Panathinaikos beats Olympiakos 2-1 in game marred by barrage of flares against visiting team



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ATHENS, Greece — Panathinaikos beat visiting Olympiakos 2-1 Sunday in a game between the Greek league's top two sides that almost didn't start and almost didn't finish.

Panathinaikos fans welcomed the visitors with a barrage of flares and various projectiles, many aimed at Olympiakos president Vangelis Marinakis, and a pitch invasion before the start of the game.

Following Greek league rules, no visiting fans attended, to avoid violent incidents.

"What we saw today, I had never imagined. I had never foreseen that, the moment the team stepped into the pitch, there would be a pitch invasion. And the objects, what can I say? Nails, rocks, bottles...this felt like the bombardment of Iraq," Marinakis said after the game.

"What happened was a shame. Unacceptable. The people don't come to watch a game. I don't know if it is (the teams') fault, what can I say...I can't find words for this," Panathinaikos coach Yannis Anastassiou said on TV right after the final whistle.

With the win, Panathinaikos closed to within three points of Olympiakos with nine rounds left. PAOK, 3-1 winner at Veria Saturday, is third, a further five points behind.

Arthur Masuaku opened the scoring for Panathinaikos in the 49th with an own goal, when his attempted clearance ended up in the net.

Olympiakos' Costas Mitroglou's header in the 70th came back off the crossbar, and eight minutes later, another Olympiakos defensive lapse allowed Mladen Petric to make it 2-0 with a strong drive from inside the area.

Dominguez pulled one back for Olympiakos following a pass from a free-kick in the seventh minute of injury time before another barrage of flares and another pitch invasion ended the game prematurely. There was still time left, but the referee preferred to blow the whistle.

Dominguez's goal was not purely a consolation mark. With it Olympiakos, which beat Panathinaikos 1-0 in the first-round game has the advantage in case the two teams end up equal on points.

Elsewhere, Panionios beat Levadiakos 1-0, Kerkyra drew 1-1 at Platanias and Asteras crushed Ergotelis 6-1 to climb into fourth place.

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