Water Polo Men, Day 1: GRE 6 MNE 4
Greece caused the first upset of the men’s water polo championship in the opening match with a stunning 6-4 victory over Montenegro, a team it lost to by seven goals in a four-nation tournament a fortnight ago (July 12).
This was not the Montenegro of old or even recent. This was a team completely shut out in the first half and would have been without the efforts of superstar Aleksandar Ivovic who scored both of his team’s goals — one from the penalty line.
The first goal of the championship took a long time coming with Christodoulos Kolomvos gaining the honour on extra-man advantage at 5:04 in the second quarter. It was a case of pressure defence by both teams.
The second period was all Greece, who mastered the extra-man attack, scoring three goals as the bewildered Montengrins looked on. To be kept scoreless for the entire first half is unthinkable for such a proud water polo nation.
The third period brought some respite for Montenegro with Ivovic converting a penalty drawn by centre forward Filip Klikovak. That was after Greece had increased the score to 4-0 with a fourth extra-man strike.
More heartache was to continue for Montenegro when Emmanouil Mylonakis gained his second goal just after the extra-man period had expired for 5-1 at the final break. He struck again at the top of the fourth, also on extra, for 6-1.
Ivovic sent in a skinny shot, which creased the right upright from the top-right position when heavily guarded for 6-2 at 4:30. Captain Nicola Janovic sparked a mini revival with a score on extra just inside the final minute, followed by Ivovic in a strange goal in which players were stretched the length of the pitch. The ball was fired up field to Ivovic who hopefully shot from well out and to the right side and scored at 0:22 to reduce the losing margin to 6-4.
Montenegro pressed a lot but Greece zoned more and its defence was plainly superb and a credit to its preparation. Greece is back in the top echelon of world water polo.
Ironically, it was the first time these two teams have faced off at the FINA World Championships.Antonio
Match 1: 09:30, Group A, MONTENEGRO 4 GREECE 6
Quarters: 0-0, 0-3, 1-2, 3-1
Referees: Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU), Sergy Naumov (RUS).
Extra Man: MNE: 1/6. GRE: 3/6
Pens: MNE: 1/1.
MONTENEGRO: Zdravko Radic, Drasko Brguljan, Vjekoslav Paskovic, Antonio Petrovic, Darko Brguljan, Ugo Crousillat, Mladan Janovic, Nikola Janovic (1), Aleksandar Ivovic (3), Sasa Misic, Filip Klikovic, Predrag Jokic, Milos Scepanovic. Head Coach: Ranko Perovic.
GREECE: Konstantinos Tsalkanis, Emmanouill Mylonakis (3), Konstantinos Gouvis, Konstantinos Genidounios, Ioannis Fountoulis (1), Kyriakos Pontikeas, Christos Afroudakis, Evangelos Delakas (1), Konstantinos Mourikis, Christodoulos Kolomvos (1), Alexandros Gounas, Angelos Vlachopoulos, Konstantinos Galanidis. Head Coach: Athanasios Kechagias.
“Our biggest problem was in the attack. There was a lot of pressure for this first game and our start was bad. But we cannot let this get to us as we aim to win a medal at this competition. We hope to do much better in the next game.”
Milos Scepanovic (MNE)
“I´m disappointed with the result. We are waiting for the other matches. We didn´t play very well; we especially had problems with the attack.”
Angelos Vlachopoulos (GRE)
“This is the result of a summer of hard work. We have played against Montenegro a lot of times.”
Ioannis Fountoulis (GRE)
“We believe we can win every match. We are at the same level as any other team.”
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