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An Illegal Timeout By The US Water Polo Coach Almost Cost Them The Game

What should've been a semifinal win in regulation for the US women turned into something more complex.

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The US women's water polo team faced Australia today in a semifinal match. Whoever won would go on to face China for the gold medal.

Julio Cortez / AP

With only seconds left, the US led 9-8 and Australia is attacking. A last-gasp shot hits the crossbar, though, and the American keeper knocks it safely away.

With one second left, US coach Adam Krikorian calls a timeout.

BUT: the US didn't have possession when Krikorian called the timeout. It appears that an Australian player had her hand on the ball.

At first, it doesn't appear that anything was wrong; the players line up as usual.

Eventually, Krikorian starts to complain that play hadn't started yet.

Yet it doesn't seem to be an issue, because the ref walks by Krikorian and talks to him, and he immediately starts directing his players again.

This is where it gets weird. It looks like play is about to resume—

—until another ref, conferring with three officials on the side, awards a penalty shot to Australia because of Krikorian's illegal timeout.

Krikorian is not happy.

And the Australian team converts the penalty, pushing the match into overtime.

Fortunately, the US pulls it out in the end — and you can see the utter relief on Krikorian's face.