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(photo credit: Courtesy, Adi Koren)
Greece won the first ever Israel International Water Polo tournament on Sunday afternoon, defeating Romania 9-7 in the final at the Wingate Institute.
Israel finished in last place in the eight-team tournament, losing 14-8 to Russia in the seventh place classification game earlier Sunday.
In the final, the Greeks were led by excellent center Giorgios Afroudakis, who scored four goals, with Romanian center Cosmin Radu also scoring four for his country.
Romania led 4-3 at halftime, but could only score three more goals after the interval, allowing the Greeks to come from behind to clinch the victory.
"I'm pleased with my players and happy that they managed to come back from a goal down at halftime," Greece's Italian coach Alessandro Campagna said. "This victory is a psychological boost ahead of the Olympic qualifiers."
After taking a slender lead into the second half, Radu kept his team ahead with a penalty (5-4). Greece, however, opened a 7-6 lead at the end of the third quarter thanks to Afroudakis' two goals.
Anastasios Schizas gave the Greeks an 8-6 advantage with a minute remaining in the game, but Radu's fourth strike of the match brought his team within one goal 20 seconds later.
That would, however, be as close as the Romanians would come, as Afroudakis secured the win for his team with a stunning goal with 15 seconds remaining in the game.
"We played well, but unfortunately I have a very short bench and that cost us," Romanian coach Vlad Hagiu said. "I'm happy with the way my team played and feel that this tournament was good preparation for the Olympics."
Australia finished the tournament in third place after beating France 15-11 on Sunday. And Serbia came fifth following a tight 11-10 victory over the Dutch.