Water Polo Women, Day 1: RUS 22 UZB 6
Russia was far the better team and the match proved to be a warm-up to the latter stages of the competition. Russia stole the ball, countered and calmly worked the ball to free players rather than slam every opportunity. This calmness gave the match a sense of poise and character, but as the game progressed and Uzbekistan started to reclaim parts of the match, Russia used its urgency to greater effect.
Alexandra Antonova scored three goals in the opening half with six other players also making the sheet. For Uzbekistan’s part, Aleksandra Sarancha made the most of a chance at centre forward in the first quarter for 2-1 and then received a pass on counter for 11-2 late in the second quarter. Natalya Plyusova could have earlier made it 11-2 but her penalty attempt was blocked by Anna Ustyukhina. Ekaterina Prokofyeva, most valuable player at the 2009 FINA Youth World Championships, scored three goals in the third period while Uzbekistan responded with two goals on extra-man advantage.
Russia went into the final quarter 16-4 ahead and raced away with the game with Ivanova grabbing another pair for four and Prokofyeva converting a penalty and another lob shot for six goals from six attempts. Uzbekistan scored two more, including a beautiful six-metre lob from Ramilya Khalikova.
Match 2: 09:30, Group A, RUSSIA 22 UZBEKISTAN 6
Quarters: 5-1, 6-1, 5-2, 6-2
Referees: Doriel Terpenka (CAN), Kazuhiko Makita (JPN)
Extra Man: RUS: 3/5. UZB: 2/3
Pens: RUS: 1/1. UZB: 0/1
RUSSIA: Anna Ustyukhina, Diana Antonova, Ekaterina Prokofyeva (6), Elvina Karimova (1), Alexandra Antonova (3), Olga Belova (2), Ekaterina Tankeeva (1), Anna Grineva, Anna Timofeeva, Olga Beliaeva (4), Evgeniya Ivanova (4), Ekaterina Zelentsova (1), Anna Karnaukh. Head Coach: Mikhail Nakoryakov.
UZBEKISTAN: Elena Dukhanova, Diana Dadabaeva, Aleksandra Sarancha (2), Angelina Djumalieva, Evgeniya Ivanova, Ekaterina Morozova, Natalya Plyusova (2), Anna Shcheglova, Ramilya Khalikova (2), Adelina Zinurova, Guzelya Khamitova, Anna Plyusova, Natalya Shlyonskaya. Head Coach: Akbar Sadikov.
Evgeniya Ivanova (RUS):
“This match has been like a preparation before playing against the host team, Spain. We could check the pool on this first match.”
Olga Beliaeva (RUS):
“We started off the game very nervous and slow in the first quarter. From the second quarter we were more serious and faster, following the tactics of our coach. The fact that this championship is held in an open pool may influence our game, because of the sun. We prepare very thoroughly every match. We are very serious.”
Mikhail Nakoryakov (Head coach Russia):
“The first match is always tough. I consider that Spain and the Netherlands are our most powerful competitors. In just 2-3 matches anything could happen. It´s all right that the other teams may fear us.”
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