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Water Polo Men: Day 3: ITA 12 KAZ 6
Unbeaten Italy won Group D, turning a 6-2 halftime lead into a 12-6 victory over Kazakhstan, a team it has now beaten seven times on the elite world stage. Five of those appearances Italy won with 13 goals so the average has changed little against a team that went into the match with a win against Romania and a one-goal loss to Germany.
Italy held sway in the opening stages and led 4-0, thanks to a pair of goals by centre forward Matteo Aicardi and master blaster Pietro Figlioli.
Kazakhstan improved it to 5-2 midway through the second quarter and 7-3 by the final break. Figlioli, probably the fastest swimmer and hardest shooter in world water polo, scored his fourth goal and seventh for the championship at 11-4, just before Anton Koliadenko scored twice inside the last four minutes.
The coup de grace was delivered by Valentino Gallo with his second from five attempts a 10:54 for 12-6.
Alex Georgetti was in fine touch with a goal either side of the final break to go with his strike in the second quarter.
Match 19: 12:10, Group D, ITALY 12 KAZAKHSTAN 6
Quarters: 3-0, 3-2, 2-1, 4-3
Referees: Nenad Peris (CRO), Petar Abramovic (MNE).
Extra Man: ITA: 4/10. KAZ 3/5.
ITALY: Stefano Tempesti, Amaurys Perez, Niccolo Gitto, Pietro Figlioli (4), Alex Georgetti (3), Maurizio Felugo, Niccolo Figari, Valentino Gallo (2), Christian Presciutti (1), Deni Fiorentini, Matteo Aicardi , Christian Napolitano, Marco Del Lungo. Head Coach: Alessandro Campagna.
KAZAKHSTAN: Nikolay Maximov, Sergey Gubarev (1), Yevgeniy Medvedev, Roman Pilipenko (1), Murat Shakenov, Alexey Shmider, Vladimir Ushakov, Anton Koliadenko (2), Rustam Ukumanov (1), Mikhail Ruday, Ravil Manafov, Branko Pekovich (1), Valeriy Shlemov. Head Coach: Sergey Drozdov.
Deni Fiorentini ITA):
“The sun was too hot at midday, but the team worked well. We played well and the defence was strong and we were focused from the start, but we have things to improve on.”
Pietro Figlioli (ITA):
“In this match we were more focused on our system of play; we have prepared ourselves for years for this championship.”
Matteo Aicardi (ITA):
“We don’t like to play at this time of day. There were also not as many supporters in the crowd as there would be in the evening. In my opinion Kazakhstan has improved a lot.”
Alessandro Campagna (ITA Head Coach):
“We prepared for every match as if it was the finals. All the teams deserve our respect. It is a mistake not to consider every team as being on the same level as you.”
Sergey Drozdov (KAZ Head Coach):
“Italy was a very strong team for us. They played very well tactically, so we tried to change ours during the game to be more aggressive in defence and to put more intensity in the attacks. For the next game we would prefer to meet Australia rather than Hungary, but Australia is a very good team. I am satisfied with the dedication of my players and our collective play. So we will train hard for the next two days to be ready, and only after the competition we will start to enjoy the city.”