AEK claim maiden European trophy
For the first time in the club’s history, AEK Athens HC have won an EHF competition on Sunday, as they were too strong for Ystads IF in the EHF European Cup Men final.
Following a 30:26 win in the first-leg match on Friday, AEK successfully defended their advantage and won by four goals again, 24:20.
AEK became just the second Greek winner of a European club competition after Diomidis Argous triumphed in the EHF Challenge Cup in 2012.
EUROPEAN CUP FINAL, SECOND LEG
Ystads IF (SWE) vs AEK Athens HC (GRE) 20:24 (11:11)
First leg result: 26:30, AEK win 54:46 on aggregate
- although Ystad were officially the home side now, the teams again met in Chalkida, Greece, like two days before
- Christodoulos Mylonas scored AEK’s three opening goals, and combined with Thomas Bauer’s saves, it helped Athens to a 6:4 lead midway through the first half
- however, Jakob Nygren converted five of his seven attempts before the break, so Ystad stabilized the game, and the sides were level at 11:11 at half-time
- the Swedish side led by one goal several times early in the second half, but then AEK regained control of the game and cruised to a win
- AEK’s Mylonas and Ystad’s Nygren became joint top scorers of the match, with five goals each
Solid defence earns AEK the title
Early in the second half, Ystad had some hopes of turning things around. However, they did not last long, as AEK greatly improved their defence and were back on track. Between minutes 38 and 56, the Swedish team scored only two goals, and as Athens were in a 22:16 lead, all doubts were gone – and the celebrations could start. Similar to the first leg, AEK’s goalkeeper Thomas Bauer did a god job, finishing the game with 10 saves for a 37 per cent save rate.
How could I not be emotional? That was such a season for us: we lost all our top-class players but we kept on going. Today, with this crowd, with this team, we believed in it so much, we could not lose. It was a very emotional moment for me, I am so happy for everybody. This crowd deserves a European cup, my players are absolutely fantastic.
I think we fought on the court very well, I am proud of the guys. We were in the lead in the second half one time and tried to get some momentum, but we did a lot of unprovoked technical faults and missed a lot of shots. That made the difference today.