Murus Sanctus Defeats La Bamba de Areco in Overtime in King Power Gold Cup
The eighth day of the 2019 King Power Gold Cup treated spectators to an exciting 11-10 overtime victory for Murus Sanctus over La Bamba de Areco, while Dubai displayed a strong performance in a dominant second half to claim the convincing 12-7 win against Scone at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
The first game of the day was a tale of two halves, with Dubai and Scone evenly matched over the first three chukkas until Dubai dominated the final two chukkas behind a relentless pressure and faced pace attack to score six of the final seven goals. Brothers Camilo and Bartolome Castagnola combined for nine goals and three assists in an impressive outing, while a strong defence led by Ignatius Du Plessis limited Scone to just 27% shooting in the defeat.
A clean start to the game resulted in end-to-end action with just two combined fouls over the opening two chukkas. James Beim and James Harper provided an effective duo for Scone, scoring a goal each to give Scone the narrow 2-1 lead, despite Scone converting just two of their eight shot attempts. Dubai also struggled in the early stages of the game to convert from the field, matching the 2 for 8 accuracy that kept the game tied. Trading penalty conversions before the end of the half, Dubai and Scone remained deadlocked at 3-3.
The shooting struggles of the opening half quickly changed for both teams at the beginning of the fourth chukka, in a high-scoring six goal chukka. A change in strategy saw Bartolome and Camilo Castagnola push forward in the game for Dubai, while Scone responded with Nico Pieres moving forward to leave Harper distributing the ball with accurate passes from the #4 position. Tied at 6-6, Dubai presented an organised defence that held Scone to zero field goals for the remainder of the game. The close game was decided in a dominant final chukka for Dubai that saw all four players score one goal each, securing the 12-7 victory in an important game between the two teams with a 1-1 record.
The last game of the day provided a thrilling conclusion, with overtime needed to determine a winner between Murus Sanctus and La Bamba de Areco. A foul-ridden affair produced 20 fouls and 13 penalty attempts, with the one-goal advantage from the penalty line for Murus Sanctus ultimately being the difference. Following up his eight-goal performance against Park Place, Facundo Sola scored nine goals to lead Murus Sanctus to victory.
Four fouls in the opening chukka for La Bamba de Areco led to perfect 3 for 3 penalty shooting from the line by Sola, giving Murus Sanctus the early lead, despite La Bamba de Areco’s David Stirling and Juan Martin Nero working seamlessly together to generate five shots on goal. The two-man interplay proved to be effective in the second chukka, restoring the tie after two field goals from Stirling. The end of the half saw stop and start action, with two penalty attempts received for both teams. The result was a tied score, with little separating the two teams from the field of penalty line by halftime.
Determined to not concede goals during open play, discipline issues continued to be the story of the game, with Sola and Nero trading penalty goals for the lone offence of the fourth chukka. The tightly marked game prevented open runs to goal and contested attacks, leaving Murus Sanctus and La Bamba de Areco to capitalise on the few opportunities from the field they had. Field goals from Kian Hall and Stirling looked to give La Bamba de Areco the lead, but Sola responded with two goals of his own, leaving the score tied for the third consecutive chukka. Destined for overtime, the outcome proved to be just that after a penalty 2 conversion for Nero was quickly followed up by a steal at midfield by Gonzalito Pieres that was run in to send the game to overtime. The first play of overtime sent Sola on a breakaway, that he finished by hitting the ball out of the air to secure the victory and improve Murus Sanctus to 3-0.