The biggest water polo match in Podgorica since 2009 and the World League finals against Croatia ended with a grand celebration - the capital again had the privilege of hosting a game where the "Sharks" did make something big happen, reports Vijesti on March 20, 2018.
This time, in truth, the stake was smaller than just a little over nine years ago, but the victory against Serbia should never be taken lightly - Montenegro has defeated the "Dolphins" with a score of 11: 8 and have made a massive step to the final tournament of the World League.
The magical advantage of a three-goal difference was sought from the first minute of the "Sharks" and "Dolphins" fight (7:4 for Dejan Savić's team in Niš). Montenegro had the desired advantage a good part of the match, and reached plus four 8:4 at the beginning of the third quarter when Aleksandar Ivović scored.
It looked as if the home team held the opponent in their hand; they created three more serious chances to be 9:4, but Serbia, without the complete first team, showed that they have the strength to return from a big minus.
Instead of the plus five, Montenegro slipped to plus one (9:8 after Gavril Subotić scored) - and it was two minutes and 55 seconds before the end that Serbia was heading to their goal. And that goal was, if they couldn’t win, they would at least lose by less than three goals.
At that time, however, young Aleksa Ukropina stepped up, and with 112 seconds before the end hit the net for 10:8. The peak of excitement was ten seconds before the end in an attempt by our team to launch a counterattack.
Vladan Spaić cunningly excluded Sanja Ranđelović's expulsion, and the Serbian player wanted to prevent an individual goal from the opponent "extending" the contact and forced the referee to show on the five-meter penalty.
That's how Draško Brguljan became the hero - six seconds before the end he scored the goal against goalkeeper Dimitrije Rističević for a grand celebration in the indoor pool at SC "Morača".
"We have to be satisfied, although there was a drop in our game at the end of the third and the beginning of the last quarter. This was a duel between two strong teams. Serbia is very good even with this team, and you could see that. My good game? I’m happy for my goals, but the victory is what matters, it does not matter which player scored," Ukropina said.
Montenegro has excitedly got what they could have earned before, but this way is even sweeter. Now they are left to prove that they are better than Romania in the last round and qualify among the top eight in the World League.
"We started badly, especially in the defense. Montenegro was better and deserved to celebrate. We will analyze the match; there were many mistakes. I am glad that the pool is open in Podgorica as Montenegro needs something like this," said Serbian Dušan Mandić, who started his career in Primorac.
The match against Romania, who Montenegro beat in Budva 13:2, will be played in Oradea on April 10th. Montenegro will chase a six-goal difference.
Montenegro - Serbia 11:8 (3:2, 4:2, 1:1, 3:3)
Podgorica - Swimming pool SC "Morača". Spectators: 594. Referees: Vojvodin (Russia), Teishido (Spain). Player more: Montenegro 11 (2), Serbia 7 (3). Penalties: Montenegro 2 (1).
Montenegro: Lazović (12 saves), Brguljan 3, Banićević, Petković, Radović, Kriještorac, Drašković, Ukropina 3, Ivović 2, Mišić 2, Čučković, Spaić 1, Kandić.
Serbia: Rističević (six saves and one penalty), Mandić 2, V. Rašović, Ranđelović, Subotić 1, Lazić 2, Toholj, Drašović, Jakšić 1, Asanović, S. Rašović 1, Mitrović 1, Dobožanov.
This article was translated from an article by A.H. on Vijesti.me: “Sharks“ checked the visa for the final tournament