Another accomplished Hungarian performance in the first three quarters set up Tibor Benedek’s team for a fourth period in which they held their nerve to eventually defeat Italy 10-8 and claim the Olympic qualification tournament title in Trieste today.
This final match of the Olympic qualification tournament in Trieste was played in front of a capacity crowd and they were treated to a tremendously exciting final match. Hungary benefited from a one-man advantage early on when Dénes Varga opened the scoring and after a great save from Viktor Nagy, Balázs Erdélyi extended the lead. Italy hit back quickly though, levelling the scores through Di Fulvio and Preciutti then taking a first-quarter lead through Figlioli, the same player who had scored the winning goal against Romania in the quarter-finals to ensure his team would be going to the Olympics in Rio.
Italy pressed again at the start of the second period but Nagy held firm before Dániel Varga shot from distance to equalise and Balázs Hárai put Hungary ahead. Di Fulvio evened up the scores but Márton Szivós’ goal from open play restored the lead before Aicardi again reined in Tibor Benedek’s team to make it 5-5. Hárai scored his second to wrest back the advantage and thanks again to Nagy’s goalkeeping interventions the scoreline remained 6-5 at the half-time break.
A second from Szivós and Krisztián Manhercz’s first of the day were the rewards for an impressive start to the third quarter for Hungary who now led 8-5 and although Stefano Luongo reduced the deficit, Márton Vámos’ superb strike re-established the three-goal cushion and Dénes Varga’s goal at the start of the final quarter gave Hungary an unassailable lead, despite Bodegas and Giorgetti’s late goals for Italy. Thus, the game finished 10-8 to Benedek’s men.
Result – the final of the Olympic qualification tournament in Trieste:
Itay 8-10 Hungary (3-2, 2-4, 1-3, 2-1)
Italy: Tempesti – Di Fulvio 2, Figlioli 1, Nora, Baraldi, Aicardi 2, Presciutti 1. Replacements: Luongo 1, Gitto, Giorgetti 1, Bodegas, Velotto. Head coach: Alessandro Campagna
Hungary: Nagy V. – Erdélyi 1, Vámos 1, Szivós 2, Varga Dániel 1, Varga Dénes 2, Hárai 2. Replacements: Zalánki, Bedő, Manhercz K. 1, Hosnyánszky, Decker Á. Head coach: Benedek Tibo
The Trieste tournament’s final standings:
South Africa, Kazakhstan, Russia and Slovakia did not make it past the group stage.
Source: Press release – Hungarian Water Polo Federation