Fan trouble mars game

Panathinaikos defeated archrival Olympiakos 81-51 in a fiery Greek basketball quarterfinal clash last night that was marred by crowd violence. The clashes came as a disappointment less than a month after the national team was crowned European champion. A policeman was injured in clashes with rioting fans. Two suspects were arrested during riots outside the Peace and Friendship Stadium in southern Athens ahead of the clash. Riot police used tear gas to dispel fans who pelted them with stones and petrol bombs, and set rubbish bins on fire. Fighting continued inside the arena shortly before the game started. Earlier, Panathinaikos and Olympiakos fans fought each other at urban railway stations on their way to the game. Several hours before the match, train services were stopped for an hour and a half after a dummy gas-canister bomb was found on the tracks in a downtown station. Explosives experts destroyed the device, which had not been rigged to explode. During the game, rival fans tossed chairs, flares, bottles, coins, lighters, and even pieces of marble, at each other. Seeking a return to the top following an extended slump, Olympiakos, whose roster has been boosted by new signings, had hoped for more. But the new-look Piraeus club lacked character and Panathinaikos took full advantage. Panathinaikos will now meet AEK in a home-and-away semifinal encounter. In yesterday’s other quarterfinal, Thessaloniki club PAOK beat cross-town rival Aris 68-58, earning a semifinal berth against Maroussi. (Kathimerini, AP)