Croatia Water Polo Team Defeats Montenegro in Dramatic Finish for Euro Semis!

Daniela Rogulj

In a dramatic fight, the Croatia men’s water polo team defeated Montenegro to play in the European Championship semifinal match against Serbia

It was a tough match for Croatia where Montenegro dictated the game and pace in the first three quarters. Croatia was initially confused, lacked aggression and had no flow to their game, especially in the attack. However, verything changed in the last quarter. Montenegro fell, Croatia held their defense, and their attack played like they’re used to – and in the last eight minutes, we saw the best possible water polo in the world, reports on July 24, 2018. 

Montenegro started the match better, leading 2:0 with goals by Ivović and Spajić, and after six unsuccessful shots, Šetka hit for 1:2. In the second half, Petković brought an advantage to Montenegro (1:3), while Croatia acted nervous, mostly because of the referee’s calls. Buljubašić shot for 2:3, but immediately in the next attack, Janović increased the lead again by two, where it stayed until halftime. 

In the third quarter, Montenegro had a tremendous opportunity to lead by three, but Croatia defended. Macan diminished Montenegro’s lead, but not for long, as Janović brought Montenegro back to lead by two with a player more. Buljubašić brought Croatia back to 4:5, and two and a half minutes before the end of the third quarter, Croatia finally equalized with a goal by Fatović. Petković brought Montenegro in the lead again for 6:5.

Finally, in the 25th minute, Croatia led 7:6 after Lončar took advantage of Montenegro’s confusion, and after another important defensive play, Joković brought Croatia to 8:6. Two minutes later, Croatia shot for 9:6, and with a series of 5:0,the current world champions held on through the last quarter. The game ended 9:7. 

For Croatia, goalie Marko Bijač had seven saves, Ivan Buljubašić scored two goals, and Anđelo Šetka, Ante Vukičević, Loren Fatović, Andro Bušlje, Marko Macan, Maro Joković and Luka Lončar scored one goal each. For Montenegro, goalie Dean Lazović had 14 saves, while Aleksandar Ivović, Marko Petković, and Mladjan Janovic scored two goals for Montenegro.

The current world champions have a severely tough opponent in the semi-final and will play the title defenders and Olympic gold winners – Serbia. The two will play on Thursday at 20:30. 


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