AEK overjoyed after finally lifting Super League trophy
AEK Athens finally got their hands on the Super League trophy on Saturday, hoisting the cup after defeating Apollon Smyrnis 1:0.
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TAlready confirmed as Greek champions coming into the match, AEK could afford to take their foot off the gas in Rizoupoli, but Sergio Araujo’s clever goal in the first half still gave the Enosis a tight win against Apollon Smyrnis.
Nevertheless, the main event occurred after the final whistle, as AEK received the Super League trophy in a moment which the club’s fans had waited for during 24 long years.
Popular AEK captain Petros Mantalos, who hoisted the cup above his head in front of a packed Georgios Kamaras Stadium, shared his joy with the media: “I cannot describe my emotions when lifting the trophy, it’s the best moment of my life!” exclaimed the talented midfielder. “However, this cup belongs to everyone at the club; the players, the coaches and the staff. I have only just returned after a long period on the sidelines, but it was worth it for this day. We will travel to Nea Filadelfeia to celebrate the triumph with our fans who deserve this, but starting from tomorrow, we’ll begin preparing for the Greek Cup final.”
Enosis boss Manolo Jimenez stated his desire to remain head coach of the newly crowned Greek champions: “I want to stay here, and I really hope that there won’t be any problem,” revealed the Spaniard. “We will speak with the management and try to reach an agreement, because we both want the same outcome. Thank you very much to our fans! Key games of the season? When you want to become champions, all matches are important. We now have the Greek Cup to make this season even better.”
Dimitris Melissanidis, the 67-year old AEK owner, was overjoyed with the Super League victory but looked ahead to the future: “Thank you to the players and the coaches for this season, we’ve achieved our goal,” stated Melissanidis. “The two matches against Olympiacos were important. This season, we had both luck and quality on our side, but now we have to look ahead to future challenges. Our future is bright, I want to believe that everything will be fine.”
Diminutive Argentine forward Sergio Araujo mentioned the fans’ support: “When you hear the fans screaming your name, it’s a feeling which you can’t describe. Every time they cheer for me, I’m really happy. This year, we put in a huge effort and in the end we managed to achieve our goal.”
AEK’s technical director Nikos Liberopoulos also had his say, pointing out the difficulties which the Enosis had to overcome: “This championship is a wonderful triumph for our fans, they all had patience,” said the former striker. “We had a lot of problems to overcome, but this club gave everything. Congratulations to all of the players and coaches! With God’s help, we hope to enjoy more joyous moments. We’re optimistic about the future.”