Trouble brewing at AEK after poor performance
It’s only August, but trouble is already brewing in the AEK camp, with Marko Livaja notably storming off after being substituted in the UEFA Europa League match on Thursday.
This week, AEK advanced to the qualification playoffs of the Europa League, but the underwhelming match against Universitatea Craiova in Athens has hinted at potential internal problems inside the Athenian club.
In the 58th minute, Marko Livaja was substituted in favour of Daniele Verde, and the 25-year-old forward wasn’t happy at all. When leaving the pitch, the Croat refused to remain on the bench with his teammates, storming down the tunnel amid a dispute with newly appointed head coach Miguel Cardoso. Livaja’s somewhat tricky character and lack of discipline has created plenty of issues in the past.
Questions are already being asked of Cardoso. In the two games against Craiova, Portuguese midfielder Francisco Geraldes gave rather tepid performances, and he wasn’t particularly impressive in the pre-season friendly games either. Cardoso has continued to persist with leaving Geraldes on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes of matches.
On Friday morning, Cardoso called a team meeting at the training base in Spata, requesting for the players to stick together and correct their mistakes. Owner Dimitris Melissanidis also shared his concerns in a conversation with Nikos Lymperopoulos.
Later in the day, the list of players eligible to compete in the Europa League playoffs against Trabzonspor was named, with injured Ukrainian centre-back Dmytro Chygrynskiy missing. Milos Deletic and Anel Sabanadzovic have been left out by Cardoso.
Giorgos Giakoumakis has been included in the squad, but on Friday evening, reports revealed that the striker is on the verge of returning to OFI on loan.
Here is the full AEK player list for the 2019/2020 UEFA Europa League qualification playoff tie against Trabzonspor:
Goalkeepers: Vasilis Barkas, Panagiotis Tsintotas, Giorgos Athanasiadis.
Defenders: Michalis Bakakis, Helder Lopes, Marios Oikonomou, Ognjen Vranjes, Niklas Hult, Stratos Svarnas, Paulinho.
Midfielders: Nenad Krsticic, Andre Simoes, Francisco Geraldes, Petros Mantalos, David Simao, Konstantinos Galanopoulos.
Forwards: Nelson Oliveira, Daniele Verde, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Marko Livaja, Christos Almpanis, Viktor Klonaridis.
Defenders: Konstantinos Stamoulis.
Midfielders: Giannis Sardelis, Giannis-Fivos Botos.