EHF EUROPEAN CUP MEN
AEK Athens take lift first European trophy in their history
For the first time in the club’s history, AEK Athens HC won an EHF competition, after 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.
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.
AEK coach Dimitris Dimitroulias said: “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. 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.”
EHF EUROPEAN CUP WOMEN
Malaga win maiden European title after thriller in Zagreb
Rincon Fertiliad Malaga won their first title and the very first EHF European Cup Women trophy after a thrilling second leg in Zagreb, winning 31:28 and 60:59 on aggregate.
Lokomotiva battled hard but in the end, could not break Malaga’s four-goal lead from the first leg.
The Spanish team trailed by six at one point of the match but did not give up and regained control with strong periods at the end of both halves.
The home side took over midway through the first half held on to their desired lead until the final five minutes of the match when they were outmatched by the Spanish team’s strength and concentration in a breath-taking affair.
One player, in particular, set the tone for them: left wing Soledad López scored her side’s opening four goals on the night and finished as the top scorer with seven, taking her tally for the season to 48.
“We knew it would be more difficult than the first leg but we made it through,” said Virginia Fernandez, the victorious Malaga goalkeeper.
“When I saw the scored after 60 minutes, I thought, oh my God and now we are really, really happy.
“Zagreb stayed really close and we lost some important balls but at the final whistle, we made it.”