LEN Europa Cup

Stand up for the champions – Greece wins LEN Europa Cup!

Europa Cup 2018
PHOTO:FB/www.len.eu

It was a historic day for Greek water polo in Pontevedra. Women national team won the first title in the Europa Cup Super Final after beating Russian water polo team 9:8 in the gold medal match.

This was the first trophy for the national team of Greece since 2011 when they won the world title.

The home water polo team of Spain won the bronze medal after a win against Netherlands 9:3 in the “little final”.

It was a thrilling game in the big final because Russians opened it very well. They were a better team at the start, and after the first 15 minutes, Russia had a 2:0 lead.

Also, Greece was unlucky in that period – they hit the woodwork several times before Eleni Xenaki finally found the net. It was in the final minute of the first half and then Anastasia Kalargyrou equalized just 11 seconds before the final whistle.

At the beginning of the third period Ekaterina Prokofyeva put the Russians ahead one more time, but then Greece finally woke up and took control of the game. The Greeks scored four goals in a row, every time it was after a patient, long attacks.

On the other end of the swimming pool goalkeeper, Chrysoula Diamantopolou had some magnificent saves which earned her the game’s MVP award in the end. Three and a half minutes before the end of the match Greece had an 8:4 lead.

However, the Russians didn’t want to give up. In just 43 seconds they scored two goals and cut the deficit into the half. Greece then scored a ninth goal, but Russia once more answered with two quick counter-attack goals.

So we got a thriller because it was 9:8 and 44 seconds to go. However, this time Russian pressing didn’t pay off this time, as Greece got an extra player and saved the win to capture a trophy.

The win is also good news for Greece federation as LEN awarded 20.000 euros for the winner of Europa cup, while Russia was rewarded for silver with 15.000.

In the bronze medal game, Spain dominated after the Netherlands took a 2:1 lead at the start. The home team then found the net four times in a row and got to a 5:2 lead.

Spanish defense was really well, the Dutch shooters lost their confidence while the hosts went on to secure a big victory. The Espar sisters were the best – Anna scored three and Clara added two goals.

Quarterfinals

Netherlands 8:6 Italy
(1:2, 3:0, 1:2, 3:2)

Hungary 9:11 Russia
(2:3, 0:3, 5:4, 2:1)

Semifinal

Netherlands 6:8 Grecce
(3:2, 0:3, 0:2, 3:1)

Russia 9:8 Spain
(2:2, 4:2, 2:3, 1:1)

5th place match

Italy 7:6 Hungary
(3:1, 0:0, 2:3, 2:2)

Bronze medal match

Netherlands 3:9 Spain
(2:1, 0:3, 1:2, 0:3)

Finals

Greece 9:8 Russia
(0:1, 2:1, 4:1, 3:5

Greece: Xenaki 2, Diamantopoulou 2, Eleftheriadou 2, Tsoukala, Chydirioti, Kalargyrou
Russia: Ivanova 2, Prokofyeva, Karimova, Borisova, Gorbunova, Simanovich, Timofeeva

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