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BARCELONA, Spain, July 30. IN an always emotional matchup of countries that split apart in 2006 after originally being part of Yugoslavia, Montenegro secured a close 9-8 victory over Serbia in the quarterfinals of the men’s water polo tournament at the FINA World Championships with more than 3000 fans in attendance.
Mladan Janovic led the way for Montenegro with a hat trick as his squad did just enough to oust Serbia from the tournament.
“I’m over joyed. This is our long-awaited revenge to Serbia. This is a very important win for us. We have changed our tactics since the Olympics and we are hopeful for the finals,” Aleksandar Ivovic said after scoring a pair of goals to help his team to the win.
The loss is a big blow for the usually dominant Serbian team, which hasn’t missed semis since breaking away from Montenegro prior to the 2007 World Championships. Since winning the world title together in 2005, the two now-separate countries have competed against each other 13 times at major events with Serbia leading the series 8-4-1.
Montenegro will now face Italy in the semis after Italy bounced host nation Spain from the tournament, 4-3. Hungary tripled up Greece, 9-3, to earn the right to face Croatia, which edged Australia, 7-6, earlier in the day.