AEK Athens interested in journeymen Karim Hafez

 

AEK Athens are reportedly interested in the possibility of signing Karim Hafez if the player is available. Karim Hafez is an Egyptian left back who is currently part of theWadiDegla setup even if he has been playing on loan at various clubs over the last few years. After coming through the ranks atLierse in the 2014 season, Hafez has gained a reputation for being journeymen. Despite being only 24 years old, he has already represented seven clubs in his career. However, the potential within the youngster is still quite remarkable and it earned him a place in the preliminary squad for the World Cup 2018 in Russia. He has featured in seven games for the Egyptian national team since his debut in 2015.

The 24-year-old has played in a number of leagues that make himquite experienced at handling the Greek Super League where AEK Athens have been finding it hard to make a major impact in recent years. The team are third in the championship with a few points separating them from second placed PAOK. The club need a major run of results in order to qualify for the Champions League next season. The second place team in the Greek Super League will be gaining eligibility for the third qualifying round of the Champions League. One of the few successes for AEK Athens has come in the Greek Cup finalwith the team taking on Olympiakos.
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Panos Retsos keen on staying with Sheffield United next term

Greek defender Panos Retsos has said that he would like to remain with Sheffield United next term despite his failure to break into Chris Wilder’s side. The 21-year-old made the short-term loan move to the Blades from Bayer Leverkusen in January but he has since made just one appearance for the club.


That came in a winning cause during the FA Cup fifth round win over Reading and he is hopeful of extending his temporary stint beyond the summer, he told: “Yes, I would like to continue in England and Sheffield because he believes in me a lot. He has plan for me and it’s important to get games in my feet and get even better that I was.”
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Papastathopoulos says Arsenal have become better defensively under Arteta

Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos has said that the Gunners have become better with their defensive displays under the guidance of Mikel Arteta. The north London side have remained unbeaten since the turn of the year and much of that has been contributed by the improved displays in the backline.


Of course, they have had the tendency to draw most of their games but Sokratis feels the team are on the up with Arteta at the helm, the former AEK Athens mansaid: “When all the players defend, the defence is better. It’s not down to four or five of us – it’s down to the whole team and now we do that a lot better. We’re not allowing opponents to have a lot of shots like we were earlier in the season and much of this is down to the work of the manager. From his first day, he spoke to us about what we had to do better. There is still a lot of room for improvement but every week we look to take another step forward.”
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Arsenal defender attracting interest from Olympiakos

Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos could reportedly be heading for a loan departure from the Emirates Stadium, having struggled for gametime with the club. The Greek defender was promising with his displays during the closing stages of Arsene Wenger’s tenure but he has since struggled for playing time with a number of injuries along the way.

Mavropanos has made just a couple of appearances for the Gunners this term but his prospects of securing a regular berth appear slim with new manager Mikel Arteta looking at the possibility of adding another centre-back in the ranks rather than banking on the options at hand. As a result, Mavropanos has been touted to head for a fresh challenge for a while and reports in England claims that he could join either Nottingham Forest or Olympiakos in the New Year.

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Athens Get First Win in Three after Beating Volos

AEK Athens were able to prepare for the game against the Olympiakos in style after a 3-2 success over Volos at home. This was the first victory in three matches for AEK Athens, who had previously drawn games against PAOK and Larissa. The game started with a disappointment for the home team, who conceded the 24th minute through Joaquin Torres. Athens, though, were level after just four minutes when Marko Livaja came up with the equaliser after capitalising on an assist from Petros Mandalos. From then, the game took a major turn in the direction of the home team because Juan Muñiz was sent off with a straight red card deep into injury time.

This helpedAthens make significant inroads into the game just after half-time. ManagerKostenoglou responded by making changes at half-time by bringing on the likes ofGiakoumakis. It took a while before the changes made a desired impact.Mandalos, who had previously assisted the equaliser, came up with a goal from the penalty spot in the 75th minute. The pressure ultimately started telling on the visitors, as Mandalos came up with another goal just three minutes later. Even thoughAthens looked like being in a great spot for a comfortable victory, Volos once again made things tough by scoring the second goal of the evening with seven minutes left.

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Pedro Martins Happy with Champions League Qualification

Olympiakos was Pedro Martins claims that it is a remarkable achievement that the team was able to qualify for the Champions League where they will play alongside the likes of Bayern Munich and Tottenham. The Greek outfit were able to get past Krasnodar in the qualifying rounds. They have been able to set up a group stage along with Spurs and Bayern – two teams that are favourites to even win the competition. The incredible strength in this group may bring about some kind of a rotation policy, according to Martins.

The Greek football culture was heavily criticised earlier but it has progressed in leaps and bounds. Yet, it is rather difficult for the difficult to expect getting past the two games. Still, it has not prevented Pedro Martins from dreaming about reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League. At the very least, the club will be hoping to reach the Europa League by finishing third in the group. After having adapted well to Greek culture and football, Martins says that he has already been able to achieve the first objective of getting into the Champions League which is very healthy for the club and Greek football as a whole.

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