Group A, Day 3: Pro Recco (ITA) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)
Both teams had a blast in the first period, the offences were rolling and even though the goalies delivered a couple of fine saves, still, they were unable to ‘calm down’ the waves as Recco took a 6-4 lead. It was water polo at its best, great plays both in action and in man-ups, a great gift for those hardcore fans who chose this match over the football World Cup semi-final between Croatia and Argentina.
By the way, Argentinian born leftie Gonzalo Echenique returned after a long absence (due to injury) and together with Hungarian leftie Gergo Zalanki they did some damage in Radnicki’s defence, Zalanki netted four already in the first half, he kind of made the difference as Recco could widen the gap to 9-5 by halftime. The second period the Italians put more emphasis on defending, limited the Serbs to one goal and though they didn’t sparkle in front as in the first period, this tight and disciplined play brought the desired (partial) result.
For a while, Recco kept the game on this path, while Radnicki kept on missing their better chances too. A 6 on 4 gone without a shot due to a 2m violation – while Zalanki&Co. produced more hits in front to give Recco a commanding 12-5 lead midway through the third quarter. From this point, the game returned to the first period’s ‘don’t load, just shoot’ approach – the hosts’ concentration level dropped in defence, which opened the door for more Serbian goals, but Radnicki were unable to take any control in front of their goal either. The scoring festival offered 11 more goals in eight minutes (7-4), so Recco seemed to be well set to better Olympiacos’ single-game scoring record in this season (the Greeks hit 21 in Tbilisi on Day 2). At the end they tied it, but the total number of goals, 33, is a new high so far.
How they saw it
Sandro Sukno, coach, Recco
“It was a nice game, an excellent presentation of water polo, against a very good team. I’m content with what I got from my team – now we have one more game before Christmas and we want to take three more points.”
Uros Stevanovic, coach, Radnicki
“It was a very bad performance, you cannot play such a game, especially in defence against a team like Recco. Twenty one goals are way too much but this was a good lesson for us, next week we play with Barceloneta, I hope we’ll be better.”