Game 21 (M), 17:00, Group A, HUNGARY 12 SPAIN 11

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo Games Reports

Quarters: 5-5, 4-3, 2-1, 1-2

Referees: Nenad PERIS (CRO), Mark KOGANOV (AZE)

Extra Man: HUN: 4/9. ESP: 2/13

Pens: HUN: 2/2. ESP: 1/1

HUNGARY: Viktor NAGY, Miklos GOR NAGY, Norbert MADARAS (3), Denes VARGA (1), Marton SZIVOS (1), Norbert HOSNYANSZKY (1), Gergely KISS (1), Zsolt VARGA, Daniel VARGA, Peter BIROS (2), Adam STEINMETZ, Balazs HARAI (3), Zoltan SZECSI. Head Coach: Denes KEMENY.
SPAIN: Inaki AGUILAR, Mario GARCIA, Eric MARSAL, Francisco FERNANDEZ (1), Guillermo MOLINA (2), Marc MINGUELL (1), Mark ROCA, Albert ESPANOL (2), Xavier VALLES, Felipe PERRONE (1), Ivan PEREZ (3), Javier GARCIA (1), Daniel LOPEZ. Head Coach: Rafael AGUILAR.

Hungary and Spain are two countries at their peak, especially the Hungarians less than one year from defending its Olympic title in London. Spain came with a form team but left under-nourished as Hungary played catch-up in the first half and then became a front-runner in the second. Who would have thought that 10 goals would come from the first period between these two very talented teams? HARAI netted twice for Hungary but they were catch-up goals. PEREZ, in his 40th year and with the body of one half his age, scored twice en route to a 5-3 advantage. Denes VARGA and HARAI for his third levelled nine seconds from the break. Triple Olympic champion KISS stepped up for a penalty goal to start the second quarter but PEREZ on double extra in a goalmouth scramble and ESPANOL from deep right gave Spain a 7-6 lead. SZIVOS, on the cusp of emulating his father and grandfather as Olympic champions, sent one in on extra after a cross-cage pass on two metres for level. MADARAS scored from the right and PERRONE levelled at 8-9 from the left side of the pool about the five-metre mark. With 29 seconds left, HOSNYANSZKY found the net with a long-range missile to give Hungary a 9-8 halftime lead. Scoring slowed in the third period as defence played a bigger part. FERNANDEZ with a shot from deep after extra and MADARAS with a penalty maintained the status quo. Hungary earlier tried some fancy long passing shots to no effect but it worked at 1:32 when BIROS got his fingertips to a lobbing pass from KISS, dragging the ball down into goal on the far-post position for 11-9. Both goalkeepers by now had the eyes in and were making magnificent saves. BIROS opened the fourth period at 5:19 when he scooped up a rebound at centre forward and slammed the ball home for a three-goal margin. BIROS in centre forward? Yes!  Spain called a timeout at 5:08. The shot did not come in time but MINGUELL casually took a foul outside five metres and converted the free throw for 12-10. Hungary went to a timeout and the ploy was to go for extra man, which it achieved but a pass was stolen and Spain charged to goal at the last minute mark. The ubiquitous BIROS stole the ball and shot at the end of possession, giving Spain a timeout at 0:19 and a chance to narrow the gap to one. Spain moved forward and a penalty was called, sending MOLINA to the line to convert for 12-11. Spain’s conversion, or lack of it, of extra man, proved crushing.