Valiente and Emlor Victorious on Day Five of King Power Gold Cup
The fifth day of play in the 2018 King Power Gold Cup saw Emlor defeat Thai Polo 13-9, while Valiente won a close contest against La Indiana 16-15 at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
The opening game featured an accurate attack from Emlor, shooting 8 for 10 from the field to overcome a Thai Polo team that dominated the throw-in battle. Winning 16 of 21 throw-ins, Thai Polo were unable to capitalize on the extra possessions, converting just 4 of their 14 shot attempts in the loss. Led by a seven-goal performance from Agustin Merlos, Emlor led after each chukka to finish with the four-goal victory.
The opening chukkas saw Emlor take an early 4-1 lead with two goals coming from patron Spencer McCarthy. Thai Polo fell behind early in the game due to missing their first six shot attempts and failing to record a field goal until the third chukka. However, Emlor allowed Thai Polo to stay in the game with plenty of ill-discipline, amassing six fouls, resulting in three penalty goals in the opening. Despite shooting just 1 for 7 from the field, Thai Polo found themselves down just two goals heading into the second half.
The second half saw a continuation of the first half, with Emlor shooting at goal less frequently but converting at a higher rate. Five fouls for Thai Polo in the fourth chukka allowed Emlor to extend their lead to four, with Merlos adding two goals from the penalty line. Dominating the throw-in line, Thai Polo began their comeback with a 3-0 fifth chukka to cut the deficit to just one goal. Joaquin Pittaluga led the way for Thai Polo, scoring eight of their nine goals in the game, but Emlor were able to maintain their lead over the final chukka. The duo of Merlos and Diego Cavanagh combined for four goals in the sixth chukka to seal the 13-9 victory for Emlor.
The second game of the day turned into one of the most pulsating games of the season as the high scoring affair between La Indiana and Valiente was decided in the final minutes. Combining for ten penalty attempts in the game, the back and forth game was even on the penalty line with both teams converting eight penalty attempts, with the only missed attempt between both teams, followed up for a goal by Hugo Lewis to seal the victory.
In the opening chukka, Valiente were in total control, racing to a 7-3 lead thanks to goals from both the penalty line and the field for Adolfo Cambiaso and Magoo Laprida. The momentum of Valiente changed in the third chukka due to three fouls resulting in three penalty goals for La Indiana’s Facundo Pieres, as the four-goal deficit shrunk to just one at the end of the first half. Shooting a perfect 3 for 3 from the field and 4 for 4 from the penalty line, La Indiana stayed within reach of a Valiente team that produced twice as many shots from the field.
The second half saw La Indiana take the lead after a second yellow from Cambiaso forced him out of the game for two minutes, with La Indiana scoring multiple goals in his absence. La Indiana extended the lead to three, scoring six consecutive goals to take control in the game. Before the end of the chukka, Valiente quickly responded with three consecutive goals of their own to tie the game. After Pieres scored his 11th goal of the game, Valiente forced La Indiana into quick fouls allowing them to make their way back into the game with just minutes remaining. Penalty goals from Cambiaso and Laprida tied the game and with just minutes left, a safety was deflected in by Hugo Lewis for the winning goal of the game. The exciting 16-15 victory sees Valiente claim their second win of the tournament as they continue their run in the tournament.