giovedì 21 agosto 2014

Serbia and Hungary win groups after late scares

© Russel McKinnon

Serbia withstood a herculean effort from United States of America to be the only team with three wins after round play on the third day of the FINA Men’s Water Polo World Cup at the Central Swimming Pool in Almaty today. Defending its crown, Serbia needed Gavril Subotic to score three goals in the last two minutes to overcome the North Americans and win 11-9. USA took second in the group and Montenegro third after beating South Africa 12-4 in the first match of the day. Hungary won Group B, but not before suffering a scare, needing a last-minute Norbert Madaras extra-man goal for an 8-all draw with Australia. The Aussie Sharks led by two goals heading in the final quarter , but had to settle for a draw. In the final match of the day, Croatia needed to beat Kazakhstan for second place behind Hungary, doing so with a 14-7 margin over Kazakhstan, who settles for fourth.

2014 FINA Men's World Cup
Almaty, Kazakhstan

19-24 August

Schedule and results

Thursday, 21 August

Montenegro vs. South Africa 12-4 (3-0, 5-2, 3-1, 1-1)

MONTENEGRO: Dejan Lazovic, Marko Vukmirovic, Nikola Markovic, Stefan Vidovic (1), Darko Brguljan, Bogdan Durdic (1), Dorde Bulatovic, Jovan Saric (4), Radovan Latinovic (1), Nikola Murisic (4), Filip Klikovac, Uros Cuckovic (1), Slaven Kandic. Head Coach: Ranko Perovic.

SOUTH AFRICA: Dwayne Flatscher, Etienne Le Roux (2), Devon Card (1), Ignardus Badenhorst (1), Nicholas Rodda, Joao Marco De Carvalho, Lodewyk Rabie, Jared Wingate-Pearse, Dean Whyte, Pierre Le Roux, Christopher Baker, Nicholas Hock, Julian Lewis. Head Coach: Paul Martin.

Montenegro collected its first win of the week and South Africa is yet to taste victory. Montenegro finishes third in the group and South Africa fourth in preparation for Friday’s quarter-finals. While South Africa was sometimes indecisive on finishing, Montenegro was dangerous on extra-man attack and Nikola Murisic and Jovan Saric scored six of the seven goals that had Montenegro ahead 7-0 by the latter stages of the second quarter. South Africa had the better of the last three minutes with Ignardus Badenhorst converting an extra-man play off the first catch and Etienne Le Roux scoring on extra from the top to close the half at 8-2. Etienne Le Roux did it again on the first attack of the third period, but Montenegro was back on track with three more goals, including a fourth to Murisic, going into the final quarter 11-3. Devon Card received reward foir his hard work at two metres for 11-4 at 1:16, the first score of the period. Saric netted his fourth with two seconds remaining from the deep left to close the match at 12-4.

Australia vs. Hungary  8-8 (2-2, 3-3, 3-1, 0-2)

AUSTRALIA: James Clark, Richard Campbell (2), George Ford, John Cotterill (1), Nathan Power, Jarrod Gilchrist, Aidan Roach (1), Aaron Younger (3), Lachlan Edwards, Tyler Martin, Mitchell Emery, Blake Edwards (1), Edward Slade, James Stanton. Head Coach: Elvis Fatovic.

HUNGARY: Attila Decker, Miklos Gor-Nagy, Norbert Madaras (3), Balazs Erdelyi (1), Bence Batori (1), Norbert Hosnyanszky (1), Adam Decker, Daniel Angyal (1), Denes Varga (1), Krisztian Bedo, Balazs Harai, Marton Levai. Head Coach: Tibor Benedek.

Australia nearly scored the upset of the tournament when it was two goals up on Olympic and world champion Hungary heading into the final quarter, only to emerge with an 8-8 draw. Norbert Madaras was the go-to man at the clutch, scoring the equaliser at 0:31 when no-one else seemed to want to take the shot. Australia’s defence was good all match, but its attack was patchy and for once, the extra-man count favoured the Aussie Sharks. Hungary struggled in that department, scoring just two from 10 while Australia converted two from seven. However, Madaras scored the one that mattered and the Sharks were kept scoreless in the final period. Australia worked hard on defence and three players gained the maximum three major fouls, including three-goal hero Aaron Younger crucially at 5:35 in the final quarter. The thrill for Australia was to level both opening quarters, take a 6-5 lead before Hungary struck back in the third. However, Australia scored twice more — through Younger and skipper Richard Campbell — and the unthinkable was on the cards. Daniel Angyal repaired some of the damage on the first attack of the fourth period on a cross pass along the two-metre line to the far post. Australia wasted some excellent shooting chances by losing the ball and the extra-man attack by Hungary looked inevitable. Madaras touched the ball twice before scoring the equaliser. Hungary will be disappointed with the result and the manner achieved, but has to be happy to top the group with five points.

Serbia vs. USA 11-9 (2-0, 1-4, 3-1, 5-4)

SERBIA: Stefan Zivodinovic, Strahinja Rasovic (1), Dimitrije Obradovic, Dusan Markovic, Gavril Subotic (3), Nikola Eskert (1), Dusan Mandic (1), Viktor Rasovic (3), Sava Randelovic (1), Nemanda Ubovic, Dusan Vasic, Srdan Vuksanovic (1), Dimitrije Risticevic. Head Coach: Dejan Savic.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Merrill Moses, Ryder Roberts, Alex Obert, Michael Rosenthal (1), Luca Cupido (1), Conner Cleary, Josh Samuels, Bret Bonnani (5), Alex Bowen, Nolan McConnell, Jesse Smith (1), John Mann (1), McQuin Baron. Head Coach: Dejan Udovicic.

Serbia had to work hard to repel the North American onslaught, thanks to  a Gavril Subotic triple inside the final two minutes. It was 8-8 with 2:24 left on the clock and then Subotic let strip with three goals from acute angles, upsetting USA who deserved at least a draw. USA took time to settle as Serbia won the first period and went 3-1 up in the second before USA levelled at 3-3 when Beijing and London Olympian Jesse Smith accepted a cross pass on two metres to score. USA clinched the lead with 11 seconds left thanks to Bret Bonnani, who scored the second of his five goals. Serbia turned that around to a 7-5 advantage by early in the fourth period as Strahinja Rasovic, Dusan Mandic and Viktor Rasovic struck. Bonnani hit back twice to level. Srdan Vuksanovic and Michael Rosenthal traded goals for 8-8 and then the Subotic show began and Serbia had three matches straight and the group victory.

Kazakhstan vs. Croatia 7-14 (0-3, 3-2, 1-6, 3-3)

KAZAKHSTAN: Makhmetov Madikhen, Sergey Gubarev (1), Yevgeniy Medvedev, Roman Pilipenko (1), Vladimir Ushakov (3), Alexey Shmider, Murat Shakenov (1), Anton Koliadenko, Rustam Ukumanov (1), Mikhail Ruday, Ravil Manafov, Branko Pekovich, Valeriy Shlemov. Head Coach: Sergey Drozdov.

CROATIA: Marko Bijac, Luka Bukic (2), Ivan Milakovic, Marino Divkovic (1), Ante Vukicevic, Ivan Buljubasic (1), Petar Muslim (3), Kristijan Milakovic, Ante Viskovic (2), Duje Zivkovic (2), Andelo Setka (3), Marko Macan, Ivan Marcelic. Head Coach: Ivica Tucak.

Croatia gained he win it needed for second in the group and a clash with Montenegro in Friday’s quarter-finals. Croatia warmed up for the quarterfinals with a strong opening period, but then lapsed as Kazakhstan won the next. Just to make sure it had the goods for the next day, Croatia piled in goal after goal in the third period as Andelo Setka raised the standard with three goals to reach the final break at a respectable 11-4. This stretched to 13-4. The huge crowd was then treated to a three-goal haul by Kazakhstan with Vladimir Ushakov scoring twice — firstly from a penalty and then on counter — and then Sergey Gubarev added his counter-attack effort for 13-7 with 1:25 left on the clock. The run ended there as Duje Zivkovic converted extra-man attack from the deep right for what was the final score.

Final points
Group A: SRB 6, USA 4, MNE 2, RSA 0.
Group B: HUN 5, CRO 4, AUS 3, KAZ 0.

Match reports and photographs: Russel McKinnon.

Friday, 22 August - quarter-final round

13.40 (09.40 cet): USA (2A) vs. Australia (3B) - game 13
15.00 (11.00 cet): Montenegro (3A) vs. Croatia (2B) - game 14
16.20 (12.20 cet): South Africa (4A) vs. Hungary (1B) - game 16
17.40 (13.40 cet): Serbia (1A) vs. Kazakhstan (4B) - game 15

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