Spain stuns home squad, close win for Hungary against Russia in Group A first encounter

London 2012 Water Polo

Spain stuns Italy at home - credit: Andrea CarloniTrieste (April 17) - Day 3 of the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Trieste (ITA) witnessed tough battles in the first matches of Group A: Hungary, after an intense game, was eventually too good for Russia, defeating the world number 3 by one goal for a total score of 13-12. In the following clash, Spain beat home squad, Italy, also in a close win, 10-9. In Group B, Olympic champion the Netherlands and World champion Greece had little trouble winning over their opponents, Kazakhstan and Canada, respectively.    

Indeed, in the first game of the day, it was almost a warm-up for the Dutch squad, ahead of the decisive quarter final match of Friday in Group B. Vermeer (NED) was the top scorer of the match with four goals, all in the second period. In the first quarter, there were three goals in a row for the Netherlands, scored by Smit, Van Belkum and Mieke Cabout. Then Akilbayeva netted the first for Kazakhstan and Van der Sloot (NED) sealed the period with a goal, five seconds from the end.


Match reports:

Game 5: 16.00, Group B, KAZAKHSTAN 7 NETHERLANDS 15
(1-4, 3-6; 2-3, 1-2)
Referees: Dunli Cao (CHN), Gabor Vogel (HUN).
Teams:
KAZAKHSTAN: Galina Rytova, Lyudmila Chegodayeva (1), Aizhan Akilbayeva (1), Anna Turova (1), Darya Vassilyeva, Anna Zubkova, Natalya Alexandrova, Yekaterina Gariyeva (1), Assel Yakayeva (3), Marina Gritsenko, Alexandra Rozhentseva, Kamila Marina, Kristina Krassikova. Head Coach: Andrey Sazykin.
NETHERLANDS: Ilse Van der Meijden, Yasemin Smit (3), Mieke Cabout (2), Biurakn Hakhverdian, Catharina Hendrica Van der Sloot (2), Nomi Stomphorst, Iefke Van Belkum (1), Robbin Remers (1), Vivian Sevenich (2), Nienke Vermeer (4), Lieke Maria Klaassen, Hariet Cabout, Anne Heinis. Head Coach: Mauro Maugeri.


KAZ vs NED - credit: Andrea Carloni
KAZ vs NED - credit: Andrea Carloni

Goal highlights:
In the second quarter, Smit (NED) missed a penalty (on the post). Vermeer (NED) scored twice, followed by teammates Remers and Smit. Gariyeva (KAZ) scored her second goal and compatriot Chegodayeva scored one more. Dutch Vermeer scored consecutively her third and fourth goal while Turova (KAZ) netted the last goal of the period. The score was of 4-10 at half time. In the third quarter, Smit (NED) scored her third goal, Sevenich scored another goal for the Netherlands while Kazakhstan’s captain Jakayeva scored two goals. Dutch Cabout netted her second goal from 2-metres on an easy lob shot. Going into the last period, the score was 6-13. The fourth quarter saw Jakajeva (KAZ) netting her third goal to narrow the gap to six goals (7-13). At 4:42, Van der Sloot (NED) scored her second goal and teammate Sevenich (NED) scored one more goal for a comfortable win. At 3:01 of the last quarter Gritsenko (KAZ) was excluded for three major fouls. Extra-men: Kazakhstan 4/7, The Netherlands 4/6 (+ one penalty converted and another one saved). Rytova (KAZ) saved a penalty on Mieke Cabout at 0:24 in the second period. Van Der Meijden (NED) replaced Heinis at the start of the third quarter.


KAZ vs NED - credit: Andrea Carloni
KAZ vs NED - credit: Andrea Carloni


Game 6: 17.20, Group B, CANADA 2 GREECE 10
(0-2, 0-1;1-2, 1-5)
Referees: Jaume Teixido (ESP), Mario Bianchi (ITA).
Teams:
CANADA: Rachel Riddell, Krystina Alogbo, Katrina Monton, Emily Jean Csikos (1), Joelle Bekhazi, Carmen Camille Eggens, Rosanna Tomiuk, Dominique Perreault, Monika Catharina Eggens, Christine Robinson, Tara Campbell, Marina Radu, Serena Bredin. Head Coach: Patrick Oaten.
GREECE: Eleni Kouvdou, Christina Tsoukala (3), Antiopi Melidoni, Ilektra Psouni, Kyriaki Liosi (1), Alkisti Avramidou, Alexandra Asimaki (2), Antigoni Roumpesi, Angeliki Gerolymou (3), Triantafyllia Manolioudaki, Stavroula Antonakou (1), Georgia Lara, Chrysoula Diamantopoulo. Head Coach: Georgios Morfesis.


CAN vs GRE - credit: Andrea Carloni
CAN vs GRE - credit: Andrea Carloni


Two strong teams faced to establish supremacy in this early stage of the tournament. Greek defence proved almost insurmountable for the Canadian forwards while the Hellenic shooters managed to breach more effectively into Canada’s defensive wall. The first three periods were overall balanced, although the score going into the last period was 5-1 in favour of the Greeks who managed the same score 5-1 in the last period: three goals to Tsoukala who, with teammate Gerolymou, top scored the game with three goals.

Goal highlights:
In the first quarter, Greece scored the only two goals of the first period with Gerolymou at 3:45 and Liosi at 0:39. In the second quarter, Asimaki (GRE) scored the only goal of the second period. The score was 0-3 at half time. In the third quarter, Greece's centre-forward Asimaki netted her second goal from 2-metres. Soon after, Canada managed its first goal with Csikos. Gerolymou (GRE) scored her second goal on superiority. In the last quarter, Tsoukala (GRE) shoot to score from the distance. Monika Eggens scored the second goal for Canada. Goals by Greece's Antonakou, Tsoukala and Gerolymou, who scored her third goal on penalty, assured their win. Tsoukala's third goal sealed the world champions' victory. In the fourth quarter, Robinson (CAN) and Psouni (GRE) were excluded for three major fouls, respectively at 5:11 and 7:49. Superiorities: Canada 1/3, Grecia 4/7 (+ a penalty).


CAN vs GRE - credit: Andrea Carloni
CAN vs GRE - credit: Andrea Carloni


Game 7: 18.40, Group A, RUSSIA 12 HUNGARY 13
(2-3, 3-3; 4-4, 3-3)
Referees: B. Littlejohn (GBR), G. Stavridis (GRE).
Teams:
RUSSIA: Maria Kovtunosakaya, Nadezhda Fedotova (2), Ekaterina Prokofyeava (2), Sofya Konukh, Alexandra Antonova (1), Olga Belova, Ekaterina Lisunova (2), Evgeniia Khokhriakova, Ekaterina Tankeeva (1), Olga Beliaeva, Evgeniya Ivanova (4), Diana Antonova, Anna Karnaukh. Head Coach: Alexander Kabanov.
HUNGARY: Flora Bolonyai, Dora Csabai (2), Dora Antal (1), Hanna Kisteleki, Gabriella Szucs (2), Orsolya Takacs, Rita Dravucz (1), Rita Keszthelyi (1), Ildiko Toth (1), Barbara Buika (1), Dora Czigany (4), Kata Menczinger, Edina Gangi. Head Coach: Andras Krisztina Meresz.


RUS vs HUN - credit: Andrea Carloni
RUS vs HUN - credit: Andrea Carloni


Russia and Hungary confirmed their strength giving life to the most balanced game of the tournament so far. All quarters ended on a tie, except for the first one, which saw Hungary up just one goal: the same gap would result at the end of the game. Hungary’s goalkeeper Bolonayai was noted for some great saves.

Goal highlights:
In the first quarter, Tankeeva (RUS) scored the opening goal, quickly answered by Hungary’s Toth at 5:02. Russia's Fedotova replied with another goal, followed by Szucs and Csabai from Hungary who scored one goal each. In the second period, Ivanova blazed from the long distance and tied for Russia (3-3). Less than a minute later, Antal put Hungary up one goal again. At 3:54, Csabai’s second goal sent Hungary up two goals. Soon after, at 3:25, Ivanova (RUS) scored her second goal too, on superiority. Keszthelyi’s re-established the two-goal lead in favour of Hungary but Ivanova’s third goal narrowed the gap once more to one goal. The score at half time is 5-6. In the third period, Prokofyeava scored for Russia tying 6-6. Fedotova (RUS) scored her second goal for a new tie at 7-7. The tie was broken again at 3:10 through a goal of Hungary’s Czigany and set again thanks to Antonova (RUS), 8-8. Czigany again gave Hungary a new lead (8-9), it is a hat trick for Czigany at 1:10. Then, Lisunova (RUS) reduced the gap with another goal. In the fourth quarter, Lisunova scored her second goal to tie for Russia (10-10). Buika (left handed) gave Hungary another goal and the lead of the game. Ivanova (RUS) reacted quickly and scored her fourth goal, tying again (11-11). Soon after, Czigany (HUN) scored her fourth goal too and at 2:13, Hungary’s captain Dravucz scored what probably was the decisive goal, giving her team a 2-goal lead (11-13). At 1:03, Russia's Prokofyeava scored her second. Russia was down one goal before the last minute of the game. With 28 seconds to the end, Beliaeva (RUS), alone at 2-metres in front of Bolonayai (UKR), shoot above the bar and missed a great opportunity to reach the final tie. Konukh (RUS) was excluded for three major fouls at 5:43. Extra-man: Russia 6/10, Hungary 3/5.


RUS vs HUN - credit: Andrea Carloni
RUS vs HUN - credit: Andrea Carloni


Game 8: 20.00, Group A, ITALY 9 SPAIN 10
(4-2, 2-2; 0-1, 3-5)
Referees: Radu Matache (ROU), Cory Williams (NZL).
Teams:
ITALY: Elena Gigli, Simona Abbate, Elisa Casanova (1), Rosaria Aiello, Martina Savioli, Allegra Lapi, Tania Di Mario (4), Roberta Bianconi (1), Giulia Emmolo, Giulia Rambaldi, Aleksandra Cotti, Teresa Frassinetti (1), Giulia Gorlero. Head Coach: Fabio Conti.
SPAIN: Laura Ester, Marta Bach, Anna Espar (2), Roser Tarrago (2), Matilde Ortiz, Jennifer Pareja (2), Lorena Mirando, Pilar Pena, Andrea Blas, Ona Meseguer, Maria Carmen Garcia (2), Laura Lopez, Ana Copado. Head Coach: Miguel Oca.


ESP vs ITA - credit: Andrea Carloni
ESP vs ITA - credit: Andrea Carloni


Spain won a tight game over the cousin of Italy. With coach Miguel Oca at the helm, the Spanish team has significantly improved. The team is cohesive and has two strongholds in the goalie Ester and the centre Garcia. In the first quarter Italy took a 2-goal lead (4-2). The second period was a tie 2-2. Three unanswered goals from Spain in the third quarter and the first part of the last quarter gave the Iberians their first lead a minute and a half inside the last period. The Italian players got nervous after Bianconi missed a penalty at 2:52 in the third period. In the fourth quarter, the Iberians scored five consecutive goals overall. Italy came back too late with two goals, just enough to end the game one goal down. Italy’s veteran Tania Di Mario was the best among the home players: she top scored the game with five goals (two penalties).

Goal highlights:
In the first quarter, Bianconi converted a penalty to score Italy’s first goal. Italy’s centre Frassinetti scored from 2-metres. At 3:48, Spain’s centre Garcia too scored from 2-metres. At 2:00 and 0:26, Di Mario (ITA) scored twice to give her country a 3-goal lead. At just 0:03 seconds from the end, Tarrago narrowed the gap for Spain. In the second period, Pareja converted a penalty allowed to Spain. At 2:28, Di Mario scored her third goal. At 2:09, Pareja’s scored her second goal. At 1:52, Italy’s centre Casanova netted from 2-metres. At half time, Italy led 6-4. In the third quarter, Bianconi (ITA) missed a penalty. Ortiz (ESP) shoot from the short distance and narrowed the gap to just one goal. In the last quarter, Garcia (ESP) shoot from 2-metres and tied for Spain (6-6). At 6:31, Espar followed up to give her country the first lead (6-7). At 5:19, Di Mario equalised on penalty. At 4:54, again Espar put Spain up one goal. At 3:55, Tarrago scored again for Spain (7-9). Left-handed forward Pena (ESP) put the word "end" to the game, scoring the goal number ten for Spain at three minutes from the end. A late reaction by the home squad could only produce two goals: at 1.16, Frassinetti scored her second goal and at 0:46, Di Mario converted a penalty for a major foul on Frassinetti. In this quarter, Ortiz (ESP) Abbate (ITA) were excluded for three major fouls, respectively at 0:50 and 3:45. Extra-man: Italy 1/6 + 3 penalties converted and one missed; Spain 3/6 + one penalty.


ESP vs ITA - credit: Andrea Carloni
ESP vs ITA - credit: Andrea Carloni