martedì 19 agosto 2014

WP World Cup (M), Day 1: Serbia and Hungary open World Cup in style

Serbia and Hungary were strong winners on the opening day of the FINA Men’s Water Polo World Cup at the Central Swimming Pool in Almaty today. Serbia had the better of Montenegro 9-3 while Hungary kept Croatia at bay, winning 9-5 in their respective groups.

United States of America sent off South Africa 19-1 while in the feature match of the early evening following the opening ceremony, Australia beat Kazakhstan 11-8 in an exciting finale to the day.

Games reports:

Match 2: 13:00, Group A, MONTENEGRO 3 SERBIA 9
Quarters: 0-4, 1-1, 1-2, 1-2
Referees: Gabor Vogel (HUN), Mark Maretzki (USA)
Extra Man: MNE: 1/14. SRB: 4/10
Pens: MNE: 1/2.

MONTENEGRO: Dejan Lazovic, Marko Vukmirovic, Nikola Markovic, Stefan Vidovic, Darko Brguljan (1), Bogdan Durdic, Dorde Bulatovic, Jovan Saric (1), Radovan Latinovic (1), Nikola Murisic, Filip Klikovac, Uros Cuckovic, Slaven Kandic. Head Coach: Ranko Perovic.
SERBIA: Stefan Zivodinovic, Strahinja Rasovic (1), Dimitrije Obradovic (1), Dusan Markovic, Gavril Subotic, Nikola Eskert (3), Dusan Mandic (2), Viktor Rasovic, Sava Randelovic (1), Nemanda Ubovic (1), Dusan Vasic, Srdan Vuksanovic (1), Dimitrije Risticevic. Head Coach: Dejan Savic.

MNE vs SRB - credit: Russell McKinnon
MNE vs SRB - credit: Russell McKinnon
Serbia did the expected and beat Montenegro. Both teams have arrived in Almaty with line-ups unrecognisable from the FINA World League Super Final in Dubai in June. With the Europeans the major focus, this tournament is seen as a chance to give lesser lights a chance at the big time. The match lacked a heightened sense of urgency that could be expected with players at their peak and Serbia took advantage early with a five-goal streak before Montenegro opened its scoring at 5:11 in the second quarter through Radovan Latinovic. At the start of the third period Nikola Eskert, who played for Florence last year and will play for Red Star this coming season, scored his third goal off the near post on extra-man attack. Darko Brguljan had a chance to double Montenegro’s score, but his penalty attempt was blocked by Stefan Zivodinovic. Sava Randelovic pushed Serbia out to 7-1 before Jovan Saric netted twice — either side of the final break — for 7-3. Serbia closed out the match through captain Dusan Mandic, for his second, and Srdan Vuksanovic with a booming shot from the top right. It was a case of Serbia finishing better in a match where both goalkeepers made multiple saves and both defences proved more potent than the accuracy of the shooting. Montenegro’s work on extra-man will need attention before heading further into the week.

Match 3: 14:20, Group B, CROATIA 5 HUNGARY 9
Quarters: 2-3, 1-3, 1-1, 1-2

Referees: Doriel Terpenka (CAN), Fabio Toffoli (BRA)
Extra Man: CRO: 2/11. HUN: 6/14.
Pens: CRO: 1/1.

CROATIA: Marko Bijac, Luka Bukic, Ivan Milakovic, Marino Divkovic, Ante Vukicevic, Ivan Buljubasic, Petar Muslim (1), Kristijan Milakovic (1), Ante Viskovic, Duje Zivkovic (1), Andelo Setka (2), Marko Macan, Ivan Marcelic. Head Coach: Ivica Tucak.
HUNGARY: Attila Decker, Miklos Gor-Nagy (1), Norbert Madaras (1), Balazs Erdelyi, Bence Batori, Norbert Hosnyanszky (1), Adam Decker (1), Daniel Angyal, Daniel Varga (1), Denes Varga (1), Krisztian Bedo (1), Balazs Harai (2), Marton Levai. Head Coach: Tibor Benedek.

CRO vs HUN - credit: Russell McKinnon
CRO vs HUN - credit: Russell McKinnon
Hungary had more composure than Croatia and came away with an encouraging victory. With a team fairly settled this year, Hungary maintained its form, especially on extra-man attack. The first period was interesting insofar that it was close, Hungary going two up and Croatia responding with a pair. Daniel Varga converted extra-man attack for the go-ahead goal just inside the final minute. Duje Zivkovic levelled a minute into the second quarter, but there the match slipped away from Croatia, another team with big changes from FINA World League and European championships. Old-stages Norbert Madaras, Norbert Hosnyanszky and Balasz Harai took the match to 6-3 at halftime. Croatian head coach Ivica Tucak gained a yellow card in frustration early in the third period, a period in which only Denes Varga — from the outskirts of the city — and Kristijan Milakovic (CRO) on extra, could score. Andelo Setka repeated his effort of the first quarter from deep left for 7-5 early in the fourth and Croatia was in with a chance. However, Krisztian Bedo saw his extra-man shot bounce off wood and then the goalkeeper’s head into goal. Miklos Gor-Nagy scored the final goal on extra for 9-5.

Quarters: 0-4, 0-6, 0-4, 1-5

Referees: Liang Zhang (CHN), Masoud Rezvani (IRI)
Extra Man: RSA: 0/3. USA: 8/12.
Pens: RSA: 1/1. USA: 1/1.

SOUTH AFRICA: Dwayne Flatscher, Etienne Le Roux, Devon Card, Ignardus Badenhorst, 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.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Merrill Moses, Ryder Roberts (1), Alex Obert (3), Michael Rosenthal (1), Luca Cupido, Conner Cleary, Josh Samuels (2), Bret Bonnani (4), Alex Bowen (3), Nolan McConnell, Jesse Smith (2), John Mann (3), McQuin Baron. Head Coach: Dejan Udovicic.

RSA vs USA - credit: Russell McKinnon
RSA vs USA - credit: Russell McKinnon
United States of America used extra-man attacks to excellent effect, working hard for the kick-outs and then converting — a staggering eight from 12. South Africa struggled to get decent ball to the centre forwards and when it did arrive, the shots came under too much pressure to have any real effect. Bret Bonnani (four goals) and Alex Bowen (three) were clean finishers and John Mann, the London Olympian who has grown in stature and taken the leadership role in the USA group, was dominant at two metres. His score early in the final quarter showed his class as he moved across the goal, accepted the pass and shot at will. He repeated he dose on extra 90 seconds later. Normally he was feeding people and his first-quarter goal came like a rocket from out the top. It was also pleasing to see Olympian Jesse Smith back in the action after a long international lay-off. He showed he still has the scoring touch on counter attack. South Africa’s lack of match fitness showed late in the match, not having competed internationally since the Commonwealth Championships in Aberdeen in April. South Africa’s lone goal came from the experienced Etienne Le Roux on penalty at 0:37 of the final quarter.

Match 1: 17:40, Group B, KAZAKHSTAN 8 AUSTRALIA 11
Quarters: 1-3, 2-1, 4-4, 1-3

Referees: Georgios Stavridis (GRE), Mihajlo Ciric (SRB)
Extra Man: KAZ: 1/6. AUS: 4/7.
Pens:  KAZ: 1/1.

KAZAKHSTAN: Makhmetov Madikhen, Sergey Gubarev, Yevgeniy Medvedev, Roman Pilipenko (1), Vladimir Ushakov (3), Alexey Shmider, Murat Shakenov, Anton Koliadenko, Rustam Ukumanov (2), Mikhail Ruday, Ravil Manafov, Branko Pekovich (2), Valeriy Shlemov. Head Coach: Sergey Drozdov.
AUSTRALIA: James Clark, Richard Campbell (3), George Ford (1), John Cotterill, Nathan Power, Jarrod Gilchrist (1), Aidan Roach (1), Aaron Younger (4), Lachlan Edwards (1), Tyler Martin, Mitchell Emery, Blake Edwards, Edward Slade, James Stanton. Head Coach: Elvis Fatovic.

KAZ vs AUS - credit: Russell McKinnon
KAZ vs AUS - credit: Russell McKinnon
Seven goals from power shooters Aaron Younger (4) and captain Richard Campbell (3) proved the defining factor in the Aussie Sharks’ victory over the host nation. Kazakhstan was well served by dynamo Rustam Ukmanov and the deep-winged wonder Vladimir Ushakov. While these players stirred up the match, it was best described as lost opportunities by both teams. Australia had the better of the opening quarter with Campbell and George Ford sending in rockets and Aidan Roach steaming in down the right for an aggressive shot. It was left to Branko Pekovich to respond on extra off a near-post shot from point blank. Campbell sent in a "doughnut" over the goalkeeper’s head to open the second quarter. Rustam Ukumanov with a penalty and then Pekovich brought it back to 4-3 by halftime. Two quick goals from Australia took the margin to three, thanks to a turning centre-forward score from Lachlan Edwards and one from Aaron Younger off a cross pass. The pool was lit up for the large crowd and the dignitaries when Ushakov on the left and then Ukumanov on counter had the margin down to one. Younger lobbed from the left post and Ushakov repaired the damage with a swift rejoinder off a cross pass to the deep left. Australia was unhappy with the situation and went to a timeout, then earned an exclusion and Jarrod Gilchrist accepted a short pass, turned and scored for 8-6. Roman Pilipenko scored at the end of extra-man possession just nine seconds from the last break for 8-7. Ushakov levelled the match at 8-8 with another snappy shot off the right hand at 7:08 in the fourth period. Younger netted his third of the half with a 5m shot and then 48 seconds later his fourth with a smashing shot from deep left for 10-8.

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