BRAZIL stunned Australia in the men’s water polo with a thrilling one-goal win on Saturday.
Playing in their first Olympic men’s water polo match since 1984, the host nation defeated the Australians – who are ranked 5th in the world – 8-7.
While host nations automatically qualify for team events, Brazil has stormed up the world rankings in recent years, rising from 16th in 2013 to 7th this year.
The opening match started frenetically. Urged on by an enthusiastic home crowd centre forward Adrian Baches landed the first blow with a goal in the top left hand corner.
Australian captain Rhys Howden counter-attacked but was denied by Brazilian keeper Slobodan Soro. Soro was the star of the game, making a number of impressive saves.
Giant Aussie Joe Kayes’ attempt went wide, and Brazil’s Bernard Oneto Gomes capitalised to double his team’s lead.
Richie Campebll made it 2-1, but the hosts hit back through a scorching Ruda Franco bounce shot.
Aidan Roach scored just before quarter-time, with the score 3-2 at the break.
The teams went goal for goal from then on, but the Brazilians always kept the Sharks at least one goal down.
In the dying stages of the game John Cotterill’s goaled to make it 8-7, but the hosts held out the Aussies to claim the win.
Australia will face a formidable challenge on Monday – the always-competitive Hungarians.