Mr. Spanos has every right to complain
I have only watched the highlights from this match but I felt the need to say something about it. As you probably already know, Alkmaar had won the first match 1-3 at Peristeri where they showed they are more experienced in European matches. If you watch that match you will most probably agree with me that it could have (easily) ended 2-2 instead of 1-3. The rematch turned to be a nightmare for Alkmaar who received a red card at 1′ (Henriksen) and allowed Atromitos to start hoping.
Things could be different however if: a) Papadopoulos had not missed the penalty kick at 20′ and MOST IMPORTANTLY, b) If UEFA could realize how unfair was their decision (for Atromitos) to postpone the match for a few hours because of the fire. Let me explain what I mean:
a) I have no illusions. Even if Papadopoulos had scored at 20′ no one can tell if Atromitos would win by 0-3 or more at the end. The way the officials handle it only one thing is certain; we shall never find out!
b) There is no doubt that a fire is a serious reason to stop a match. By all means, the safety all people inside a stadium is above all! However, the chairman of Atromitos Mr. Spanos is right to complain. UEFA dictates that the home team is responsible to take all necessary precautions to make sure there will be no disruptions during a match. A fire is surely dangerous but it was AZ Alkmaar’s responsibility to make sure they have the mechanisms to prevent it. AND THEY DID NOT.
The final decision of the officials to continue the match the following day gave enough time to the players of the home team to rest. Enough time to put themselves together and come back with more energy and clear minded to defend a two goal advantage for 30′ minutes. I do not care about the penalty that Papadopoulos missed. I do not care that Atromitos managed to score a second goal and came so close to a miracle.
I will just agree with Mr. Spanos and I believe you will agree too: WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF THE MATCH WAS AZ ALKMAAR VS. BARCELONA? It seems that regualtions even for UEFA are based on a variery of criteria when they need to apply them…
By the way, congrats to the players of Atromitos. It took guts to go after this miracle against so many obstacles and I believe they should feel proud they did it. It does not matter they did not qualify especially since in the minds of many people (including me), they actually did.