Men's World League 2014, Day 2: Montenegro scoreless for 21 minutes against rampant Serbia

World League

Serbia produced an inspired and unexpected 14-5 rout of neighbour Montenegro on the second day of the FINA Men’s Water Polo World League Super Final at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Sports Complex. The crowd was stunned as Serbia shut out Montenegro for an amazing 21 minutes and took the foot off the accelerator in the final quarter, which was drawn 4-4.

True, Montenegro is without three superstars, who will be back in time for the European Championships next month, but still had no access to the goal in what was textbook defence by Serbia. It was a highlight match, despite the score. Dusan Mandic, the youngest player at the 2012 London Olympic Games, was on fire with five goals, netting in each of the four quarters.

Earlier Brazil beat China 12-9 after being 7-0 up at one stage and China was scoreless in the first half. Hungary then beat Canada 10-3 but only took the lead for the first time 14 minutes into the match at 2-1.
The final match of the day witnessed a tight tussle with the United States of America keeping Australia to 3-3 at halftime before falling 8-4.

Match 5: 14:30, Group A, BRAZIL 12 CHINA 9
Quarters: 3-0, 5-0, 3-4, 1-5
Referees: Daniel Flahive (AUS), Balasz Fekete (HUN).

Extra Man: BRA:  6/8. CHN: 5/10
Pens: BRA: 1/1. CHN: 1/2.

BRAZIL: Vinicius Antonelli, Jonas Crivella (1), Guilherme Gomes (2), Gustavo Coutinho, Marcelo Franco (1), Bernardo Gomes (1), Adrian Delgado (1), Felipe Silva (4), Bernardo Rocha, Ruda Franco, Gustavo Guimaraes (2), Danilo Correa, Thye Bezerra. Head Coach: Ratko Rudic.
CHINA: Zhiwei Liang, Feihu Tan (3), Lun Li (1), Zekai Xie, Junliang Guo, Ning Pan, Zhongxian Chen, Liang Gu, Tao Dong, Jinghao Chen (1), Chufeng Zhang (2), Nianxiang Liang (2), Chengcheng Qiu. Head Coach: Paolo Malara.

Stung by a 15-5 loss to Montenegro on day one, Brazil showed it learned enough lessons to take the game to China and crash home goals. To keep China shut out of the match until halftime was a cruel blow for the Asians, but testament to a controlled, agile and fortified Brazil, playing under the tutelage of famed Croatian four-time Olympic champion coach Ratko Rudic. Brazil mastered three goals inside the first six minutes and then hammered home five more in the second quarter. China was not without chances, even having a penalty attempt late in the half, only for it to be shot into the chest of Vinicius Antonelli. Felipe Silva and Guilherme Gomes both scored twice in the onslaught. China’s first goal, and ultimate revival, came on counter in the opening minute of the third period when Jinghao Chen latched on to a long pass and scooped the ball into the net. It set China into action with Lun Li scoring and Chufeng Zhang netting twice for 9-4. Silva scored his fourth and Marcelo Franco made it 11-4 by the final break. China continued its rebound in the final quarter, winning it 5-1 with captain Feihu Tan scoring three and Nianxiang Liang two. After stealing nine goals off Serbia on day one, much more was expected from China.

BRA vs CHN - credit: Russell McKinnon


Ratko Rudic (CRO) — Brazil Head Coach
“We are happy with the result. We analysed yesterday’s game and found a lot of things we needed to improve on to get a good result. We prepared better and concentrated harder. We played serious and organised and we were strong in attack and defence with good shooting. We hope we will continue to improve. It was difficult to maintain the intensity from start to finish.”

Felipe Silva (BRA) — Four Goals

“The four goals is not the most important thing, it’s helping the defence that is our game. Our philosophy is that everyone can score. I did this today, tomorrow could be different. The Chinese squad always plays fine. They had a bad beginning today and in the last game they did the same and came back strongly.”

Paolo Malara (ITA) — China Head Coach
“It was a disaster and the team did not play well for the first two periods. The mentality and spirit were very bad. I have been with the team for the past three months and the team is slowly changing its attitude and mentality.”

Feihu Tan (CHN) — Captain
“In the first half we didn’t control our tempo on attack. In the second half we did better defence and found our way to the point of attack. We must have more attention on defence and from the beginning of the game.”

Match 6: 15:50, Group B, HUNGARY 10 CANADA 3
Quarters: 1-1, 3-0, 3-2, 3-0
Referees: Alexander Adzic (MNE), Hatem Gaber (EGY)

Extra Man: HUN: 2/2. CAN: 1/6.
Pens: HUN:

HUNGARY: Viktor Nagy, Miklos Gor-Nagy (1), Norbert Madaras (1), Balazs Erdelyi (1), Marton Vamos (2), Norbert Hosnyanszky (1), Daniel Angyal, Marton Szivos (1), Daniel Varga, Denes Varga (3), Marton Toth, Balazs Harai, Attila Decker. Head Coach: Tibor Benedek.
CANADA: Robin Randall, Constantine Kudaba, Oliver Vikalo, Nicolas Constantin-Bicari (2), Scott Robinson, Alec Taschereau, Kevin Graham (1), Dusan Radojcic, John Conway, Zacchary Kappos, Jared McElroy, Dusan Aleksic. Head Coach: Alex Beslin.

World champion Hungary came back from a siesta to win its second match of the tournament. Canada provided plenty of zest and vigour that was missing in the second half of its match against the United States of America on Day 1. The zeal was there and the 1-1 opening quarter showed that. Hungary did not assert any real authority until the final two minutes of the half when Marton Vamos, Norbert Madaras and Denes Varga scored, the first two from the left-handers’ position and Denes Varga with a lob. Goals were swapped with Canadian captain Kevin Graham on the biggest of counters, beating No 13 Attila Decker for 5-2. Denes Varga added two more for 7-2 before Nicolas Constantin-Bicari scored his second off a cross pass from point blank at 1:56. Hungary was still being made to work for the victory. The final quarter was all Hungary, easing home more than looking for a bucket full of goals. Canada missed Justin Boyd, who was sidelined with an elbow injury.

HUN vs CAN - credit: Russell McKinnon


Tibor Benedek (HUN) — Head Coach
“It was very strange. We have been the victim of improving water polo. Today (the refereeing) completely changed. The referee style without whistling changed everything. We try to make an emotional game of water polo with more moving play, but with this, I don’t understand. If you play pressing it becomes more physical and not a good way forward. I am not happy... with this style of refereeing.”

Denes Varga (HUN) — Three Goals

“It could have been better, but two victories are good. This is the minimum we expect from ourselves. We have a lot of young players and our coach has a lot of new ideas. Our defence is starting to be very massive. We have only conceded six goals in two games. Even against these not-strongest good teams it is our main goals to keep good defence. Our offence is normally very strong.”

Neil Muir (CAN) — Team Leader
“We tried to focus on defence today ads we know Hungary like to counter-attack so we just tried to build off the defence. We were disappointed and frustrated yesterday so we tried to focus on the positive and played three good quarters. The difference today was we didn’t convert extra-man chances. Going forward we just need to build up our defence.”

Nicolas Constantin-Bicari (CAN) — Two Goals
“It’s tough playing a team like Hungary, but it’s fun to test yourself. It’s good to prepare for tomorrow (against Australia). Defence was our main focus today against such a tough team. It was important to fill our systems against Hungary to prepare for tomorrow.”

Match 7: 17:10, Group A, SERBIA 14 MONTENEGRO 5
Quarters: 3-0, 2-0, 5-1, 4-4
Referees: Sergio Borrell (ESP), Filippo Gomez (ITA).

Extra Man: SRB: 3/4. MNE: 2/7
Pens: Nil

SERBIA: Gojko Pijetlovic, Dusan Mandic (5), Zivko Gocic, Sava Randelovic (1), Milos Cuk (1), Dusko Pijetlovic (3), Slobodan Nikic (1), Dusan Markovic, Nikola Raden, Filip Filipovic (2), Andrija Prlainovic, Stefan Mitrovic (1), Branislav Mitrovic. Head Coach: Dejan Savic.
MONTENEGRO: Zdravko Radic, Drasko Brguljan, Vjekoslav Paskovic (1), Antonio Petrovic (1), Darko Brguljan (1), Dragan Draskovic, Mladan Janovic (1), Uros Cuckovic (1), Jovan Saric, Nikola Murisic, Filip Klikovac, Predrag Jokic, Milos Scepanovic. Head Coach: Ranko Perovic.

This was definitely not one of the best efforts by Montenegro, but it was a superb showing by reigning champion Serbia. Montenegro is without three leading lights at this tournament and restructuring is a basic necessity in the team. Serbia was at the height of its powers and shutting Montenegro out of the match for an incredible 21 minutes was just massive. The procession of Serbian goals left Montenegro an innocent bystander. There was some fantastic work by a variety of players and Dusan Mandic, the youngest water polo player at the 2012 London Olympic Games, who then ventured to Australia for the FINA World Youth Championships later in the year, was the undoubted star in Dubai tonight. He scored in each of the first three quarters with two immediately after Montenegro made a scratch on the scoresheet. That pair was a mirror image from the left-hand-catch position, the first into the top and the second squeezed in the bottom right. His fifth came in the fourth. It was Vjekoslav Paskovic (MNE) who scored from deep left on counter for 8-1. The final period gave some glimmer to Montenegro as Antonio Petrovic deemed fit to blast in an outside shot into the top right for 10-2. Serbia netted twice more and then Montenegro doubled its scoring through Uros Cuckovic and Mladan Janovic. Pijetlovic responded from a deft turn at centre forward for 13-4 as the match came to its expected conclusion. Mandic lobbed Zdravko Radic inside the final two minutes. Darko Brguljan converted extra-man attack at 0:46 for a 4-4 quarter.

SRB vs MNE - credit: Russell McKinnon


Dejan Savic (SRB) — Head Coach

“Nobody expected this result. We played very well in defence and focused on that. It was a great game for us. This is a special game because we have the traditional competition between the two countries as we were united before. Both teams are in preparation for the Europeans. The key for us today was defence. Montenegro just had no solution to our defence and that was the problem for them.”

Dusan Mandic (SRB) — Five Goals
“I really don’t care about the goals. Almost three quarters we did not concede any goals. It’s a great victory. I hope we get to the final.”

Vjekoslav Paskovic (MNE) — Goal Scorer
“This match was in the middle of our preparation for the European Championships. Anyway, we couldn’t find a way to score in the first two quarters and if you play against a team like Serbia, you can’t come back from 5-0 down. Serbia has the two best left-handers on the road and we are playing without left-handers. They have an advantage. We also didn’t play without three main players. Today we just played bad.”

Quarters: 1-2, 2-1, 0-3, 1-2
Referees: Vojin Putnikovic (SRB), Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU).

Extra Man: USA: 0/10. AUS: 2/7.
Pens: Nil.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: McQuin Baron, Nick Bell, Alex Obert (1), Michael Rosenthal (1), Anthony Daboub, Conner Cleary, Josh Samuels, Bret Bonnani, Alex Bowen, Nolan McConnell, Jackson Kimbell, John Mann (2), Jon Sibley. Head Coach: Dejan Udovicic.
AUSTRALIA: James Clark, Richie Campbell (3), George Ford (1), John Cotterill (1), Nathan Power, Jarrod Gilchrist, Aidan Roach (2), Aaron Younger, Lachlan Edwards (1), Tyler Martin, Mitch Emery, William Miller, Edward Slade. Head Coach: Elvis Fatovic.

Australia survived dogged defence from the United States in the first half before unleashing its arsenal of shots in the second half for what was a comfortable first victory and vital for what could become second place in the group. There was no clear advantage in the first half, although two goals in just over a minute by Australia early in the opening quarter looked promising. However, the last five minutes failed to see a goal. Mike Rosenthal’s counter-attack goal at the start of the second quarter levelled the match at 2-2 and soon after Alex Obert fired in from seven metres to give USA the lead for the second time at 3-2. It took more than five minutes before the Aussie Sharks responded, through Aidan Roach after both coaches were dealt yellow cards. Roach turned the match in Australia’s favour with a second goal early in the third period and Australia was on the way. John Cotterill, the veteran of the team, having debuted at the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne, finished off a counter-attack, being the recipient of the third pass to score. George Ford scored off the left post on extra at 1:15, the final score of the period. USA worked hard to stem the tide and defended well, with another big shutout in the final quarter. Aussie skipper Richard Campbell sent in a cross-cage skip shot at 2:44. He repeated the dose on the next attack for 8-3 for his third strike. John Mann, who opened the scoring for USA, scored his second goal inside the final minute for 8-4.

USA vs CAN - credit: Russell McKinnon

Elvis Fatovic (CRO) — Australia Head Coach
“We’re happy with that. The big difference today was because we played strong defence. We have a chance against anyone if we have good defence. We also need experience. We have a young team and we are missing some key players, so what we really need is more hard games and now we are preparing to play Canada (Wednesday) and defence will be the key.”

Aidan Roach (AUS) — Two Goals

“It was a good win. We weren’t too happy with yesterday (loss to Hungary). Today’s game showed that when we play defence we can play with any team in the world.”

Dejan Udovicic (SRB) — USA Head Coach
“Our man-up (attack) was terrible. This cost us the result. I cannot be satisfied with our performance.”

John Mann (USA) — Two Goals
“You are always disappointed when you lose. You don’t play sport to lose. We are working on a lot of things in the team and building until the end of the summer. Being young is not an excuse and we have to come out and win games and have to execute. We have a ton of skill and a lot of kids and the young men are exceptional players and I actually believe in our future. It’s always good to play and battle against teams you know and set a benchmark with, and with coach Dejan (Udovicic) we’re growing so much and learning so much. We came here to win as many games as we can and finish in the top two.”