Dozens of hooligans, fans of PAOK Thessaloniki invaded the pitch and stopped the clash against their city rivals Aris on Sunday at the Toumba stadium.
The ugly face of hooliganism resurfaced again in Greece, as the match was suspended in injury time as the visiting team, Aris was leading 1-0. Hooligans stormed onto the pitch, throwing firecrackers, bottles, plastic seats, and other objects against the riot police.
PAOK players tried in vain to stop the pitch invasion, as the referee and the visiting team rushed to the changing rooms. Chaos ensued as the police were making arrests. Most of the home crowd deserted the Toumba station in disgust at the behavior of the hooligans.
After more than 40′, the teams returned to the pitch to play the remaining 3′ of the clash. Nothing changed, and Aris celebrated a well-deserved victory against their Thessaloniki rivals.
Hooligans tarnish Greek football
Hooliganism and crowd violence have been endemic in Greek football in the last decades.
In 2018, the Greek football authorities suspended the football league after a tense match between PAOK and AEK led to pitch disorder.
PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis appeared to walk onto the pitch armed with a handgun amid chaotic scenes towards the end of the clash at Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki.
The match itself was abandoned after trouble following a referee’s decision to rule a 90th-minute PAOK goal offside.