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2015 FINA World Championships - Interviews after Italy won by 9:6 against Russia in Kazan

After a tight opening quarter, Italy let loose against Russia with five unanswered goals in the second quarter to leave 6-1 at halftime and have a subdued packed near-capacity house in this fantastic temporary arena, contemplate what could have been during the halftime break. Head coach Erkin Shagaev, a man who knows what adversity is and how to overcome it with Olympic gold in 1980 with the USSR, inspired his team during those five minutes. The third period belonged to Russia and must have pleased the Russian Sports Minister who made the trek from Moscow. Italy missed a penalty attempt and then Dmitri Kholod, who scored his team’s first goal, netted from deep left off a cross pass. Sergey Lisunov nailed an extra-man attempt from one metre in front off a cross pass and the match had lifted to 3-6. Stefano Luongo silenced the crowd with a blast from nine metres, but Kholod slotted his third from deep left for 4-7 going into the final break. Russia was back in the match. However hard Russia tried to breach the Italian defence, it could not but then neither could Italy do the same at the other end. The time ticked down and then the breakthrough came when Russia took a timeout and the extra-man play went over the 20 seconds but still netted a goal through Vladislav Timokov for 5-7 at 2:52. Italy then punished Russia on extra with Alex Giorgetti scoring from the top at 2:16. Russia had two chances on the one extra-man attack to no avail. Italy just had to play for time but lost the ball and gave up a controversial penalty at the other end, which Ivan Nagaev converted for 6-8 at 1:02. Italy shot and gained a corner and then an extra-man situation. The ball slid across for Alessandro Velotto to score for a 9-6 victory.

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