Habtoor vs RH Polo
The third quarter-final of the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup saw Habtoor defeat RH Polo 12-10 at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
Habtoor used efficient 12 for 14 shooting from the field, led by Francisco Elizalde’s perfect 6 for 6 shooting on the day, to overcome their 0 for 6 shooting on penalty attempts. Playing without Adolfo Cambiaso, who was injured in RH Polo’s previous game, RH Polo missed his defensive proficiency as they were unable to slow down the attack of Habtoor. Nico Pieres was efficient in the #4 position, using both Elizalde and Paco O’Dwyer downfield to extend the RH Polo defense. Cambiaso’s replacement, 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa, was effective throughout the game offensively, scoring four goals but the team performance from Habtoor was the difference in the victory.
Habtoor converted all three shots in the opening chukka with Pieres and Elizalde scoring two goals and one goal respectively. Possession was in favour of Habtoor throughout the opening chukka and two missed penalties from Pieres kept the lead from extending even further. RH Polo was still adjusting to the change of line-up as they managed two shots at goal, unable to put either one in between the posts.
\Rh found their stride in the following chukka with Ulloa scoring his first two goals of the game, along with Beresford converting a penalty 2, to cut the deficit from three to one. Habtoor only generated three more shots at goal the remainder of the first half but converted all three chances to maintain a slim 6-5 lead at halftime.
The loss of Cambiaso changed RH Polo’s style of play and resulted in more individual attacks but they were playing Habtoor even through the 4th chukka, with Andrade and Beresford scoring to match the two goals put up by Habtoor in the chukka. The game changed in the 5th chukka as Habtoor pulled away from RH Polo using a balanced team attack with Pieres controlling the flow of the game from the #4 position. Behind 3 for 4 shooting, Habtoor’s Pieres, Elizalde and Paco O’Dwyer scored one goal each to extend their lead to four.
RH Polo was unable to overcome the four goal deficit in the final chukka as Habtoor held on for the 12-10 victory, knocking out the Queen’s Cup champions to advance to Wednesday’s semi-finals.
King Power Foxes vs Talandracas
The last quarter-final of the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup featured three 10-goal players as King Power Foxes used a dominant second half to defeat Talandracas 10-6 at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
In a closely marked game early on, both teams played a two-man game creating little space for either team. However, King Power Foxes adjusted to their play in the second half, transitioning from defense to offense with quick backhands and stretching the field to allow Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres to attack goal. An impressive 5th chukka from Facundo Pieres saw him convert all three shot attempts and control possession throughout the chukka, to change a one goal deficit to a three goal advantage for King Power Foxes as they would not relinquish that lead in the final chukka on the way to victory.
The combination of Guillermo Caset and David Stirling was effective for Talandracas in the 1st chukka as they each attacked individually, pressuring the Pieres’ brothers and preventing any counter-attacks. Stirling scored twice and Hugo Lewis added one goal as Talandracas converted all three shot attempts to take an early 3-1 lead.
However, just as Talandracas controlled possession in the 1st chukka, King Power Foxes replied in the 2nd chukka with a similar attack of their own, with Facundo Pieres scoring his first two goals of the game to tie the game at 3-3. The style of play for both teams continued in the first half as a physical game was being played with plenty of picks and blocks to free up the nine and ten goal players. A late goal in the 3rd chukka for Caset gave Talandracas the one goal lead at halftime.
After a 4th chukka that mirrored the play in the first half, King Power Foxes made some adjustments in the 5th chukka, as they extended the Talandracas defence, finding James Fewster with the pass and giving Facundo Pieres more space to attack. That change allowed King Power Foxes to win the 5th chukka 4-0 and put Talandracas in a three goal deficit with little time remaining.
Throughout the second half, Talandracas dominated the throw-ins, winning seven of the nine throw-ins but were unable to get past the defence of King Power Foxes, that continued to mark Stirling and Caset tightly. Facundo Pieres’ 6th goal of the game in the final chukka sealed the victory as King Power Foxes grabbed the final spot in Wednesday’s semi-finals.