The Aussie Sharks have suffered their second defeat against Italy at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, going down 4-8 in the 5/8 semi final.
An experienced Italian outfit once again proved too strong for the Aussies, after going down to them in game three of the group stages.
Despite the score line, Australian Men’s Head Coach Elvis Fatovic was happy with his team’s performance, especially in defence.
“I think that was our best-played match of this tournament. We played against one of the best teams of the championships, so it was a tough game,” said Fatovic.
“We had very good defence and I’m quite happy with the result. Our aim was to reach the top eight and we did that.
“I hope that we will have the same approach when we play against Russia for a possible seventh place,” he said.
It was a much more controlled game for the Aussie Sharks from the first time they met the Italians and Lachlan Hollis thought the team delivered a solid performance.
“It was a good game and I thought we were really good, especially in the first half,” said Hollis.
“The Italians came out hard, and were strong, but I don’t think that we were behind a lot.
“We gave our best and we’ll definitely give our best on Saturday, which will be our last match at the tournament,” he said.
The Aussies got off to a strong start with Hollis scoring from the outside followed by a Gilchrist goal to give the Sharks an early 2-0 lead. But the Italians were just getting warmed up and notched up four consecutive goals to lead 4-2 at the end of the first quarter.
It was Hollis again who opened up the Aussie Sharks scoring with a nice off the hand from outside that had the team within one goal. Italy replied quickly with a goal in extra man to again take a two-point lead. It was Kayes at centre forward that striked back for the Aussies with just over three minutes left in the quarter. But a penalty goal to the Italians gave them a 6-4 lead at half time.
Both teams were strong in defence and managed to keep each other scoreless in the third quarter. Some big saves for the Aussie Sharks from Ed Slade in goals proved vital to keeping the Aussie Sharks hopes alive.
The final quarter went all the Italians ways, with another two goals sealing the deal and putting the Aussie Sharks through to 7-8 play off against Russia.
The Aussie Sharks take on Russia on Saturday 29 July, 8:00pm (AEST).
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AUSTRALIA 4 ITALY 8
Quarters: 2-4, 2-2, 0-0, 0-2
Penalties: ITA: 1/1.
Extra Man: AUS: 0/9. ITA: 2/10.
AUSTRALIA: Edward Slade, Timothy Putt, George Ford, Joseph Kayes (1), Nathan Power, Lachlan Edwards, Jarrod Gilchrist (1), Aaron Younger, Andrew Ford, James Fannon, Lachlan Hollis (2), Nicholas Brooks, Anthony Hrysanthos. Head Coach: Elvis Fatovic.
ITALY: Stefano Tempesti, Francesco Di Fulvio (2), Niccolo Gitto (1), Pietro Figlioli (2), Nicholas Presciutti (1), Cristiano Mirarchi, Alessandro Nora, Andrea Fondelli, Vincenzo Renzuto, Michael Bodegas (1), Matteo Aicardi (1), Zeno Bertoli, Goran Volarevic. Head Coach: Alessandro Campagna.