Four big derbies were on the program on the 2nd day at the European Men’s U19 Championships in Podgorica.
Spain, Croatia, Serbia and Hungary recorded wins. Spain, Croatia and Serbia mathematically secured top spots in their respective groups, while only a miracle can move the Hungarians from 1st place in Group D. The four first-placed teams will advance to the quarterfinals directly.
Spain defeated the Netherlands 11:9 after a big battle. Croatia recorded a convincing 12:7 victory over Italy. The most exciting match of the day was an encounter between Greece and Serbia. The Serbs collected three points with a narrow 13:12 victory. Hungary beat host Montenegro more convincing than expected – 17:8
Day 2, results – Group A: Czech Republic – Malta 9:13, Spain – Netherlands 11:9. Group B: Slovakia – Georgia 9:15, Croatia – Italy 12:7, Group C: Germany – Romania 18:6, Greece – Serbia 12:13. Group D: France – Turkey 11:6, Montenegro – Hungary 8:17.
2022 European Men’s Championships, Podgorica, Day 2
Spain – Netherlands 11:9 (3:3,1:2, 4:3, 3:1)
The Dutch proved that the Netherlands’ water polo had made significant progress in all age categories, but they didn’t surprise Spain.
Two minutes and a half before the first break, the Spaniards had a 3:1 lead. In the following eight minutes, they couldn’t find the net, while the Dutch scored four goals and turned a 2-goal deficit into a 5:3 lead. Romero ended Spain’s goalless phase and closed the first quarter with an action goal for 4:5.
The teams were trading goals in the third period. Spain leveled at 5:5, 6:6, and 7:7, but the Netherlands responded on each occasion and regained a 1-goal lead. Still, the Dutch had no answer after Castro found the net from the deep left for 8:8.
Lopez gave Spain a 9:8 lead in the 26th minute. Castro added the third goal to his tally three and a half minutes before the final buzzer. He fired the ball from a distance and doubled his team’s lead to 10:8. A minute and a half before the end, Snel boosted the Dutch’s hopes with a goal from a counterattack. But, in the next possession, Gil scored for 11:9 and Spain secured three points.
Czech Republic – Malta 9:13 (2:3, 1:3, 1:3, 5:4)
Malta earned a 3:0 lead quickly. The Czech Republic cut the deficit to one goal (2:3). The Maltese took control in the second period, and they were building a big lead step-by-step. Before the final quarter, it stood 9:4. Malta killed the Czechs’ last hope with two goals in the first two minutes of the final quarter and went to 11:4.
Standings: 1. Spain 6, 2. Netherlands 3, 3. Malta 3, 4. Czech Republic 0.
Day 3 (September 20): Spain – Czech Republic (11:40), Netherlands – Malta (16:20)
Croatia – Italy 12:7 (3:3, 2:2, 5:1, 2:1)
The derby of Group B was a game with two completely different halves. In the first two periods, the teams were in an equal battle. Italy got off to a better start and took a 3:1 lead. After that, the Croats produced a 3:0 series. In the 10th minute, they went in front for the first time. Croatia earned a man-up in the counterattack, and Radic took advantage of the confusion in Italy’s defense to give his team a 4:3 lead. Italy leveled twice (4:4 and 5:5), but Croatia played excellently in the third period and built a 4-goal advantage before the final quarter (10:6). Italy couldn’t come back.
The Croats shut off Italy’s best player Francesco Condemi, who had a poor percentage of shots (1/7). Noa Burburan led Croatia’s attack with four goals. He scored three from a penalty, but he added two assists and deserved to be picked as the player of the match.
Slovakia – Georgia 9:15 (2:3, 3:5, 3:0, 1:7)
Both teams had ups and downs in today’s match. The game was an even contest until 5:5. The Georgians scored three goals in a row in the last four minutes of the first half and built an 8:5 lead. But, Slovakia responded in the same way, scoring three unanswered goals in the third period leveling at 8:8.
Georgia opened the fourth period with two goals in the first two minutes. Then came two goals from penalty shots for the Georgians, and they doubled an advantage – 12:8. In the middle of the quarter, they added two action goals within 25 seconds, and that was the end of the contest. At the finish of the game, Saba Tkeshelashvilli, the player of the match, added his 7th goal, this time from a counterattack. Georgia stretched the margin to seven – 15:8. Tabacar ended his team’s goalless phase, scoring for the final score – 9:15.
Standings: 1. Croatia 6, 2. Italy 3, 3. Georgia 3, 4. Slovakia 0
Day 3 (September 20):Croatia – Slovakia (13:00), Italy – Georgia (17:40)
Greece – Serbia 12:13 (4:5, 1:3, 4:2, 3:3)
Serbia dictated the pace for most of the first half. It seemed that they would secure a win without many problems. At the finish of the second quarter, left-handed Urosevic converted a man-up, and four goals separated the rivals for the first time – 8:4. Still, Almyras replied from a 6 on 5 immediately.
Early in the third period, Serbia had a 9:6 lead, but the Greeks managed to reduce the gap to one goal (9:10), and even had a chance to level before the last break, but Serbia kept a minimal advantage until the last break.
The fourth period turned into a real thriller. Gavrilovic doubled the Serbs’ advantage with a nice goal in the 26th minute – 11:9. In the last three minutes, the Serbs started making huge mistakes and paid for it. In the 29th minute, they lost the ball, and the Greeks started a counter-attack. Pouros noticed that Serbia’s goalkeeper was far from his goal, and sent the ball into an unguarded net from eight meters. Immediately after, Serbia wasted a man-up, and Greece started a new counterattack. They earned a man-up in that possession. Pouros converted it to 11:11. Shortly after, Pouros added his third goal within 2:12 minutes – again with a power play advantage, and Greece went ahead for the first time – 12:11.
However, the Serbs managed to take all three points. Brescanski leveled at 12:12. Captain Vasilije Martinovic fired the ball from a distance with a man-up for 13:12 with 26 seconds left on the clock. The Greeks failed to score in their last attack and left the pool empty-handed.
Greece’s Evangelos Pouros was the best scorer (four goals), while Marko Dimitrijevic scored three for Serbia.
Germany – Romania 18:6 (7:0, 3:2, 5:1, 3:3)
The Germans stunned the Romanians with a 7:0 first quarter, but they didn’t slow after the first break. They went to 9:0 in the 12th minute. Romania couldn’t recover from that shock. By the end of the third period, Germany, led by Aleks Sekulic (4 goals), stretched the margin to 12 (15:3). The fourth period saw three goals on both ends of the pool.
An almost perfect extra-player shots conversion (9/11) was one of the keys to the Germans’ victory.
Standings: 1. Serbia 6, 2. Greece, 3. Germany 3, 4. Romania 0.
Day 3: Greece- Germany (9:00), Serbia – Romania (15:00)
Montenegro – Hungary 8:17 (3:4, 1:4,2:4, 2:5)
The Hungarians played excellently and demonstrated they had arrived in Podgorica to win a medal. The teams were in a neck-and-neck race for more than a quarter. Then, the Hungarians produced a 4:0 run and earned a big 8:4 lead by halftime. Until the end, they stretched the margin to nine.
Montenegro had an opening 1:0 and 2:1 lead, but Hungary was ahead (4:3) before the second period. The hosts leveled at 4:4 in the 9th minute – Vujosevic converted a man-up for 4:4. But, after that, the Hungarians tightened their defense, while the attack was up to the task. Hungary, led by Matyas Meszaros, scored four straight goals before the middle break to earn a solid 8:4 advantage.
Montenegro reduced the gap to three twice in the third period (5:8, 6:9), but the Hungarians held back all Montenegro’s comeback attempts. They scored three goals in the last three and a half minutes of this period and went to 12:6. As usual, the Hungarians played a full speed until the last buzzer. Their last goal came just 12 seconds before the end when Tatrai set the final score 17:8.
Matyas Meszaros was the best player on the winning team. He scored six goals and delivered two assists.
Turkey – France 6:11 (0:0, 3:4, 2:5, 1:2)
Both teams missed too many chances in the first quarter. Turkey’s Arman Sonay broke the deadolock in the 9th minute. However, France found its rhythm and earned a 4:2 lead, but the Turks halved the distance before the middle break. The teams exchanged goals at the beginning of the second half before France scored three unanswered goals in three minutes. The French went to 8:4 and controlled the match until the end.
Standings: 1. Hungary 6, 2. Montenegro 3, 3. France 3, 4. Turkey 0.
Day 3 (September 20): Hungary – France (10:20), Montenegro – Turkey (19:00)