The Croatia water polo team met Hungary on Wednesday for a spot in the semifinals of the Olympic Games. The winner will play against Greece, who easily defeated Montenegro in the earlier semifinal match.
Croatia achieved three victories in Group B (Kazakhstan, Serbia, Montenegro) and two defeats (Australia, Spain), taking second place behind Spain.
Croatia won the first sprint of the match for the Croatia attack, which was shot wide by Jokovic. Bijač saved Hungary’s first attack to keep the scoresheet clean. Vukičević scored Croatia’s first goal for 1:0 with 6:34 to go. Bijač saved Hungary’s next attack, and Vargas hit the post straight after to keep Croatia ahead. Varga hit the post and after 2 back-to-back saves from Bijač, Hungary finally equalized with less than 5 mins on the clock.
Bukić’s goal was called back for shooting too close to the goal, and the match remained 1:1 with less than 3 minutes left. Bukić got his chance soon after to put Croatia back in the lead for 2:1 with 2:22 left.
Varga scored for 2:2 with 1:15 to go. Obradović put Croatia back in the lead with 45 seconds on the clock. The 1st quarter ended 3:2 for Croatia.
Croatia won the sprint again to start the 2nd quarter, but Hungary was the one to successfully attack and equalized at 3:3. Hungary took the lead for the first time with 5:35 left – 3:4. Joković was quick to equalize for 4:4 20 seconds later!
Bukić put Croatia back in the lead for 5:4 with just over 4 minutes to go, but Croatia and Hungary played goal for goal, and Hungary equalized for 5:5 with 3:43 left.
Bijač saved Croatia from another Hungary goal with 2 minutes left, and Hungary shot over the goal in their next attack. But. Croatia was unsuccessful in their next attack with one minute left.
Hungary retook the lead with 46 seconds left – 5:6. Obradović missed Croatia’s next extra-man play with 16 seconds left. Hungary scored for the +2 lead going into halftime.
Croatia lost the sprint to open the 3rd quarter and fortunately scored for 6:7 after the referee consulted VAR to rule Bukić’s goal over the goal line.
Hungary retook the +2 lead again for 6:8 with 5:45 to go. Obradović returned with a goal for 7:8! Bijač saved Hungary’s next attack, and Miloš equalized for 8:8 with 3:49 left!
Hungary retook the lead for 8:9 with 3:18 to go. It was 8:10 for Hungary with 1:47 to go. Croatia could not capitalize on their next attack.
It was +3 for Hungary in the final seconds of the 3rd quarter – 8:11.
Croatia failed to score on their first two attacks of the final quarter, and Hungary scored for +4 – 8:12. Fatović scored to restore some hope for 9:12 with 5 minutes to go. Hungary quickly returned for 9:13. Lončar scored for 10:13 with 4:16 left in the match.
Hungary scored for +4 with 3 minutes to go. Bukić made it 11:14 with 2:36 left. Vrlić missed a clean shot in front of the goal with just over a minute to go, killing Croatia’s last hope of coming back. The game ended 11:15 for Hungary.
Croatia will now play for 5th-8th place at the Olympic Games.
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