortunately, I don’t really think he played as well as AEK365 seems to think he did. I don’t think it really has to do with his ability as a player, but more to do with how he fits in to the formations and style of football we play. He was positioned towards the wing but more often than not ended up playing more centrally, a position on the pitch where he just doesn’t have the presence required to hold up the ball. I personally would like to see him lineup in a formation where we have two forwards with Buonanotte as one, and a larger player like Pekhart or Aravidis playing beside him so that we could still have a larger target man when needed. He definitely has the skill to make huge impacts the way Scocco was able to, but we need to see him playing in a position where his attacking instinct can come into play more easily. Especially when we already have strong players who can hold onto the ball well such as Simoes, Vargas, and Barbosa, I would love to see him play in a position where every first touch he takes is in a position where he can go straight for goal and take a shot or dribble the ball into a dangerous position.

AEK-Panionios

Image source: http://www.aekfc.gr

 

For the most part we played very well going forward. We managed to create some decent chances throughout the first half with Johansson even hitting the post and Aravidis barely missing what would have been a simple tap in. A lot of our effectiveness in attack arose from the fact that we managed to play the ball low and direct, avoiding pointless long balls in the air whenever we could. We managed to keep the ball down and moved it around efficiently with Mantalos, Vargas, and Johansson all linking up very well. Didac also made some fantastic contributions going forward, always providing an option down the wing and often getting the ball dangerously close to Panionios’ net. With some more in form attacking players, we could have gone up by a couple goals before the close of the first half.

Defensively we were okay, but shaky at times. Arzo specifically made what could have been a very costly mistake, one which could have also potentially given a penalty against us. For the most part though, our defense wasn’t quite as active as I thought they would be since Panionios ended up playing far less aggressively than I expected them to. They still managed to get up to our box on a few occasions but they were happy to soak up the pressure for the most part and when they did manage to venture forward, they never ended up looking too dangerous.

With the game still at 0-0 with twenty minutes left, Cordero got sent off for his second yellow of the match. I feared the worse at that point but luckily for us, Poyet made two fantastic changes just before then, bringing on Barbosa for Aravidis, and Pekhart for Vargas. Just two minutes after Cordero’s expulsion from the match, Barbosa and Pekhart linked up brilliantly and put us ahead 1-0 after Pekhart did well to finish a pass from Barbosa despite the angle being less than favourable.

The difference in the tempo of the match after Barbosa was brought on was noticed immediately, and having a new face to target going forward seemed to provide a boost to the team as not long after our first goal Barbosa and Pekhart again linked up very well, this time with Barbosa sending a wonderful long ball forward for Pekhart to latch on to. The shot took a lucky deflection for us, but Pekhart did well to get the ball quickly under control before taking the shot.

Despite only playing for twenty minutes, Pekhart more than deserved the MVP award for doing exactly what was needed when we needed it most. I’ve been a bit harsh on him from after previous games, but he really hasn’t had a great chance to really settle in with the team. Performances like today though really show that if he is in fact given the chance to really find his place in the team, I think he can be a critical player for us. His size and finishing skill make him a perfect target man up front, someone who is tough to defend and can play both high and low balls just as effectively.

All in a all a good performance from the team, and definitely a good sign that we can expect some decent games from the team during the playoffs, as long as they play like today and not like last week (or the week before that). I’m curious if Pekhart’s performance today will land him a position in the starting lineup next match, but I personally wouldn’t mind seeing him as an impact sub off the bench again.

I haven’t found a highlight video yet, but the two goals from today are on YouTube for those who would like to see them. In case you were wondering why the stadium was so quiet today, we were unfortunately playing the first of two home games without fans for our punishment due to the events of our game against Atromitos.

 

A quick note about our basketball team too, after their 87-74 win over Arkadikos over the weekend (a bittersweet win for me since its always disappointing to see a team from my region of the Peloponnese get relegated, as was the case for Arkadikos after their loss) . The win means we finish the league in fourth, setting us up to play PAOK in the playoffs. To be honest, I think we have a good chance of getting past PAOK and into the next round assuming we play well defensively. We beat them early in the season, and had the chance to beat them quite comfortably in Thessaloniki if we hadn’t let that game slip out of our hands due to error after error. With a focused performance in all the games, we can definitely make it through.

 

Looks like the end of the Cup

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Atromitos, football, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2016 by alexaek

As usual, not a week or two go by in Greece without Drama of some sort. If you haven’t yet seen what happened earlier in the week during the PAOK-Olympiakos semi-final match in Toumba, check out the video below to get an idea:

Not once, but twice was the game called off after fans invaded the pitch. Initially it was a response to the terrible officiating throughout the match, but I get the impression it ultimately stemmed from an overall sense of frustration with the overall sense of Greek football. Widespread corruption, leagues being won before they even start, an incompetent government getting in the way of any progress being made to advance the sport in Greece, the frustration can be somewhat understandable.

As is typical of Kontonis, his first actions were to cancel games without making any attempt to actually solve any of the problems which have led to football in Greece being the way it is. How many times now have we seen him call of games? Postpone the league? Has it made things any better? In my opinion I’d say its just made things worse. Sure, something needs to be done, but banning all fans as the result of the actions of a few solves nothing. All that has happened is that the resentment of the fans towards the ministry of sport, and to Mr.Kontonis in particular, has grown each time he’s taken some form of action.

To make matters worse, rather than just call of one game, he has called of the entire cup. This was AEK’s chance to win some silverware in our first season back, a chance for Poyet’s and the team’s hard work to be rewarded. Instead, hes taken all of that away from AEK (and Atromitos).

I’m not saying that AEK is the only team that matters in all of this. But how does preventing us from the playing the cup, especially after our fans have been rather well behaved (aside from the incidents in Peristeri), solve anything? Does he think these “hooligans”, or whatever he wishes to call them, will just go away over time? I really don’t understand it.

Where this all leaves us I really don’t know. As of yet, the league hasn’t been called off yet but it seems like that is yet another course of action Kontonis is willing to take. Something which will ultimately mean no European football for us next season, despite all the effort we’ve given to get to where we are now.

What else does this mean? Well for one, I can’t imagine Poyet would be willing to stay at all if the league were to in fact be cancelled, and I can’t imagine any serious coach would be willing to give Greece a try. It also means more of our talented players would leave the country while making it harder to attract quality foreign players. Investment will probably ultimately leave as well as any serious efforts to develop the sport in any way. Aside from alienating fans and building up even more resentment among them, moves like this, without any other serious efforts to solve the problems, will do nothing but ensure that football in Greece continues to become even more of a joke than it already is.

I’m really not sure what to expect going forward. For now it seems like league games this weekend will still go ahead, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re cancelled at the last moment. Afterall, it took so long for the announcement that our Cup game was cancelled to get out that the referees had actually arrived at OAKA without even knowing anything had happened.

For a bit more info surrounding all the events of the past few days, take a look at the articles below:

http://www.ekathimerini.com/206597/article/ekathimerini/sports/government-suspends-greek-cup

http://neoskosmos.com/news/en/Uncertainty-surrounds-Super-League

Iraklis 1-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Atromitos, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , , on February 20, 2016 by alexaek

Playing on a pitch that quite resembled the one in the video below, we managed to sneak away with one point after a fairly dull match. A fair result for both teams I feel considering the conditions and to be honest, we could have even gone down 2-1 late in the game had Iraklis managed to put away a great chance they had.

I’ll be away from my PC for the day but will try to get a match report up either tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. Stay tuned for that.

Oh and for those who haven’t heard, as gtmanleg commented on my previous post we’ll be playing Atromitos for the semi-finals of the Cup. Interesting matches coming up with some close games very possible. More on that later as well.