The Croatia water polo team met Georgia in the round of 16 at the FINA World Championships in Hungary on Monday. Croatia had no right to make a mistake, as a defeat would leave them without a fight for a medal. Winning this match would also mean a quarterfinal match against Serbia later this week.
Due to the suspension, coach Ivica Tucak could not count on Rino Burić. Georgia was also no easy opponent with several foreigners on the national team. Among them is one Croatian, Marko Jelača.
Croatia won the sprint and the first attack of the match, which Bukic scored for 1:0. Georgia equalized for 1:1 with 6:49 on the clock. Kharkov put Croatia ahead for 2:1 30 seconds later. Georgia equalized for 2:2 with 3:20 on the clock. Zuvela made it 3:2 for Croatia with 1:42 to go, which is how the first quarter ended.
Croatia won the sprint again for the first attack, but Georgia equalized for 3:3 with 6:47 left. Kragic put Croatia ahead for 4:3 in the next attack. Kharkov scored a rocket for 5:3 with 5:46 to go. Basic made it 6:3 for Croatia’s biggest lead of the game with 3:03 to go. Georgia reduced Croatia’s lead to 6:4 with 1:45 on the clock. Krapic scored for 7:4 with 0:27 on the clock, which is how the match went into halftime.
Georgia won the sprint to start the third quarter but was unlucky in their first attack. Kharkov scored his third goal of the match for +4 Croatia with 6:26 to go (8:4). Kharkov scored a penalty for 9:4 with 5:44 to go. Kragic scored for 10:4 Croatia with 1:45 left in the quarter. Croatia went into the final quarter leading by 6 goals.
Croatia won the sprint but was unsuccessful in their first attack. Georgia scored in the next attack for 10:5 with 6:47 left in the game. Georgia scored again for -4 (10:6) with 4:51 left. Zuvela scored for 11:6 with 4:20 to go. Fatovic scored for 12:6 with 3:29 on the clock. Kragic scored a penalty for 13:6 with 2:09 to go. Georgia scored for 13:7 with 41 seconds left.
Croatia and Serbia will meet in the quarterfinals later this week.
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