PAOK couldn’t contain their joy at winning a second consecutive Greek Cup final, while AEK conceded the better team won.
The Dikefalos tou Vorra dominated for long periods at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, seeing Aleksandar Prijovic’s penalty saved and a number of golden opportunities go begging. Nevertheless, PAOK eventually broke through in the second half, as Vieirinha scored with a stunning free-kick before Dimitris Pelkas sealed the deal in stoppage time against a sluggish AEK team.
- SAVVIDIS DEDICATES WIN TO FATHER, VIEIRINHA IN DREAMLAND
Georgios Savvidis, the son of disgraced PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis, indicated the club’s bitter feelings concerned with AEK’s Super League victory and dedicated the win to his father: “The champions are here. This win is for my father.”
PAOK substitute Robert Mak praised his team’s performance at the OAKA: “Right from the first minute, we played fantastically well. We played just as we wanted and stuck to the plan which we set out. It’s great to win the trophy at our rivals’ ground who took the championship.”
The influential Vieirinha, who opened the scoring with an inch-perfect free-kick, spoke of his joy at winning a trophy with his beloved PAOK: “I wanted this trophy so much, although we should have scored earlier in the match,” stated the Portuguese left-back. “We worked well during the season and were clearly the better team today. This cup means a lot to me, because I came here to win trophies. I had been waiting for this goal for a long time and I’m really happy. It was a fantastic season for us.”
Record-breaking goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis thanked the team for protecting him in net: “I didn’t have much to do today, the players were in possession of the ball. When I had to make a save, I was there. We didn’t have to prove anything, but we needed to win a trophy after the championship was unfairly taken away from us. We did what the coach desired.”
AEK DISAPPOINTMENT, BARKAS TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR GOAL
When leaving the OAKA, AEK owner Dimitris Melissanidis didn’t have much to say to the media, only giving the one phrase: “The best team wins.”
Croatian forward Marko Livaja also conceded that AEK were second best in the Greek Cup final, revealing his desire to stay with the Kitrinomavri next season: “Sometimes, football doesn’t allow you to play well, congratulations to PAOK – they were better. Nevertheless, one game doesn’t prove who’s the best team. I don’t know what my future holds, but I would like to stay here.”
AEK shot-stopper Vasilis Barkas made plenty of superb saves to keep PAOK at bay until the 65th minute, but he still took responsibility for the crucial first goal conceded: “I am also responsible for the free-kick goal. Congratulations to PAOK, they were worthy of winning today.”
Konstantinos Galanopoulos congratulated PAOK with their victory, however the 20-year old signalled his frustrations with the supporters entering the pitch: “It was up to us to leave the championship party behind us and unfortunately we couldn’t do it. Congratulations to PAOK, but the best team won the league.
Everything’s fine with the PAOK players, we congratulated them, but I was angry to see some of PAOK’s fans run onto the pitch after the final whistle.”
by Shaun Nicolaides
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