Macerata beats local champions

Panathinaikos bowed out of volleyball’s Champions League with a 3-2 home defeat to Italian champions Macerata. The Italians had also won 3-1 in the first leg in Italy and have now advanced to the last six of the competition. The Greek side began the match on top, needing a 3-0 win, and won the first set by 25-22. The Italians came back and won the next two sets (25-22 and 25-23), effectively ending Panathinaikos’s hopes for going through. A number of changes in the two teams’ lineups in the fourth set allowed Panathinaikos to prevail easily (25-18) but in the tiebreaker the Italians won 16-14 in front of a capacity crowd at Glyfada. This brings to a close one of the worst years for Greek volleyball in Europe in the last decade.