The Super League has sunk even deeper in controversy, as the federation’s Saturday night decision to bend the rules and return the three points deducted from PAOK was followed by an abandoned PAOK vs AEK derby on Sunday evening and a pitch invasion by PAOK’s owner with a gun in his pocket.
The match was stopped 30 seconds from the 90 minutes when the referee correctly disallowed a PAOK goal by Gustavo Varela, as another PAOK player, Mauricio obstructed the AEK keeper from an offside position. It will therefore be the sports courts deciding the outcome of the game once again.
Less than 20 hours after the unprecedented decision by the federation’s appeals committee which canceled the three-point deduction imposed on PAOK for the PAOK vs Olympiakos match that was called off, PAOK and AEK faced off for what would might be the deciding match for the league, as the Yellows held a two-point lead after the verdict.
In a game that seemed to have more bookings than a Santorini hotel in August, the two teams offered little to the fans who filled the Toumba stands and were remarkably peaceful throughout the encounter.
What the match lacked in action it made up for in tension. Besides the nine yellow cards in the game, there were three men from the benches of the two teams sent off for dissent, including AEK manager Manolo Jimenez.
Then Varela hit the back of the net on the 90th minute, the assistant referee flagged it as offside and the extreme protests by PAOK players and officials forced the referee to withdraw to the locker room.
AEK complained of terrorism and accused PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis – who stormed into the pitch after the goal was disallowed with a gun in his pocket – of attacking AEK official Vassilis Dimitriadis and of telling the refree “you are a dead man”. Notably PAOK captain Adelino Vieirinha tried to prevent Savvidis from taking the PAOK players to the locker room.
The entire controversy may actually play into the hands of third-placed Olympiakos, that has risen to 50 points, i.e. two less than PAOK and four behind AEK, with a comfortable 4-0 win at all-but-relegated Platanias Hanion on Sunday. Alaixys Romao, Marko Marin, Kevin Mirallas and Pape Cisse were on target for the Piraeus club.
Fourth-placed Atromitos canceled out Panionios 2-0 advantage to snatch a 2-2 draw at Nea Smyrni through an injury-time bullet header by Amr Warda.
Xanthi climbed to fifth with a 1-0 win over Panetolikos at home, two more than Panionios and Asteras Tripolis that drew 1-1 at Panathinaikos. The Greens are three points behind Xanthi, but even if they grab the fifth place they are likely to miss out on a Europa League spot due to debts to former players and other clubs.
In other weekend games, Lamia drew 1-1 with Levadiakos, while Larissa and Kerkyra shared a goalless draw that cost the job of Larissa manager Ratko Dostanic.
On Monday PAS Giannina greets Apollon Smyrnis.