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(E) Croatia Captures Last-Second Victory Over U.S.
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  07/3/2002 | Sports | Unrated
(E) Croatia Captures Last-Second Victory Over U.S.


CroatiaCaptures Last-Second Victory Over U.S.

Croats Come Back from Four Goals Down in Hard Fought Game 

Los Alamitos, Calif., June 30, 2002—TomislavPrimorac buried an extra-man goal with two seconds remaining to give Croatia a10-9 FINA World League victory over the U.S. before 1375 spectators at the USAWater Polo National Aquatic Complex in Los Alamitos (Calif.) on Sunday (June30). 

The U.S. picked up where it left off onFriday, jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead on goals by 2000 Olympians Tony Azevedoand Wolf Wigo. By the end of the first quarter, the U.S. had secured a 5-1 lead.

 But a string of goals at the startof the second quarter by Croatia’s Igor Hinic, Tihomil Vranjes, and KresimirZubcic brought them back to within striking distance at 5-4 with 5:44 to play.USA’s Layne Beaubien halted the 3-0 run with an extra man goal on the nextpossession to put his squad ahead by two. But Croatia’s Hrovje Koljaninbounced in a goal and Aljosa Kunac scored from two meters to tie the game at 6-6with 3:21 left in the half. 

Adam Wright found the goal on athird-chance shot for the U.S. with 1:47 to go, giving them the lead at 7-6.With 26 seconds remaining in the half, a four-meter penalty was called onAzevedo, and Wigo was called for a game exclusion immediately thereafter.However, Croatia’s ensuing penalty shot by Teo Dogas was blocked by U.S.goalkeeper Genai Kerr, his second penalty block of the day, holding the score at7-6. 

The U.S. didn’t get the third quartergoing they way they would have liked, turning the ball overon its first two possessions. But Beaubien picked it up for the U.S. with hissecond goal of the day to give the U.S. an 8-6 advantage. Croatia’s NikolaFrankovic began chipping away at the U.S. with a goal at the 4:11 mark. Twominutes later, Dogas went through Kerr’s arms to tie the game at 8-8. 

Hinic netted his second goal halfwaythrough the fourth quarter to give Croatia its first lead of the game at 9-8.With 35 seconds remaining in the game, Bailey and Hinic were caught in a tussleand called on a double exclusion. But after a six-minute delay about re-entriesafter exclusions, Azevedo was awarded a penalty throw with 24 seconds to play inthe game. Azevedo converted the attempt to knot the score at 9-9.  

Beaubien was ejected with 11 seconds onthe clock, giving Croatia a man-advantage opportunity. After moving the ballaround the perimeter, the ball landed in the hand of Primorac, who slipped agoal past Kerr with two seconds left.

 Azevedo’s backcourt shot at thebuzzer was field blocked as the U.S. fell to Croatia, 10-9.

 Team USA will be back in action thisweek as they play host to 2000 Olympic silver medallist Russia in a pair ofgames in Los Alamitos on July 4 & 6. Croatia will head home to host Hungaryin Dubrovnik on the same dates.

 U.S. goalkeeper Genai Kerr andCroatia’s Igor Hinic were voted by attending media as the Players of the Game.

 For Croatian coach Veselin Duho, itwas his first win as the head coach for the men’s senior team.

 For more information, please visitthe official FINA World League website at the U.S.  site at


 Team USA
















Individual Scoring

Team USA:

Azevedo 3, Beaubien 2, Wigo 1, Wright 1, Segesman 1, Bailey 1


Hinic 2, Frankovic 1, Vranjes 1, Stritof 1, Primorac 1, Dogas 1, Kunac 1, Zubcic 1, Koljanin 1

Man Advantage Scoring

Team USA:

4 for 16


7 for 16

Goal Saves

Team USA:

Kerr 8


Percinic 7

Attendance: 1375

Notable Quotes:

Ratko Rudic (USA Head Coach)

“We started off well, but we couldn’tsustain it. They played a better game tonight against us. They changed theirman-down defense on Tony Azevedo and that was very effective for them.”

“We are still a very young team, so gameslike this are actually good for us. They have to learn how to deal with thistype of play, with the referees, and with the pressure. This was an educationalresult.”

Genai Kerr (USA Goalkeeper)

(on stopping two penalty shots) “I’vedone it once before in a game against Canada. But that was a good feeling.”

“The object of this league for us is toprepare for the World Cup and the Olympics. These games are excellent steps inthat direction.”

“Games like this help water polo to becomea more visible sport in the U.S.”

Tony Azevedo (USA Driver)

“We missed a lot of opportunities tonight.We missed some shots and they played good defense.”

(on Wigo’s game exclusion) “We did losea little steam when Wolf went out. He’s a leader in the pool and when he left,we started slipping a bit.”

Veselin Duho (Croatian Head Coach)

“Again, we got off to a bad start. This isdue in part to the fact that we have a young team as well.”

“It’s difficult to stay in a game whereyou are not making your penalty shots. But by coming back, we showed just howmuch character this team has.”

Dalibor Percinic (Croatian Goalkeeper)

“That was the first time in my career thatwe had to play 25 extra seconds in a game that was already over.”

“We just needed time to get back intothings. This game for us was much better than our first.” 

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