italy, montenegro, BRAZIL RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES, water polo.jpg
Aleksandar Ivovic (R) of Montenegro in action against Christian Presciutti (L) of Italy during Men's Bronze Medal Match of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 August 2016.
Photograph: EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU

Italy walked away with a bronze medal Saturday after beating Montenegro 12-10 in the men's water polo competition at the Rio Olympics, ahead of a showdown for the gold medal between Serbia and Croatia.

Montenegro held on throughout the bout but lagged behind Italy, who finished the first three quarters always in the lead at 2-1, 5-4 and 9-7.

"This is the third time in a row we've played for third place. The results have always been the same: lose the semi-final and lose the third-place game," Montenegro coach Vladimir Gojkovic told journalists afterwards. "I feel really sorry for my players."

Serbia are heading into the final later Saturday as the favourites, having won six of the seven major events staged in water polo since the last Olympics four years ago.

European champions Serbia beat Croatia 11-4 in the final of last year's world championship.

Croatia will be seeking a second consecutive Olympic gold in Rio after taking the title at the London Games four years ago ahead of Italy and Serbia.

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