(updates after final whistle)
By Graham Wood
ATHENS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Panathinaikos beat arch rivals Olympiakos Piraeus 81-78 on Sunday in a tightly-contested Greek Cup final which was marred by a 55-minute delay after both sets of fans were ejected from the stadium following crowd violence.
The Greens, who had six days earlier lost to their rivals in the domestic league, were not to be denied a 14th domestic cup success as Greece star Dimitris Diamantidis and Croatian shooting guard Roko Ukic produced impressive displays.
Unfortunately the action on the court between the two Athens teams was not the highlight as the contest was stopped when a player was hit with a flare and fans invaded the court as the showpiece descended into farce.
Olympiakos' American centre Kyle Hines was struck on the back with a flare in the warm-up at the neutral Elliniko Indoor Court venue with a restricted crowd of just 1,800 supporters.
Hines was not seriously injured, however, and was able to start the match.
But with Panathinaikos 26-17 ahead 13 minutes into the encounter, the match referee ordered the players off the court after fans proceeded to fire flares at each other and rip up seats before spilling on to the court to fight running battles with each other and police.
After a 30-minute delay while authorities got the situation under control, organizers announced that the stadium would be completely cleared out and that the match would continue in front of Hellenic Basketball Federation (ESAKE) officials, club officials, journalists and security staff.
At 20:00 local time both teams reappeared to begin their warm-up for the game to restart, 55 minutes after they were ordered into the dressing rooms. (Editing by Tom Pilcher; [email protected]; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging: [email protected])