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Serbia upends champs in final



Published: Sat, July 30, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Hungary was upset 8-7 in the gold medal men's water polo game.

MONTREAL (AP) -- Hungary's reign as the world's best men's water polo team is over. Serbia-Montenegro is back on top.

Danilo Ikodinovic scored the go-ahead goal with 1:09 remaining, helping the Serbs upset defending champion Hungary 8-7 for the gold medal at the World Swimming Championships on Saturday.

"We hope this isn't the last time we take on the Hungarians and beat them," Serb captain Vladimir Vujasinovic said.

Serbia previously won the world title in 1991 when it competed as Yugoslavia.

"The Hungarians have played so many times against us, they kind of owe us," Serb goalie Denis Sefik said.

Ikodinovic led Serbia-Montenegro with four goals, including two in the fourth quarter.

Hungary was led by Norbert Madaras, Tamas Molnar and Peter Biros with two goals each.

Close all way

The game was close throughout, and only once did Serbia-Montenegro lead by more than one goal.

Trailing 7-5 with 4:33 left in the game, Molnar scored two consecutive goals to tie the game at 7. Hungary stole the ball, but Molnar was sent off for a 20-second exclusion.

That led to Ikodinovic's power-play goal that won the game.

"It was a question of errors," Hungarian coach Denes Kemeny said. "Some of our major players played six games in 11/2 weeks. It was too much for them."

The Hungarians have dominated men's water polo in recent years, beating Serbia-Montenegro for the gold medal at the Athens Olympics. Overall, Hungary has won eight Olympic and two world championship titles.

The Serbs finished third in the 2003 world meet.

"This isn't the end," Sefik said. "We hope to take revenge more."

Greece wins bronze

In the bronze-medal game, Georgios Afroudakis scored the winning goal in overtime to give Greece an 11-10 victory.

The Greeks' medal was their first in water polo at either the world championships or the Olympics.

Christos Afroudakis put the ball into the upper left corner of the net with 9 seconds left in regulation, knotting it at 9-all and forcing overtime.

Captain Teo Dogas gave Croatia a 10-9 lead on his fifth goal of the game. Miho Boskovic added three goals.

Greece's Anastasios Schizas tied the game at 10-all with 48 seconds left.

With 11 seconds to go, Christos Afroudakis sent a no-look backhand pass to Georgios Afroudakis, who scored past Croatian goalie Josip Pavic.

"I've dreamt of this since I was young," Georgios Afroudakis said.

"I wanted to score a goal that was so important in the match, that would win the match."

Emerged at Olympics

Greece showed it was an emerging power by finishing fourth as the host country at the Athens Olympics. At the 2003 world meet, the Greeks lost in the bronze-medal game. They were sixth in 2001 and eighth in 1998.

"This is a big moment in Greek water polo. A few years before, we were at zero, really zero," Georgios Afroudakis said.

"We can take something like this and go higher. We saw in the semifinals that we are very close to the top two teams. We can go higher."

The Greek women finished fifth in their tournament.




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