Panathinaikos coach Sergio Markarian is to quit the club following angry fan protests at the weekend after the crucial defeat by Olympiakos.

The club’s league ambitions title were hurt by the 3-0 loss to rivals Olympiakos, with both teams now level at the top on 67 points, but Olympiakos have the edge with with one match to play, because of their head-to-head record.

The defeat led to angry protests at the club’s training ground yesterday, although Markarian said it was earlier disturbances during a league match with Aris Salonika which convinced him to quit

“It is a decision that I took long ago, long before the match against Olympiakos,” he said.

Yesterday, hundredsof irate fans turned up at training to heckle the players, forcing them to hide in the dressing rooms, while Markarian and veteran striker Krzystof Warzycha tried in vain to placate the crowd.

Riot police were calledand 17 people were arrested.