The men’s national water polo team showed its worth in front of 10,000 Croatians, victory may not have come and a 5-5 draw sends them into a cross-match with Israel for a place in the quarter-finals of the European Championship in Split, but for one more once moved.
The men’s national water polo team may not have achieved victory against hosts Croatia, but they showed tremendous spirit as the 5-5 final kept the Croatians top of Group B and gave them direct qualification to the quarter-finals of the European Championship.
The national team, as 2nd in the group, will face Israel on Sunday (4/9, 20:0) to advance to the quarter-finals on Tuesday (6/9) against world champions Spain.
Magic performance from 23-year-old goalkeeper Konstantinos Limarakis, who had 10 saves in as many and finished the match with a save percentage 72.2% (13/18).
The national team is rightfully protesting the goal scored by Angelos Vlachopoulos at the end of the 3rd quarter, and it didn’t count, with the score at 3-3.
A magical performance from 23-year-old goalkeeper Konstantinos Limarakis, who had 10 interventions in the same number and finished the match with a save percentage of 72.2% (13/18). The national team is protesting the goal that Angelos Vlachopoulos scored at the end of the 3rd quarter, and it didn’t count, with the score at 3-3.
Ten with a ton Limarakis
The ‘Spaladium Arena’ was packed with close to 10,000 Croatians, which created a great atmosphere.
The national team only wanted the win to overtake the Croatians and avoid the world champions Croatia two months ago.
The last game of the group stage featured the two goalkeepers, on the one hand the experienced Marko Bijats and on the other Konstantinos Limarakis, who for the first time in his career fell into the deep end and got ten with a ton.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper of Panionios in the first half had 10 saves in the same number at home, with Croatia remaining without a goal on 0/16 shots. At the same time, the goals of Gennidounias and Vlachopoulos from the 1st eight minutes, gave the lead to the national team (2-0).
Attacking foul or offside?
The home team responded, goals by Zuvela and Vrilic quickly made it 2-2 (5:22 of the 3rd quarter). Papanastasiou made it 3-2 on the man above at 3:16, with Kharkiv tying it 3-3 at 2:36.
With three seconds to go Vlachopoulos beat Bijats from the left to the player above with the referees disallowing an apparently clean goal, which with the referees showing a two-meter offense (offside) and the LEN stat, offensive foul !
“The truth is that I did not understand why the goal was cancelled, I would like to see it again on the video” said the Federal coach, Thodoris Vlahos to ERT.
The Croatians took a 4-3 Marinic-Kragic lead with 7:27 left, but goals by Papanastasiou (4:30) and Vlachopoulos (3:36) gave Greece a 5-4 lead. The Croats were eventually redeemed by Buric with a man-of-the-match goal for a 5-5 final with 2:53 left, a tie that was celebrated as a victory.
The eight minutes: 2-0, 0-0, 1-3, 2-2
Greece (Thodoris Vlachos): Tjortzatos, Genidounias 1, Skoubakis, Giuvetsis, Argyropoulos, Papanastasiou 2, Dervisis, Alafragkis, Kopeliadis, Kakaris, Nikolaidis, Vlachopoulos 2, Limarakis
Croatia (Ivica Tučak): Bijac, Buric 1, Fatovic, Krapic, Lazic, Bukic, Biljaka, Zuvela 1, Marinic Kragic 1, Vrlic 1, Basic, Kharkov 1, Popadic