Day 8, Group A – Pro Recco (ITA) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) 20-5
It took seven minutes for Recco to reach the expected gear and level of concentration both in offense and in defence. After a 2-0 quickstart, they held an almost 3min break in scoring while Besarion Akhvlediani could find the back of the net twice. And at 3-2 Marco del Lungo had to come up with a huge save in a one-on-one to prevent Dinamo from coming back to even. Then the last minutes brought two more hits from the hosts for 5-2, so the opening quarter’s result already met the expectations.
Recco carried on in the first three minutes in the following period, leftie Gergo Zalanki blasted two in 32 seconds, Ben Hallock added one a bit later for 8-2, but then came another unusually long break in scoring – only a penalty was buried, by Aleksandar Ivovic, 49 seconds before the middle break.
The third finally offered what the public in Imperia had gathered for, the title-holders kept their composure throughout the whole period which resulted six more goals. On the other end, Del Lungo came up with a couple of big saves as the Georgians also worked hard to create chances but the Italian great was in fine shape and finished the game with 9 on 12, before he was substituted for the last quarter.
Reserve goalie Tommaso Negri was up to the task too, he stopped a penalty. After four easy goals in 2:18 minutes, the Italians’ concentration level dropped once more, and they didn’t add any till the final moments. In the meantime, Akhvlediani hit his third, then Aicardi stole back a lost ball to net Recco’s 20th in the evening with 1:35 remaining. Akhvlediani scored a fourth, while the hosts had two more shots but at the end they were one shy of the season’s scoring record of 21 goals, held jointly by themselves (against Radnicki), Jadran and Olympiacos (both against Dinamo).
How they saw it
Sandro Sukno, coach, Recco
“It’s true that we are much stronger than Dinamo, still, I’m satisfied with our performance.
We played with high rhythm and nice water polo, and I think the fans enjoyed it too.”
Dejan Stanojevic, coach, Dinamo
“To be honest, for a moment in the fourth period, I’ve heard my bench saying why Recco was playing that hard even in the fourth period. Well, I should say I like the teams which gave their maximum against us, this is the way they show they quality and respect and this is the way we can also improve. Of course, Recco had more power, quality and experience, the rhythm they play with is something my players couldn’t cope with, they don’t have the abilities to react to that. The first period was OK, the rest showed the difference I was talking about.”