Italy celebrate after the narrowest of victories in the team sabre fencing competition ©Getty Images

Massimiliano Murolo's last gasp victory over Tiberiu Dolniceanu proved critical as Italy secured a dramatic sabre win over Romania on a busy day of European Games team fencing action here this evening.

Heading into the final of nine matches in the first-to-45 points format, the two teams were locked at 44-all, meaning it was effectively a winner-takes-all hit off for the gold medal.

After two clashes in which both fencers registered simultaneous hits, Murolo jumped in with an acrobatic lunge to clinch the key point and a the single point triumph.

It marked a fitting end to a competition which had provided thrills and spills throughout the day here, with the sabre event - in which the side as well as the tip of the blade can score points - providing the most aggressive, athletic and entertaining action in the sport. 

After an equally exciting bronze medal match in which Germany claimed victory over Russia with the very last thrust, the final was topsy-turvy and close from the start.

Italy held a tight lead for most of the early stages until Dolniceanu, the individual silver medallist, gave Romania a 30-29 lead in the sixth leg, only for the Italians to fight back and hold a 40-38 advantage at the start of the anchor leg before parity was restored with one exchange left.

Murolo's subsequent triumph was all the more remarkable considering he was one of the least highly regarded members of the Italian team and was facing Dolniceanu, the opposing team's stand-out star.

I didn’t think, I just did it," said the delighted victor afterwards.

"It was instinctive."

Romania had won gold over Estonia in the epee team final earlier in the evening ©Getty Images
Romania had won gold over Estonia in the epee team final earlier in the evening ©Getty Images

There had been Romanian success earlier in the evening, however, after the women's epee trio got the better of Estonia in a final that was a re-run of the gold medal match at the European Championships a fortnight ago in Montreux, with a similar result to boot.

After the Romanians built up a 15-10 lead in the early stages, Estonia always battled valiantly but could never quite reduce the deficit.

Individual bronze medallist Simona Gheman won the decisive match, standing firm against the all-out attacking style of Irina Embrich to conclude a 31-25 victory.

Italy beat Russia in the battle for bronze.

But, after two fourth place finishes, Russia made amends with gold in the women's team foil final, cruising past France 45-18.

Italy were similarly comfortable in overcoming Poland to win the bronze medal.

Related stories
June 2015: 
Wator denies hosts Baku 2015 European Games sabre gold on second day of fencing
June 2015: Branza claims maiden Romanian European Games gold with clinical display on opening day of fencing at Baku 2015