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18 Mar, 2019 14:23

Violent ultra clashes, pitch invasions with police see Athens derby abandoned (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Violent ultra clashes, pitch invasions with police see Athens derby abandoned (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Panathinaikos say they "condemn unequivocally" clashes which marred Sunday's Athens derby against Olympiakos which was abandoned after violent scenes which saw their fans attack members of the opposition bench.

Referee Marco Fritz halted play on 70 minutes after numerous incidents before and during the game, including clashes between Panathinaikos fans and police outside the Olympic Stadium as well as sections of supporters attempting to attack Olympiakos players. 

He called the game off 30 minutes later, citing dangerous conditions inside the stadium as well as a lingering haze of teargas which had been employed by Green police in an attempt to quell angry mobs outside the stadium.

Violent ultra clashes, pitch invasions with police see Athens derby abandoned (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Many of 25,000 crowd had left the stadium at this point due to the hazardous conditions. Olympiakos fans were not present at the game due to Greek laws which prohibit away supporters from attending matches in an effort to minimize hooliganism. 

The game was first interrupted in the sixth minute when around 30 Panathinaikos fans - some of whom were masked - approached the pitch in an attempt to attack the opposition substitutes before police intervened. 

They also attacked Olympiakos spokesman Costas Karapapas during the first half, as well as at the half-time break. Olympiakos claims that at least one supporter was carrying a knife. 

Further clashes took place with police outside the stadium when play was resumed for the second half after Olympiakos took the lead in the 53rd minute with a goal from Miguel Ángel Guerrero. Reports state that fans hurled firebombs at police, who responded with the teargas which would soon lead to the game's cancelation. 

Many of the Panathinaikos supporters jeered the actions of their fellow supporters as the situation escalated. The match was officially abandoned with 20 minutes remaining and Olympiacos leading by one goal to nil.

It is certain that the club will face severe sanctions of the Greek football authorities and are liable to face a points deduction, while Olympiakos are understood to likely be awarded a 3-0 victory in the fixture.

In a statement, Panathinaikos blamed the incidents on a "handful of disrespectful fans", also criticizing the referee for his failure to take action sooner.

"From the administration's point of view, absolute condemnation of all forms of athletic violence is essential," the club said.

They also called on the Greek government to "finally show that it stands in the face of these events and find an effective way to definitively fight the violence in the stadiums."

The incident marks the latest flashpoint in the rivalry between Greek football's two largest clubs. The fixture is known as the 'Derby of the two eternal enemies', a rivalry which extends to the two clubs' basketball, volleyball and water polo teams.

In 2007, a 22-year-old Panathinaikos supporter was stabbed to death during a pre-arranged fan brawl ahead of a women's volleyball game between the two clubs. The incident led to the Greek government suspending all team sports in the country for two weeks.

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