The "greens combined their return to Europe after ten years with a significant qualification against a fierce opponent. PAO qualified for the 16th round of the institution and now in the next phase will face the Ukrainian Epicentr - Podolyany HORODOK.
The match started with good conditions for Panathinaikos as it had a lead of 10-8 at the beginning of the match and then 19-14, having a good streak with Charalambos Andreopoulos in the service.
The guests took advantage of some "green" mistakes and reduced to 21-18, while at 23-19 Thanasis Protopsaltis made his reappearance and finally the set ended with 25-20.
As for the second set, PAO came in again and took the lead with 7-5 and kept it until the middle of the set with 12-10. The continuation of the set was not proportional and Maccabi took advantage of the inaction and some mistakes of the "clover" and managed to equalize at 1-1 as they won the set 21-25.
In the third set, the players of Dimitris Andreopoulos entered better and took an early lead with 9-5 and then with 13-8.
The continuation was similar in the other half of the set and finally PAO won it comfortably with 25-16.
Regarding the fourth set, the guests surprised PAO and took a 4-9 lead. Somewhere there was an immediate alarm and the "greens" reduced to 7-9 and in the middle of the set they reduced to 12-13.
This set turned out to be the most exciting of the match as Panathinaikos managed to win it with patience and a lot of passion with 31-29.
Variation: 1st set: 8-6, 16-14, 21-17, 25-20 2nd set: 8-7, 16-14, 19-21, 21-25 3rd set: 8-4, 16-12, 21 -15, 25-16 4th set: 3-8, 13-16, 21-20, 31-29.
Panathinaikos's points came from 7 aces, 48 attacks, 16 blocks and 31 opponents 'mistakes and Maccabi's came from 3 aces, 53 attacks, 9 blocks and 25 opponents' mistakes. The sets: 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-16, 31-29) in 118 '
PANATHINAIKOS A.O. (Dimitris Andreopoulos): Jacobsen 3 (3 blocks), Rangel 12 (8/13 ep., 4 blocks), Andreopoulos 15 (12/27 ep., 1 ace, 2 blocks, 69% sub - 38% excellent), Raptis 14 (7/21 ff., 4 aces, 3 blocks, 41% min. - 12% excellent), Van de Dries 21 (16/34 ff., 2 aces, 3 blocks), Stalekar 6 (5/9 ff. ., 1 block) / Garas (l, 58% min. - 26% excellent), Synadinos (l), Bassis.
MACABI TEL AVIV (Gal Galili): Katzenselson 2 (1 ace, 1 block), Ensing 22 (19/47 ff., 1 ace, 2 blocks), Batskala 10 (7/16 ff., 1 ace, 2 blocks), Hatch 12 (10/23 ff., 2 blocks, 48% vs. - 19% excellent), Foyer 9 (9/19 ff., 67% vs. - 30% excellent), Sokolov 10 (8/10 ff., 2 blocks) / Eisenberg (l, 41% sub - 14% excellent), Stift.
PAO coach Dimitris Andreopoulos stressed "First of all to say that it is a very important moment for Panathinaikos. The team had ten years to play in Europe and it is certainly very important for us that we managed to combine our return with a qualification of a very strong opponent. We expected that the qualification with Maccabi will be judged in the details and it was seen in both matches "
Regarding Maccabi coach Galili Gal, he said: "It was a very tough match in a really fantastic atmosphere. We showed that we deserved something more and we claimed what was due to us. Good luck to Panathinaikos ".
It is worth noting that long before the start of the match, Panathinaikos team manager Roulis Agrapidakis talked for a long time with his teammate Odette Sindoff from Maccabi Tel Aviv and the two took a photo together, sending a message of sports solidarity to the world.