As I mentioned in my last post, rumours were floating around saying that Manolo Jimenez was on his way to Athens for his second stint in charge of AEK. The next day, those rumours turned out to be true as Jimenez signed a contract which will keep him with the team until at least the end of the season.
We played a league game today against Panaitolikos on a pitch that resembled a swamp more than anything else. How we were allowed to play on that pitch when the ball barely rolled at all is beyond me, but the game went ahead regardless.
Going into the match against PAO this weekend, I was kind of expecting a draw. Both teams haven't been having a great season and ultimately its safe to say that the squads for either team have proven to be equally disappointing this season.
I'll take the 0-0 draw because to be honest, I would not have been surprised if we found a way to lose this one.
An extremely important win for AEK in the league today, one which saw us struggle but ultimately show the character needed to come away from Thessaloniki with the win. Seeing as we had yet to play a derby until today, this match was one of our first major tests and though it wasn't always smooth sailing for us, the team did well to do what was needed to keep our perfect start to the season.
So far this season we have played four games at home for the league. These games were against respectable but seemingly beatable opposition: Xanthi, Iraklis, Panionios, and Atromitos. Aside from the first game, when we beat Xanthi 4-1, what do the last three home games have in common?
I guess all things considered, things could have gotten off to an even worse start for Morais... after all, we could have lost. But really, even though it was only his first game in charge the team really should have been able to find a way to score against Panionios.
How It All Unfolded
There were a few uncertain variables going into this game: how we would do without Galo and Patito, how Morais would line up the team, etc.
The day after a much needed win that kept the team within reach of first place, we have parted ways with Ketsbaia. I think everyone knew he wouldn't last a whole season, but I was surprised to see it happen today, and with such little heads up.
What was even more surprising was how quickly replaced.
Three points that couldn't have come at a better time. With today's win we manage to keep ourselves within two points of 1st, so its safe to say that another loss would have really put a dent in any progress we may have made before the Karaiskaki game.
Our Basketball club got off to a perfect start to the league this weekend, beating Apollon Patras away 59-77. Worth pointing out that while we may have been away from Athens, our supporters made the game seem like a home one for us. Dixon led our scoring with 19 points while Mavroeidis followed with 12.
Very unfortunate result for us, and one that we perhaps didn't deserve since we were the only team who showed up today looking for a win. But thats football sometimes. I expected a win, if only for the fact that we've won all our derbies at OAKA until now this season, but fatigue once again got the better of us.
So close to finishing the season off and cementing ourselves in 3rd place, but we instead let Aris get the better of us despite playing in an empty arena. We had a number of key players out due to injury and suspension, so we did well all things considered but we simply weren't able to hold Aris off towards the end.
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.
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.
What would we do without all the excitement that comes out of the country on an almost daily basis. I have to admit, it can be entertaining at times but more often than not, it leads to disappointment and anger from those of us who just want to see our club succeed.
Almost 24 hours after we qualified for the Football Cup final, our Basketball team did what we haven't been able to do for eleven years: make it to the league semi-finals. It certainly won't be easy from here on since we face Olympiakos in the next round (and then either Panathinaikos or Aris in the finals if we make it that far), but theres no reason we can't make it to the finals.
Another game I wasn't able to watch but from what I've read so far, it sounds like our playing left much to be desired. But, in the end we did enough to get through like I knew we would and now its all or nothing against Olympiakos in the final.
Speaking of finals, the game will be taking place next Saturday, the 7th of May (is it May already?
After a huge win in Thessaloniki, we have some how managed to find away to stay alive for another game. Last week's loss in the first match of our playoff games against PAOK saw us lose as a result of us giving up a significant lead and letting PAOK back into the game. The result last week meant it was do or die for us in Thessaloniki, a prospect that no team would ever like to come up against.
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.
We may not have had a football match this weekend but our Basketball team was certainly still active. Thankfully after a couple less than positive weekends for the team, we've finally returned to winning ways after comfortably getting past 7th placed Kolossos. It was a critical result for the team since it ensures we remain securely in fourth place with a playoff spot looking like a guarantee at this point.
... Another derby thrown away by our basketball team.Today's 93-100 home loss to Olympiakos means we only have one win from seven derbies this season. A couple years ago I may have expected that since we've rarely fielded a half-decent team these past few seasons, but I was hoping this year would be different.
I finally have some time to sit down and write up a report on the rather dull game we had yesterday. As I mentioned in my brief post from yesterday, much of the pitch was flooded from heavy rains in Thessaloniki which continued through the match. As can be expected the game was unable to get into any sort of a rhythm pretty much from kickoff, with players being forced to pretty much lift the ball forward any time they wanted to attempt a run.
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.
A good Saturday for AEK with wins for both our football and basketball teams (Arkadikos 74-78 AEK).
We played well today, especially offensively. We managed to get most of our attacking players quite involved with Barbosa, Cordero, Mantalos, and Aravidis all constantly playing some sort of a role in our attacks.
A great performance from the team and a convincing scoreline were more than enough to ensure that we have comfortably taken control of second place. Yesterday's win, courtesy of goals by Djebbour and Aravidis, means we now have 26 points after 13 games. The three teams closest to us (Panionios, PAOK, and Panathinaikos) each have 22 points, a win for us against Panionios next week will really help take the pressure off, if only slightly.
A lucky win for us today considering we were outplayed by Panthrakikos for much of the match. A valuable three points away from home, but I'm really hoping we'll start seeing more convincing performances from our team in the next few matches.
Overall we were lacking in every position today except for maybe goalkeeping.
Another league win for AEK, bringing our record so far this season to six wins in six games (our second best record since the modern league started). The win puts us first with 12 points, although both PAO and Olympiakos both play tomorrow. Decent game for most of our players, though Sakota had a hard time settling in today.
A huge away win for AEK today in EuroCup Basketball, our third win in a row putting us in a very good position for advancing to the next round. It wasn't the easiest match but as has been the case for us many times this season, we managed to come back stronger in the second half when we needed to most.
Well that was disappointing... For a number of reason. First of all, we should have won that game. We were all over Asteras for much of the game, especially much of the first half. We were creating chances, we weren't afraid to move the ball forward, we contained Asteras pretty well. But, as we all very well know by this point, we cannot finish plays.
A big win for AEK today, a win which was crucial to ensuring we progress to the next round of the cup. I was able to follow the commentary on and off throughout the match and it definitely sounded like an improvement over the last time we played in Xanthi.
I never expected this to be an easy match, and it doesn't sound like it was at all.
With a newer, more transparent FIFA leadership, MLS should be allowed to make subtle rules changes to its game, like the NBA does for basketball. The NBA puts its own twist on how rules are applied, deviating from FIBA, the international arm of basketball.
Two of the greatest long-distance shooters in NBA history were today for a New Yorker piece today on whether there should be a four-point goal in basketball. Larry Bird and Reggie Miller provided fodder for how the game may or may not play out in the future.
The keen-eyed amongst you may have noticed that Asmir Begovic made his very first Premier League appearance of the season betwixt the sticks for Chelsea as Antonio Conte's went down 2-0against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
This was because the Blues' first-choice goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, was ruled out of the vital match with an ankle injury.
Two of D.C. United's owners look to be getting back into basketball
Two of D.C. United's owners are looking to get back into basketball, with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reporting that Erick Thohir and Jason Levien are set to partner with Steve Kaplan to purchase a 20% stake in the Minnesota Timberwolves.