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Panathinaikos beat PAOK 1-0 to win the Greek Cup on Saturday in a match marred by crowd trouble as rival fans threw flares and clashed with police inside the Olympic Stadium .

Violence erupted an hour before the start of the match as spectators began to arrive at the stadium, delaying kick-off.

Panathinaikos and PAOK fans attempted to enter the area of ​​empty seats between them, and riot police responded by using tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The final was interrupted after Aitor Cantalapiedra scored from the penalty spot for Panathinaikos in the 34th minute and PAOK fans threw objects on the pitch. PAOK fans also clashed with police outside the stadium during half-time, a police official said.

Greek football has been plagued by violence on and off the pitch, and authorities have repeatedly promised to clean up the game. Fights between football fans are common before or after a match and it is not uncommon whether a match is disrupted by crowd disturbances or a pitch invasion, despite the heavy fines incurred.

The government has tightened rules to tackle violence at sporting events following the murder of a 19-year-old football fan this year in what was believed to be an attack by rival supporters.

theguardian Gt

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