Spain deny GB water polo semis spot

05 August 2012 / 23:17

Great Britain were knocked out of the women's water polo tournament after suffering a 7-9 defeat as they pushed Spain all the way in an enthralling quarter-final clash.

Team GB came back from a four-goal deficit to get within one score of their opponents in the dying minutes, but it was the Spaniards who booked a place in the semis.

The home crowd roared as Great Britain took the lead when Francesca Painter-Snell converted a penalty from the five-metre line.

Spain responded quickly, levelling the scores, but Painter-Snell bagged her second soon after with a man-up goal. Team GB's opponents then fired in two more to take a 3-2 lead after the first quarter.

The Spaniards pulled away in a decisive second quarter, netting three unanswered goals to extend their winning margin to four goals. Only GB Goalkeeper Rosie Morris stopped the in-form Spanish side from putting away even more goals with some great saves.

Ciara Gibson-Byrne found the back of the net to open the scoring in the third quarter, and Team GB survived two Spain power-plays with both efforts striking the woodwork. A well-worked move allowed Hazel Musgrove to fire in a goal from the from the left hand side, but Spain struck again to restore their three-goal cushion.

Gibson-Byrne missed a crucial penalty with 90 seconds to go in the period, which would have reduced the deficit to two goals, but instead Spain scored at the other end to pull into a four-goal lead.

Gibson-Byrne made up for the penalty miss with the final goal of the penultimate period, taking the score to 8-5 at the whistle, while Fiona McCann fired home another for Team GB in the fourth quarter.

Birthday girl Angie Winstanley-Smith attempted a reverse shot from five metres out, but the effort rattled the upright. Painter-Snell slotted in another man-up goal to claim her hat-trick after a time-out to send the home crowd into a frenzy.

A fantastic save from Morris denied the Spaniards a man-up goal with 60 seconds to play, but the eventual winners did manage to wrap up the match as the ball squeezed over the line with a later effort. Spain's win sets them up a semi-final clash with Hungary on Tuesday, while Great Britain will play Russia in a classification match.