Water Polo Men, Day 7 - Gold Medal: HUN 8 MNE 7
Five years after winning a third consecutive Olympic gold medal and nothing since, Hungary is back on the top of the podium, beating Montenegro 8-7 in an exciting match in front of a near-capacity crowd.
Hungarian Viktor Nagy, named the best goalkeeper of the championship, was on fire and Montenegro’s Aleksandar Ivovic did everything he could by scoring three goals, including the equaliser in the final two minutes, which was bested by Marton Szivos at 1:39.
The victory came 10 years after the last, also here in Barcelona, and 40 years since the first. Montenegro could find no way through the Hungarian defence in the opening quarter, trying 10 times to breach what was an impenetrable wall. Goalkeeper Viktor Nagy made five saves and the defenders did the rest. At the other end of the pool, Hungary took three shots and scored twice, firstly through Denes Varga — named the championship’s Most Valuable Player — off the near post on a pop pass and then by Balasz Harai with a last-gasp backhand shot from wide and at the five-metre line. Montenegro called the earliest timeout of the championship at 5:20 but no further goals came in the period.
Harai struck again, this time on extra-man attack in the second quarter off a cross-pass past the nose of Montenegrin goalkeeper Milos Scepanovic. Harai rose high, just 30cm from goal, and swept the ball in for 3-0 at 5:18. Darko Brguljan brought life into the Montenegro supporters with a shot from the wide left, falling on his back as two defenders approached. He skipped the ball cross the cage for 3-1 at 3:07.
Norbert Hosnyanszky had his penalty attempt blocked by Scepanovic and soon after Aleksandar Ivovic had his 18th goal of the championship from the top for 3-2 at halftime.
Antonio Petrovic drew Montenegro level on the first attack of the third period. Marton Vamos thundered back and Ugo Crousillat replied for Montenegro and 4-4.
Marton Szivos tipped in a pass down the line at 5:05 to give Hungary the lead, which it solidified through Daniel Varga from right-hand catch. Adam Decker (HUN) went for three major fouls and Filip Klikovac converted the extra play by dragging the ball down on the far-post position, making it 6-5 by the third break.
Hungary gained a timeout and converted through Hosnyanszky on extra, sending it cross-cage to the bottom right for 7-6 at 5:12. Ivovic scored after an extra-man play expired. The Szivos connected with his sparkling effort for the ultimate prize. The final shot of the match was taken by Darko Brguljan and who was there to smash the ball backwards? Nagy, of course, for his 12th save.
Match 44: 22:15, Classification 1-2, Gold, HUNGARY 8 MONTENEGRO 7
Quarters: 2-0, 1-2, 3-3, 2-2
Referees: Sergio Borrell (ESP), Boris Margeta (SLO).
Extra Man: HUN: 3/8 (3/9). MNE: 2/7 (2/12).
Pens: HUN: 0/1.
HUNGARY: Viktor Nagy, Miklos Gor-Nagy, Norbert Madaras, Bence Batori, Marton Vamos (1), Norbert Hosnyanszky (1), Adam Decker, Marton Szivos (2), Daniel Varga (1), Denes Varga (1), Krisztian Bedo, Balazs Harai (2), Attila Decker. Head Coach: Tibor Benedek.
MONTENEGRO: Zdravko Radic, Drasko Brguljan, Vjekoslav Paskovic, Antonio Petrovic (1), Darko Brguljan (1), Ugo Crousillat (1), Mladan Janovic, Nikola Janovic, Aleksandar Ivovic (3), Sasa Misic, Filip Klikovac (1), Predrag Jokic, Milos Scepanovic. Head Coach: Ranko Perovic.
Norbert Madaras (HUN):
"We are very happy, it´s nice to get this feeling again for me since I also won here 10 years ago. We are a new team and it´s so great what we have achieved."
Adam Decker (HUN):
“This is the best day of my life, it’s unbelievable. We have been working hard year by year, we have got tough games against Montenegro, Croatia, and the last days have been hard for us. I can ´t believe that we are champions; maybe tomorrow I will believe it.”
Miklos Gor-Nagy (HUN):
“I can’t describe the feeling I have after winning this championship. In a water polo final we expect it to be very close, so I was not surprised that at certain points we were equal. But the team and the coach knew we had to push till the end.”
Nikola Janovic (MNE):
“Congratulations to Hungary. We should be happy, for such a small country against European giants we have done very well. We should really be happy for this achievement but it is hard to be.”
Aleksandar Ivovic (MNE):
“It is difficult to speak because we lost, but I am happy with the medal I received personally. Even though it is silver it has helped us to believe in ourselves again; we have gained more than just a medal in this tournament — what we have gained within us is more important.”
Sasa Misic (MNE):
“This is a very painful feeling and difficult to express. But this is sport, it has its electric highs and horrific lows, and that´s why people come to watch it. Perhaps it would be better to win bronze because at least you´re winning something whereas with silver we have lost.”
Ranko Perovic (MNE Head Coach):
“This was our chance to win our first ever gold medal, but it wasn’t meant to be, nothing was going right for us. We started badly and ended up chasing their score for the entire game and on top of that we lacked the luck we needed in the last moment.”
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