Hosts Montenegro and other favourites make winning starts in Podgorica

The favourites delivered on the opening day in Podgorica at the men’s U19 European Water Polo Championships, featuring many players who had already left their marks on the big stage earlier ths month at the senior Europeans in Split.

Defending champions Greece made a strong start in Podgorica – Total Waterpolo

Prelims, Round 1 – Group A: Spain 15-9 Malta, Netherlands 17-5 Czech Republic. Group B: Croatia 20-6 Georgia, Italy 14-7 Slovakia. Group C: Greece 14-5 Romania, Serbia 15-9 Germany. Group D: Hungary 15-2 Turkey, Montenegro 14-5 France.

The first day of Podgorica 2022 saw no hiccups, though the opening match of the championships offered some unexpected excitements in the clash between Spain and Malta.

The underdog side jumped to a 1-4 lead and the Spaniards had to dig deep to come back to 5-5 till halftime. However, they couldn’t build any larger gap in the third, what’s more, they needed a 3-0 run after 6-7 to lead again, though the Maltese managed to equalise for 9-9, early in the fourth.

Then though the team fatigued, while Spain staged a 6-0 surge to avoid any bigger embarrassment – thanks to Marc Valls and Abel Ramon who netted 5 goals apiece.

Montenegro produced a strong display against an improving France side – Total Waterpolo.

Hungary set the scoring record of the day, hitting 25 against Turkey – including a 10-goal rout in the final eight minutes – while Greece’s Nikolaos Gkillas scored 8 against Romania, out of his team’s 14, the best individual effort on Sunday. He was part of the senior team finishing 5th in Split, now he, and some other young aces, are set to play leading roles in the season’s last major age-group event.

The second day is likely to bring more thrills as all matches which could be crucial to deciding the top spot in the respective groups are scheduled for the second round.

Croatia will have a showdown with Italy, Spain clash with the Netherlands and Greece take on Serbia, while host Montenegro face Hungary.

Watch Montenegro vs France in full via LEN TV.