giovedì 1 gennaio 2015

VK Radnicki win inaugural World Club Challenge

Serbian powerhouse VK Radnicki have won the inaugural World Club Challenge 21-20 over Turkish European champions Galatasaray in a penalty shootout at Drummoyne Olympic Pool, while UNSW Wests Magpies won 6-4 over UTS Balmain to claim the bronze medal.  It was a full house for the gold medal game as the drama erupted in the dying moments when Galatasaray drew 13-13 with VK Radnicki in the final second of regular time. What ensued was an epic 22 shot penalty shootout.
The game opened with both teams playing an entertaining and physical brand of water polo, setting the tone for how the remainder of the game would be played out. VK Radnicki scored first thanks to an outside shot from captain Marko Cuk who sent the ball rocketing into the back of the cage. However Galatasaray responded with five unanswered goals to be leading 5-1 at the first break. 

VK Radnicki fought back in the second quarter, scoring the first four goals, before a penalty goal awarded to them was overturned following a successful protest from Galatasaray coach  Zarko Petrovic. 

The Turkish champions reclaimed the lead late in the second term as their captain Mihaljo Korolija scored a brilliant goal, however it was the Serbians who would lead at 7-6 at half time thanks to a double from Srdan Vuksanivic. 

Each team traded goals early in the third stanza with the pace of the game unrelenting. Eventually Galatasaray edged ahead thanks to a brace of goals from Slobodan Nikic and a full field effort from Vjekoslav Paskovic. As expected, VK Radnicki got themselves back into the game with Cuk scoring his second, while Vuksanivic scored his fourth for the score board to read 10-10 at the final exchange. 

With a titanic finish set up, tensions rose early in the fourth quarter when a skirmish saw Galatasaray player Nikola Vukcevic sidelined for the remainder of the game. VK Radnicki centre forward Boris Popovic scored two quick goals, one during extra man, the next a stunning backhander to give his side a two goal lead. 

Srdjan Aksentijevic put Galatasaray one goal from the lead with a meagre 46 seconds remaining on the clock, however VK Radnicki hit back with just over 30 seconds remaining in what looked to be the game winner. Despite this, Galatasaray took possession with six seconds remaining and called a time out. 

The Turkish side then earned an exclusion, opening up for Nikic to score a goal during extra man to send the game into extra time. 

Both sides completed a five goal cycle of penalty attempts until VK Radnicki's Marko Petkovic stepped up to convert his third attempt, ending a memorable game at Drummoyne Olympic pool, handing the Serbians the win. 

The bronze medal game belonged to UNSW Wests early on as their player Jarrod Gilchrist scored a hat trick of goals for his side to lead 4-2 at the first break. 

It was an arm wrestle between the two sides throughout the middle of the game as UTS Balmain came within one goal of the lead as the teams headed into the final break. Eventually Wests looked to Tim Reeves, who has recently been playing in the USA collegiate competition, to close out the game, and the bronze medal, for his side. 

Drummoyne emerged victors in their tussle for fifth and sixth with Cronulla, their winning margin a slender 7-6 after Cronulla had led 3-2 at the half time break. 

Tyler Martin and Milan Nesic combined to give Drummoyne their first lead of the game during the third quarter, however the scores were again tied 5-5 at the final break. 

A penalty goal to James Smith early in the fourth term gave Drummoyne a 6-5 lead, which was extended to 7-5 thanks to a Teo Galic goal from Centre Forward. Sam Baraket responded for Cronulla, however neither team was able to score after that point. 

The opening game of the day had seen Sydney University and Adelaide provide an entertaining encounter with eight goals scored in the opening quarter. Sydney looked to the experience of Trent Franklin, the most capped National League Water Polo player in the history of the tournament, to assist them to the win, and seventh place overall. 

Final Standings: 

1. VK Radnicki
2. Galatasaray
3. UNSW Wests
4. UTS Balmain
5. Drummoyne
6. Cronulla
7. Sydney University
8. Adelaide

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