VS King Power Claims First Victory Against La Bamba de Areco
The tenth day in the 2019 King Power Gold Cup featured four teams fighting for a quarter-final spot, beginning with VS King Power capturing their first win of the tournament with a 9-7 victory against La Bamba de Areco, while Dubai claimed their third consecutive victory, defeating Monterosso 10-8 at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
The opening game of the day featured an overwhelming VS King Power attack that produced twice as many shots as La Bamba de Areco but converted just 41% of their shots keeping La Bamba de Areco within reach. The fast-paced game saw just four combined penalty attempts, leaving the result to open play, with VS King Power overcoming their early shooting struggles to score the final five goals of the game and complete the comeback to defeat La Bamba de Areco 9-7.
In the opening two chukkas, VS King Power held the possession advantage, generating eight shots at goal with one field goal each from Juan Martin Zubia, Polito Pieres and Marcos Di Paola in a balanced offensive attack. Despite losing the battle in open play, La Bamba de Areco responded with a penalty 4 conversion from Juan Martin Nero and a field goal from David Stirling to stay within one. The elite duo of La Bamba de Areco brought the game back into a tie at halftime, with Stirling adding his second goal of the game, along with Kian Hall’s first goal, leaving VS King Power unable to take advantage of their shots and gain the lead.
A change of momentum in the game occurred to begin the second half, with VS King Power failing to find the scoreboard on three shot attempts, while La Bamba de Areco took advantage of every opportunity presented to them in the chukka, led by a penalty goal and field goal from Nero. The 3-0 chukka in favour of La Bamba de Areco left VS King Power in need of a strong finish to challenge for the lead. VS King Power overcame La Bamba de Areco’s 5-1 run with four unanswered goals, including two from Top Srivaddhanaprabha, who provided VS King Power with the scoring punch they needed to fight back into the lead. A strong defensive effort kept La Bamba de Areco off the scoresheet over the final two chukkas, as a final goal from Polito Pieres secured the 9-7 victory for VS King Power.
The second game of the day produced an evenly matched first half between Dubai and Monterosso, with accurate shooting proving to be the difference late in the game as Dubai pulled away, converting six of their final seven shots in the victory. Camilo Castagnola continued to provide an offensive spark for Dubai with six goals on 11 shots to lead his team to their third straight win of the tournament heading into the quarterfinals.
Despite being heavily outshot 10-4, Monterosso kept pace with Dubai by missing just one shot and forcing difficult shots for a Dubai team that finished just 30% from the field in the first half. Alessandro Bazzoni and Ignacio Toccalino opened the scoring for Monterosso to hold an early one-goal lead, while holding off the Dubai attack that missed opportunities to take the lead. With the ball primarily remaining in Dubai’s attacking half, they pushed to take the lead, but five more missed shots maintained Monterosso’s one-goal lead by the end of the half, as Toccalino paced the Monterosso offense scoring three goals, all from the field.
Once Dubai began to find the goal, their fortunes changed, taking control of the game and fighting their way into the lead. Bartolome Castagnola ignited the Dubai attack with two goals in the fourth chukka, working well with brother Camilo Castagnola to overwhelm the Monterosso defence. Scoring three goals each to begin the half, the duo highlighted a four-goal fifth chukka that gave Monterosso a commanding three-goal lead with just one chukka remaining. Juan Gris Zavaleta’s first goal of the game pulled Monterosso within two, but it was Camilo Castagnola’s sixth goal of the game that finalized the 10-8 victory for Dubai.