TOKYO : Rio 2016 champions Serbia won their second consecutive Olympic gold medal in men's water polo, beating Greece 13-10 in a thrilling final at Tatsumi Water Polo Centre on Sunday.
The Greek team settled for silver, their first podium finish in men's water polo, while Hungary claimed the bronze https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/water-polo-hungary-earn-mens-bronze-with-win-over-spain-2021-08-08 medal in the oldest team sport at the Olympics after defeating Spain 9-5.
Serbia are the fourth team to retain an Olympic gold in men's water polo, after Britain, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Both Britain and Hungary have won three gold medals in a row.
The Greek men's silver showing equals the performance of their women's team at their home Olympics in 2004.
"It's very rare for teams to win two times in a row, because it gets harder," Serbia goalkeeper Branislav Mitrovic said. "I want to congratulate Greece because they have had their best tournament ever, but I'm happy at the end that we won."
Serbia dominated the opening exchanges, ending the first period with a three-goal lead, but Greece rallied in the second quarter to cut the Serbian advantage to a single goal.
Serbia held their nerve despite Greece drawing themselves level at 10-10 early in the final period, and Andrija Prlainovic, Nikola Jaksic and Dusan Mandic all found the net in the fourth quarter to steer their team home.
The trio scored three goals each in the final, while Serbia captain Filip Filipovic and centre forward Dusko Pijetlovic chipped in with two apiece, with Mitrovic keeping things tidy at the other end with eight saves.
"It's our first medal in Olympic Games and we are happy," Greece coach Theodoros Vlachos said. "Serbia has three or four players who are very, very dangerous."
HUNGARY V SPAIN
The Hungarian men beat Spain to finish third, matching the result of their women's team from a day earlier. Hungary's women defeated the Russian Olympic Committee https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/water-polo-hungary-win-bronze-after-beating-russian-team-2021-08-07 for bronze, winning their first Olympic medal in water polo on Saturday.
Hungary are the most successful men's water polo team at the Olympics, winning nine gold medals, including three in a row between 2000 and 2008.
Victory earned the Hungarian men their 16th Olympic medal in water polo, and their first since Beijing 2008, in a match that was a repeat of the 2020 European Championship final, which Spain also lost.
"The last 48 hours or so were like a roller coaster emotionally," Hungary captain Denes Varga told reporters. "We had to pull ourselves together so we could play effectively."
The first half was a tight contest, with the teams ending the first quarter 3-3 and the second 5-5, but Hungary edged ahead to lead by a single goal at the end of the third period before pulling away in the fourth.
Marton Vamos top scored for the Hungarians with two goals, and seven more of their players got on the scoresheet, while goalkeeper Viktor Nagy made eight saves.
(Reporting by Sam Nussey in Tokyo and Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Himani Sarkar)