SPORTS

Iraklis manages to make it to the Final Four again

Iraklis volleyball club yesterday advanced to the Final Four of the continent’s most prestigious club-level competition, the European Champions League, for a second successive season with a convincing 3-0 win (25-22, 25-14, 25-23) over French side Paris Volley. The result was enough to offset a 3-1 away defeat. In its semifinal clash, the Thessaloniki club will meet Russia’s Iskra Odintsovo, playing before a home crowd in Belgorod, Russia, where the Final Four will be staged on March 27 and 28. As the competition’s host, Lokomotiv Belgorod, last year’s winner, qualifies automatically for the Final Four. Iraklis’s Final Four opponent, Russia’s Iskra Odintsovo, also playing yesterday at home, trounced Belgian team Noliko Maaseik 3-0, a repeat score of the previous leg, to advance to the Final Four in style. In Thessaloniki, Paris Volley was outplayed in the first two sets by a more determined local side keen to gain a Final Four berth for the second year in a row. The French team, however, offered stubborn resistance during a neck-and-neck third set before it narrowly succumbed, 25-23. A total of 20 teams, including one other Greek club, Olympiakos, had set out at the competition’s beginning, in December. They were divided into five groups of four teams each with six teams advancing to playoffs leading to the Final Four.