May 22 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Team GB 7 Serbia 21
Plucky Team GB gave Serbia an early scare at the Water Polo Arena, but the eastern European side bounced back and gave further endorsement to their gold medal credentials with a comprehensive win.
Great Britain, boasting three Londoners among their ever-improving squad, matched their visitors pound-for-pound in the opening period and even found themselves ahead early in the second quarter to the delight of the home crowd.
But Serbia eventually took control of a physical contest and picked their tiring opponents off in the latter stages to avoid a major upset.
GB survived an early let off when Filip Filipovic hit the woodwork with a penalty, then saw his rebound come back off the frame of the goal.
However, the hosts resilience was broken when Dusko Pijetlovic held off a challenge from Joe O’Regan and fired past keeper Ed Scott.
But GB stunned their opponents when Adam Scholefield equalised with a shot that went up and over the keeper and seemingly took an age to cross the line.
The Water Polo Arena erupted, but were soon back in their seats when captain Vanja Udovicic put Serbia back in front with a powerful shot from distance.
Such was the nature of this topsy-turvy contest though, GB were soon level once more with a Craig Figes penalty.
And Figes was on target again with a stunning third to cancel out Serbia’s brief lead through Zivko Gocic.
With the first period surprisingly ending all square there was a further twist to come when Rob Parker fired Team GB in front for the first time.
Filipovic made amends for his earlier penalty miss though, with two quick scores to help Serbia regain the advantage.
However, GB were soon on level terms once more. Showing a clinical edge that was distinctly lacking in Sunday’s 13-4 defeat to Romania, Ciaran James made it 5-5.
Serbia could have been forgiven for being shell-shocked by the intensity of GB’s challenge.
But the 2008 bronze medallists – tipped by Bromley’s Sean King to take gold this time around – finally asserted their authority with goals from Udovicic, Slobodan Nikic, Milan Aleksic, Andrija Prlainovic and Filipovic to take a 10-5 lead into the second half.
GB, buoyed by their early goals and superb support from the stands, were not about to give up though and James netted the opening goal of the third period.
Serbia were playing with a new-found strength however, and looked to put the game beyond the plucky Brits with further goals from Prlainovic (2), Stefan Mitrovic (3) and Udovicic giving the eastern European side a 16-6 advantage with 90 seconds of the third quarter remaining.
The hosts appeared to be tiring with Serbia now well on top, but Figes missed a golden opportunity to score before the end of the third period following smart work from keeper Scott to play the captain in on goal.
With the outcome inevitable Serbia looked to keep GB at bay in the final quarter and struck twice more through Prlainovic – taking his individual goal tally to five.
GB were determined to give the crowd something to shout about though and Figes completed his hat-trick to reduce the deficit to 18-7.
Stung by GB’s apparent cheek to score, Serbia notched number 19, then 20 through Aleksa Saponjic and Dusan Mandic respectively.
The final say predictably went to powerhouse Filipovic who rattled in his fourth of the match with little over a minute to play as Serbia gave a stark warning to any doubters of their strength.