Serbia dethrones reigning Olympic champs, wins men’s water polo gold

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Four years after winning their first men’s water polo gold medal as an independent nation, Croatia was unable to continue their reign.

Serbia, led by Dusan Mandic’s four goals and 12 saves by goalkeeper Branislav Mitrovic, took gold with an 11-7 victory in the gold medal match. For Serbia this is their first Olympic gold medal in men’s water polo as an independent nation, giving the nation a total of two Olympic gold medals in its history.

WATCH: Serbia defeats Croatia for Olympic gold

Serbia has now won a medal in each of the last four Olympics, taking silver in 2004 (as Serbia and Montenegro) and bronze in both 2008 and 2012.

After a Damir Buric goal trimmed Serbia’s lead to 6-4 early in the third quarter, Filip Filipovic scored two unanswered goals to extend their lead back out to four. Serbia’s lead from that point forward would be no less than three goals, with Mandic scoring his fourth goal with 3:29 remaining to give them an 11-6 lead. A goal scored by Croatia’s Javier Garcia Gadea with 2:06 remaining provided the final score.

WATCH: The best moments of the Olympic water polo competition

Italy took bronze with a 12-10 win over Montenegro, with the Italians now having won a medal in each of the last two Olympics (silver in 2012).