MB Polo Capture 2019 Copa de Oro Title

A thrilling conclusion to the 2019 Copa de Oro resulted in MB Polo holding off a late attack from Brunei to claim the 9-8 victory, handing Brunei their first loss of the season to capture the Copa de Oro title at Santa Maria Polo Club. 

The fast-paced final featured few whistles, leaving MB Polo and Brunei to battle for the Copa de Oro in open play. Producing more scoring opportunities in the game, MB Polo utilized the play of Tomas Panelo and Polito Pieres to generate a consistent offense that shot at goal 19 times, but MB Polo’s efficiency at just 37% allowed Brunei to match MB Polo. Even on the scoreboard after each of the first four chukkas, little separated the two teams, with Tommy Beresford’s second penalty goal proving to be the difference. Holding off a late charge from Brunei, who dominated possession by winning six of the final seven throw-ins, MB Polo captured the exciting 9-8 victory.

Striving to complete an undefeated season, Brunei had a quick start to the game, outshooting MB polo 3-0, but managed just one goal from Jeffrey Bahar, while MB Polo’s Beresford added a penalty conversion to keep the teams even at 1-1. The momentum switched in favour of MB Polo as they kept Brunei pinned in their own half, but were unable to convert their chances around goal, with their lone goal coming off the mallet of Panelo. Withstanding the MB Polo attack, Brunei looked to take the lead before the end of the half after consecutive goals from Juan Martin Nero gave them the 4-2 lead. As was the case throughout the game, MB Polo responded with consecutive goals of their own in quick succession, one from the penalty line and one from the field, leaving the teams tied 4-4 at the end of the first half.

With the tournament to be decided over the final three chukkas, MB Polo’s offense relied on Panelo, who added his third and fourth goals of the game to begin the second half, while Brunei responded with the duo of Nero and Camilo Castagnola. Playing similar fast-paced styles, Brunei overcame their fewer scoring chances by shooting 50% from the field as the pressure continued to build with two chukkas remaining and the two teams remaining tied. Defense tightened on both sides with zero field goals scored in the fifth chukka, but it was MB Polo who finally broke through to take the lead after a Penalty 2 conversion from Beresford gave his team the 7-6 lead. Making his impact on the game, Beresford opened the scoring in the sixth chukka to extend MB Polo’s lead to two, leaving Brunei in desperate need of offense in the final minutes. With their lead back to just one, MB Polo’s Panelo won a throw-in and found Pieres on the run to restore the two-goal lead. A late push from Brunei was thwarted by a Beresford steal when he took the ball downfield, running out the clock and celebrating the thrilling MB Polo victory and the Copa de Oro title. 

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