Memorable season for the entire AEK organisation
It really is a season to remember for AEK fans, with the organisation’s clubs performing successfully in a range of sports. AGONAsport analyses the Kitrinomavri’s superb year.
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AEK supporters won’t be forgetting the 2017/2018 season in a hurry. Under Spanish head coach Manolo Jimenez, the football club are enjoying a stunning campaign, leading the Super League standings and closing in on a maiden championship triumph for 24 years. The basketball team won the Greek Cup and are in the Champions League final four, while the volleyball and handball sides have made their fans proud too.
Let’s take a closer look at the success of AEK’s clubs and what fans can expect moving into the final weeks of the season.
With only a few matches remaining in the Super League, AEK hold a comfortable advantage in first place and are in touching distance of claiming the national title for the first time since 1994. Jimenez’s men have only dropped two defeats in 26 league matches, displaying exciting, aggressive football with the likes of Sergio Araujo and Marko Livaja capturing the fans’ hearts. AEK were knocked out of the UEFA Europa League at the Last 32 stage, but the team didn’t lose a single game in the competition and fell to Dynamo Kyiv on the away goals rule.
Taking into account AEK’s seemingly comfortable run-in, it seems unthinkable that the Enosis won’t become Greek champions. Yes, scandals involving closest challengers PAOK and Olympiacos have certainly made AEK’s task easier, but no credit should be taken away from the Kitrinomavri. Jimenez has created a united group which is capable of pulling off the most unthinkable of comebacks.
AEK are alive in the Greek Cup, although the team need to overturn a 1:2 first leg deficit against AEL in the semi-finals.
It’s turned out to be a fantastic season for AEK’s basketball team. Led by Serbian coach Dragan Sakota, the Vasilissa claimed a remarkable Greek Cup triumph, defeating perennial champions Panathinaikos 73:69 in the semi-finals before earning an incredible final win against hot favourites Olympiacos 88:83. Manny Harris starred in the showpiece fixture, collecting 17 points and named man of the match. Vassilis Spanoulis registered 20 points for Olympiacos, but AEK held off the Thrylos’ advances in heroic fashion.
AEK have taken Europe by storm in the Basketball Champions League, qualifying for the final four of the competition. Just to make things even more tasty, AEK will host the tournament’s decisive matches in Athens. In the Greek Basket League, the club occupy sixth place in the table and will probably qualify for the playoffs first round.
AEK volleyball and handball departments
This year, both the AEK male and female volleyball teams are competing in the second division, but they’re set to return to the top league for the 2018/2019 campaign. Elsewhere, the handball team have qualified for the semi-finals of the EHF Challenge Cup, beating London HC, Goztepe, and Berchem along the way.
Agia Sofia Stadium progress
In Nea Filadelfia, AEK’s native region, the construction of the new Agia Sofia Stadium is in full swing. As previously reported on AGONAsport, AEK FC owner Dimitris Melissanidis is keen for the Enosis to begin playing at the arena in the 2019/2020 season, and progress is rapidly being made. Recently, Dikefalos 1924 set up a website where fans can watch live webcams 24 hours a day of the stadium’s construction.