ATLANTA (AP) _ Viktor Jelenic of Yugoslavia scored a late goal Sunday to salvage a 9-9 draw with Russia in the preliminary round of the Olympic water polo tournament.

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

Also Sunday, Tamas Kasas scored three goals and notched the winner late in Hungary's 9-8 victory over Germany, while Croatia beat Romania 11-6.

The Yugoslavs led 8-5 late in the third quarter after a 4-1 run. But the Russians used an aggressive pressing to force several Yugoslav turnovers and even the score.

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

Jelenic, a two-meter forward, had a shot saved by goalkeeper Nikolai Maximov, but he clinched the equalizer with 21 seconds remaining on a power-play goal.

``The Russians were tough in the defense,'' said Yugoslav coach Dragan Andric. ``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 only from Serbia and Montenegro.

Kasas helped his Hungarian team 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 just over 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.

Four teams from each of the two six-nation, round-robin groups will advance to the quarterfinals, when the competition becomes single elimination.