Game 47 (W): 16:00, RUSSIA 8 ITALY 7

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo Games Reports

Classification 3rd & 4th (Bronze Medal)

Quarters: 4-0, 2-1, 2-6, 0-0

Referees:  Gyorgy JUHASZ (HUN), Steven ROTSART (USA)

Extra Man: RUS: 3/12. ITA: 0/13

Pens: ITA: 1/1

RUSSIA: Maria KOVTUNOVSKAYA, Nadezhda FEDOTOVA, Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (2), Sofia KONUKH (2), Alexandra ANTONOVA, Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA (1), Ekaterina LISUNOVA, Evgenia SOBOLEVA, Ekaterina TANKEEVA, Olga BELYAEVA (3), Evgenia IVANOVA, Yulia GAUFLER, Anna KANAUKH. Head Coach: Alexander KABANOV.
ITALY: Giulia GOLERO, Simona ABBATE (1), Elisa CASANOVA (2), Francesca POMERI, Martina SAVIOLI (1), Allegra LAPI, Marta COLAIOCCO, Roberta BIANCONI (2), Giulia EMMOLO, Giulia RAMBALDI, Alessandra COTTI, Teresa FRASSINETTI (1), Elena GIGLI. Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.

RUS vs ITA - credit: Russell McKinnon
RUS vs ITA - credit: Russell McKinnon

Russia wanted to make up for finishing outside the medal round at the recent FINA World League Super Final in Tianjin. With an unblemished opening quarter reaping four goals and a fifth without response early in the second period, Russia had a foundation for success. The silver (or bronze) lining had been laid. Italy awoke to the game too late. It is tough to give up five goals and expect to win. However, that deficit inspired the team and the mood of the match and the crowd changed as goals started flowing. A 6-2 third period to the Italians brought the game to life and set up a fine climax. PROKOFYEVA and captain KONUKH led the way for Russia with two goals each in the first quarter. BELYAEVA scored an unusual counter-attack goal after she was left stranded in the Italian half only for a team-mate to steal the ball and toss it upfield. She turned and scored for 5-0. On the next attack Italian captain CASANOVA backhanded a shot at centre forward. Italy took a timeout but no score and two minutes later RHYZOVA-ALENICHEVA found herself unguarded deep right to score for 6-1, the halftime score. What followed was almost a massacre. BIANCONI scored down the left lane; FRASSINETTI traded goals with BELYAEVA from two metres; BIANCONI scored from the penalty line and BELYAEVA muscled in a goal for 8-4 at just 5:38. CASANOVA, who had earned a couple of ejections earlier, once again scored with a backhand for 8-5. Italy called time when KONUKH gained her
third exclusion and the resulting play saw SAVIOLI score after the excluded player returned to the pool. Less than a minute later ABBATE scored her ninth goal of the tournament with a bounce shot on the left-hand-catch position. The score was now 8-7. Italy was back and raring to go. With the clock moving into the last two minutes, four Russians and two Italians had finished the match. BIANCONI had a shot tipped over the back line at a time when head coach CONTI gained a yellow card. On the next attack BIANCONI was free as a bird after a drive left but RAMBALDI shot high. On the Russian attack, CASANOVA was ejected and gained a suspension foul on the way out. Russia called a timeout at 0:18 and played the ball around to win
its fourth bronze medal at this level. Russia’s extra-man count, scoring three as opposed to Italy’s none, proved crucial.