Quarterfinalists Determined in the 2019 King Power Gold Cup
The final two group games in the 2019 King Power Gold Cup determined the eight quarterfinalists, set to battle for the coveted title. Talandracas narrowly defeated Scone 7-6 to open play, while Murus Sanctus remained the lone undefeated team after the 12-10 victory over Emlor at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
A closely matched first game produced the cleanest game of the tournament, as Talandracas and Scone committed just two combined fouls in a fast, end to end game. With little separating the two teams, Talandracas claimed victory by the narrowest of margins due to the slight advantage from the field, shooting 39% compared to 32% for Scone. With all eight players finding the scoresheet, it was Francisco Elizalde that led all players with three goals to secure the 7-6 victory for Talandracas.
An open first chukka resulted in both Talandracas and Scone shooting at goal, but one goal each on nine shot attempts left each team focusing on their knock in execution to build their attack. The Talandracas offence found their stride in the second chukka with Julian de Lusarreta scoring his first goal of the game, while setting up Edouard Carmignac to give Talandracas the two-goal lead. Scone struggled to generate a consistent attack, scoring just one goal for the remainder of the half in a low-scoring affair that resulted in Talandracas holding the 4-2 lead.
Utilising a strong defensive effort, Talandracas effectively managed their lead, keeping Scone consistently just out of reach while trading goals over the final three chukkas. The team’s respective patrons David Paradice and Edouard Carmignac scored a goal each for their team, while James Harper cut the deficit down to one as Scone fought to tie the game. Talandracas continued to trade goals with Scone with Alejandro Muzzio and Elizalde converting from the field to restore Talandracas’ two goal advantage. A late goal from James Beim wasn’t enough to complete the comeback with Talandracas claiming the 7-6 win.
The final game of group play featured Murus Sanctus attempting to complete an undefeated run through the group stage, facing an Emlor team coming off a strong win against Park Place. Despite generating less offence, Emlor’s efficiency challenged Murus Sanctus until the final chukka, but their indiscipline in conceding four penalty goals proved to be the difference in an otherwise close game, with Murus Sanctus’ two goal advantage from the penalty line leading to the 12-10 victory.
After a scoreless opening chukka, Murus Sanctus came alive in the second chukka behind the efforts of Facundo Sola, who contributed two goals and an assist as part of a three-goal chukka to hold an early two-goal lead. The indiscipline of Emlor resulted in a second penalty conversion for Sola, with the foul being the only blemish in the third chukka for Emlor as they finished the half with a strong response to Murus Sanctus. Three consecutive goals from Agustin Merlos ignited the Emlor offence as they restored the tie at 4-4, setting up an exciting second half.
A fast-paced offensive game emerged to begin the second half, with Emlor building on their momentum from the end of the first half to produce another three-goal chukka to take the lead. With Murus Sanctus focusing on slowing Merlos, Alfredo Bigatti stepped up to score two field goals for Emlor, coming forward to finish with accuracy. The two-man game of Sola and Gonzalito Pieres for Murus Sanctus were effective to match Emlor’s offensive output, combining for all eight of their team’s goals in the second half. Entering the final chukka trailing by one, Murus Sanctus exploded for four goals on perfect 3 for 3 shooting from the field and a penalty 2 conversion, leaving Emlor a step behind in the defeat. Finishing with an impressive nine goals, Sola led Murus Sanctus to the 12-10 victory and the top-ranked team in the quarterfinals with a 4-0 record.
The draw for the quarterfinals occurred following the final game resulting in Murus Sanctus drawing VS King Power, Dubai matching up with La Indiana, Scone and Talandracas set for a rematch and Emlor looking to claim a second victory over Park Place. Play resumes with two quarterfinals on Saturday at Cowdray Park Polo Club.