Thu, 02 Feb 2023

JERUSALEM, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv and State Cup holders Hapoel Mate-Asher Akko achieved first-leg home wins in the eighth finals of the men's European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) Challenge Cup on Thursday evening.

Maccabi defeated Greek Cup holders PAOK Thessaloniki 3-1 (25-27, 25-22, 25-17, 32-30).

Russian middle blocker Alexander Safonov contributed a game-high 26 points, while Brazilian outside hitter Gianluca Grasso added 18 for Maccabi. Bram Van Den Dries finished with 23 points for PAOK.

The second-leg match will be played on December 15 in Greece, and the winner on aggregate will meet Cypriot champion Omonia Nicosia or Lindemans Aalst of Belgium in the quarterfinals.

Mate-Asher beat Romanian side Steaua Bucuresti 3-2 (19-25, 15-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-13).

Evgeniy Bannov contributed 19 points for the Israeli side, while Enosh Shtift added 15. Marc Wilson led Steaua with 19 points.

The second-leg match will take place in Romania on December 15, and the overall winner will face Greece's Olympiacos Piraeus or Bulgaria's Deya Volley Burgas.

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