Brunei Capture 2019 Copa de Plata Title
The final of the 2019 Copa de Plata at Santa Maria Polo Club featured an exciting match between Brunei and MB Polo that came down to the final second. A back and forth final two chukkas were decided on Penalty 2 conversion for Juan Martin Nero as time expired to secure the thrilling 10-9 victory for Brunei, capturing the Copa de Plata title.
A performance backed by a strong opening half, Brunei produced a balanced offensive attack with three goals each from patron Jeffrey Bahar, Camilo Castagnola and Juan Martin Nero. Holding the shot advantage from the field, Brunei survived a comeback from MB Polo despite converting just 1 of their final 11 shots from the field, relying on two penalty conversions from Nero in the final chukkas. MB Polo’s Tommy Beresford led all players with five goals in the match, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their slow start in the narrow Brunei victory.
A lightning quick start from Brunei saw them build on their one-goal handicap advantage by scoring three unanswered goals, one each from the trio of Jeffrey, Castagnola and Nero. Dominating possession, while also winning three of four throw-ins in the chukka, Brunei held a 4-0 lead, leaving MB Polo in need of offence to begin their comeback. A more organised attack from MB Polo in the second chukka placed greater pressure on the Brunei defence, resulting in two fouls and a Penalty 3 conversion for Beresford. Tomas Panelo found Polito Pieres on the end of a pass to reduce the deficit to three, but that was as close as MB polo would get before the end of the half, with Brunei maintaining the three-goal lead. The multi-faceted offence for Brunei was led by perfect 3 for 3 shooting from Jeffrey, who proved to be the story in the opening half, leading his team to the 7-4 advantage.
After a first half of Brunei firmly in control, the momentum of the game abruptly changed to begin the second half, due to a 3-0 fourth chukka in favour of MB Polo to tie the score at 7-7. Beresford ignited the MB Polo offence with two goals, while Pieres was effective defensively as well as distributing the ball downfield for Panelo and Beresford. With the result coming to the final two chukkas, Brunei responded with a relentless offence in the fifth chukka, keeping MB Polo pinned in their own half, but struggled to find the goal, converting just one of their five attempts. Edging into a one-goal advantage after a Penalty 2 conversion from Nero, Brunei was one chukka away from victory, holding the 9-8 lead. Scoring his lone goal of the game, Pieres jumped on the loose ball to run it through the goal with just two and a half minutes remaining. As the clock ticked down, a counterattack from Brunei left MB Polo vulnerable in front of their own goal, with a whistle stopping the play and awarding Brunei a Penalty 2 with seconds remaining to decide the game. Tapping the ball through the goal, Nero sent Brunei to victory as they finished with a perfect 6-0 record to capture the 2019 Copa de Plata title.