AEK 2-0 Tripolis brief match review
A powerful shot by Rivaldo and a beauty of a goal by Ismael Blanco helped to ensure that if the court’s desicion tomorrow favours Kalamaria (and therefore AEK), AEK are champions. Demis Nikolaidis said that no matter what the outcome, the players, in his eyes, are champions. AEK this year had the best offence in the league (65 goals), the best defence (letting in only 17 goals), the most assists by one player (Rivaldo), and of course, the top scorer ISMAEL BLANCO!!
Today game was the last for a great AEK player, the only greek player to ever play in a Champions League final, AKIS ZIKOS! He had a chance to make the game even more special but missed two penalty shots (the first was saved by the keeper but was redone since the keeper had stepped off the line too early and the second hit the cross bar).
Overall, the game was a solid effort by AEK. The players had a crowd of over 45,000 behind them. The begining of the match was almost all AEK, with Tripolis barely managing to gain possesion for more than a minute at a time. Although AEK had some chances to score early on the first goal didn’t come until the 43rd minute. It was a powerful, low shot by Rivaldo (today was Rivaldo’s 36th birthday) from a few metres outside the penalty box. Rivaldo’s performance today was great, he ran hard throughout the match and made a beautiful pass near the end.
Eleven minutes into the second half Ismael Blanco scored the second goal for AEK off of an assist by Edinho. The goal was a beautiful bicycle kick placed to the far right of the goal where the Tripolis keeper could not reach it. Blanco also had a chance to score earlier however his shot could not find the net.
Lyberopoulos also had a chance to increase the lead but his shot also missed.
Dellas’s performance today was rather sloppy compared to other matches. He gave up possesion a couple of times and his defense was not the most solid compared to other games.
The substitutions were Manduca for Edinho, Pliatsikas for Georgeas, and Toszer for Kafes.
The atmoshpere was wonderful at the Athens Olympic Stadium tonight. 45,000 AEK supporters were cheering and singing constantly and the flares seemed to never end. Many fans swarmed the pitch shortly before the match ended, and many more came on after (I was among them!, it was an amazing experience to be able to stand in the middle of the Olympic stadium after an AEK match). The players were engulfed by the fans and Rivaldo seemed more than happy to be with them (he was still holding four fingers up showing that he will never forget AEK’s 4-0 victory against olympiacos). Zikos however seemed a little overwhelmed after being surrounded and hugged by hundreds of fans. The fans on the pitch took apart the goal posts and many, including me, took a bit of the grass from the field.