Euro 2020: Croatia Water Polo Tops Montenegro in Dramatic Finish

Daniela Rogulj

January 16, 2020 – The Croatia water polo team met Montenegro in the second leg of the European Championship in Budapest on Thursday. 

In the first match, the ‘Barakudas’ defeated Germany 17:9. The match against Montenegro was decisive to win the first place in the group, which secures a spot in the quarterfinals. 

“We have really positive results against them lately. We easily won in the quarter-final of the Kazan World Championship, in the semi-final of the Olympic Games, the quarter-final of the European Championship, some big matches where we had them as an opponent and we managed to win,” said national team coach Ivica Tucak just before the start of the match.

Montenegro opened the game with a goal by Brguljan three minutes in. Croatia’s first goal of the match didn’t come until Andro Buslje scored for 1:1 with less than two minutes to go in the first quarter. 

Luka Bukic scored during an extra-man play for 1:2 Croatia, which was the final score of the first quarter. 

Bukic opened the second quarter with his second goal for 1:3. Maro Jokovic nailed the net for 2:4. Xavi Garcia increased Croatia’s lead to 2:5, while Josip Vrlic was brilliant in front of the goal for 2:6. The second quarter ended at 3:6 for Croatia.

Croatia’s brilliant defense prevented Montenegro from reducing the result in the third quarter, and goalkeeper Marko Bijac was unstoppable in goal. Croatia scored the first goal of the third quarter with four minutes to go – Luka Loncar increased the lead to 3:7.

Hrvoje Benic hit a rocket for 3:8, while Bukic recorded his third goal with just over two minutes to go in the third quarter. The game was 4:9 for Croatia. 

With less than two minutes to go, Vrlic scored his second goal of the game for 5:10, which was the final score of the third quarter. 

Montenegro reduced the deficit to 8:10 four minutes into the last quarter. And it was 9:10 with three minutes to go. Croatia had yet to score in the fourth quarter. 

Montenegro made an incredible comeback to equalize with just over two minutes to go. It was a completely different game for Croatia, and Tucak was not happy.

Xavi Garcia scored a crucial goal with just over a minute to go to put Croatia back in the lead for 10:11, but they weren’t out of the woods yet. 

Bijac, however, made an incredible save to crush Montenegro’s hopes. The game ended at 10:11 for Croatia. 

Croatia will play its final game of Group A against Slovakia on Saturday at 4 pm.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


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