SPORTS

Fans disrupt Greek Cup semifinal

Yet another Greek Cup match was overshadowed by hooliganism as PAOK fans forced a two-and-a-half-hour stop to the semifinal first-leg match with Olympiakos, that eventually ended with a 79-60 Reds’ win on Wednesday.

Olympiakos have practically qualified to the final where they will probably come up against Panathinaikos who thrashed Aris, but what happened inside the court in Thessaloniki bears little significance after what happened outside.

Even though there were no Olympiakos fans at the stands and the game went on with the Reds predictably having a clear advantage over their hosts, PAOK fans forced referees to stop the game three times, the last one being during the third period, with the score at 47-37 for Olympiakos.

Fans at the stands showered the referees with objects at that point although their team was on an 8-0 partial score and had reduced its deficit to just 10 points.

As the referees were heading to their dressing room, one object hit referee Christos Christodoulou at his forehead.

The officials asked for the evacuation of the stands, which was only completed after two and a half hours, with PAOK players, officials and the coach himself literally begging the fans to go out and allow the match to restart.

“We must have entered the Guinness Book of Records with our game lasting four hours and 15 minutes,» said Olympiakos coach, Dusan Ivkovic, a former PAOK coach.

The other semifinal first-leg match on Wednesday was particularly peaceful, with Panathinaikos defeating Aris 87-58 in Athens, with the home fans even giving a round of applause to an Aris player, Nikos Chatzivrettas, who played for Panathinaikos until a year and a half ago.

The return leg matches will take place on February 9.