La Indiana and La Bamba de Areco Advance to Semi-Finals
The second day of quarter-final action in the 2018 King Power Gold Cup began with La Bamba de Areco defeating Talandracas 10-8, while La Indiana defeated Valiente 13-9 to finalize the four teams in the semi-finals at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
The opening game saw La Bamba de Areco overcome an inconsistent Talandracas attack that shot just 33% from the field. Byron Watson shone for La Bamba de Areco in one of his best performances to date, finishing with four goals and being a consistent presence on defence along with David Stirling and Juan Martin Nero. Talandracas were marred by unforced errors and inaccurate passing, while La Bamba de Areco executed their opportunities around goal, converting 7 of their first 12 shot attempts to build a large lead that they ultimately held on to for the victory.
Outshooting La Bamba de Areco 5-2 in the opening chukka, Talandracas had their opportunities to take the early lead but missed all five attempts to remain scoreless. Three fouls led to two penalty goals for Nero as La Bamba grabbed the early advantage. By the end of the first half, La Bamba de Areco extended their lead behind the work of Watson, who scored four consecutive goals his team, including all three goals for La Bamba de Areco in the third chukka. Shooting just 3 for 11 from the field and failing to receive a penalty attempt, Talandracas found themselves down three goals at halftime against a La Bamba de Areco team that was controlling possession, winning 8 of the 10 throw-ins.
To begin the second half La Bamba eased off the attack and played a defensive style that held Talandracas to just a single shot in the fourth chukka. The inability of Talandracas to score from the field became a factor as they were unable to record a field goal in the fourth and fifth chukka as La Bamba de Areco increased their lead to five thanks to back-to-back goals from Stirling. Facing a large five-goal deficit proved to be insurmountable for Talandracas despite Francisco Elizalde scoring three goals in the final chukka. The discipline of La Bamba de Areco and ability to convert from the field led to the 10-8 victory and a spot in the semi-finals.
The final quarter-final featured a foul-ridden, scrappy game between La Indiana and Valiente that contained a combined 28 fouls. With the scoring coming primarily from the penalty line, it was Facundo Pieres’ accuracy that proved to be a difference in the game, converting 7 of his 8 attempts. The slow pace of play contained the attack of Valiente’s Adolfo Cambiaso and Magoo Laprida as they were given little time on the ball due to an aggressive La Indiana defence. Shooting just 5 for 18 from the field in the game, Valiente failed to take advantage of their opportunities from the field, while La Indiana controlled the beginning of the second half to build a lead on the way to victory.
The two teams were evenly matched in the first half as they combined for 13 fouls, along with identical 3 for 3 penalty shooting. The Valiente attack doubled up La Indiana in shot attempts through the first three chukka but were only able to convert 2 of their 10 attempts as La Indiana’s high-pressure defence created difficult opportunities from the field. A 5-5 score at halftime, left the outcome of the game very much undecided as indiscipline proved to be a big factor entering the second half. La Indiana were able to separate themselves from Valiente for the first time in the game in the fourth chukka behind three penalty goals from Facundo Pieres, bringing his total to six in the game. Failing to score from the field in the fifth chukka, Valiente saw their deficit widen to four goals with Pieres continuing to fill the scoresheet, scoring all three La Indiana goals for the second consecutive chukka. La Indiana continued to mark Valiente aggressively in the final chukka, with five more fouls occurring, yet Valiente were unable to close the gap, falling to La Indiana 13-9. With the victory, La Indiana claims the final spot in the King Power Gold Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.