Olympiacos, AEK set for first Greek Cup Final since 1980
Both sides clinched a berth in February’s Greek Cup Final, marking the first time both sides have reached the final since their showdown in 1980.
AEK defeated rivals Panathinaikos 73-69 to not only end Panathinaikos’ run of six-straight Greek Cup titles, but to also reach the Final for the first time since 2001.
Incidentally, AEK’s last trip to the Cup Final also marks the last time the Enosi won the competition. In fact, AEK beat Panathinaikos in consecutive Finals to start the new millennium – erasing painful memories of the previous millennium which saw AEK lose back-to-back finals at the hands of Aris and PAOK in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
AEK will relish the chance to contend for their first Greek Cup title in 17 years, and a win will not only end a winless run in the Greek Cup but a stretch of nearly two decades without a title for the AEK faithful to celebrate.
Olympiacos will provide tough opposition for the Final on 17 February, after the Piraeus giants squeaked out a win against Aris in the other semi-final on Sunday. The Piraeus giants clinched their first berth in the tournament’s climax since losing to Panathinaikos in heartbreaking fashion in the 2013 Final. The Erythrolefki will look to add to their haul of nine Greek Cup crowns, with the most recent coming in 2011.
AEK have won the competition on three occasions, but the Enosi have not fared well in past encounters with Olympiacos in the Greek Cup. Overall, both sides have met in the Final a total of three times with Olympiacos winning the crown on all three occasions.
The last time both sides met in the Greek Cup Final was 1980, which saw Olympiacos defeat AEK at the open-air court inside the Panathenaic Stadium – also known as Kalimarmaro. Olympiacos also defeated AEK in the 1976 Final in Glyfada, and the 1978 climax which was also hosted at Kalimarmaro.
The Heraklion Indoor Sports Arena, also known as the Dyo Aorakia Indoor Hall, will host the two sides in February – marking the second time the Final has been hosted at the venue.