Croatia 4, Yugoslavia 4
Sep. 26, 2000
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Croatia and Yugoslavia may have given a preview Tuesday of what's ahead at the Olympic men's water polo tournament.
Tied atop Group A and both in the quarterfinals at the Sydney Games, the teams played to a 4-all draw that had all the intensity and drama of a gold-medal match.
Dubravko Simenc scored three goals for Croatia, including the tying score with 3:52 to go.
Yugoslavia's Aleksandar Sapic had put his team ahead 4-3 with his second goal about two minutes earlier, but the Yugoslavs could not hold on.
Each team botched chances to win at the end. Croatia's Igor Hinic was wide on a backhand attempt with 2:39 remaining. Vladimir Vujainovic missed on an extra man chance on Yugoslavia's following possession.
The best opportunity probably belonged to Croatia, which had a two-man advantage when Yugoslavia's Dejan Savic and Aleksandar Ciric were sent off with penalties. But Simenc's shot rang off the wood with 1:23 to go.
Both teams are 3-0-1. Croatia finishes its opening round against the Netherlands. Yugoslavia concludes with Hungary.
Maybe the countries involved had something to do with the charged atmosphere. When these teams met at the World Championships in Perth two years ago, police were called to the pool when fans from each side got out of hand.
Officials at the Ryde Aquatic Leisure Center took steps to keep things friendly. They brought in about 100 undercover police and stationed more uniformed guards near the fans' entrances and in the stands. Bomb-sniffing dogs went through the crowd and patrolled the outside concession area.
While there was much shouting, most of it was nothing more than sports fans showing support, and the players shook hands after the horn sounded.
If they meet again in the medal round, it would be at the 17,500 Sydney International Aquatic Center.