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Athens derby called off in Greece after player is hit by flare

Greece Soccer Clashes

Panathinaikos fans light flares after the cancellation of the Greek Super League match between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos at Apostolos Nikolaides stadium in Athens, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2105. The derby between host Panathinaikos and archrival Olympiakos, the Greek league’s frontrunner, has been cancelled after Panathinaikos fans clashed with police both outside and inside the football ground before the game and also threw flares at Olympiakos players when the latter entered the field. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)


The Athens derby between Greek clubs Panathinaikos and Olympiacos was called off today after fan violence erupted at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium.

The two clubs are the elite teams in Greece, as no other side has won the league since 1994. Olympiacos has won 17 of the past 21 league titles, with Panathinaikos winning the other four.

The rivalry is so fierce it is known as the “Derby of eternal enemies.”

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Violence started outside the stadium before the match, and Olympiacos striker Alfred Finnbogason was hit by a flare as his visiting team took the pitch. The referee eventually cancelled the match 30 minutes after the scheduled kick-off.

After the match was called, fans stormed the pitch, throwing broken chairs and advertisements at police. More than 50 people were arrested in the melee.

The Athens derby has a history of violence, and is often considered one of the most dangerous rivalries in Europe. Fan violence has gotten so bad in Greece that opposing supporters are not allowed to attend away matches.

Olympiacos currently sits atop the table in the Greek Superleague, eight points ahead of second-place Panathinaikos.