Fire and Fury of a Greek Cup Final

Greek Cup final
Clashes between fans and riot police during the Greek Cup Final between AEK Athens F.C. and PAOK FC at Athens Olympic Sports in Athens, Greece on May 12, 2018 (Photo by Dimitris Lampropoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Olympic Stadium in Athens staged the Greek Cup final between AEK and the holders PAOK on Saturday 12 May. A crowd of 34,000 played witness to the passion of such a night.

Thousands of police, all wearing gas masks, tried to keep order. The ultras wore masks of a different kind. Due to the intense rivalry between the clubs and fans, half of the stadium remained empty to segregate the supporters. The visitors from Thessaloniki were corralled into their own sections having made the long journey from the north of the country. To limit corruption the officials were brought in from Spain.

But nobody could stop the fire and fury of a Greek Cup final.

PAOK Beats AEK in Greek Cup Final

PAOK Missed Penalty

Once the initial smoke had cleared we witnessed PAOK in the ascendency. Dutch winger Diego Biseswar was often involved and had chances before being brought down for a first-half penalty. But unfortunately, prolific striker Prijovic had his spot kick saved by the AEK goalie. He would later also fail with a weak chip. AEK managed efforts by loanees Marko Livaja and Sergio Araujo. However, the half ended with the score level at nil.

Vieirinha Delivers

After more pyrotechnics and a number of bookings, PAOK again provided most of the threats. And they went in front through their Portuguese captain Vieirinha. His free kick eluded Barkas in the AEK goal to trigger tumult from the PAOK end of the stadium. League champions AEK, coached by Spaniard Manolo Jimenez. never produced enough serious chances. Although Araujo did go close and substitute Giakoumakis headed a half-chance over the bar.

Fire and Fury

As we entered the last ten minutes AEK became more desperate. And they would have Bosnian Vranjes sent off together with Mauricio of PAOK. A third dismissal occurred at the death. In between that PAOK broke away to deliver the final blow as Dimitris Pelkas converted from close range. The PAOK ultras went wild and the goal sparking a chaotic finale of smoke and noise. After a delay, the Spanish referee brought the players out to finish the match. PAOK had retained the cup with a 2-0 win. The fire and fury of a Greek Cup final would live long in the memory.

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