Jimenez shocked by the Toumba chaos
Following the chaotic Super League battle between PAOK and AEK Athens at the Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki, Greek football has been sent into another unnecessary crisis.
Fernando Varela’s firm header after 90 minutes seemed to have given PAOK a vital win, but the referee and linesman waved off the goal after Mauricio was deemed to be in an offside position. PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis then came charging on to the pitch with a gun in his back pocket, appearing to threaten the referee. The game was eventually abandoned after a two hour stoppage.
According to reports from Greece, referee Georgios Kominis decided to give PAOK a 1:0 victory after AEK refused to play the remaining minutes.
When speaking to AS and Radio Marca in Spain, AEK head coach Manolo Jimenez gave his side of the story: “We weren’t afraid of our safety at first, but when seeing the pictures of the gun, you begin to think what could have happened if he had taken it out,” stated a shocked Spaniard. “It is not normal for the club owner to enter the field and threaten the referee. Later, the referee wanted us to play for the five minutes, but our president told us not to play.
Something must be done, because it’s creating a sad image for a country which doesn’t deserve this. We were eventually allowed to take a shower, but we missed our plane. We’ll stay in Thessaloniki tonight and travel back tomorrow morning.”
Experienced AEK midfielder Panagiotis Kone also spoke to the media late in the evening: “The referee gave the offside after speaking with Andre Simoes and Vieirinha, however PAOK’s president threatened the referee,” said Kone. “Offside was given, but then Mr. Savvidis entered the pitch and the decision was changed. AEK have a better team than PAOK, although they do have good players. Myself, I don’t think that Mr. Savvidis should have entered the pitch.”
PAOK goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis, who made a superb save to deny Anastasios Bakasetas midway through the second half, shared his thoughts. “We came here to play 90 minutes. We scored a clean goal, Mauricio was behind the goalkeeper. The goal should have counted. The president told us to leave the pitch, but we decided to stay. I don’t have a full picture of what happened in the changing rooms.”