SPORTS

PAOK fans force abandonment of semifinal with Olympiakos

paok-fans-force-abandonment-of-semifinal-with-olympiakos

Wednesday proved to be another sad night for Greek soccer, as the semifinal first-leg game between PAOK and Olympiakos was abandoned one minute from the end, with the score at 2-1 in the Reds’ favor, due to attempts for a pitch invasion by home supporters at Thessaloniki’s Toumba Stadium.

The fate of the two-leg semifinal now rests with the federation, with Olympiakos likely to be awarded a 3-0 win. PAOK will also face a point deduction, a stadium ban and a huge fine.

PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis said after the match that he will not let the squad go to Piraeus for the return leg, which would entail the deduction of more points from the league table.

The hosts protested fiercely against the refusal of the referee to award PAOK a penalty on the 89th minute, leading to a red card shown to PAOK’s Robert Mak for dissent.

This followed an enjoyable match that had Mak give PAOK an early lead before Esteban Cambiasso equalized for the Reds and David Fuster offered the visitors a 2-1 advantage that remained until the game got abandoned.

The home supporters hurled various objects at the referee and the Olympiakos players, including a number of lit flares. Police tried to contain them but they tried several times to invade the pitch, which eventually happened after the match was definitively abandoned, with the fans clashing with the riot police.

Earlier a water cup thrown from the stands had hit Olympiakos coach Marco Silva. The Portuguese was very upset and left the post-match press conference when he was asked to comment on the referee. “Greek soccer is corrupt”, declared PAOK manager Igor Tudor.