mercoledì 20 agosto 2014

WP World Cup (M), Day 2:USA ready for Hungary to decide group supremacy

United States of America sparkled on the second day of the FINA Men’s Water Polo World Cup at the Central Swimming Pool in Almaty today. USA is starting to get a little tradition in beating Montenegro in recent years at the major tournaments and continued that today with a lead-from-the-front 11-7 victory. Ably led by captain John Mann, USA never looked in doubt. Serbia raced through South Africa 17-1 in the other Group A encounter and the big confrontation will take place on Thursday between USA and Serbia for the group supremacy.

In Group B, Croatia shifted up a gear in the second half against Australia to win 6-3. The match was tied at an incredibly low 1-1 by the long break and Croatia needed at 3-1 third period to extract itself from the bite of the Aussie Sharks. In the final match of the day, host nation Kazakhstan took the game to Olympic and world champion Hungary before bowing 15-9. Rustam Ukumanov was the hero for the locals with three matches. 
Game reports
Match 5: 13:40, Group A, SOUTH AFRICA 1 SERBIA 17
Quarters: 0-4, 1-2, 0-5, 0-6
Referees: Viktor Salnichenko (KAZ), Liang Zhang (CHN)
Extra Man: RSA: 0/4. SRB: 3/8
Pens: Nil.

SOUTH AFRICA: Dwayne Flatscher, Etienne Le Roux, Devon Card (1), 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.
SERBIA: Stefan Zivodinovic, Strahinja Rasovic (3), Dimitrije Obradovic (1), Dusan Markovic, Gavril Subotic (4), Nikola Eskert, Dusan Mandic (2), Viktor Rasovic (2), Sava Randelovic (1), Nemanda Ubovic, Dusan Vasic (3), Srdan Vuksanovic (1), Dimitrije Risticevic. Head Coach: Dejan Savic.

KAZ vs AUS - credit: Russell McKinnon
KAZ vs AUS - credit: Russell McKinnon
Serbia gained the required points against South Africa in what was not a fast-paced match. However, it was about moving the ball around and finding the gaps for Serbia. Gavril Subotic top-scored with four goals. For South Africa it was a tough task and a good lesson in defence. South Africa managed to get shots away, but invariably they were at the goalkeeper on wide Devon Card was impressive at centre forward and an early backhand shot would have beaten the goalkeeper if it had not gone wide. He repeated the effort in the second quarter, this time successfully for 6-1 just before halftime. Twice more in the second half he turned his opponent only to be thwarted by the goalkeeper. The Rasovic brothers, Strahinja and Viktor, enjoyed the outing with the older Strahinja netting three and Viktor two. Pierre Le Roux rued missing a point-blank shot in the third period after evading two Serbians and jumping on a rebound. Captain Dusan Mandic fired off consecutive goals early in the third period, both from his favoured top-right position. The first shot seemed to explode from his hand. Serbian goalkeeper Dimitrije Risticevic blocked a Pierre Le Roux penalty attempt when 12-1 in the fourth.

Quarters: 0-3, 4-3, 0-3, 3-2

Referees: Daniel Flahive (AUS), Nenad Peris (CRO)
Extra Man: MNE: 1/7. USA: 5/14.
Pens: MNE: 2/1. USA: 1/1..

MONTENEGRO: Dejan Lazovic, Marko Vukmirovic, Nikola Markovic, Stefan Vidovic, Darko Brguljan (2), Bogdan Durdic (2), Dorde Bulatovic, Jovan Saric, Radovan Latinovic, Nikola Murisic (1), Filip Klikovac, Uros Cuckovic (2), Slaven Kandic. Head Coach: Ranko Perovic.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Merrill Moses, Ryder Roberts, Alex Obert (2), Michael Rosenthal (1), Luca Cupido (1), Conner Cleary, Josh Samuels (1), Bret Bonnani (2), Alex Bowen (1), Nolan McConnell (1), Jesse Smith, John Mann (2), McQuin Baron. Head Coach: Dejan Udovicic.

United States of America defeated Montenegro and did it in emphatic fashion. The same happened at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2013 FINA World League Super Final, so it is not a rare achievement. The Serbian influence of head coach Dejan Udovicic is having effect on what is a relatively new team that he has been building in recent years. The forcefulness of the USA was evident from the start and the fact that USA kept Montenegro scoreless in the opening and then the third period, was telling. Montenegro needed a good second quarter to twice come within one goal. However, by the last minute of the half, captain John Mann hammered in the first two centre-forward goals. Alex Bowen stretched the margin to three on penalty at the start of the third quarter. Jovan Saric had his penalty attempt blocked by Merill Moses and Alex Obert and Mann made it 9-4 with the three-quarter buzzer beckoning. Uros Cuckovic broke an 11-minute drought for Montenegro with a long, low shot at 6:15 in the fourth period. USA scored on extra through Bret Bonnani from deep left at 4:17 and at 10-5, the match was well and truly won. Moses was staunch in goal and the defensive arms of USA also played a huge part in the victory. Just to make sure, Obert rifled in a shot from the right-hand-catch position, but Montenegro snatched one back on penalty by Bogdan Durdic at 2:06 and 11-6. He scored a second again at 0-25 when he shunted in a rebound for a final score of 11-7.

Match 8: 16:20, Group B, CROATIA 6 AUSTRALIA 3
Quarters: 1-0, 0-1, 3-1, 1-1

Referees: Georgios Stavridis (GRE), Ian Melliar (RSA)
Extra Man: CRO: 3/9. AUS: 1/12.
Pens: AUS: 1/1.

CROATIA: Marko Bijac, Luka Bukic (1), Ivan Milakovic, Marino Divkovic, Ante Vukicevic (1), Ivan Buljubasic, Petar Muslim, Kristijan Milakovic (1), Ante Viskovic (1), Duje Zivkovic, Andelo Setka (2), Marko Macan, Ivan Marcelic. Head Coach: Ivica Tucak.
AUSTRALIA: James Clark, Richard Campbell (1), George Ford, John Cotterill, Nathan Power, Jarrod Gilchrist, Aidan Roach (2), Aaron Younger, Lachlan Edwards, Tyler Martin, Mitchell Emery, Blake Edwards, Edward Slade, James Stanton. Head Coach: Elvis Fatovic.

Croatia emerged the victor in a match that could have gone either way until midway through the third period. Croatia had a match on its hands and it was experience of a fighting nation that came through and put paid to the southern assault. Australia just could not put away the extra-man attack, securing only one from 12 attempts. Too often other shots were also lacking in thrust. Croatia bided its time and Luca Bukic opened the scoring at 1:36, one second after the extra-man exclusion had expired. Aussie Sharks captain Richard Campbell equalised on penalty at the top of the second quarter — the only score of the period. Ante Viskovic and Aidan Roach traded goals after two minutes of the third quarter. Then Andelo Setka caused havoc with two conversions of extra, four minutes apart for a two-goal margin Roach pulled one back to start the final period, but it was Kristijan Milakovic after the extra-man time and Ante Vukicevic from a five-metre free throw by 1:44 extinguished any chance Australia had of at least a draw.

Match 6: 17:40, Group B, KAZAKHSTAN 9 HUNGARY 15
Quarters: 2-3, 2-4, 2-4, 3-4

Referees: Dejan Adzic (MNE), Mark Maretzki (USA)
Extra Man: KAZ: 3/15. HUN: 6/7.
Pens: Nil.

KAZAKHSTAN: Makhmetov Madikhen, Sergey Gubarev (2), Yevgeniy Medvedev, Roman Pilipenko (1), Vladimir Ushakov, Alexey Shmider, Murat Shakenov (1), Anton Koliadenko, Rustam Ukumanov (3), Mikhail Ruday, Ravil Manafov, Branko Pekovich (2), Valeriy Shlemov. Head Coach: Sergey Drozdov.
HUNGARY: Attila Decker, Miklos Gor-Nagy, Norbert Madaras (3), Balazs Erdelyi (1), Bence Batori (1), Norbert Hosnyanszky (2), Adam Decker, Daniel Angyal (1), Denes Varga (4), Krisztian Bedo, Balazs Harai (3), Marton Levai. Head Coach: Tibor Benedek.

Kazakhstan is proving a powerful host, capable of matching it with the best in the world. Such is the team’s experience and power shooting, it has pressed its opponents on both nights of the tournament so far. However, against the might of Olympic and world champion Hungary, the summit was too hard to climb. Throw in the obvious talents of Denes Varga, Norbert Madaras and Norbert Hosnyanszky and Hungary could prove almost unstoppable in Almaty. The trio scored the majority of the Hungarian goals. Hungarian captain Daniel Varga did not play, because of an allergic reaction. Kazakhstan opened the scoring through Branko Pekovich, which pleased the packed stands. Hungary went to 3-1 and it was Pekovich who brought the match level at 3-3 early in the second quarter with a shot from the top. Hungary shot out to a 7-3 margin and Kazakhstan played catch-up with Rustam Ukumanov grabbing two goals either side of a Hosnyanszky rocket from the top for 8-5. Balasz Harai and Murat Shakenov traded goals for 9-6. However, Denes Varga scored the last two goals of the period to go with his pair from the first period and Hungary was safely at 11-6 heading into the final quarter. Hungary moved on to 14-7 — with Ukumanov nailing his third for Kazakhstan — but the spectators refused to leave their seats. Just as well as Sergey Gubarev scored twice in 36 seconds with a strike from deep and a counter-attack effort for 14-9 at 1:43. Hungary took a timeout and the ploy brought up a goal to Daniel Angyal for the final score of 15-9.

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