Bloodied but not beaten! Moment US water polo team captain Maggie Steffens heads back into the water after being cut on her nose in comeback win over China

  • US water polo captain Maggie Steffens overcame a gruesome, bloody cut on her nose in the early moments of Monday’s game vs. China but managed to return
  • After struggling early, the reigning Olympic champs came back to beat China
  • Steffens left the pool twice so medics could work to stop the bleeding on face
  • Not only did Steffens return, but she netted her 43rd career Olympic goal against China, leaving her four off the all-time mark set by Italy’s Tania Di Mario

A deep, bloody facial cut wasn’t enough to keep United States water polo captain Maggie Steffens out of the pool as the two-time Olympic gold medalist returned for a dramatic, 12-7, comeback win over China in Olympic group play.    

In all, nine US players scored, including Steffens, who caught a blow to the face early in the match that forced her out of the pool twice in the second half as medics worked to stem the bleeding.

‘Alert: @maggiesteffens is back in the water for Team USA,’ read a mid-game tweet from the team account. 

‘Her nose still looks better than mine,’ coach Adam Krikorian smiled, promising his skipper would be fighting fit for the team’s penultimate Group B game against Hungary on Wednesday. 

Not only did Steffens return, but she netted her 43rd career Olympic goal against China, leaving her four off the all-time mark set by Italy’s Tania Di Mario.    

Maggie Steffens of United States injured, bleeding nose during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Waterpolo Tournament Women match between Team United States and Team China

Ashleigh Johnson of United States, Maggie Steffens of United States injured, bleeding nose during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Waterpolo Tournament Women match between Team United States and Team China at Tatsumi Waterpolo Centre

Steffens looks to the refs after suffering a cut on her nose in the opening moments vs. China

Head Coach Adam Krikorian of United States helps Steffens out of the pool in the first quarter

After crushing Japan in their Group B opener at Tatsumi Water Polo Centre on Saturday, the world and Olympic champions were put to the test by China, but came through with flying colors.

For the second game in a row, the US made a sluggish start that had Krikorian venting his frustration on the sidelines as the first half ended with the teams deadlocked at 6-6.

‘We struggled,’ Krikorian said. ‘But I can’t tell you how proud I am for us to be able to find the courage, the heart, the determination to finish that off.

‘It may not have looked the prettiest, but that may be our best win of the year. Today we showed what we’re made of. We didn’t necessarily show our talent and our ability, but we showed our heart and character.’

Not only did Steffens return, but she netted her 43rd career Olympic goal against China, leaving her four off the all-time mark set by Italy’s Tania Di Mario

https://youtube.com/watch?v=7ode_3_Z0M8%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

Members of the US water polo team cheer on their teammates during Monday’s win over China

US goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson, arguably the world’s best in her position, failed to make a single save in the first quarter as China, who have never finished on the podium, took a shock two-goal lead and briefly threatened an upset.

Rachel Fattal snuffed out that threat when she drew the US level at 4-4 in the first, but it was only in the third quarter, with one minute, 46 seconds left on the clock, that the Americans finally gained a decisive advantage.

Paige Hauschild finished off a counterattack to break the deadlock, before quickfire goals from the Fischer sisters, Aria and Makenzie, gave them some breathing room.

Makenzie scored her third at the start of the fourth quarter and it was plain sailing from there on out, with Johnson back to her imperious best and ending the match with seven saves.

Hungary was held to a 10-10 draw by the Russian Olympic Committee team in the other match in Group B, while Australia trailed by three goals at halftime but roared back to beat the Netherlands 15-12 and claim their second win in Group A.

European champions Spain also made it two wins in two, beating Canada 14-10 to stay level on points with Australia at the top of their group.

US goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson, arguably the world’s best in her position, failed to make a single save in the first quarter as China, who have never finished on the podium, took a shock two-goal lead and briefly threatened an upset

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