SPORTS

Iraklis closer to top spot in regular season

Iraklis has all but sealed the top spot in the regular season of the A1 division after defeating rival Panathinaikos 3-0 at home on March 23.

The Thessaloniki club recovered from its loss in the cup final to Olympiakos four days earlier to win 25-20, 25-22, 29-27, led by US star Brook Billings.

Coach Yiannis Laios?s debut on the Panathinaikos bench failed to live up to expectations and the Greens will have to win one of their two remaining games against Kifissia and Olympiakos to ensure a top-four finish that will allow them to fight for the league title.

Iraklis is now four points clear at the top with two games left to play before the playoffs, with its next game against second-placed PAOK away on March 26.

PAOK moved up a place by beating Ethnikos Alexandroupolis 3-0 away (25-18, 25-15, 25-17), leaving Panathinaikos in fourth.

Olympiakos is now in third, as it beat visiting Epikouros Polichnis 3-1 (25-22, 29-31, 25-15, 25-22), a result that has effectively sent the Thessaloniki side down to the A2 division along with Panellinios.

The latter suffered yet another loss, this time at Kifissia with a 3-0 score (25-19, 27-25, 36-34).

The closest of games was in Lamia, where the host defeated EA Patras 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-18, 25-21) and reduced the visiting team’s chances of a top-four finish.

Finally, Aris defeated neighboring Apollon Kalamarias 3-0 away (25-20, 25-19, 25-20). Apollon needs just one point (i.e. two sets) in its next game at Epikouros to stay up and send the Polichni side down.