I’m not sure whether to say best of luck for the new season or let’s finish “this” season strong
In these certainly vastly different times we are seeing things in Greek soccer, and all over the world, that we would have never even thought of. Last year’s cup final is yet to be played, while the team is currently in their preseason. The cup final is scheduled for the 30th of August against Olympiacos.
Yesterday the team gave their first friendly I guess you can say of the new year against Atromito at OAKA. A significant indicator of where the team is at in their preparation for the cup final, and of course the new season. We lined up in a 352 system with a Livaja and Oliveria partnership up top. Captain, Petros Mantalos, who recently featured in some transfer speculation made the bench and came on in the dying embers of the match. It is to be seen if he in fact takes part in sundays final.
Our defense looked a bit slow and ragged as Atromito was appealing for the most part in the air, from set pieces. They opened the scoring in fact from a corner kick, delivered sweetly by Rodrigo Galo which bounced in off Stratos Svarnas hip. Aek was then very fortunate to not concede a second goal from an identical situation, Manousos’ effort came back off the post which eventually led to a counter attack for our side. Livaja, who clearly separated from everyone else on the pitch, played a great through ball to Paulinho who beat Giannotis making it 1-1. Umbides converted a penalty in the second half, making the final score AEK 1-2 Atromitos.
Livaja honestly looked a class of his own, you could tell by his movements, how he dribbles when he picks up the ball, and his flare. Other than Marko, the team didn’t look ready yet. Understandable, but worrying at the same time. The positive news is that it’s still early and there is time to get ready for the new season, but I wonder about the cup final. Olympiaco, who will be without a couple of key players such as Sa, Tsimikas and Semedo, are shooting for the double. They are surely going to come out guns blazing.
Nonetheless, we have to remind ourselves that it is a final. We’ve seen our fair share of dramatic moments in finals. For me, it’s playable. A moment of brilliance wins you these types of games. Let’s see what Sunday’s final has in store for us. One game. 90 minutes of focus and concentration, then we can continue our preparation for the new season.