In a thrilling Greek Cup final held at the Panthessaliko Stadium, AEK Athens revived memories of 1978 by defeating PAOK 2-0.
Matias Almeida’s team showcased their resilience by clinching the victory despite being reduced to 10 men from the 6th minute due to Lazaros Rota’s red card.
Arold Mukudi (26′) and Paulo Fernandes (90’+1′) found the back of the net, sealing AEK’s double triumph after winning the Greek Championship.
PAOK, led by Razvan Lucescu, failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage and squandered numerous opportunities, including a close call from Joan Sastre.
Their defeat in the final dashed their hopes of participating in the Conference League qualifiers.
As the final whistle blew, AEK fans stormed the pitch to celebrate their 16th Cup victory in the club’s history. The triumph also halted PAOK’s streak of three consecutive wins against AEK.
With their remarkable season coming to a close, Almeida’s team secured the double at the OPAP Arena.
Dimitris Melissanidis, the administrative leader of AEK Athens, was overjoyed following his team’s 2-0 triumph over PAOK at the Panthessaliko Stadium.
After the award ceremony, Melissanidis joined the players and coaching staff of Matias Almeida in the changing rooms, where he celebrated their double victory.
In an emotionally charged moment, he exclaimed, “You are not a team, you are terrorists” (literal translation from Greek, meaning they ‘terrorised’ and created fear in their opponents) which stirred up a whirlwind of excitement.
Matias Almeida, beaming with joy, shared light hearted moments during the press conference following AEK’s 2-0 victory.
The Argentinian coach, responsible for AEK Athens’ first double since 1978, expressed his gratitude to his players and colleagues, stressing his commitment to the team while dismissing any other proposals.
He concluded by stating that he could now revel in the celebrations and get some rest before embarking on preparations for the upcoming season.
Razvan Lucescu on the other hand, visibly disappointed, addressed the press conference after PAOK’s loss in the Greek Cup final. The PAOK coach acknowledged AEK’s superiority and fair victory, dismissed rumours of a potential move to Al Ain as mere jokes, and highlighted the team’s requirements for the upcoming season.
AEK (Mathias Almeida): Stankovic, Rota, Vida, Mukudi, Hajisafi, Simanski (60′ Yonson), Pineda (60′ Sidibé), Eliasson (82′ Mandalos), Gacinovic (86′ Fernandes), Chuber, Levi (61′ Amrabat).
PAOK (Razvan Lucescu): Kotarski, Shastre (61′ Vieirinia), Ingason, Koulierakis (85′ Kendziora), Rafa Soares (61′ Bisesvar), Svab (77′ El Kadouri), Augusto, A. Zivkovic, Konstantinos (85′ Jimas), Tyson, Thomas.
Referee: Felix Brich (Germany).
Yellow Cards: Simanski, Amrabat – Svab, Augusto.
Red Card: Rota (6′).