Canadian men drop 2nd straight water polo match at Olympic qualifier

·2 min read
Canada's goalkeeper Milan Radenovic was lit up early on Tuesday, surrendering three first-period goals in a 14-11 loss to Georgia in a preliminary-round match at the men's water polo Olympic qualification tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Canada's goalkeeper Milan Radenovic was lit up early on Tuesday, surrendering three first-period goals in a 14-11 loss to Georgia in a preliminary-round match at the men's water polo Olympic qualification tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

(Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press/File)

Canada's hopes of competing in the men's water polo tournament at the Tokyo Olympics this summer took a hit Tuesday.

Georgia stormed out to a 3-1 advantage in the first quarter and never surrendered the lead on the way to a 14-11 victory at Zwemcentrum Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The Canadians, seeking their first Olympic berth since 2008 in Beijing, were handed a second consecutive loss and saw their record drop to 1-2.

Reuel D'Souza had his first five goals of the tourney and Gaelan Patterson added a pair. Sean Spooner, Nic Constantin-Bicari, Aleksa Gardija and Jérémie Côté also scored for Canada.

WATCH | Marko Jelaca paces Georgia attack against Canada:

Before the tournament, CBC Sports analyst George Gross Jr. said Canada needed to beat Georgia and win its opening game against Brazil (it prevailed 11-7 on Sunday) to finish third of five teams in Group A and get a favourable matchup in the crossover quarter-finals on Friday.

Georgia, which held quarter leads of 3-1, 6-3 and 10-7, evened its record at 1-1 to move ahead of Canada into third place in the five-team group. Brazil is last at 0-3 following a 15-5 loss earlier Tuesday to 2-0 Montenegro, which is tied with Greece (2-0) for the group lead.

Canada schedule

  • Thursday vs. Greece, 8:30 a.m. ET

  • Feb. 19 — Quarter-finals

  • Feb. 20 — Semifinals

  • Feb. 21 — Finals

The top four teams in each of the two groups advance from the preliminary round. Group B is comprised of No. 2 Croatia, No. 14 Germany, No. 15 Russia, France, Romania and the Netherlands.

The 13th-ranked Canadians are off Wednesday and will face world No. 8 Greece on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET, a match that will be live streamed at CBCSports.ca.

Canada was scheduled to play Turkey on Wednesday but the latter was disqualified from the tournament by the International Swimming Federation Management Committee after five of its players tested positive for coronavirus.

A team can be disqualified if three or more members of a delegation — including players and staff — return positive tests, according to tournament regulations.

All players at the tournament reportedly have been tested several times daily since Feb. 12.

With Canada trailing 4-1, Spooner scored his fifth goal of the tourney with 4:29 left in the second quarter, but Georgia added a pair of late markers in the final 40 seconds to restore its three-goal lead at 6-3 at the half.

Georgia made it 8-3 before D'Souza and Côté struck midway through the third quarter but Canada couldn't get closer than a three-goal margin the rest of the game.