Cup’s Final 8 begins tonight in volleyball

A few days after the failed bids of Iraklis and Panathinaikos to win a European cup in volleyball comes the Greek Cup’s Final 8 in the town of Amaliada, in the western Peloponnese, featuring the league’s top eight clubs. League leader Panathinaikos opens the quarterfinal phase tonight against PAOK at 6 p.m., followed by the Olympiakos vs Orestiada game at 8.30 p.m. Tomorrow neighboring Patras will face Pangrati and cup-holder Iraklis will clash with Lamia for a place in the semifinals, to be held on Saturday. The final takes place on Sunday at 4 p.m. Tickets for all match days sell very rapidly in this top-sport-starved town south of Patras. «We are ready for the mission ahead in a competition that is very important, since, if we win it, we secure a place in the next Champions League,» said Panathinaikos coach Xavier Weber. His PAOK counterpart Vladimir Bogoevski, missing his main setter, said «we will fight for the best against one of the best teams.» Olympiakos blocker Akis Hadziantoniou predicted his team and Iraklis will meet in the final, as Iraklis’s Freddy Brooks said his team must focus on its new target and forget the Champions League.