SPORTS

Larissa fans besiege squad

Hundreds of livid Larissa fans attacked the coach that brought the squad back in town from Athens after its 3-0 loss at Atromitos and held them on siege for no less than five hours on January 5 in the morning.

Rooted at the bottom of the Super League table, Larissa suffered another loss, this time at Peristeri, and has become the favorite to go down to the Football League, Greece’s second division, with Norwegian manager Jorn Andersen set to be sacked after barely one month at the helm.

The coach carrying the squad arrived outside a hotel in central Larissa at 2 a.m., but the 500 or so angry supporters would not allow it to go inside, setting fires, smashing its windshield and three or four windows and chanting abuse against the players.

The fans hurled stones, eggs and yoghurt at the coach and threatened to lynch the players, who would not come out of the coach, with the exception of an official and a young footballer who were allowed to come out in peace.

Ex-Newcastle and Greece defender Nikos Dabizas, the team captain, tried to broker a peace deal with the fans at 6 a.m., but they would not accept it, calling him a mercenary and asking him to leave the club immediately.

In the end, police manage to contain the about 100 fans left at 7 a.m. and the coach got to open its doors for the exhausted players to emerge.

The players had suffered from fan action at Peristeri, too, as they were showered with objects from Atromitos fans when they came out to the pitch after the game for their post-match relaxation routine. Certain players chose to throw back some objects to the home fans, who stormed the pitch and chased the Larissa players into the dressing room.

Meanwhile Andersen did not travel with the squad back home as he stayed in Athens to meet with president Costas Piladakis on Wednesday regarding the termination of the contract he had signed just before Christmas.

Piladakis is also preparing to perform a massive clearout in this transfer window in order to save the popular central Greek club from relegation.

Larissa has collected just 11 points from 16 games and is four points adrift at the foot of the table.

It had started the season aiming at a top-five finish and only last month it played their first match at its new ground, the AEL FC Arena.