© Russel McKinnon

Serbia-Italy gold-medal final at FINA Junior Men’s World Championships

Almaty, September 11.— Serbia will play Italy for the gold medal on the ninth day of the FINA Junior Men’s World Water Polo Championships. Serbia pounced on Greece for a 16-8 victory and Italy held out Hungary 12-10 to set up the enticing finale. In the round 5-8 semifinals, Spain defeated Croatia 12-7 and Montenegro came from an early deficit to beat Australia 15-9.

In the classification matches where teams gained their final positions and depart the tournament, Iran beat South Africa 15-11 for 17th; China beat Uzbekistan 23-22 for 15th in a penalty shootout after the match was tied at 19-19; Japan downed Canada 27-12 for 13th; Netherlands headed off Mexico 19-9 for 11th and Kazakhstan struck out Egypt 18-10 for ninth.

Saturday’s schedule:

Classification 7-8
69.    11:10        CRO        v       AUS

Classification 5-6
70.    12:30        ESP          v       MNE

Classification 3-4
71.    13:50        GRE          v       HUN

Classification 1-2
71.    15:10        SRB          v       ITA

World Men's Junior Championships
Almaty (KAZ)

Friday 11-09:

Classification 1-4 Semifinal

Match 67: 19:40, GREECE 8 SERBIA 16
Quarters: 2-5, 2-3, 2-3, 2-5

Referees: Jaume Teixido (ESP), Nick Hodgers (AUS).

Extra Man: GRE: 2/9. SRB: 8/17.

Pens: Nil

GREECE: Emmanouil Zerdevas, Nikolaos Kopeliadis (1), Michail Sartzetakis, Angelos Foskolos (3), Stylianos Argyropoulos-Kanakkis (2), Dmitrios Nicolaidis (1), Panteleimon Kalogerakos, Grigorios Kapetanakis, , Alexandros Athymaritis (1), Rafail Forotzidis. Head Coach: Theodoros Chatzitheodorou.

SERBIA: Lazar Dobozanov, Mateja Arsanovic (3), Mihajlo Repanovic (1), Gavril Subotic (4), Ivan Gvozdanovic, Drasko Gogov (1), Nebojsa Toholj (4), Marko Manojlovic (2), Filip Radojevic (1), Milan Vitorovic. Head Coach: Vladimir Vujasinovic.

Match report:
Serbia struck the first blow in the semifinal stakes with a handsome victory over Greece. This was a match played by veterans rather than youngsters, although as youngsters tend to be more headstrong, tempers frayed and referees reacted. Greece finished the match with no substitutes and as the past few days have shown, there have nearly been more players in the stands than in the pool. The first red card was delivered to Nikolaos Kopeliadis at 1:14 in the second quarter. The next red cards were a double exclusion with substitution on Greece’s Grigorios Kapetanakis and Serbia’s Marko Manojlovic at 2:03 in the third period. No greater goal was scored than at 11-5 after a timeout. The ball came straight from Drasko Gogov at point to Manojlovic at centre forward. He popped up, caught, twisted and drilled with Greece unable to defend. Manojlovic enjoyed only seconds more before being red-carded. By now Serbia was well on the way to the final. Despite the loss of Radomir Drasovic, who is serving a two-match suspension for a brutality foul from Thursday, Serbia and Greece played the seven-man game with one player less. Greece was also without excellent shooter Christos Papoukas, serving a suspension. There were gaps and they were taken. Greece fought for every goal and its focus was more mainline unlike in the quarterfinal clash with Croatia where tempers frayed, causing many problems, especially for the latter. In the fourth period there were more officials on the bench than players — not hard considering there was only one reserve left. Angelos Foskolos narrowed it to 11-7, but Gavril Subotic responded on the next attack. Greece had trouble getting the ball through the defence whereas Nebojsa Toholj had no trouble from two metres for 13-7 just inside the five-minute mark. On a Serbian timeout at 3:14, Greece head coach Theodoros Chatzitheodorou was red-carded for remonstrating with the referee and Toholj quickly converted the extra-man for 14-7 and his fourth of the match. Foskolos worked off the left post to score at 2:42 for 8-14. Mihajlo Repanovic converted extra-man attack for 15-8 at the two-minute mark approached and Chatzitheodorou forlornly watched on in the stands with three of his excluded players beside him. Foskolos was red-carded with 34 seconds left while on attack. Now there were no substitutes on the bench. Subotic converted for 16-8 and his fourth goal and it was all over. Serbia was definitely going to finish better than bronze two years ago.

Match 68: 21:00, HUNGARY 10 ITALY 12
Quarters: 2-4, 3-2, 2-3, 3-3

Referees: Andrej Franulovic (CRO), Mikhail Dykman (CAN).

Extra Man:  To come

Pens: Nil

Classification 5-8 Semifinal

Match 66: 18:20, MONTENEGRO 15 AUSTRALIA 9

Quarters: 6-5, 3-1, 3-2, 3-1

Referees: Luca Bianco (ITA), Daniel Vazquez (MEX).

Extra Man: MNE: 4/12. AUS: 5/8.

Pens: AUS: 0/1.

MONTENEGRO: Arsenije Stanovic, Ugjesa Vukasovic (1), Dorde Bulatovic (1), Dusan Matkovic, Matija Brguljan (2), Nicolas Saveljic (5), Danilo Adzic (2), Stefan Porobic (2), Filip Gardasevic, Janko Krivokapic (2), Milija Mandic. Head Coach: Zoran Maslovar.

AUSTRALIA: Anthony Hrysanthos, Nicholas Brooks (1), Angus Lambie (1), Christopher Perrott, William Armstrong (2), Jordan Kremers-Taylor (2), William Mackay, Leo Hurley (1), Andrew Ford (2), James Smith, Sam Cocokios. Head Coach: Slobodan Macic.

Match Report:
Montenegro eased into the play-off for fifth with Spain thanks to a solid match with Australia. The Aussies led 5-3 late in the first quarter until Montenegro scored twice to level before the break. The first four goals by Australia were on extra-man attack. Montenegro took the match by the scruff and went out to 9-6 by halftime, despite Dorde Bulatovic being sent with a red card. Australia dragged it back to three twice in the third. Montenegro, with the match wrapped up, went out to 15-8 and Australia closed the scoring. Nicolas Saveljic was on fire down the left side, scoring five goals and generally being a threat when ever he touched the ball. Three Aussies scored twice and six players scored altogether. Both teams could be happy with their standard of play.

Match 65: 17:00, CROATIA 7 SPAIN 12
Quarters: 1-2, 2-2, 5-4, 1-4

Referees: Balazs Szekely (HUN), Liang Zhang (CHN).

Extra Man: CRO: 4/9. ESP: 4/10.

Pens: Nil


CROATIA: Marin Sparada, Loren Fatovic (2), Rino Buric, Andro Gagulic, Antun Goreta (2), Andrija Basic (2), Luka Lozina, Ivan Zovic (1), Ivan Zivkovic, Marin Jukic. Assistant Coach: Gulin Nikica.

SPAIN: Miguel Linares, Sergei Cabanas (2), Guillem Garcia (2), Marc Corbalan (2), Xavi Serra (1), Alvaro Granados (1), Borsa Fenoy (1), Agusti Pericas (1), Roger Tahull (1), Alesandro Bustos (1), Alfonso Lopez-Saez. Head Coach: Quim Colet.

Match report:
Croatia continued its downward slide in this year’s competition, losing out to Spain. Croatia was missing two key people. Antonio Buha was absent from the Croatian team, serving the first of a two-match suspension for brutality the day before. And head coach Miho Bobic, also red-carded in Thursday’s clash with Greece, will see no further part in the tournament. Assistant Coach Gulin Nikica took the reins today, as he will probably on the final day. Spain went 2-0 up and allowed Croatia to level at two and three before taking a 4-3 lead (obtained at 4:20) into the third period.  The lead stretched to 6-3 before Croatia broke a near nine-minute drought for 4-6. Spain went to 8-4 and gave two back to Croatia before the final break. Loren Fatovic drew Croatia to within one early in the fourth, but there the hopes of the nation died as Spain controlled up front, defended well and went to 11-7, letting Croatia in at 0:21 remaining. Spain’s ability to survive and play well is not just at the doorstep of goalkeeper Miguel Linares, but right down the team. Eight players scored, showing that depth is all important. Andrija Basic looked strong at the top for two goals, but big centre forward Luke Lozina was contained by the Spanish. The control of both teams was shown through the major fouls where everyone finished the match and only a yellow card was issued to the Croatian assistant coach.

Classification 11-12

Match 63: 15:40, MEXICO 9 NETHERLANDS 19

Quarters: 1-4, 3-4, 3-5, 2-6

Referees: Kunihiro Sato (JPN), Viktor Salnichenko (KAZ).

Extra Man: MEX: 4/9. NED: 4/5.

Pens: Nil.

MEXICO: Alfredo de la Mova, Hazed Veya, Raul Vargus, Raul Muniz (1), Rodrigo Avalos, Sinahi Gonzalez (3), Arturo Ocejo (2), Alexey Grubnik, Diego Mercado (2), Jorge Cervantes (1), Isaac Contreras. Head Coach: Raul de la Pena.

NETHERLANDS: Milan Koff, Kjeld Veenhuis (3), Guus van Iperen (4), Sam Burg (1), Guus Wolswinkel (1), Tarik Scherrenburg (3), Harmen Muller (1), Pascal Janssen, Bilal Gbadamassi (2), Benjamin Hoepelman (4), Brent Hofmeyer. Head Coach: Jacob Spijker.

Match Report:

Netherlands goes home with 11th place after a strong showing against Mexico. The only other time it competed at this level was when it finished sixth in 1989. Guus van Iperen did not see out the match, instead watching from the stands after being suspended late in the third period in which he scored two of his four goals. The Dutch seemed to be enjoying the match, playing in the right spirit on their final day of action. Eight field players scored goals with standout shooter and centre forward Benjamin Hoepelman joining Iperen as a four-goaler. Sinai Gonzalez took three for Mexico, which finished 17th in 2007, the last time it played in the 20-and-under tournament.

Classification 9-10

Match 64: 14:00, KAZAKHSTAN 18 EGYPT 10

Quarters: 4-1, 4-4, 3-3, 7-2

Referees: Haldun Toygarli (TUR), Ulrich Spiegel (GER).

Extra Man: KAZ: 10/20. EGY: 5/11.

Pens: KAZ: 1/1.

KAZAKHSTAN: Aleksandr Lopatkin, Stanislav Shvedov (3), Ruslan Akhmetov (1), Sultan, Shonzhigitov, Miras Aubakirov (1), Sergey Bogomolov, Maxim Zhardan (5), Egor Berbelyuk (3), Altay Altayev (2), Yulian Verdesh (2), Valeriy Shlemov. Head Coach: Nemanja Knezevic.

EGYPT: Omara Osama, Moustafa Essmat, Aly Elaassar, Mahmoud Tarek (1), Ahmed Barakat (1), Abdelrahman Haroun (2), Ahmed Sherif (2), Hassan Haroun (1), Karim Mahmoud, Mahomed Mohsen (3), Marwan Ayman. Head Coach: Denes Lukacs.

Match report:

Egypt was embroiled in controversy for the second consecutive day, when it went down 18-10 to Kazakhstan. Egypt had six of its 11 players excluded from the match with the last in the final second. Two were suspended and it seemed that the biggest Egyptian bench was just over the rails near the poolside bench. Assistant coach Aly Haroun was sitting out the match, but was very animated throughout. The ejected players started joining him and were soon surrounded by security guards. After the match finished, the nearest referee was shadowed and shouted at by all the team and as he walked away two Egyptian players allegedly threw a bottle and ball at him. Someone in the stands also pelted him with a water bottle. It was a sad ending to an excellent match played by Kazakhstan, always in front, borne from a 3-0 start. Kazakhstan finished off strongly as the frustrated Egyptians lost concentration in the final period. Kazakhstan was not blameless with Altay Altayev suspended and two team-mates gaining three major fouls and two more sitting on a pair. Tarek Mamoud gained his second suspension in two days — when 8-11 down early in the final quarter — while Hassan Haroun was suspended when 9-16 behind. Altayev was binned in between the two Egyptians. Seven players from each team scored goals with the best Maxim Zhardan for the home team with five. Kazakhstan was 15th two years ago so this was a huge leap. Ninth position is its best since 11th in 1995. Egypt was 15th in Volos, Greece in in 2011, its last outing at this level.

Classification 13-14

Match 62: 12:40, JAPAN 27 CANADA 12

Quarters: 6-3, 7-3, 6-2, 8-4

Referees: Michail Skalochoritis (GRE), Amirhossein Safabakhash (IRI).

Extra Man: JPN: 5/9. CAN: 4/10.

Pens: JPN: 3/3.

JAPAN: Kazuki Hashimoto, Kenta Araki (2), Mitsuru Takata (2), Shuma Kawamoto (2), Shotaro Yamada (3), Daichi Nagano (2), Shu Hamada (3), Seiya Adachi (9), Miki Sato (4), Kohei Inaba, Ryosuke Oshima. Head Coach: Yoshinori Shiota.

CANADA: Samuel Reiber, Giordano Marconuto, Maxime Schapowal, Gaelan Patterson, Matthew Halajian (3), Julien Allard (1), Paule Kotarac (1), Sean Spooner (3), Jeremie Blanchard (2), Aria Suleimanipak (2), Benjamin Bolduc. Head Coach: Nikola Maric.

Match Report:

Canada had no answer to the speed and inventiveness of the Japanese, who swam away with the match. Canada was three down at the first break was still in the match at 5-6 and 6-8, however, five goals in less than five minutes had the game sewn up for Japan and a healthy 13-6 halftime advantage. Four of Japan’s seven were scored by Seiya Adachi, who also claimed three in the final period for a tally of nine. He also scored nine goals against China on the fifth day of competition and closed the tournament with 28. Only two other players have scored double figures here in Almaty. Canada was still fighting at the end, scoring four goals within four minutes. Mathew Halajian and Sean Spooner, before he was fouled out, scored three each for Canada and Halajian, in particular, was a standout during the event. In Hungary two years ago, Japan was ninth and Canada 11th.

Classification 15-16

Match 61: 11:20, UZBEKISTAN 22 CHINA 23 In penalty shootout (FT: 19-19. Pens: 3-4)

Quarters: 1-2, 6-7, 7-6, 5-4. Pens: 3-4

Referees: Michael Baty (RSA), Daniel Daners (URU).

Extra Man: UZB: 6/12. CHN: 4/11.

Pens: UZB: 1/2.

UZBEKISTAN: Radion Knabibullaev, Mirjalol Nagmatov, Doniyor Umarov, Artur Kim, Maksim Krakhotin, Aleksey Zaytsev, Kirill Rustamov, Egor Chumachenko, Grorgiy Mamedov, Aleksey Massel, Khayotson Rakhimov. Head Coach: Aleksandr Sokolov.

CHINA: Guozheng Wei, Zekai Xie, Zhongxzan Chen, Jiahao Peng, Rongkun Lie, Bezyi Wang, Yingyi Gao, Rui Chen, Yi Lu, Dong Ni, Xiang Fu. Head Coach: Yaohua Chen.

Match report:
China needed a penalty shootout to beat Uzbekistan in the play-off for 15th place. In fact, China beat Kirill Rustamov, the machine gun for hire as he totalled a competition-high and possibly a record for this event with 15 goals. Held scoreless in a rather timid first quarter, Rustamov, who came into the match with 41 goals, scored four in the second quarter and then a staggering seven in the third and then a subdued three in the fourth. He blasted in his penalty attempt as Uzbekistan and China both missed early attempts before the final Uzbek player bounced his shot into the bar to give China the shootout 4-3. While China was recalcitrant in gifting Rustamov so many fouls at the five-metre line, it was also sad that it gave up so many good advantages. It was three up four times in the second quarter and twice in the third before Uzbekistan drew the match level at 12-12, 13-13 and then one down at the final break. With Rustamov almost wearing his arm out, China set about going three up again at 5:58. At 3:26, the score was 17-17 and 18-18 at 2:31. Uzbekistan went into the lead, for only the second time (3-2) at 2:00. China had to come back, scoring through the brilliant Zhongxzan Chen for his seventh at 0:36. China went to a timeout and gained a foul at five metres, but inexplicably the player did not shoot, instead sending the ball to the right side of the pool and then back out to seven metres for that player to shoot and miss. A wasted opportunity meant the penalty shootout. China’s Rui Chen was another in the goals with five as China used seven players to score. Rustamov will go home a hero with his 55 goals, plus one in the shootout for a total of 56 and finishes as the top goal-scorer and with it, inclusion to the Media All Star team. He was indeed a star at this tournament. Chinese head coach Yaohua Chen did not see out the match, gaining a red card at 3:26 in the final quarter. China was 12th in 1999, the last time it competed at this level and has a best result of 10th from 1987. Uzbekistan’s best was 12th in 2013.

Classification 17-18

Match 60: 10:00, SOUTH AFRICA 11 IRAN 15

Quarters: 5-5, 0-3, 3-3, 3-4

Referees: Miodrag Stefanovic (SRB), Radu Matache (ROU).

Extra Man: RSA: 4/7. IRI: 5/7.

Pens: RSA: 0/1.


SOUTH AFRICA: Gareth May, Roarke Olver, Tim Rezelman (2), Shane Fourie (2), Claudio Fernandes, Nicholas Downes (1), Jason Evezard (5), Liam Neill (1), Keanan Alexander, Wyatt Edwards, Themba Mthembu. Head Coach: Jason Sileno.

IRAN: Hamed Karimi, Masoud Ahmadi (4), Mehdi Yazdankhah (1), Arshia Almasi (2), Amirhossein Keihany (3), Peiman Asadiaghajari, Mohammadmahdi Heydari (2), Hamidreza Moghaddam (2), Soheil Rostamian (1), Aminghavidel Hajiagha (1), Shayan Ghasemidaryan. Head Coach: Vahid Rezaeiashtiyani.

Match Report:

Iran closed out the tournament in 17th place with a pleasing result built on excellent outside shooting. South Africa was in the picture, but poor defence at times and non-reaction of the goalkeeper in the early phases made a big difference. Iran built on that confidence and went three ahead by halftime and on to victory. South Africa worked hard at times and thrived on coming back from 1-3 down to 3-3 and 3-5 to 5-5 by quarter time. The Africans came to 7-8 in the third period and 8-10 to be in the hunt. However, when Roarke Olver was suspended early in the fourth period, the margin slipped out to five. Iran went out to 15-9 before Nicholas Downes and Tim Rezelman narrowed the gap in the last 40 seconds. Jason Evezard topped the scoring with five, four in the opening quarter. For Iran it was solid team effort eight players scored with Masoudi Ahmadi getting one in each quarter. Amirhossein Keihany gained a yellow card for simulation, one of only two from the tournament so far. Two years ago in Szombathely, Hungary, South Africa finished 14th while Iran’s last participation at this level was 10th in Volos, Greece in 2011.

Text and stats: Russel McKinnon.

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