AEK wins 12th cup title in the event’s history

Second half goals from Sotiris Constantinidis and substitute Ilija Ivic lifted AEK Athens to a 2-1 victory over Olympiakos Piraeus in the Greek Cup final on Saturday. The two clubs are also fighting for the league title and are level with one game remaining. Fireworks lit up the sky after the tense game and 60,000 spectators watched as Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos awarded the Athens club its 12th Cup title in the event’s 60-year history. The first half was void of action except for a one-handed save by AEK keeper Dionissis Chiotis, who skillfully stopped a lob by Predrag Djordjevic in the 14th minute. Six minutes into the second period, international striker Demis Nikolaidis was brought down by goalie Angelos Giorgiou during a menacing run toward Olympiakos’s goalmouth. Vassilis Tsartas’s spot kick hit the bar but Nikolaidis fired in the rebounding ball. It bounced off Constantinidis to put AEK ahead. A spectacular save from Chiotis sent a powerful header by Giovanni over the bar in the 60th. But he could not stop the equalizer when the Brazilian lunged forward with another header 10 minutes later. Giovanni left his team a man short when he deliberately kicked Constantinidis after a tackle in the 78th and was shown the red card. Ilija Ivic came in for Constantinidis and scored with his first touch of the ball, in the 81st, heading in a free kick from Tsartas after he was left unmarked. Saturday’s game was Olympiakos’s second Cup final defeat in two years. The Piraeus club was stunned by PAOK Thessaloniki and lost 4-2 last season. AEK last won the trophy two years ago, beating Ionikos 3-0 (AP)

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