Game 24 (W), 17:00, Group D, ITALY 10 CHINA 9
Quarters: 4-2, 2-1, 3-3, 1-3
Referees: Mark KOGANOV (AZE), Daniel FLAHIVE (AUS)
Extra Man: ITA: 1/8. CHN: 1/6
ITALY: Giulia GOLERO, Simona ABBATE (3), Elisa CASANOVA (1), Francesca POMERI, Martina SAVIOLI, Allegra LAPI, Marta COLAIOCCO, Roberta BIANCONI (2), Giulia EMMOLO (1), Giulia RAMBALDI (1), Alessandra COTTI, Teresa FRASSINETTI (2), Elena GIGLI. Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.
CHINA: YANG Jun, TENG Fei, LIU Ping, SUN Yujun, HE Jin, SUN Yating (2), SONG Donglun, CHEN Yuan, WANG Yi (3), MA Huanhuan (2), SUN Huizi, ZHANG Lei (2), WANG Ying. Head Coach: Juan JANE GIRALT.
Continental pride was at stake between the team that finished second at the recent FINA World League Super Final in Tianjin and the team that claimed bronze at last year’s FINA World Cup. The huge crowd backed China but it was Italy that swam away with the start of the game, going ahead 4-1 in six minutes. BIANCONI struck twice while CASANOVA and ABBATE joined the fun. WANG joined ZHANG as scorers for China with a strike from the deep at 1:52. ZHANG scored again nearly two minutes into the second quarter. FRASSINETTI and EMMOLO stretched the margin to three, the last with a lob just before halftime. Chinese head coach JANE GIRALT was upset with some non-calls, intimating that the head was being used by the Italians. His protestations went unheeded or purposely unnoticed. The third period gave some hope to the Chinese but not before ABBATE took the margin to 7-3. WANG responded but RAMBALDI scored from the centre and ABBATE scored her third for 9-4. MA helped lift the roof with the noise of the locals when she drove down the centre to score. WANG netted a third with a drive down the left to return the gap to three by the final break. SUN Yujun opened the fourth with a big shot down the middle and the game was within two at 9-7. MA fired a shot from nine metres into the top left at 6:44 and Italy immediately called a timeout to slow the magnificent momentum by the home side. The ball was turned over at two metres. Italy did manage to go two up again at 4:34 when FRASSINETTI pushed the ball in at two metres after a Chinese fumble. Italy went to a timeout when MA was excluded at 3:30. Italy twice shot and regained the rebound but turned over the ball before a third attempt. SUN Yujun accepted a cross pass on the counter and sent the ball deflecting into the top left for 10-9 at 1:45. COTTI missed a one-on-one with the goalie after being left in the open. SUN Yating sent her backhand wide and Italy entered the last minute with the attack. FRASSINETTI turned the ball over and China had time to equalise. The lob went off the right post and Italy gathered to win the game. Italy was economical with the shooting, taking 24 compared to China’s 37. Italy had the group win while China must now play Spain in the second round.