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Atromitos slams manner of defeat to AEK in cup final

 Losing coach accuses game of being a fix, as accusations fly about behavior of Yellows fans
Atromitos coach Giorgos Donis (r) was incensed by refereeing decisions and the intimidation from the AEK fans.

Atromitos has slammed the manner of its 3-0 defeat in the Greek Cup final, raging against both referee Tasos Kakos and AEK fans who invaded or encircled the pitch for much of the game.

“This took Greek soccer back at least 100 years,” said Atromitos owner Giorgos Spanos. “AEK won the cup today because it had to win. Everyone saw what circumstances we had to play in.”

Atromitos was angered that AEK’s opening first half goal stood despite scorer Nikos Liberopoulos being in an offside position before heading the ball. But it was also upset by the behavior of the AEK fans, who invaded the pitch in droves at the end of the game.

Some Atromitos players fought with the pitch invaders who appeared to be targeting people sitting in the Peristeri club’s part of the VIP section.

“This was shameful for Greek soccer,” said midfielder Andreas Tatos. “There were people on the pitch at the end throwing flares into the stands where our families were sitting.”

Atromitos coach Giorgos Donis gave a damning verdict of the referee’s performance and suggested that the manner of AEK’s win was highly questionable.

“We are experiencing something utterly disgusting,” he said. “My players came in at the end after being attacked and having guns pointed at them.”

Donis also claimed that the game had been fixed to ensure that AEK would win.

“This was all staged. When the outsider goes behind to a goal that was two meters offside, everyone can work out what was going on. AEK has won a phony title.”

Atromitos’s criticism did not temper AEK’s joy at winning the club’s first trophy since 2002.

“It’s really important that the team won a title after so many years,” said veteran central defender Traianos Dellas. “We worked hard for this. We need some calm now so we can look at the club’s future.

The former Greece international also rejected any claims that AEK’s win was dubious but admitted that the behavior of the team’s fans was a sore point

“Three-nil is a very clear scoreline,” he said. “We won the game on the field. We can’t be held responsible for what happened off it. We are all aware of the problems that Greek soccer has.”

AEK’s coach Manolo Jimenez also hailed the win and reserved some praise for Atromitos.

“I came to Greece to win titles so this is very important for me,” said the Spaniard. “I want to thank my players because this was a hard season but they managed to turn their fortunes around.

“I want to congratulate Atromitos for remaining in the Super League, getting to the Greek Cup final and playing a good match.”

ekathimerini.com , Sunday May 1, 2011 (00:21)  
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