La Indiana and Lechuza Caracas Advance to Copa de Oro Final
The semi-finals of the 2018 Copa de Oro saw an overtime thriller with Lechuza Caracas defeating Dubai 10-9, while La Indiana displayed a dominant performance in a 13-9 victory over Bardon at Santa Maria Polo Club.
In the first semi-final, Lechuza Caracas completed an impressive comeback by scoring the final four goals of the game, including a safety conversion in overtime to claim the victory. Dubai displayed a strong performance throughout the game, led by six goals from Camilo Castagnola, but missed their shot opportunities late, providing Lechuza Caracas with the opening they needed to tie the game. In a game decided by the narrowest of margins, the difference came down to the severity of fouls, with both teams conceding six fouls, but Dubai awarded Lechuza Caracas four penalty attempts, while receiving just two. The four-goal difference from the penalty line proved to be the deciding factor in the closely matched contest.
Dubai and Lechuza Caracas traded goals over the opening two chukkas, but Dubai was able to grab hold of the lead in the third chukka, winning all three throw-ins to hold possession and keep Lechuza Caracas off the scoreboard, while Bartolome and Camilo Castagnola scored a goal each to give their team a 4-3 lead at halftime. Lechuza Caracas used their own throw-in performance in the fourth and fifth chukkas to produce chances at goal, winning 8 of 10 throw-ins, but inaccurate 2 for 7 shooting kept them from taking the lead. Dubai converted all five of their shot attempts over that same span to increase their lead to two with just one chukka remaining. After producing goals throughout the entire game, the Dubai offense was kept in check in the sixth chukka, while Victor Vargas and Juan Martin Nero scored a goal each to send the game into overtime. After both teams missed a shot at goal, Lechuza Caracas was awarded a safety and Nero proved to be clutch by converting the penalty attempt to send his team into their second consecutive final.
The second semi-final saw the return of Facundo Pieres after missing the last two games, and the 10-goaler made his impact on the game with perfect 5 for 5 penalty shooting, four of which came from the 60-yard line in an impressive display. On the other side, Bardon converted just 1 of their 6 penalty attempts which proved to be crucial in the outcome of the game, as they were unable to take advantage of La Indiana’s indiscipline throughout the game. Creating more scoring opportunities, Bardon was unable to capitalize at the same rate as La Indiana due to numerous shots from distance that couldn’t find the mark. Ultimately, the performance of Pieres along with a strong four-goal showing from Santiago Romero contributed to the convincing four-goal victory.
La Indiana took control of the game early and never trailed from start to finish behind an impressive first half that saw them shoot 6 for 7 from the field. While Bardon still shot an effective 4 for 6 from the field, their inability to slow a La Indiana offense that used the run to begin their attacks and the pass to finish them, left Bardon unable to close the deficit. After an even fourth chukka, Pieres sealed the victory for La Indiana in the fifth chukka, converting three more penalty attempts to extend La Indiana’s lead to six. With one chukka remaining, La Indiana managed the lead and cruised to the 13-9 victory, setting up a rematch of the Copa de Plata final against Lechuza Caracas.