‘Match Official Was Corrupt’, Claims AEK Chief Dimitris Melissanidis
Furious AEK Athens owner Dimitris Melissanidis vented his anger at assistant referee Giorgos Kalfoglou in the aftermath of his team’s 2-1 defeat to PAOK Thessaloniki in the Greek Cup final on Saturday, claiming that the official was corrupt after failing to give what seemed like a clear offside decision when PAOK scored the winning goal.
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A tightly-contested final which was marred by pre-match crowd violence in and around the Panthessaliko stadium in Volos was decided by Pedro Henrique’s 81st-minute header.
There were protests from the AEK players and officials who claimed that Brazilian midfielder Henrique was offside, with replays suggesting that their complaints were not unjustified.
And Melissanidis, no stranger to making controversial statements, did not mince his words, telling reporters: “For me it was not a simple human error, the official was paid off. What can we do with an apology? You make your apologies at Mount Athos [a holy area in the Northern part of Greece].”
Melissanidis, who is nicknamed ‘The Tiger’, could find himself in trouble with the football disciplinary authorities for his comments, but that will be the least of his concerns after seeing his team miss out of the cup.
This season’s cup competition has already seen controversial refereeing affect the outcome of matches, most notably in PAOK’s 4-0 win over Panathinaikos in the semi-final, second leg which attracted heavy criticism in the media and from the Greens’ camp.
And Panathinaikos president Giannis Alafouzos did not waste the opportunity to make his statements on the cup final result, saying: “A stolen trophy with decisions that have slaughtered two teams in Panathinaikos and AEK.”