Friday, August 26, 2011

Violence mars Europa League tie in Athens

Maccabi Tel Aviv advanced to the Europa League group stage despite losing 2-1 to hosts Panathinaikos Thursday in a match marred by crowd violence at the Athens Olympic Stadium.
Italian referee Antonio Damato stopped the game in the fifth minute when a flare was thrown by Maccabi fans from the upper tier of the stadium towards Panathinaikos supporters in the lower tier, sparking a free-for-all between the two groups.
Riot police used teargas to bring a halt to the violence and the foggy atmosphere in the stadium forced the players to leave the pitch.
Panathinaikos fans set fire to a few plastic seats which were put out quickly.
Damato resumed the match after a half hour.
There was a five-minute stoppage in the second half as well when a flare was thrown on the pitch by Panathinaikos fans shortly after Maccabi's goal.
The Israeli team had beaten the Greeks in the first leg at home 3-0, and advanced 4-2 on aggregate.

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