Brunei Advances to Copa de Oro Semi-Finals
The final day of group play in the 2019 Copa de Oro set the scene for the semi-finals as Brunei joined MB Polo with an undefeated 2-0 record after narrowly defeating La Indiana 13-12 at Santa Maria Polo Club.
With semi-final positioning on the line, Brunei and La Indiana battled into the final chukka behind the efforts of Juan Martin Nero and Gonzalito Pieres, who led their teams with 8 and 7 goals respectively. Despite committing fewer fouls, six of La Indiana’s seven fouls resulted in a penalty goal for Brunei on a perfect 6 for 6 penalty shooting performance from Nero. Brunei produced consistent offense thanks to their dominance in the throw-in line, winning 18 of 27 throw-ins, while holding off a late attack from La Indiana to claim the 13-12 victory.
The opening chukka featured end-to-end runs, with La Indiana’s balanced offense leading to a goal each from James Fewster, Gonzalito Pieres and Bautista Urbina on perfect shooting from the field. La Indiana held the advantage from the field, but Nero paced the Brunei offense, converting all three penalty attempts over the opening two chukkas to tie the score at 5-5 in what was proving to be an evenly matched contest. Utilizing their extra possessions from the throw-in line, Brunei pushed into the lead, outscoring La Indiana 3-0 in the third chukka to end the half. Two goals from Camilo Castagnola combined with a fourth penalty goal from Nero, giving Brunei the 8-5 lead.
A foul ridden start to the second half saw the two teams combine to commit six fouls, with Nero continuing the consistent offense from the penalty line for Brunei. Gonzalito Pieres added four goals over the fourth and fifth chukkas to keep La Indiana in the game but it was Brunei who maintained their three-goal lead on accurate shooting from the field. In need of offense in the final chukka, La Indiana pressured Brunei to reduce the deficit to one after goals from Pieres and Urbina. Withstanding the late comeback, Brunei was able to hold on for the 13-12 victory to advance to the semi-finals. La Indiana meets Bardon in the quarter-final, with the winner advancing to meet MB Polo.