Iraklis marches on as Aris and PAOK falter

Iraklis has opened a two-point gap at the top of the volleyball league table, as crosstown rivals Aris and PAOK both lost over the weekend. Iraklis defeated Finikas Syrou 3-0 away, PAOK lost 3-1 at home to EA Patras and yesterday Aris lost 3-0 at Panellinios. Panathinaikos moved up to second by beating AEK 3-0 away, while there were first wins for Olympiakos over Kifissia (3-0) and for Apollon Kalamarias over Lamia (3-1). Meanwhile, the men’s national team had a somewhat favorable draw last Saturday for the qualifying groups of the 2011 European Championship. It will face Finland, Latvia and the winner of the Azerbaijan vs Great Britain playoff, with the top team qualifying to the finals in Austria and the Czech Republic. The runner-up will have to negotiate a home-and-away playoff.