40 injured as fans clash before PAOK win Greek Cup final
PAOK won the Greek Cup by defeating AEK Athens 2-1 in a final marred by violent clashes between fans that injured more than 40 people, two seriously, according to police on Saturday.
The game was delayed about half an hour because of the clashes. Police say at least 10 people were taken to a hospital, two of them in serious condition.
Fighting began when AEK and PAOK fans, who were supposed to be separated, met on a footbridge outside the stadium that police forces did not occupy. There were pitched battles that lasted about 30 minutes before riot police intervened with stun grenades and chemicals.
Police say one of the seriously injured has a knife wound and the other suffered multiple blows to the head.
Another 40 or so wounded fans were treated on site, with some requiring stitches. They attended the final.
There were no clashes after the game. Police escorted AEK fans quickly out of the stadium while celebrations were going on.
Pedro Henrique headed home the winner in the 81st minute off a cross by Marin Leovac, eight minutes after entering the game in place of Djalma Campos. AEK players and the coach loudly protested then and after the game that Henrique scored from an offside position.
PAOK opened the scoring through Diego Biseswar, and AEK equalised two minutes later when PAOK goalkeeper Panagiotis Glykos let Lazaros Christodoulopoulos' long-range shot slip out of his grasp and roll into the net.
"It was not a beautiful game,'' PAOK coach Vladan Ivic said, adding it was a case of who made the fewer mistakes.
It was the fifth cup victory for PAOK, its first since 2003.