OLY-AEK Preview: Greek Cup on the line in Crete
AGONAsport’s Peter Katsiris brings you a full preview of the 2018 Greek Basketball Cup Final between Olympiacos and AEK…
The first piece of silverware of the 2017/2018 Greek basketball season will be handed out in Heraklion on Saturday when Olympiacos and AEK clash at the Dyo Aorakia Indoor Hall for a shot at the Greek Cup.
With defending champions Panathinaikos already dethroned following their semi-final loss to AEK in the Fall, a new champion is set to crowned in Crete as AEK and Olympiacos clash for the first time since the pair met in the Final of the 1979/1980 edition of the competition.
While the Greek Cup isn’t the main goal for Olympiacos’ season this campaign, the Piraeus giants will be keen to secure their first Greek Cup triumph since the 2010/2011 season – much thanks to six consecutive triumphs for Panathinaikos.
Olympiacos’ last two trips to the Cup Final haven’t gone to plan as the Piraeus giants lost to bitter rivals Panathinaikos in both 2012 and 2013. While the Erythrolefki will be aspiring of a EuroLeague triumph later this season, a triumph in the Cup will certainly go a long way in uniting Yiannis Sfairopoulos’ men for a lengthy continental run.
Despite a poor run of form in both the Greek Basket League and the EuroLeague in which the Erythrolefki struggled to win away from the Peace & Friendship Stadium, Olympiacos will be hoping the less-familiar surroundings won’t ruin a stretch of four straight wins for the Piraeus outfit.
AEK’s semi-final defeat of Panathinaikos was monumental for a couple of reasons. For starters, the Enosi defeated local rivals Panathinaikos to officially end the Trifylli’s hegemony in the Cup.
The second, and more significant, reason is that AEK haven’t reached a Greek Cup Final since the club captured back-to-back Greek Cup titles at the start of the millennium. Consecutive defeats of Panathinaikos in 2000 and 2001 are the last Cup titles AEK have added to the trophy cabinet, though the club will be hoping that long wait will end in Crete.
AEK have gotten the better of Olympiacos already this season with a narrow win in the Basket League, but three previous meetings between the two sides in the Cup showpiece has ended with Olympiacos taking home honors – a streak AEK will need to end if the club are to hoist their first trophy since winning the Greek Basket League in 2001/2002.
Ahead of this season, AEK had not beaten Olympiacos since back-to-back wins over the Piraeus giants in 2004. With the taste of victory over their nearby rivals, AEK now know what it will take to shutdown Olympiacos; however, execution is another story.
Olympiacos won’t forget their 66-62 loss at the hands of AEK earlier this season, nor should the Piraeus giants seek comfort in a one-sided rivalry which saw Olympiacos beat AEK 27 consecutive times in between AEK’s last two derby wins.
While the Eternal Derby gets most of the headlines in Greece, clashes between Olympiacos and AEK have also proved to be entertaining in years past and with both clubs now competing in multiple disciplines; the stakes are certainly higher come tip-off in Heraklion on Saturday.