Water Polo Men: Day 3: CRO 18 RSA 0
Croatia outplayed South Africa 18-0 to win Group B with three victories. It was the first time that a zero game was registered but when you put amateur players against Olympic champions, it makes it a hard task.
Probably the best shot at a South Africa goal and a movement that had the large crowd on its feet was when Etienne Le Roux countered and shot into the outstretched arms of Croatian goalkeeper Marko Bijac. The crowd was unsated, Le Roux talked to Bijac and they both patted each other on the shoulder.
A goal in the last six seconds doubled the enthusiasm for the men in green but it was disallowed as a player was just being sent out. That was South Africa’s luck.
Croatia had all its skills on show, no more so than when Paulo Obradovic sent in a “helicopter” shot for 16-0.
Sandro Sukno was on fire from the start with his opening two goals, sending in consecutive goals in the third quarter and then finishing the match inside the final minute, lifting his championship tally to nine, one ahead of Obradovic who scored four.
South Africa can take heart from some solid man-on-man play but Croatia was too much of a mountain to climb.
Match 23: 18:50, Group B, CROATIA 18 SOUTH AFRICA 0
Quarters: 3-0, 4-0, 7-0, 4-0
Referees: Shi Wei Ni (CHN), Masoud Rezvani (IRI).
Extra Man: CRO: 4/6. RSA: 0/5
CROATIA: Josip Pavic, Luke Loncar, Ivan Milakovic, Fran Paskuvalin, Maro Jokovic (1), Luka Bukic (1), Petar Muslim (1), Andro Butuje, Sandro Sukno (5), Niksa Dobud (3), Andelo Setka (3), Paul Obradovic (4), Marko Bijac. Head Coach: Ivica Tucak.
SOUTH AFRICA: Dwayne Flatscher, Etienne Le Roux, Devon Card, Ignardus Badenhorst, Nicholas Rodda, Jason Kyte, Richard Downes, Ryan Bell, Dean Whyte, Pierre Le Roux, Nicholas Molyneux, Adam Kajee, Donn Stewart. Head Coach: Brad Rowe.
Niksa Dubud (CRO):
“We expected to win this game, it was not really equal competition. The next game we will be taking far more seriously.”
Luca Bukic (CRO):
“I am only 19 and this is my first World Championship so it was amazing to be a part of this game, even though they are our weakest opponents.”
Ivica Tucak (CRO Head Coach):
“We were relaxed before this game, which made getting into it difficult, but in the end it was all fine. We managed to give our younger players a chance and now feel more confident about the quarterfinals. We are focused 100 percent on them and the pressure is on maximum.”
Adam Kajee (RSA):
“We knew it was going to be a difficult and physically demanding game against the Olympic champions. The coach told us to try to do our best and have fun because we wouldn’t have a chance to win. At the end of the match we finally scored, but it didn’t count and the crowd was upset.”
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