Croatia national water polo team will play in the gold medal match at the inaugural LEN Europa Cup Super Final in Rijeka. The home side won against Serbia 8:7 and this result secured them a top spot in the B group. Croats will face Spain in the final, while Serbia will compete for the bronze medal.
Serbia played an excellent first half, both defensively and offensive, but Croatia significantly increased the level of the game and secured an important triumph.
The winner was solved in an uncertain finish, although after the first half did not seem to be the case. Loren Fatovic scored a goal for the 8:7 lead minute and 24 seconds before the final whistle. There were no more goals at the Kantrida swimming pool and the host deserved the place in the final.
Serbian water polo players opened the game in good fashion led by captain Filip Filipovic. He scored the first goal Maro Jokovic answered quickly, but it will be all from Croatia in the first half.
Gojko Pijetlovic was great in front of the Serbian goal, which led Croatia to fail in the situations with an extra player. Filipovic, again, and Dusko Pijetlovic, made sure that Serbia gets to a 3:1 lead.
The defense of Serbia worked even better and more firmly in the second quarter. It was so good that the net did not shake, and Dusan Mandic scored the fourth goal for Serbia.
As was expected, at the beginning of the third quarter Croatia played much more aggressive in both directions. And such an approach has brought them back to the game. With two quick goals of Loren Fatovic and Ante Vukicevic, the host went to a minus one (4: 3) and everything was open again.
The Croats pressed the Serbian defense and at the start of the last quarter, Luka Loncar equalized. A tribune was completely rolled out a minute later when Vukicevic brought Croatia’s first lead in the match (6: 5).
In this period of the match, Serbia had a serious problem with the realization of an extra player situation, but Filipovic once again showed how tough the strike is. He restored peace to Dolphins (6: 6). But, in the end, Croatia prevailed.
Montenegrin water polo players got their first win in the Super Final tournament – they justified the role of favorite in the match with France (10: 6).
The opponent, on whose bench is a former member of the Montenegro staff, Nenad Vukanic, threatened the Sharks until the end of the third quarter. But, after the goals from Djura Radovic and Aleksandar Radovic, Montenegrin team was safe on a road to victory.
Tricolore led only once in this game (2:1), and Montenegro did not use the attack with an extra player to break the match and get a two-goal advantage.
Aleksandar Radovic was the man of the match with a hattrick, while Djurdjic and Misic found the net twice each.
Italy defeated Greece 10:7 in the A group and secured a second place to fight against Serbia for the bronze medal on Sunday. Settebello played an excellent first quarter, Du Fulvio scored twice in this period.
At the start of the third period, Italians took a 5:1 lead thanks to a Gonzalo Echenique. He also scored the sixth goal for Italy, while Dervisis and Fountoulis kept Greece in the game for a moment.
But, it was all over by the halfway through the last quarter when Guillermo Molina gave Italians a 9:5 advantage. Di Fulvio ended the game with three goals.
Spain lost its first match in the tournament, it was 13:7 for Hungary, but nevertheless, the Armada already secured a place in the final.
Also, Hungary will play for the fifth place on Sunday against Montenegro. Tonight, Hungarians dominated in the first and third quarter. They opened the game with three goals in a row and then took a 5:1 lead. Spaniards cut the deficit to three goals (7:4), but never managed to come back.
Italy 10:7 Greece
(4:1, 2:2, 2:1, 2:3)
Italy: Di Fulvio 3, Bodegas 2, Echenique 2, Molina, Velotto, Presciutti
Greece: Dervisis 2, Vlachopoulos 2, Genidouanis, Fountoulis, Gouans
Hungary 13:7 Spain
(3:0, 4:4, 5:1, 1:2)
Hungary: Sz. Jansik 3, K. Manhercz 2, Vamos 2, Mezei 2, Bedo
Spain: Minguell 2, Granados 2, Larumbe, Munarriz, Barroso
1. Spain 6
2. Italy 6
3. Hungary 4
4. Greece 1
France 5:10 Montenegro
(2:3, 2:2, 1:4, 1:1)
France: Cannone 2, Dino 2, Izdinsky, Khasz,
Montenegro: A. Radovic 3, Djurdjic 2, Misic 2, Ivovic, Petkovic, Dj. Radovic
Serbia 7:8 Croatia
(3:1, 1:0, 1:3, 2:4)
Serbia: Filipovic 3, D. Pijetlovic 2, Cuk, Mandic,
Croatia: Fatovic 3, Vukicevic 2, Vrlic, Jokovic, Loncar
1. Croatia 9 pts
2. Serbia 6
3. Montenegro 3
4. France 0