YEREVAN — President Serzh Sarkisian participated at the festive event dedicated to the legendary Ararat-73 Armenian football team. At the gathering, which was organized on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the glorious victory of the team which in the season of 1973 simultaneously became the USSR champion and won the USSR Cup, the President of Armenia awarded the veterans of the Ararat football team with high state awards and distinctions for their considerable input in the development of the Armenian football and brilliant achievements, President’s Press Office reported.
Sarkisian congratulated the awardees and in his remarks underscored that Ararat team was one of the greatest achievements of our nation not only in 1973 but throughout the 1970-s. “For our nation, Ararat’s glorious victories on the green field were not only victories won in competitions but also a reflection of its collective excellence. Ararat was our national pride, national dignity. Certainly, Ararat was not just playing football: the guys were playing football, but it was also politics. As we all know, unfortunately, in Soviet years Armenia was not able to adequately present herself on the international arena and Ararat through its football victories was bringing Armenia out on the international arena and Armenia and the Armenians were becoming even more recognizable. Ararat’s victories, Ararat’s double victory I always compare to another great deed which was accomplished by Tigran Petrossian: Becoming a world champion, Tigran Petrossian made each Armenian family learn to play chess or at least love the game. These guys did the same. Performance of our today’s team is also the result of the then victories. Ararat brought inspiration to Armenia, to our nation and to every Armenian wherever he lived – in Armenia or abroad, was very proud”.
On behalf of the Armenian nation and his own behalf, President Sargsyan thanked the veterans of Ararat-73, wished them good health and wished that they always stand by our team, our football players.
At the festive event organized by the Armenia’s Football Federation (AFF), the veterans of Ararat-73 were also greeted and congratulated on the occasion of the glorious victory by the RA Minister of Sport and Youth Issue Yuri Vardanian, President of AFF Ruben Hairapetian and the Head Coach of the Armenian national football team Vardan Minassian.
Minister Yuri Vardanian awarded a number of Ararat-73 players with the RA Sport Master of International Class title, Distinguished Worker of Physical Culture and Sport and awarded them with the Gold Medal of the Ministry and commemorative medals. The President of the AFF handed monetary awards to all veterans of Ararat-73.
The Armenian fans are still enthusiastic about Ararat’s victory. The match against Dynamo Kiev played in the Luzhniki Stadium on October 10, 1973, ended 2-1 to Ararat that later that month also won the championship trophy becoming a “double” winning team.
Eyewitnesses of the event say that the victory was followed by unprecedented celebration as Armenians played ethnic folk instruments, sang and danced kochari at the stadium and beyond.
Young or old, everyone was aware of the course of the game, the score, the names of the players participating in the match that didn’t bode well for Armenians in the beginning.
Ararat were a goal down when Levon Ishtoyan scored an equalizer in the dying seconds of the second half, taking the match into overtime during which he scored the winner becoming an all-time legend in Armenian soccer.
The winning Ararat team included: coach Nikita Simonyan, goalkeeper Alyosha Abrahamyan, defenders Alexander Kovalenko, Norayr Mesropyan, Armen Sargsyan, Sanasar Gevorgyan, Suren Martirosyan, Arkady Harutyunyan, midfielders Arkady Andreasyan, Sergey Bondarenko, Hovhannes Zanazanyan, Sergey Poghosyan, forwards Eduard Markarov, Levon Ishtoyan, Nikolay Ghazaryan, Nazar Petrosyan.
The more we study the details regarding the triumphs of “Ararat 73”, the more new and interesting facts and events come forth, which are unknown for the contemporary footballers. “Armenpress” News Agency was the first to open that “golden page” in the history book of the Armenian sport. Both the heroes and witnesses of the heroic triumph of “Ararat 73” told new details about the club’s achievements. The project was dedicated to the team’s chief manager Nikita Simonyan, legendary captain of the team Hovhannes Zanazanyan, Arkadi Andreasyan, Levon Ishtoyan, and almost all the members of the legendary team.