Excitements arrived to the Kombank Arena on the second day of the championships: in the men’s competition Hungary and Greece produced a thriller, ending in the first tie of the event (8-8), while the Serbian women offered their best against Germany but finally they lost 13-14.
After a series of one-sided battles on the opening day, Hungary and Greece came up with a match of twists and turns, both sides had its respective ups and downs before they had to settle for an 8-8 draw.
Hungary got the better start with two action goals but missed 3 man-ups and instead of a three-goal lead they had to settle for a 3-2 partial score as the Greeks buried two 6 on 5s. The scene remained the same, while the Magyars struggled to score from their man-ups, the Greeks put almost each away spectacularly, so it stood 5-5 at half-time. The third saw a tremendous battle, both goalies, Nagy and Galanopoulos came up with brilliant saves, the Hungarians started to defend well in man-downs and with a double from Denes Varga (the second was a lucky rebound with 3 seconds to go) they turned the score and led 7-6.
Balazs Harai widened the gap at the beginning of the last, Hungary went 8-6 up but missed a crucial, perhaps decisive 6 on 5, and the Greeks climbed back with a fine 5m shot from Angelos Vlachopoulos, then Konstantinos Genidounias scored from an extra for 8-8 with 1:39 to go. The Greeks had a fourth man-up in the last four minutes to win the game but Nagy denied them, saving three shots in the last 15 seconds.
This means that goal-difference might decide the top spot in this group and it can become a life-or-death question as the second-placed team will probably face Serbia in the quarters.
The other three games in the men’s tourney didn’t bring such thrills. Russia brought down the Turks despite a slow start, they led 4-3 after eight minutes but had a 4-0 rush in the second which decided the outcome.
In Group B Georgia – bottom placed two years ago on their debut – fought bravely against Romania, it was 4-4 at half-time but the Romanians switched gears and produced an 8-2 run in the following 16 minutes. Though Germany had a couple of promising results recently (including a win against Croatia in Dubrovnik some 10 days ago), this time they were no match for the Italians: the Settebello led 8-1 at half-time, securing an easy sailing for the remaining part of the encounter.
Among the women, title-holder Spain launched its campaign with a fine demonstration against Croatia (29-3). Italy staged a sluggish start against France (2-2 after eight minutes) but won the following three periods with an 8-1 partial result.
The Serbian women opened their match against the Germans with a 5-1 blast and that secured an exciting follow-up. The favourite visitors managed to come back to 5-5, but the Serbs didn’t collapse. Though the Germans always took the lead after 7-7, the Serbs hit back 6 times. It stood 13-13 with 1:10 to go when Claudia Bomenkamp managed to score form a counter with 21 seconds remaining on the clock and the last Serbian shot was blocked, for the sadness of the biggest crowd ever gathered at a women game in Serbian water polo history.
Results, Day 2
Georgia v Romania 6-12, Germany v Italy 5-16
Hungary v Greece 8-8, Russia v Turkey 17-8
Croatia v Spain 3-29, Italy v France 10-3, Serbia v Germany 13-14
Press release from LEN
Images courtesy of Giorgio Scala / deepbluemedia