SLOVAKIA AND UKRAINE CLAIM REMAINING SEMI-FINAL SLOTS
10 Jul 2009
With the British Gas team already confirmed as one of Saturday’s semi-finalists the battle was on for the two remaining spots in the semis, as well as 7th position, on the fourth day of the LEN Women’s European Nations Trophy Water Polo Championships.
Croatia and Slovakia lined up first for a chance to play the British Gas team in the semi-final.
The teams went goal-for-goal until the second period which saw Slovakia shoot ahead to a three goal difference thanks to a lightning hat-trick from captain Michaela Migrova.
The third period at one point found Croatia down to four players in the water and up against a full Slovakian attack. But the pressure was not enough to get to them as they countered to score their seventh and final goal of the match.
The technical perfection demanded by coach Josef Cifra meant that Slovakia’s accurate and fast pace was too much for the Croatian side to handle, and the Slovaks were able to push even further ahead to end the match 17-7. Migrova was the star performer for the team shooting the ball between the posts on nine occasions. Slovakia will now have a chance to get their revenge on a British Gas team that defeated them yesterday.
Slovakia’s Martina Kunikova said of the result: “It was a good game for us and we’re pleased with the win. We were confident going in but it’s always good to get the result.”
Of tomorrow’s match-up against Great Britain Zuzana Ratveiska said: ““We’re not too happy that we have to play Great Britain again, but this time we will do better.”
Teammate Lucia Valocka added: “Our coach has told us to be more accurate with our game and be stronger in defence, so hopefully we will come away with a different result.”
Playing for the last semi-final berth, Portugal and Ukraine took to the pool in match that had all the ingredients to be tough.
The first period took the play up and down the length of the pool on several occasions as both sides struggled to find the net through tight defensive line-ups.
At the end of the first half Ukraine were struggling to get around Portugal’s Mariana Sarmento whose good tactics were often getting the better of them.
Sarmento’s ability to be strong on the turn put the situation in favour of Portugal at the end of the third period as they led 6-4 going into the deciding period.
Ukraine had already contested a nail-biting match this week after losing to Croatia in the dying seconds. Determined not to see this happen again they pushed ahead with Anastasiya Kotova scoring twice to take a 7-6 lead.
The bullish attitude that Ukraine displayed led them to an 11-7 victory and a semi-final showdown with the Czech Republic.
Ukraine’s Olga Shvedova commented: “We are so, so happy to have won this match, it was really important to us.
“I cannot find the words to describe how good it is to be in the semi-finals. We will fight really hard against the Czech Republic and try our best to win.”
The teams that finished fourth in Groups A and B - Switzerland and Belarus respectively – faced each other to determine 7th and 8th positions in the classification play-off.
With both teams having lost all three of their preliminary round matches they were equally determined to get one win under their belt before leaving Manchester.
Belarus opened up proceedings with Maryna Fedarenka finding the back of the net early on.
Sviatlana Arlova’s penalty at the end of the first half took Belarus to a 10-3 lead and their success kept on coming. Switzerland were forced into inaccuracies by a strong Belarusian defence and keeper Ala Mazepa’s impressive ability to move quickly across the goal did nothing to help.
With some accurate shots from the top of the arc Belarus were able to gain a substantial lead over their Swiss opponents who never managed to recover. Having already failed to finish off a couple of close matches, the Belarusians fought hard throughout to secure their 25-5 win and end the tournament in 7th position.
Tickets for the event are still available from the Manchester Aquatics Centre and cost £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
The LEN Women's European Nations Trophy is an eight team tournament for female, European national teams. The event takes place from the 7th to the 12th of July 2009 and consists of a preliminary round, quarter finals, semi finals and the final. Each team usually plays one match per day and the winner is declared on the final day of competition.
Saturday 11th July
17:00 Croatia Vs Portugal (5th/6th place play-off)
18:30 Czech Republic Vs Ukraine (Semi-final 1)
20:00 Great Britain Vs Slovakia (Semi-final 2)
For more information please contact the ASA/British Swimming Media Assistant, Lauren Sanderson on 07795 251 917 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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