Tension mars historic football match

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The Independent Online

Fans hurled bottles and taunted each other with signs and banners, some harking back to the origin of hostilities between Greece and Turkey 500 years ago, at the first-ever competitive soccer match between teams from the neighboring states yesterday.

Fans hurled bottles and taunted each other with signs and banners, some harking back to the origin of hostilities between Greece and Turkey 500 years ago, at the first-ever competitive soccer match between teams from the neighboring states yesterday.

Fans also threw projectiles at the Turkish and Greek foreign ministers, who attended the Panathinaikos-Fenerbahce match meant to improve relations but marred by tension before it started. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in the Uefa Cup second-round first-leg match

"Since 1453, Istanbul" read a banner unfurled by fans of the Turkish team, Fenerbahce. The sign had a drawing of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, the Ottoman ruler who captured Istanbul, marking the end of the centuries-old Greek Orthodox empire when the city was known as Constantinople.

In return, Greek fans unrolled a banner from Fenerbahce's arch-rival in the Turkish soccer league, Galatasaray, setting off a barrage of bottles and other objects from the Turkish side. Two Greek fans were slightly injured in scuffles.

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