PAOK vs. Olympiakos Cancelled as Paper Roll Hits Coach

first_imgTHESSALONIKI (AP) — The eagerly awaited derby between Greek league leader PAOK and defending champion Olympiakos at PAOK’s Toumba Stadium never got underway Sunday, after Olympiakos coach Oscar Garcia was sent to hospital after being hit in the face by a cash register paper roll.While they did not dispute the hit, PAOK officials said Olympiakos exaggerated the impact in an attempt to have PAOK, which is six points ahead of Olympiakos, face punishment and possible point deduction.“This is a shadow play, a strategy that Olympiakos started implementing even ahead of the game, fantasizing about (incidents) in its friendly media,” said PAOK communications chief Kyriakos Kyriakos. “Just this morning, they warned us that they would leave the pitch at the slightest incident.”The roll appeared to be thrown from the VIP stands as the teams came out before the game started.Garcia was rushed to a hospital, but the teams stayed in the stadium for nearly three hours before they were told the game was off.The private clinic where Garcia was taken issued a statement about five hours after the coach was admitted, saying his upper left lip was swollen and skin on the inside of his mouth was injured.“He has sensitivity in the jaw, neck pain, dizziness and nausea,” the clinic statement says.Garcia was scheduled to stay at the hospital overnight.[captiPhoto by ΜΟΤΙΟΝ ΤΕΑΜ.Witnesses claimed the roll had already unfolded when it reached Garcia.No away fans were allowed at the game and PAOK supporters were unusually well-behaved ahead of kickoff. The often seen spectacle of flares creating a wall of thick smoke was absent. Instead, home fans greeted their team throwing pieces of torn paper, like confetti — and the cash register paper roll.There was one incident outside the arena, as police dispersed about a thousand fans with tear gas, but otherwise the nearly 30,000-seat arena was evacuated without incident.Olympiakos is required to get a diagnosis from a public hospital, not the private clinic Garcia is currently in.Olympiakos also faces a deduction of three points for fan behavior last month. The club has already been deducted those points, but is appealing the sentence. Pending appeal, the standings do not reflect the sentence. A loss of those three points and with eight rounds remaining would essentially scuttle Olympiakos’ hopes for a 20th league title in 22 seasons. But sanctions against PAOK, together with a successful appeal, would complicate the odds.Second-place AEK Athens, which lies two points behind PAOK and plays at fourth-place Atromitos Monday could take over the league lead with a win.___By COSTAS KANTOURIS and DEMETRIS NELLAS , Associated PressNellas reported from Athens, GreecePhoto by ΜΟΤΙΟΝ ΤΕΑΜ.Photo by LATO KLODIAN / EUROKINISSI)Photo by LATO KLODIAN / EUROKINISSI)Photo by LATO KLODIAN / EUROKINISSI)Photo by LATO KLODIAN / EUROKINISSI)on id=”attachment_191827″ align=”aligncenter” width=”750″] Photo by ΜΟΤΙΟΝ ΤΕΑΜ.[/caption]Photo by LATO KLODIAN / EUROKINISSIPhoto by ΜΟΤΙΟΝ ΤΕΑΜ.Photo by ΜΟΤΙΟΝ ΤΕΑΜ.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Why Cue Card became the most popular horse in jumps racing

first_img Since you’re here… Reuse this content When Cue Card landed the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2010, the golden seasons among staying chasers that had been dominated by Kauto Star and Denman were beginning to draw to a close.Following on from two of jump racing’s all-time greats was always going to be a difficult role to execute, but Cue Card did so with a flourish. He was, by some way, the most popular chaser of recent seasons, as well as being one of the most talented and durable, and the only disappointment following the news of his well-earned retirement was that Colin Tizzard’s 12-year-old would not get a chance to remove the concluding “P” (for pulled-up) from his form figures after his disappointing run in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham last month. Colin Tizzard Share on Pinterest Show Was this helpful? Cue Card will still be at Sandown on Saturday week on the final day of the jumps season, when he will parade rather than line up one last time in the Oaksey Chase.“He wasn’t working quite as well as he can and we didn’t want to take him to Sandown if we weren’t 100% happy with him,” Joe Tizzard, the trainer’s son and also Cue Card’s jockey during the first four years of his career, said on Tuesday. “We will still take him to Sandown, to celebrate a great career. He has been an incredible horse for us and now he can look forward to a new chapter in his life.”Cue Card retires with nine Grade One wins on his record, stretching from his Bumper win at Cheltenham at odds of 40-1 to the Betfair Ascot Chase in February 2017. But it was not so much his record as the way he went about compiling it that endeared him so thoroughly to racing fans. Cue Card loved to bowl along towards the head of the field, where his usually impeccable jumping would force his opponents to match him, or risk giving up ground that could prove essential in the closing stages.Cue Card had the bounce-back factor too, after a fallow period for much of 2014 and 2015 that followed a pelvic injury and then a wind operation. And at a time when National Hunt racing was increasingly becoming dominated by multimillionaires with many dozens of horses, Jean Bishop and her late husband Bob, who died just days after Cue Card’s memorable defeat of Vautour in the 2015 King George VI Chase at Kempton, were a throwback to a time when winning was not everything.Cue Card’s first win in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, in 2013, summed up his appeal. He was sent off at 9-1 to beat an outstanding field that included previous Grade One chase winners in Silviniaco Conti, Long Run and Bobs Worth, but Tizzard and Cue Card were undaunted and took the race to their rivals in familiar style. Cue Card had the race won two out, and stayed on strongly to win in thrilling fashion by nearly five lengths.Cue Card’s last win came in that Ascot Chase, though a close second place in the same race this year offered hope that he might yet claim a Gold Cup at Cheltenham. It was not to be and he was pulled up before the 12th, but Cue Card may still receive a warmer reception than some of the winners at Sandown next week.“I think his longevity made him stand out,” Bishop said. “Even after his fall [in 2016], he went back to win at Aintree. For a few seasons he was the highest-rated chaser in Britain. Look how hard it is for Gold Cup winners to come back the following season. He might not have won the Gold Cup but he kept coming back.” Share on LinkedIn Read more Hide … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. 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