Gold medalist team Montenegro celebrates after the FINA Men's Water Polo World League Super Final in Budapest, Hungary, on June 23, 2018. Montenegro claimed the title by defeating Hungary with 13-11 in the final. (Xinhua/Csaba Domotor)
BUDAPEST, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Montenegro claimed the title in the men's water polo World League Super Final, beating the host Hungarian team by 13-11 in penalty shootout here on Saturday.
In front of some 4,000 home fans who backed the Hungarian team that led for the greater part of the game but could not hold out until the end, the final couldn't have been any more thrilling as both sides did a splendid job in the pool despite playing the 6th game on the 6th day.
After Montenegro took a great start, the Hungarians responded with a 5-0 rush to heat up the Arena, but before the gap would have grown over 3 goals, the Montenegrins managed to halve the difference by the end of the third and level the score twice in the last period after being two goals down at halftime.
Center-forward Sasa Misic was their hero as he netted three of their last four goals, including two action hits from the center. The last equaliser came 68 seconds from time and the match came to a penalty shootout.
The shootout was decided early as Hungary's two best shooters of the week, tournament's MVP Marton Vamos and Gergo Zalanki both hit the post from the first two attempts, and the tourney's best goalie Viktor Nagy couldn't put a hand any of the four Montenegrin shots.
Montenegro took the title for the second time after its first victory in 2009. The south Slavic team won 100,000 U.S. dollars while the Hungarians gained 70,000 U.S. dollars.
The bronze medal went to Spain who defeated Japan 12-7. The Asians could only keep up with their rivals for three periods and failed to score any since 7-7, while the Spaniards scored five goals in a row to secure the third place.
Croatia beat Australia 10-8 for the 5th place, while the United States ousted Kazakhstan 9-3 for the 7th place.
For the individual awards, the top scorers were Aleksandar Ivovic and Mladen Janovic from Montenegro, Inada Yosuke of Japan, all with 14 goals, while the Most Valuable Player went to Marton Vamos of Hungary. The Best Goalkeeper was Hungarian Viktor Nagy, and the Best Young Player was Inada Yosuke from Japan.
The FINA Water Polo World League is an international water polo league organized by FINA, which plays annually, typically from winter through to June. League play features continental tournaments for men and women, from which the top teams emerge to play in the championship tournament (the "Super Final") where the league champion team is crowned.