Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Hungary earned its third straight Olympic championship in men's water polo and its ninth gold medal in the sport overall, defeating the United States, 14-10, at the Beijing Games on Sunday.
The Hungarians once again proved their dominance in the sport, going 7-0-1 in group play and the knockout round combined. The tie came in pool play against Montenegro, which was later demoted to the bronze medal match with a semifinal loss to Hungary.
Meanwhile, the U.S. won its sixth medal in men's water polo, but first since taking back-to-back silvers in 1984 and 1988. The Americans were aiming for their first-ever gold in the event.
"We didn't play the game we wanted to play," said Tony Azevedo of the U.S. "They took some great shots and were great on offense, but we came out a little flat at the beginning of the game."
Peter Biros and Daniel Rudolf Varga each had three goals for Hungary, which connected on 14-of-30 shots in the game.
Despite the loss, Tony Azevedo had an excellent game for the U.S., tallying four goals on five attempts. Layne Beaubien and Jesse Smith added two goals apiece for the Americans.
The Hungarians jumped out to a 6-4 lead in the first quarter, scoring four goals with the extra man in the opening period. But the U.S. was able to keep it close and went into the half trailing by just one at 9-8.
However, the Hungarians turned up the pressure in the second half, outscoring the Americans, 5-1, over the final two quarters.
Beaubien scored the first goal of the third quarter to tie the game at 9-9, but Hungary then scored the next five goals to open a 14-9 advantage with 2:16 left in the fourth quarter. Varga had three goals in the decisive stretch for the Hungarians.
Smith's second marker closed out the scoring with 1:28 left.
The defending silver medallists from the Athens Games, Serbia and Montenegro, are now competing separately in the Olympics and battled each other for the bronze medal earlier Sunday.
Serbia won the defensive battle against Montenegro, 6-4, behind a pair of goals from Dejan Savic.
Mladjan Janovic also had a pair of goals in the losing effort for Montenegro.
08/24 05:25:52 ET