The fifth day of play in the 2018 Copa de Oro saw two close matches with La Indiana narrowly defeating Lechuza Caracas 12-11, while Bardon defeated Dos Lunas 9-7 at Santa Maria Polo Club.
The opening game of the day featured a match that came down to the final seconds with a revamped La Indiana line-up working effectively against Lechuza Caracas. With Bautista Urbina and Lucas James making their debuts in the Copa de Oro, La Indiana’s fast paced passing attack ultimately won out over the controlled possession style of Lechuza Caracas led by David Stirling and Juan Martin Nero. Despite playing their first game together, La Indiana’s balanced team effort proved to be effective in the game, with Michael Bickford leading the way with an impressive five-goal performance in the narrow one-goal victory.
The opening chukka saw La Indiana race out to a big lead, with five goals in the first seven minutes. Outscoring Lechuza Caracas 5-0 from the field, it was the duo of Bautista Urbina and Lucas James that worked effectively to lead the La Indiana attack, while Lechuza Caracas countered with one penalty conversion to trail by four goals. Winning 8 of the first 12 throw-ins, La Indiana was able to implement their quick attack leaving Lechuza Caracas on the defensive. Yet after the first chukka, Lechuza quickly responded throughout the remainder of the first half, decreasing the deficit to one goal, led by four goals from Stirling. The La Indiana attack was slowed with Stirling and Nero playing a slower possession style of play that resulted in an 8-7 score leading into the second half.
The second half saw runs from both teams with La Indiana extending their lead in the fourth chukka, with Bickford scoring both goals in the chukka. As was the case in the first half, Lechuza Caracas used the performances of Stirling and Nero to slow the game and use their possession to make their way back into the game. Scoring two penalty goals off both La Indiana fouls, Lechuza Caracas restored a tie at 10-10 with just one chukka remaining. After the teams traded goals, just a minute remained as La Indiana attacked goal and pressured the Lechuza Caracas defense. A foul in front of the Lechuza Caracas goal resulted in a penalty 2 conversion for Santiago Laborde that sealed the 12-11 victory for La Indiana in a rematch of the Copa de Plata final.
The second game of the day saw a defensive battle with Bardon slowing the Dos Lunas offense late in the game to claim the victory. Held to just six shots in the game, Dos Lunas remained in the game due to perfect 4 for 4 shooting from the penalty line, while Bardon produced more opportunities in the game but shot just 38% and 57% from the field and penalty line respectively. With a tie score late in the game, it was foul trouble for Dos Lunas that led to two penalty goals for Bardon in the final minutes that resulted in the two-goal victory.
A scoreless first chukka saw most of the play occur in the middle of the field, while Bardon missed two penalty attempts to stay off the scoresheet. Despite losing all three throw-ins and being outshot 5-1 in the second chukka, it was Facundo Sola that broke through, scoring two goals to give Dos Lunas the 2-1 lead. Three Dos Lunas fouls in the third chukka allowed Bardon to restore the tie, with Alejandro Muzzio scoring a goal from the field and the penalty line resulting in a low-scoring 3-3 affair at halftime.
A strong fourth chukka for Dos Lunas was led by two goals from Pascual Sainz de Vicuna, yet foul trouble continued to be a factor throughout the second half. Six second half fouls for Dos Lunas, awarded Bardon with three penalty goals along with the extra possessions they needed to build their attack. Using their strong defense, Bardon outshot Dos Lunas 6-1 over the final two chukkas, holding Dos Lunas to zero field goals. Muzzio added two more goals, along with a goal from Alejo Taranco in the sixth chukka to secure Bardon’s first victory in the Copa de Oro.