Participating team preparing for action.
Uzbekistan snap Kuwait unbeaten streak Puerto Rico too strong for South Africa

KUWAIT CITY, May 9: The fourth day of the FINA men’s Water Polo Development Trophy 2013 began with a Group B game between Puerto Rico and South Africa, the former representing the Americas and the latter from the southernmost tip of continental Africa. Puerto Rico which made a triumphant entry into the tournament with a 23-2 blowout victory over Guatemala, suffered a 10-15 loss at the hands of Uzbekistan in their next game. The South Africans came into the game having lost all three of their previous matches. The 24-hour hiatus seems to have given the South Americans some renewed vigour as they rallied to coast home 14-6 at the buzzer.


On the back of an outstanding 4 goal performance from Rafael Andino, wearing cap no.5, the Puerto Ricans, after falling behind 2-0 in the first quarter, took control of the rest of the game, winning by a score of 14-6 thus handing the fatigued South Africans their fourth loss in the tournament.
The South Africans started of their game with some good attack into the Puerto Rican goal area by Petersen and Badenhorst for the latter to lob in the first goal of the game in the opening minutes. But a Puerto Rico rally led by Javier, Alan, Luis and Estaban turned the wind of momentum on the side of the south Americans who went on to finish 14-6 against a winless South African side who were having problems maintaining possession.


The second game of the day was a Group A game, again between two teams with mixed records; Saudi Arabia with a 2-1 win-loss record and Singapore, 1-2. Both were coming from three games each with those records, the Saudis bowing to Egypt in their previous outing. The more experienced Saudis controlled the game winning the opening quarter 3-2, on the backs of Fares and Salem. The latter scored 2 in the quarter to send the side leading but Singapore’s Sean Wei Ming in the next minute opened scoring for his team with a long volley past Hussein the Saudi goalie.
Yang threw in another for Singapore to close the round 2-3 for the Saudis. The Singaporeans were completely stymied in all their attempts at goal by the Saudi defences in the second quarter while Mohammed Gahal and Adel Al Malki led their side in attacks to score 3 goals, Gahal netting 2 to end the second quarter on 6-3 aggregate for Saudi.


Gahal added another goal for the Saudis with Bassem backing up with another in third round from when things began to heat up as the Singaporean attack machine started to roar to action with Paul Louis and Jian Ying threw in 2 quick goals in succession to make the results 4-8 at the close of the third. As the Singaporeans ride of their new found momentum to pile on the pressure, Ying scored again.
Ahmed for Saudi scored to raise his side’s tally to 8 in the final quarter. Sngapore added another 3 quick goals to reduce their deficit to 1 goal, 7-8 and towards the final stretch the Saudis with their backs to the wall started getting physical and managed to hold on to the 1 goal advantage to the buzzer to draw the curtain on the first session. Goran, the Saudi coach expressed confidence in his players stating that their next matches are going to be more definitive in their victory than they’ve just done.


Thursday’s second session started with another Africa versus America contest: Tunisia facing off against Uruguay with both teams finishing with the tournament’s first drawn game, 7-7. After a frustrating start for both teams who were having trouble retaining possession long enough to score goals, the better conditioned team from Uruguay took control in the second half to lead 7-6 going into the final stretch but the Tunisians pulled back a goal in the final second to tie the score line at 7-7. Akram, Keis, Nabil and Naib were on the score sheet for Tunisia while Pedro, Pablo, Diego and Bruno led Uruguay’s efforts in the drawn game.


The middle game of the session was a North African team, Egypt pitted against South Americans, Peru, with a good contingent of Egyptian fans out-cheering those from Peru. Rightly so, in the water the Egyptian team was too strong for the Peruvians, who lost by a score of 6-23. It was a hard fought game which was by far the most intense and physical of the tournament.
Kuwait on the other hand got their winning streak snapped after they bowed 9-4 to Uzbekistan in game five, the final of the second session games. The Uzbeks now top the group after registering their fourth consecutive win in four matches. Abdul Aziz Ali opened scoring for the home team in the early minutes followed by Mohammed AlRumaidhin also in the first quarter. Kiril and Miraziz scored for Uzbekistan to tie scoring at 2-2 for both sides at the turn of the first quarter.


Abdul Aziz again slipped past the Uzbek defence to throw the ball past the Uzbek goalie for a 3-2 lead but that also was neutralized by Miraziz’s long sling for a 3-3 halftime outcome. The home team, at this time began to lose steam as all their attempts at goal were met by the well-oiled Uzbek defence. The Uzbeks prevailed over the Kuwaitis, scored 4 more goals to finish the game 9-4, topping the group with Kuwait slipping to second place.
Speaking to Arab Times, Ahmed Ayoub Baroun, a former player in the Kuwait Water Polo national team who is currently a member of the technical bench of the national squad, said that about half the entire team is made up of young players who’d take quite some time to mature into the game. “Despite their big win the opening game, I will still term the team as a working progress, it will take some time for them to reach the team’ 2012 performance level”, he noted.


Standings
Group A
    W    L    D
Egypt    4    0    0
Saudi Arabia    3    1    0
Uruguay    2    1    1
Tunisia    1    2    1
Singapore    1    3    0
Peru    0    4    0
Group B
    W    L    D
Uzbekistan    4    0    0
Kuwait    3    1    0
Puerto Rico    2    1    0
Guatemala    0    3    0
South Africa    0    4    0

By Iddris Seidu
Arab Times Staff


By: Iddris Seidu

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