Dirty Tackle - World Soccer

By some grotesque strain of logic, it only seems natural that a season already wretchedly scarred by the "derby of shame" and PAOK fans hitting AEK players with flares would include a cup final that "set Greek football back over a hundred years," according to Atromitos president Giorgos Spanos.

His side lost to AEK by a score of 3-0 in a Greek Cup final in Athens' Olympic Stadium on Saturday that was cut short when AEK fans stormed the pitch and fought Atromitos and riot police with broken seats, advertising hoardings and whatever else they could turn into weapons.

From the AP:

Referee Tassos Kakos was forced to blow the whistle just a minute into a nine-minute injury time after hundreds of AEK fans invaded the pitch. Many rushed to celebrate with their players, but others headed toward the VIP stands where family members and friends of the Atromitos players were seated, throwing projectiles at them.

Atromitos coach Giorgos Donis asserted that some aimed pistols at the VIP spectators.

"I've never seen this in a game, ever, players having to fight to save their families … they were pointing pistols at them," Donis said.

Atromitos players rushed to defend their kin and friends and exchanged blows with the AEK fans before riot police intervened, swinging clubs and throwing tear gas.

So what happened to those other eight minutes of added time? Well, it turns out if a mob is angry and violent enough, they can force matches to end and trophies to be presented.

At first, it appeared the final was suspended and Atromitos officials insisted the remaining minutes of injury time be played. After half an hour of negotiations, Greek football league officials, in fear of the mob that had invaded the pitch, agreed to stage a parody of a winning ceremony which Atromitos players agreed to attend.

So, AEK lifted the trophy, somehow disregarded the revolting scenes that immediately preceded and pretended like everything was peachy...

But these are the images that need to be seen:

The fact that Greek football has been allowed to continue on this rapid descent into anarchy and brutality ruled by rioters and incompetence is mind-melting. Why can't they just be like those nice Germans and celebrate by dumping beer on people and shaving shaving each other's heads?

Photos: Getty, Reuters

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