Pitch invasion halts Greek Cup match

Pitch invasion halts Greek Cup match

ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Pitch invasion halts Greek Cup match

An AEK fan throws a flare at Olympiakos players just after they scored the only goal in a Greek Cup quarter final, second leg soccer match, against AEK at the Olympic stadium, in Athens, on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. AP Photo.

The Greek Cup quarterfinal between AEK and Olympiakos was called off March 11 with one minute to go after a pitch invasion by fans in the Athens Olympic Stadium.

About 25 AEK supporters ran onto the pitch before throwing objects and chasing Olympiakos players following an 89th-minute goal by midfielder Franco Jara that gave the visiting side a decisive 1-0 lead.

The Olympiakos players immediately headed to the locker rooms. They were soon followed by match officials and AEK players.

Over half an hour later officials announced that the game would not resume and Olympiakos would automatically progress to the semifinals.

AEK team officials complained that Jara took off his jersey, kicked the corner flag and then Olympiakos coach Vitor Pereira made gesture to the crowd inciting the trouble.

“Greek football has reached the bottom. I think with such refereeing we will not see progress. We will do our part to help the government’s attempt to change things for the better,” said AEK president Dimitris Melissanidis.

The second-tier Athens team also complained that Jara used his hand to score the winning goal for the Piraeus side.

AEK now faces punishment from the football federation for the incidents, possibly a three-point deduction on top of a heavy fine.

Last month, the two clubs played out a 1-1 deadlock in the first leg at Karaiskakis Stadium without incidents.

More than 65,000 spectators attended March 11’s match which was a test by the Greek government to see if certain measures, such as barbed wire fences and nets, could control potential violence.

Some 1,500 policemen were deployed to keep peace throughout the stadium and around the Greek capital.

The Greek government decided last week to allow the country’s Super League matches to go ahead after they were postponed at the end of February due to crowd trouble. But the games had to all be played behind closed doors.