Hungary won the bronze medal at the European Men’s U19 Championships in Podgorica.
The Hungarian juniors beat Greece 10:7 in the third-place match. The first half was an even contest, but Hungary played much better in defense in the third and fourth periods. The Hungarians conceded only two goals in the second half, and that was vital for their victory.
Croatia defeated Italy 14:11 in the 5th-place match.
Host Montenegro finished in 7th place after a narrow 13:12 win over Germany.
For all the results, visit Total Waterpolo Arena
Hungary – Greece 10:7 (2:1, 3:4, 3:1, 2:1)
Vismeg scored an opening goal in the 3rd minute. Two and a half minutes before the end of the first period, Gkillas equalized from a penalty shot, but Vigvari responded immediately and gave Hungary a 2:1 advantage by converting a man-up.
Greece turned around a deficit to a lead with three goals in 02:22 minutes. Gkillas leveled at 2:2 (again from e penalty), Lykoudis added an action goal, and Almyras converted a man-up. In the 12th minute, Greece led 4:2.
Hungary erased the deficit with two quick goals. Georgias put Greece in front (5:4), but not for long. In the next possession, Hungary earned a man-up, which Tatrai converted to 5:5.
So, the teams entered the second half from the same starting positions.
The Hungarians regained a lead after 19 seconds of play in the third quarter. They won a swim-off. Molnar assisted with a long pass to Meszaros, who scored for 6:5. The Hungarians tightened its defense, which had a positive effect on their play in the opponent’s half of the field. After Meszaros’ goal, Varga added one. Szalai found the net from a distance and Hungary went to 8:5 (22nd minute). The Greeks couldn’t come back after that 0:3 series. Georgaras converted a 6 on 5 for 6:8, but Hungary controlled the match. There were no signs of a possible Greece comeback.
Vince Vigvari scored with an extra player in the 26th minute for 9:6. The Hungarians’ defense was up to the task until the end. Three minutes before the final buzzer, Gkillas narrowed the margin (7:9). Still, Greece didn’t go further. Erik Molnar, the most experienced player on the Hungarian team, decided everything. He netted from the left for 10:7 with 59 seconds left on the clock, and it was clear that bronze would go to Hungary.
Szalai, Vigvari and Vismeg scored two goals each for Hungary. Nikolas Gkillas was the best scorer with three goals, but he scored all three from penalty shots.
Italy – Croatia 11:14 (4:5, 0:3, 3:2, 4:4)
The first quarter produced a balanced battle with a lot of goals. Seventeen seconds before the first break, Hrvoje Zvono scored with a power-play advantage and opened the series which decided the outcome. The Croats scored three goals in the first four minutes of the second quarter, they went to 8:4. Italy put a lot of effort into a comeback, but it couldn’t catch up with the Croats.
Croatia kept an 8:4 lead by the middle break, and stretched the margin to five in the third quarter (9:4 and 10:5), but Italy reduced the gap to three (7:10) before the final quarter. The Croats maintained a 3-goal difference for a while. In the 30th minute, Francesco Condemi scored from a penalty to make it 11:13 and wake up the Italians’ hope. But, a minute after, Ivusa Burdjelez finished Croatia’s nice power-play attack with a goal for 14:11, and there was no dilemma about who would win.
Croatia played very well throughout the tournament, but one narrow loss (to Greece in the quarters – 7:8) halted them on their way to a medal.
Burdjelez and Stojanac contributed to Croatia’s victory with three goals each, but Italy’s Francesco Condemi was the best scorer of the game with four goals.
Germany – Montenegro 12:13 (2:4,3:6, 5:2, 2:1)
Montenegro was far from its best, but the hosts defeated Germany and finished in 7th place.
Before the tournament, the home side had big expectations and medal hopes, which disappeared after a loss to Spain in the quarterfinals. Montenegro didn’t recover from that defeat and that was evident today. The home team displayed solid play in attack in the first half and entered the third period with a 10:5 advantage.
But, after the middle break, the Germans, who were better motivated, started dictating the pace. In the 29th minute, Aleks Sekulic scored his fifth goal today and leveled at 12:12. In the following minutes, both teams wasted a few chances (including man-ups). Ninety seconds before the final buzzer, David Stevovic managed to score from a 6 on 5 and put Montenegro in front (13:12). In the remaining minute and a half, the hosts kept the slim advantage. Germany had the last possession in the match but lost the ball.
Standings: 3. Hungary, 4. Greece, 5. Croatia, 6. Italy, 7. Montenegro, 8. Germany, 9. Netherlands, 10. Malta, 11. France, 12. Georgia, 13. Turkey, 14. Romania, 15. Czech Republic, 16. Slovakia
For all the results, visit Total Waterpolo Arena
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