Montenegrin miracle in the last 74 seconds
Another 8-8 was the highlight of the daily actions: this time Montenegro and Spain earned a point apiece after the Montenegrins had came back from 6-8 in the last 74 seconds. Serbia and Croatia netted 20 goals apiece, while the Netherlands stopped at 25, the Russians scored 21 among the women. Here the top game saw Hungary upending Greece 9-6.
Hungary and Greece produced a tremendous game among the men on Day 3, ending in 8-8 – a day later Spain and Montenegro did exactly the same in Group C. The first period was a joy to watch, brilliant goals, great shots, perhaps the most thrilling quarter so far in the entire tournament, bringing three goals apiece. The Spaniards went 4-5 ahead till the middle break, later, in the third, for a while only Alexandar Ivovic’s equaliser appeared on the scoreboard, then came three in a span of 79 seconds at the end and Spain still led 6-7. And they went even further in the middle of the fourth, Francisco Fernandez scored from a dying 6 on 5 for a 6-8 lead.
Soon the Montenegrins missed a double extra, but Mladan Janovic netted one from a simple one with 74 seconds to go. Albert Espanol could have been the winning man but after three goals he hit the post this time, then the Spaniards lost the ball despite taking the rebound, the Montenegrins earned another extra with 14 seconds left and Nikola Vukcevic put it away with 0:04 on the clock.
The other encounter in Group A offered similar thrills. The Dutch jumped to a 1-4 lead against Slovakia and were still 3-5 ahead in an action packed but still low-scoring game which saw 50 shots altogether. The Slovaks managed to level the score with Lucas Seman’s third goal 93 seconds from time at 5-5 but the Dutch had the last laugh as Yoran Frauenfelder found the back of the net from a 6 on 5 with 54 seconds to go (5-6) and the last Slovakian shot was well saved by the Dutch goalie, Eelco Wagenaar who did an outstanding job with a 70.6% saving percentage.
The other two matches in the men’s tourney, in Group B, brought the expected outcome, both Croatia and Serbia stopped at 20 goals. The Croats bounced back from their bad defeat from the Serbs and downed France 20-5 with Maro Jokovic netting 4 goals. The Serbs entertained more than 10 thousand fans who filled the stands though their heroes played against the tiny Malta. It finished at 20-2, the championships’ newcomers who got on the board after 7-0 from a penalty. Slobodan Nikic took the biggest share in the scoring festival with 5 goals.
Another Hungarian-Greek encounter offered the most excitements, this time in the women’s tournament. The Hungarians bounced back from their clean loss to the Netherlands (10-14) and offered a disciplined game with some Magyar flavour, especially their last two goals were spectacular, two brilliant lobs which put an end to the contest early in the fourth. As usual in modern water polo, the goalies made the difference in this game: while Eleni Kouvdou had only 2 saves on 11 shots (18.1%) in the Greek goal, Hungary’s Edina Gangl produced a 57.1% saving percentage.
The other two matches ended in a scoring festival: the Russians beat the Portuguese 21-5 with the Ekaterinas being outstanding in front, Prokofyeva netted 6, Lisunova had 4. The Dutch stopped at 25 against Turkey, Vivian Sevenich scored 6 for the Netherlands, while the newcomer Turks couldn’t score in their second game.
Results, Day 3
Montenegro v Spain 8-8, Slovakia v Netherlands 5-6
France v Croatia 5-20, Serbia v Malta 20-2
Portugal v Russia 5-21, Turkey v Netherlands 0-25, Greece v Hungary 6-9
Press release from LEN
Images courtesy of Giorgio Scala / deepbluemedia