The scenes from the Toumba Stadium in the Greek city of Thessaloniki were absolutely insane from start to finish last night.
Eventually the match was played out, and PAOK defeated Olympiakos 1-0 in the semi-finals of the Greek Cup, moving on to the finals on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate finish.
But there’s so much more to it than that.
First, the match was delayed for nearly an hour after a number of incidents before the opening kickoff. Here’s one of them:
That poses a bit of a problem, doesn’t it? The flares delayed the match for an hour, while fans covered the pitch in streamers as well. Quite the flammable combination.
On top of that, one fan was arrested for dumping a crate of anchovies on the Olympakos bench in a play on the nickname of Olympiakos supporters:
Overall, six arrests were made. The Olympiakos bench was also lit on fire by a flare:
When the match finally resumed, the chaos bled onto the pitch. Three players were sent off for repeated brawls during the game:
The craziness on the pitch resulted in 15 minutes of second-half injury time thanks to constant stoppages in play. After the final whistle, fans stormed the pitch to mob the Olympiakos players…and not in a good way. According to reports, Olympiakos players Maniatis and Nelson Valdez were both hit by attacking fans.
Soccer’s a wonderful game and stadium atmospheres are some of the best in world sports, but let’s hope things don’t get this out of hand on a more regular basis.
PAOK will play Panathinaikos in the Greek Cup final in Athens on April 26.