Copa de Oro Final - Ayala vs La Indiana
His Majesty King of Spain, Juan Carlos de Borbón hands Ayala Polo Team the Gold Cup Santa Maria Polo Club of the 46th International Polo Tournament
The final of the 2017 Copa de Oro saw Ayala display a dominant performance, defeating La Indiana 13-8 at Santa Maria Polo Club in Sotogrande, Spain.
Controlling the throw-in battle early, Ayala won the first two throw-ins in, taking the ball directly to goal and gaining an early two goal advantage; one which they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the game thanks to efficient 10 of 14 (71%) shooting from the field. Ayala also used strong team defence on La Indiana, pressuring their opponents as they approached goal, holding La Indiana to 4 of 11 (36%) shooting.
After the two quick goals to open the game, Facundo Pieres forced a turnover for La Indiana inside the 60-yard line and the result was Pieres’ first goal of the game, stretching Ayala’s lead to 3-0 after the first chukka. Ayala continued to control possession, but their aggressive defence on La Indiana resulted in eight fouls in the 2nd and 3rd chukkas, keeping La Indiana in the game as Agustin Merlos converted two of his three penalty attempts in the first half.
However, La Indiana was unable to contain the Ayala attack as they were outshot 10-3 in the 1st half, with Ayala using a balanced attack with Pieres leading the way with three goals followed by Santiago Laborde and Gregorio Gelosi with two goals each as Ayala maintained their three goal advantage, leading 7-4 at halftime.
Ayala broke away in the 4th chukka, scoring three straight goals, all from Pieres to stretch their lead to six. La Indiana made a run in the 5th chukka, with Merlos scoring back-to-back goals on penalties, which was quickly followed by Juan Martin Zavaleta’s 2nd goal of the game to bring the deficit back to three goals.
However, Ayala and Pieres were too much throughout the game as Pieres converted all three shot attempts and both penalty attempts in the 2nd half, to finish with eight goals on the game leading Ayala to the convincing 13-8 victory.
His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain handed the Santa Maria Polo Gold Cup to the Ayala Polo Team, after a deserved victory. His Highness Infanta Elena de Borbón and Pablo Mora Figueroa, Santa María Polo Club president also presided the prize giving ceremony in a brilliant closing day of the high goal competition at Los Pinos fields, main venue of the Santa María Polo Club.
His Majesty King Juan Carlos presided the trophy award ceremony and personally handed the Gold Cup to Iñigo Zobel, Ayala Polo Team patron as well as the individual awards to the other three players, Gregorio Gelosi, Santiago Laborde and Facundo Pieres. His Highness Infanta Dona Elena handed over the Best Playing Pony Tio Pepe Award of the final to the mare Cube, property of Ellerstina and played by Facundo Pieres in the third chukker.