Water Polo Women, Day 1: ITA 9 KAZ 7
There was no way Italy was not going to win this match, but spare a thought for the scriptwriters who started their screenplay with the wrong scorers! Kazakhstan sent in one goal at 4:39, a second at 1:48 and a third at 0:52. It was 3-0 in favour of the team that was supposed to finish second.
What would Italy do to get back into the game? Score a penalty goal through captain Tania Di Mario, one of the heroes of Italy’s gold-medal win at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, that’s what.
The scriptwriters went crazy again and allowed Di Mario to score two more penalty goals to level the match. Three more Italian goals — two to Aleksandra Cotti on extra-man attack — took the margin to 6-3 at halftime with Kazakhstan kept scoreless.
Italy scored twice more before Anna Turova lobbed from six metres to bring Kazakhstan back into the game after 12 minutes of no scoring. There was still life in Kazakhstan’s attack.
Italy went to a timeout to no joy in the scoring department while Kazakhstan made the most of two extra-man chances, scoring both for 8-6 with Marina Gritsenko’s last shot coming a second from the final break. Grand theatre, indeed.
The final period ended
1-1 with Roberta Bianconi, normally the high scorer, reduced to one goal
from six attempts but at 9-6, it was the winning goal.
Kazakhstan smashed in another on extra but, at 0:23, it was too late, so the curtain was drawn on what was a superb performance by both teams who deserve rave reviews.
Match 8: 20:10, Group D, ITALY 9 KAZAKHSTAN 7
Quarters: 1-3, 5-0, 2-3, 1-1
Referees: Manol Taylan (TUR), Shi Wei Ni (CHN)
Extra Man: ITA: 3/5. KAZ: 5/8
Pens: ITA: 3/3.
ITALY: Elena Gigli, Francesca Pomeri, Arianna Garibotti (1), Federica Radicchi, Elisa Queirolo, Rosaria Aiello, Tania Di Mario (3), Roberta Bianconi (1), Giulia Emmolo (1), Valeria Palmieri (1), Aleksandra Cotti (2), Teresa Frassinetti, Loredana Sparano. Head Coach: Fabio Conti.
KAZAKHSTAN: Alexandra Zharkova, Natalya Shepelina, Aizhan Akilbayeva (2), Anna Turova (1), Anastassiya Mirshina, Anna Zubkova, Natalya Alexandrova (1), Yekaterina Glushkova, Assel Jakayeva (1), Marina Gritsenko (2), Alexandra Rozhentseva, Assem Mussarova, Kristina Krassikova. Head Coach: Andrey Sasykin.
Elisa Queirolo (ITA):
“We made many mistakes and we wanted to improve; it hasn’t been a good game because three of our mates had been excluded.”
Fabio Conti (ITA Head Coach):
“It’s always difficult to start a championship against a team that seems to be not as good as ours, but it was good to break the ice”
Alexandra Zharkova (KAZ):
“We played good, but Italy is a really strong and hard team. We feel very good. At the beginning we thought that we could win, but it was not possible. We learnt a lot from Italy; they shoot very strong, but we tried to do our best.”
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