The United States scored a winning goal with just two seconds remaining to beat Australia 10-9 in the final of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) Men’s Water Polo World League Intercontinental Tournament in Yokohama.
With the match all-square deep into the final minute, Australia intercepted a US attack and broke clear, only to miss a glorious opening.
The Americans’ subsequent attack saw Luca Cupido fire in a trademark long-range effort to settle the match in his country’s favour.
US coach Dejan Udovicic believes there is more to come from his youthful side, who won all six of their matches this week including an 8-6 victory over Australia in the tournament opener on Tuesday (May 10).
"This game was a much higher intensity than our first one with them," said Udovicic.
"As a very young team, it is very important for us to keep winning.
"We deserved that last goal because we were better than our opponents, and we won all our games."
In a closely-fought contest, Aidan Roach scored 16 seconds before the interval to reduce Australia’s deficit to 5-4 at the changeover.
US goalkeeper Merrill Moses made what proved to be three vital stops at the start of third period, but the Aussies led from midway through the third quarter and started the final eight minutes 8-7 to the good.
James Stanton then pulled off some superb saves in the Australia goal, before the prolific Bret Bonanni levelled the game.
John Cotterill scored his third to put the Aussies 9-8 ahead with roughly three minutes remaining, however, Cupido squared the contest with just 90 seconds left on the clock and then sealed the US’s success in the dying moments.
An equally tight bronze medal match saw Brazil edge hosts Japan 13-12, while Kazakhstan triumphed 16-7 against China in the battle for fifth place.
The top four teams - the US, Australia, Brazil and Japan - have now qualified for the Super Final of the FINA Men's Water Polo World League in Huizhou from June 21 to 26.
Greece, Italy and Serbia had already earned their tickets through the European qualifiers, while China complete the eight-team line-up as the home nation.