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Panathinaikos with… a heart of gold, escaped the disaster and made it to the semi-finals!


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He flirted with the kazoo but got out of character o Panathinaikos! The doubles of Greece were unrecognizable in the rematch with the Orion and although they were found back with 3-0 set they managed to qualify for the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup in the “golden set” where, unexpectedly, they will face Olympiakos for a place in the final of the institution.

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Now the “greens” will have to prepare for a… marathon full of derbies as they will face their “eternal” rival, five times in space 46 days!

The match

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In the first set Orion was the one who put pressure on Panathinaikos by playing a rational volley and taking points mainly from the block outs of the “greens”. The Dutch, with hits from the pipe and main “executors” the Lemos Junior and Samouli Kaislasalos maintained the lead throughout the set. Hernandez and Kovar were the ones who “carried Panathinaikos, unlike Sander who showed that he was out of rhythm. The set ended after 23 minutes with Lemos Junior setting it up 25-22 for 0-1 of Orion. “”

Panathinaikos entered the second set with the desire to equalize and was ahead with four points from the start (5-1). Orion reacted by bringing the match to a 6-6 draw, but a big run by the “greens” again brought the difference to +5 (12-7) with Sander and Petraea also helping with the block. However, the Dutch showed character again and with Kaislasalo took a lead of one point turning the match into a derby. The lead kept changing hands with the visiting team making it 2-0 after a mistake on the green reception made it 23-25.

The third set was sad for Panathinaikos as the mistakes of the “greens” as well as the psychology of the Dutch who were at their height, brought the difference to double digits. Weinstra, Kaislasalo and Lemos Junior tore apart the home side’s defense whose frustration became hoarse as the Orion players made their way at the top of the net with attacks in the first half. The lead did not change hands for a moment with Orion making it 3-0 (20-25) leading the match to the “golden set”.

There, Panathinaikos took out their soul and with blows to the heart of Orion’s defense, coming from Jacobsen’s excellent serves, they managed to take a significant lead of seven points (11-4). However, the Dutch were not in the mood to give up the match and with a short run which was invested through the aces they reached the difference to -2 (14-12) but the wrong serve of Lemos was the one that sent Panathinaikos to the semi-finals with (15- 12).

The sets: 22-25, 23-25, 20-25, 15-12

Here are the match stats…

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