Panathinaikos won its sixth consecutive Greek Cup and a record 18th overall defeating Aris 68-59 at Thessaloniki’s Nick Galis Hall on Saturday, in a game that was delayed by over an hour.
Having beaten its archrival, Olympiakos, in the semifinal last month – away from home too – Panathinaikos would have a relatively easy task to complete in the final to win the trophy.
It agreed to Aris (victor over AEK in the other semi) hosting the competition’s showpiece at Thessaloniki instead of having it at a neutral venue, with the tickets supposedly split between the two finalists. However the tipoff was delayed by 65 minutes as police failed to control the inflowing Aris supporters who stormed the VIP seats.
When the final started it appeared Aris would be a match for the Euroleague challenger, leading at several points in the first half that finished 29-27 in the Greens’ favor.
The strong resistance of the Yellows subsided in the third period with Panathinaikos opening the gap in its favor, to get to 17 points ahead in the fourth, before Aris staged a comeback to cut the distance to just four (58-54), but that was as close as it could go.
Led by James Feldeine (18 points), Panathinaikos made its vast experience and quality make the difference in the end to win by nine and continue its impressive streak in the competition.
The two sets of fans were peaceful throughout the match, but decided to ruin the positive image at the end when they clashed with police and hurled flares and ripped-up seats at the opposite end. The trophy was hastily handed over to the Panathinaikos players as the smell of tear gas aggravated the atmosphere.