SPORTS

AEK Athens staring at relegation

AEK Athens fans appear to have sealed their club’s relegation to the second division for the first time in the club’s glorious history on Sunday, as they chased the players and the referees of the home game with Panthrakikos, forcing its abandonment.

Fellow-struggling Panthrakikos scored four minutes from time at the Olympic Stadium of Athens through a Mavroudis Bougaidis own goal from a Dimitris Papadopoulos cross from the left, to lead 1-0.

The goal triggered the angry reaction of AEK fans, with 200 of them invading the pitch and chasing all players into the locker rooms, while inflicting damage on the benches and other objects around the turf.

One hour and a half after the game came to a halt, the referee reportedly succumbed to AEK players’ pleas not to abandon it, given the evacuation of the stands and the pitch, but by that time the Panthrakikos squad which had originally consented to the restart of the game, had boarded on its coach and left, having already missed their flight back home to Komotini.

This means the game is abandoned and AEK will not only lose the match with a 3-0 score but will also have three points deducted, according to the Super League rules. That would mean its mathematical relegation to the second division for the cash-strapped Athens giant, as with only one round of games left to play, AEK will find itself five points from safety.

The situation at AEK has overshadowed the «derby of eternal rivals» in which champion Olympiakos spared itself a home loss to Panathinaikos drawing 1-1 in front of its jeering fans, thanks to a Costas Mitroglou equalizer three minutes from the end.

Panathinaikos had led from the 73rd minute with a Luciano Figueroa strike. Before the derby the Panathinaikos squad was attacked by home fans, with one of the players injured by a flare, while a journalist was hit and had his camera stolen.

In Sunday’s other games, Aris came out of the relegation zone with a 5-1 thrashing of Asteras Tripolis, PAOK won 1-0 at Levadiakos, Panionios and Xanthi drew 3-3, Veria dismantled Platanias 5-0, OFI and Atromitos shared a 2-2 draw, and PAS Giannina secured a spot in Europe next season beating relegated Kerkyra 1-0.