Late heartbreak for Olympiakos

Olympiakos got very close to qualifying for the final of the Euroleague, Europe’s biggest club competition in water polo, but eventually surrendered yesterday to a late goal that gave Italian champion Pro Recco a 10-9 win and the ticket to today’s final in Milan. The Greek side, which won the competition five years ago, was always the underdog in the semifinal but scored first in the game only to see the Italians quickly regain their composure and close the first period with a 2-1 lead. Pro Recco continued its surge in the second period to finish the first half with a 5-2 advantage. Yet the men of coach Vangelis Pateros stormed back in the second half and started eating up Pro Recco’s advantage, led by an excellent Giorgos Afroudakis and boosted by the support of at least 50 Greek fans in the pool’s stands. The third period ended with Pro Recco leading 5-7 and it was not long into the last period before Olympiakos drew level (8-8). With less than a minute remaining, the two teams were tied at 9-9 but the last attack by Pro Recco was converted by Maurizio Felugo from long range, handing victory to the Italians. In Olympiakos’s final effort, Petre Santa misplaced the ball, putting an end to a great comeback that was incomplete. Afroudakis and Giorgos Doskas scored three goals each for Olympiakos. Two more came from Addija Komadina and one from Santa. Vladimir Vujasinovic was Pro Recco’s top scorer with three goals. Olympiakos will today face either Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade or Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik in the third place playoff.

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