FINA World League

Penalty shootout decides winner in clash of champions

Nikola Jaksic (SRB) and Josip Vrlic (CRO) Photo: Waterpoloserbia/Facebook

An encounter between the Olympic and the World champions was the highlight of Day 3 of the Europa Cup, which is also the European preliminary competition for the World League Final Eight. After a lot of thrills, a winner was determined in a penalty shootout.

Group D

Serbia, the reigning Olympic and European champion, hosted Croatia, the 2017 World Champion and the 2018 Europa Cup winner in the match of Group D, played in Nis.

It was a festival of water polo in front of the full stands. Former Serbian, Montenegrin and Croatian water polo players who won 1988 Olympic gold, as members of the team of Yugoslavia, were among spectators: Igor Milanovic, Tomislav Paskvalin, Dubravko Simenc, Veselin Djuho, Aleksandar Sostar, Mirko Vicevic….

The Serbs started well, they scored the first goal in their first possession. But, after the first quarter, they were 1:3 down, while Croatia jumped to a 5:2 lead deep into the second period. Serbia managed to reduce the gap to one (4:5) a few seconds before the halftime when Dusko Pijetlovic converted a man-up.

The hosts started climbing back after the big break, and they equalized by the middle of the third quarter (5:5). However, the Croats, boosted by their goalkeeper Ivan Marcelic (12 saves this evening), entered the last 8 minutes with a minimal advantage (6:5). Filip Filipovic scored his 3rd goal for 6:6 with 2.47 minutes remaining on the clock. In the next action, Maro Jokovic pulled the Croats ahead (7:6). Twelve seconds before the last buzzer, the hosts forced another of Croatia’s exclusion. Dejan Savic called a timeout. Dusan Mandic hit the back of the net secure a penalty shootout (7:7) with 2 seconds to go to.

Filipovic, Mandic, Prlainovic, and Jaksic scored for Serbia in the penalty shootout. On the other side Garcia and Fatovic found the net, but before their goals, Serbia goalkeeper Branislav Mitrovic made crucial saves after the shots from Vukicevic and Jokovic. Serbia posted an 11:9 win. Mitrovic was voted the best player of the game.

Favorites didn’t make mistakes in other games of Day 3

Group A

Hungary, the runner-up in the 2018 World League, cruised to a win over Malta (24:8) in Szombathely. Nine Hungarians scored at least two goals each. The top scorers were Adam Nagy (Hungary) and Jordan Camilleri (Malta), with 4 goals apiece.

The Hungarians firmly hold the top spot. They are followed by Russia, which beat Germany at home (14:8).

Group B

Greece trashed underdog Ukraine (25:2).

Spain, the bronze medalist in the last season, faced the Netherlands in Alphen aan den Rijn. The Dutch managed to keep up with the Spaniards for more than two quarters. The teams were tied early in the third period (4:4). The visitors soon produced a 4:0 rush and there was no way back for the Netherlands. By the end, Spain extended the margin of their win to 7 (13:6).

Group C

Reigning champion Montenegro played against France in Troyes. After balanced first period (2:2), Montenegro took a control, and led by its captain Aleksandar Ivovic, who scored 6 goals, built a 4-goal lead by the last break (9:5). Montenegro maintained the advantage in the last quarter for a 13:9 win.

Europa Cup 2018 (European qualification for World League F8), Day 3

Group A

Hungary 24:8 Malta
(9:2, 5:0, 5:3, 5:3)

Hungary: A. Nagy 4, Pasztor 3, K. Manhercz 3, Jansik 3, Nemet 2, Mezei 2, Ge. Kovacs 2, Batori 2, Pohl 2. Vadovics.
Malta: J. Camilleri 4, J. Abela 3, Riolo.

Russia 14:8 Germany
(3:0, 4:2, 4:1, 3:3)

1 Hungary 3 – 9
2 Russia 3 – 6
3 Germany 3 – 3
4 Malta 3 – 0

Group B

Netherlands 7:13 Spain
(1:2, 2:2, 2:5, 2:4)

Netherlands: Veenhuis 2, Winkelhorst, Muller, Nispeling, Filipovic, Van den Burg.
Spain: Granados 4, Tahull, Del Toro, Munarriz, Sanahuja, Larumbe, Barroso, Perrone, Mallarach.

Greece 25:2 Ukraine
(7:1, 4:1, 6:0, 8:0)

Greece: Argyropoulos 4, Fountoulis 3, Nikolaidis 3, Skoumpakis 3, Gounas 3, Prekas 3, Gkiovetsis 2, Kakaris 2, Gennidounias.
Ukraine: Voitenko, Ratkov.

1 Greece 3 – 9
2 Spain 3 – 6
3 Netherlands 3 – 6
4 Ukraine 3 – 0

Group C

France 9:13 Montenegro
(2:2, 1:3, 2:4, 4:4)

France: Marzouki 2, Vernoux 2, Izdinski 2, Marion-Vernoux, Crousillat, Canonne.
Montenegro: Ivovic 6, Murisic 3, M. Petkovic 2, Dj. Radovic, Vidovic.

1 Montenegro 2 – 5
2 Italy 2 – 4
3 France 2 – 0

Group D

Serbia 11:9 Croatia
(1:3, 3:2, 1:1, 2:1- 4:2)

Serbia: Filipovic 4 (1 pso), Prlainovic 2 (1), Mandic 2(1), D. Pijetlovic 2, Jaksic 1 (1).
Croatia: Fatovic 3 (1), Garcia 3 (1), Jokovic, Vrlic, Setka.

1 Serbia 2 – 5
2 Croatia 2 – 4
3 Romania 2 – 0


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