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Yugoslavia Earns Tie on Last-Minute Goal

July 22, 1996

Viktor Jelenic of Yugoslavia scored on a power play with 21 seconds remaining to salvage a 9-9 draw with Russia in a water polo preliminary round.

Yugoslavia, a gold-medal favorite, wasted a three-goal lead and had to battle hard from one goal down to clinch the draw.

In other matches, Tamas Kasas scored three goals and notched the winner late in Hungary's 9-8 victory over Germany; Croatia beat Romania, 11-6; Italy defeated Ukraine, 8-6; and Spain topped the Netherlands, 8-7. Italy, Hungary, Croatia and Spain are all 2-0.

The Yugoslavs led, 8-5, late in the third quarter after a 4-1 run. But the Russians pressed aggressively to force several turnovers and even the score.

Dmitri Gorchkov scored Russia's ninth goal with 3:03 left.

"The Russians were tough in the defense," Yugoslav Coach Dragan Andric said. "We lack tough games like that, we haven't been in stress situations. Many of my players are in their first major competition."

The Yugoslavs, Olympic champions in 1968, 1984 and 1988, were barred from the 1992 Barcelona Games because of U.N. sanctions and had not competed in a major event for nearly four years. The team now consists of players from only Serbia and Montenegro.

Kasas helped Hungary counter a three-goal performance by Germany's Croatian-born star, Davor Erjavec.

Hungary led, 3-1, after the first period, but Germany kept coming back and Erjavec's third goal gave Germany an 8-7 lead with 5:41 left.

Andras Gyongyosi tied it a little more than a minute later and Hungarian goalkeeper Zoltan Kosz made two brilliant saves on shots from close range. Kasas fired the winner with 2:43 left.

Croatia got three goals from captain Perica Bukic in defeating Romania, Italy got two goals each from Fabio Biencivenga and Carlo Silipo in a win over Ukraine, and Spain was paced by Manuel Estiarte with three goals against the Netherlands.

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