Serbia 2012 European champions

print | Sunday 29 January 2012, 16:42 | Tim Hartog

Serbia is the new European champion. The Serbs defeated Montenegro in a tense final 9-8 on Sunday in front of a sell-out Pieter van den Hoogenband Swim statium. The absence of the Montenegrin centre-forward Boris Zlokovic, due to a hand injury, and a poor shooting performance by top scorer Mladjan Janovic caused difficulties for the 2008 European champions although they sticked with Serbia until the very end of the match. With less than a minute to play, Serbian centre-back Milan Aleksic got his third exclusion but after a Ranko Perovic called time-out, his team was unable to convert the power play as Nikola Janovic at the left 2-meter position was defended very well and could not fire the ball he had received to score. The eventually prooved winning goal was made beautifully by the Serbian captain Vanja Udovicic on a power play with just over a minute to play. The 2012 title is the first for Serbia since their 2006 championship in Belgrade, Serbia.

After a nervous start and a very levelled game, Serbia seemed to decided the match in their favour in the fourh quarter when they took an 7-5 and 8-6 lead but Partizan-player Aleksandar Radovic scored three consecutive goals that got Montenegrin back in the game twice before Vanja Udovicic hit the winner with 1.12 to play.

Mladjan Janovic was awarded Best Player of the Tournament just before the medal ceremony.

Serbia - Montenegro 9-8 (1-1, 2-3, 3-1, 3-3)

Serbia: Soro, Šaponjić, Gocić, Udovičić 2, Ćuk, Pijetlović 1, Nikić, Aleksić 1, Radjen 1, Filipović 1, Prlainović 1 , S.Mitrović 2, B.Mitrović. Head coach: Udovičić.

Montenegro: Radić, Brguljan, Pasković 1, Petrović, Klikovac, Radović 3, N.Janović 1, M.Janović, Ivović 2, Zlokovi1ć, Gojković 1, Jokić, Šćepanović. Head coach: Perović.

Photographer: Henk Swinkels

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