Serbia recorded a win in the first official international water polo game in the world in 2023.
The New Year’s tournament in Texas continued with the match between Serbia and Spain at the SMU Robson and Lindley Aquatic Center in Dallas. The Serbs were better than Spain in a 26-goal game – 14:12.
This was the first win for Serbia at the tournament. Before beating Spain in Dallas, the Serbs lost both matches in the first half of the tournament (to Spain and the USA in the games in Lewisville).
Spain – Serbia 12:14 (1:2, 2:4, 5:6, 4:2)
Serbia: Dobozanov, Dimitrijevic, Pljevancic, Randjelovic 1, Lazic, Martinovic 3, Drasovic 3, Jaksic 2, Jankovic, Ubovic 2, Stojanovic 1, Vucinic 1, Mitrovic, Radulovic 1. Head coach: Stevanovic.
Spain: Aguirre, Valls, Granados 3, Sanahuja 2, Valera, Larumbe 2, Paul, Cabanas 1, Tahull Asensio, Mallarach 2, Bustos 2,Motos, Gomila. Head coach: Martin.
Serbia dictated the pace throughout the match. In the 1st minute, Ubovic gave Serbia a 1:0 lead. From that point on, the Serbs were always in front. Spain couldn’t equalize. The world championships cut the deficit to one goal twice in the first half (1:2 and 2:3). Still, the Serbs entered the second half with a 3-goal advantage (6:3).
Serbia went to 7:3 in its first possession in the third quarter. Nemanja Ubovic scored from a close-range shot after a good assist from Radomir Drasovic, and four goals separated the rivals for the first time. The third quarter produced 11 goals. However, the rhythm of the game didn’t change – Serbia was leading. The Serbs kept a 4-goal difference until the middle of the quarter (8:4). Spain halved the distance twice (6:8 and 7:9). Granados made it 7:9 in the 22nd minute. Still, after that goal, Serbia produced a 3:0 run (Jaksic and Drasovic 2). Drasovic scored from a counter-attack with 18 seconds left to play in this period and stretched the margin to five (12:7).
The world champions didn’t surrender after being five goals down and fought hard until the end. Sergi Cabanas closed the third quarter (8:12) and gave the Spaniards hope. Two and a half minutes before the final buzzer, Spain came very close to the rival when Bustos scored for 12:13. The Spaniards had an opportunity to equalize. Still, they lost the ball due to a turnover foul. At 00:54, Drasovic converted a man-up and set the final score. Serbia won 14:12.
Standings: 1. Spain 6 (3), 2. USA 3 (2), 3. Serbia 3 (3).
Spain and the USA will play in the fifth match of the tournament.