La Indiana Improve to 3-1 in King Power Gold Cup
The ninth day of the 2019 King Power Gold Cup produced the first quarterfinalist in La Indiana, who narrowly defeated Talandracas 7-6, while Emlor claimed a crucial 11-9 victory over Park Place to improve to 2-1 at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
The opening game of the day between La Indiana and Talandracas had the two teams produce nearly identical statistics with 31% shooting from the field and two penalty goals, yet it was the additional shot opportunities that proved to be the difference in La Indiana capturing the victory. Despite the close game, La Indiana held the lead since the second chukka, with Talandracas pressuring La Indiana late to mount a comeback but ran out of time in the one-goal defeat.
The first two chukkas of the game resulted in the potent La Indiana being kept off the scoreboard from the field, but Facundo Pieres converted two penalty attempts to pace the La Indiana offense. A quick counterattack for Talandracas was an effective strategy as they outshot La Indiana 7-2, but converted just one of their seven attempts to trail 2-1 by the end of the second chukka. La Indiana took control of the game before the end of the half, with the duo of Facundo Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade combining for three field goals, all assisted by the other half of the duo with Talandracas struggling to slow the two-man attack. Talandracas trailed by three due to inaccurate 22% shooting in the first half as La Indiana looked to extend their lead.
Continuing their strong possession, La Indiana dominated play to begin the half, amassing five shots on goal with the ball kept primarily in Talandracas’ half of the field. Despite the large shot advantage, La Indiana converted just one of their five attempts, leaving Talandracas within reach. Holding a four-goal advantage, La Indiana excelled on the defensive side of the ball, with an organised team effort holding Talandracas to just three goals through five chukkas. Jimbo Fewster and Francisco Elizalde traded field goals, leaving just one chukka remaining to mount a comeback. Intent on challenging for the lead, Talandracas produced their best chukka of the game, pressuring the La Indiana defence to receive four fouls, leading to two penalty goals for Elizalde that brought Talandracas within one, but their early shooting struggles led to La Indiana holding off the comeback attempt to capture the 7-6 victory.
The final game of the week had Park Place fighting for their third win of the tournament but faced an Emlor team that converted at a high rate to claim the victory. Behind a balanced team attack that resulted in all four players finding the scoreboard, Emlor converted 8 of their 13 shot attempts to overcome a Park Place team that generated more opportunities in the game. Undergoing a stretch of 1 for 11 shooting in the middle of the game, Park Place were unable to match the efficiency of Emlor in the defeat.
Racing out of the gate with two field goals, Juan Britos worked effectively alongside 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa in a fast-paced Park Place attack that has worked well throughout the tournament. Containing the duo, Emlor took the lead behind two goals from Agustin Merlos, including a field goal from Michel del Carril, who returned from injury to play an exceptional #4 position. Emlor maintained their three-goal lead by the end of the first half with Merlos scoring his fourth goal of the game, while Alfredo Bigatti and Del Carril were active in preventing the Park Place offense from reducing the deficit.
A dominant start to the second half left Emlor on their heels as Park Place produced a relentless attack, but their shooting woes continued, converting just one of their five attempts in the fourth chukka. Britos converted a safety to pull Park Place within one goal, but Emlor responded with a three-goal fifth chukka, two of which came off the mallet of Spencer McCarthy to restore the three-goal advantage. The missed shots caught up to Park Place who were unable to convert enough of their opportunities to match Emlor, ultimately falling in an 11-9 defeat.