A 0-5 opening, then a 0-6 blast secures Recco’s win

Day 12, Group A – Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Pro Recco (ITA) 8-16

The Serbs woke up this morning knowing that their last slim hopes were already gone – Vouliagmeni’s win in Tbilisi on Tuesday pushed them off the track in the race for the F8. Not as if a still living mathematical chance had made them favourites against the title-holders.

Still, how the game unfolded, especially the first half, was a kind of explanation for the strange order of events. For seven minutes, Radnicki were missing from the pool – Recco outclassed and outplayed them in every square-centimetres of the field and took a 0-5 lead. The hosts needed back-to-back man-ups to find the back of the net 67 seconds before the first break and trailed 2-6 after the opening sequence.

During the break they kind of woke up for the second time this day and started playing in a way teams do when they have nothing to lose. By the middle of the second, the young Serbs came back to 5-7, while the Italians looked a bit surprised as they thought this game had already been won. Though on their level it was just a matter of time to switch themselves back to ‘combat mood’ and Aleksandar Ivovic and Luka Loncar put away two man-ups before halftime to calm down the crowd and their rivals in the water.

Loncar added another one from Recco’s first possession in the third, a bit later Gergo Zalanki converted a penalty, then a 6 on 4 to suppress Radnicki’s surge with a 0-6 rush this time, capped by Ben Hallock’s centre-shot for 5-13 before the last quarter. There the hosts could finally score after 13:10 minutes but Recco responded with a double in 47 seconds. The Serbs could score two more to have a modest defeat at the end – considering the number of shots (21-34) and especially those on target (12-26) they brought out the maximum from this encounter.

How they saw it

Uros Stevanovic, coach, Radnicki

Was not available for comment.

Sandro Sukno, coach, Recco

“I’m satisfied with the game, we started well, took a 0-4 lead right away and also kept the high intensity in the entire match. We want to take six points in the remaining two rounds.”