Great derbara at Mets with Panathinaikos the winner! The “greens” after a sensational match two and a half hoursthey managed to break Olympiakos’ unbeaten streak, bending it at tiebreak 3-2 sets for 4th matchday of the Volley League.
A wonderful game from the two top teams in Greece with the “red and white” leading, Panathinaikos making the upset (2-1), the visitors sending the match to a tie break and its players Kalmazidis with the soul of a champion to win the derby.
Now the two teams turn their attention to the rematches for the Challenge Cup with Panathinaikos looking for just two sets in Slovakia against Nova Gorica, as well as Olympiacos against Kaunas in Rentis, in order to qualify for the “16” of the institution.
With Olympiakos firmly in the lead, the first set began. Lorenzo Micelli’s players had answers to the Panathinaikos block with Genitsaridis as the protagonist and Roga excellent in the defense. However, the “red and whites” were not deterred by the home team’s reaction and with very well structured attacks by Milenkova and Nizetich they found themselves ahead with two points (11-9). Panathinaikos reacted with a small but important 3-0 run and took the lead for the first time in the score (12-9).
However, Lorenzo Miceli’s players took advantage of the many wrong choices by their opponents and with an impressive 6-0 run they reached +4 (16-12) with Emmanuelidou and Nizetich. In the most crucial and despite the fact that Panathinaikos was reduced to 21-20, Olympiacos, with a 3-0 run took the bowl set and finally the set for 0-1 (21-25).
An explosive start to the second set for Panathinaikos who, without “sweating”, immediately took a 4-0 lead with Samandan, Karkases and Genitsaridis, with the difference opening up even more, specifically at +6 (10-4) forcing Lorenzo Miceli to take time out.
However, the pattern did not change with Yannis Kalmazidis putting Maret Grotous in the equation as well, who with excellent defenses and cool decisions offensively helped Panathinaikos escape to +7 (21-14). The “greens” took advantage of the bad psychology of their opponents and widened the difference to nine points with Papafotiou’s ace bringing the match to the bowl set. Tsitsigianni cut back, but Metaxa’s block was what decided the fate of the second set for 25-15.
The third set started in a similar way as the Panathinaikos players had the “air” from the second set. With Sheridan Atkinson as the main star, the “clover” made it 6-3 with the American having the four points. Grotes and Metaxas took advantage of Olympiakos’ weakness in the block, resulting in the score reaching +5 (11-6). The “greens” did not lose their cool when Miceli’s players found solutions to break the block and 16-12 from Nizetich’s block in Samadan became 19-13 in the same way, after Natalia Metaxa “answered” the Tsitsigiannis with an excellent block for 19-13. Milenkova’s bad serve and Papafotiou’s ace put Panathinaikos in a position of power of an Atkinson, Grotus and another misfired serve of Milenkova brought Panathinaikos to 2-1 (25-19).
In the fourth and highly critical set, Panathinaikos found itself with Atkinson and Papafotiou at +3 with Olympiakos staying close with aces from Nizetich and Lambrousis bringing the match to a tie. In fact, the “red and white” gained the momentum and after initially making it 8-8 they made a fantastic 5-0 run and reached 13-8.
The momentum is clearly red and white as Nizetich’s fantastic defenses in the back zone and the execution acumen of Carraro and Koumboura brought Olympiakos to +7 (17-10). The “greens” found an answer by losing to Karkases and Metaxas (17-13 and 18-14) but Olympiacos reacted and with wonderful reactions from Koumboura and Nizetich reached 23-16. Karkases tried with two consecutive points to push the “button” of the counterattack for Panathinaikos, but the “red and white” showed character and won the set 25-19 leading the match to the tie break.
With excellent defenses and very difficult serves, the two teams went point for point in the tie break. Atkinson for Panathinaikos and Koumboura for Olympiakos were the protagonists with the “greens” making an important 4-0 run and reaching 9-5, forcing Lorenzo Micelli to call a timeout.
The “red and whites” pressed the reception of Panathinaikos with Nizetich and Milenkova reducing from -3 to a point (14-13) but the “greens” cleared the match 3-2.
The sets: 21-25, 52-15, 52-19, 19-25, 15-13
Here are the match statistics…
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