UAE Polo Team 10 – 9 Murus Sanctus – La Magdeleine & UAE Polo Team ll 12 – 11 Park Place
There will be a UAE Polo Team in the final of the 2021 Cartier Queen’s Cup tournament. Both of Sheikha’s Maitha’s teams won today to set themselves up for a UAE showdown in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
First up was the UAE Polo Team in a really close contest Murus Sanctus- La Magdeleine at the Zacara polo fields. These two great teams matched each other almost every step of the way. Murus Sanctus – La Magdeleine had a two-goal advantage (6-4) at the end of the third but everyone watching knew that the advantage could so easily change with this level of polo and all eight players delivering their very best polo. Facundo Sola, Sapo Caset and Matt Perry had all scored for Murus Sanctus – La Magdeleine, while Polito Pieres and Tomy Beresford fired through the goals for UAE Polo. They were again ably supported by Tomas Panelo, whose strong play throughout this match ensured the UAE Polo Team stayed in contention. Meanwhile Cata Lavinia, Sheikha Maitha’s sub who has impressed in this tournament, had met her match today in Max Voelker, substituting for patron Alexandre Garese. Strong marking kept them both away from the play. A good fourth chukka from UAE saw them take a two-goal lead going into the fifth (8-6), but the tension was mounting. Beresford got a yellow card in this chukka, while Sapo Caset sent a 40-yard penalty wide. So this was still anyone’s game going into the sixth chukka (9-7 to UAE); Caset levelled the score by converting two penalties, so on the second bell the scores were tied 9-9. Within 30 seconds of the start of the seventh chukka, UAE were awarded a penalty, which Polito Pieres converted to fire UAE Polo Team into the semi-finals.
The second game today, played at Les Lions, was tense and littered with penalties. The pressure undoubtedly was on Park Place, looking for their fourth consecutive Cartier Queen’s Cup Final. UAE Polo Team ll were the underdogs today, grabbing this quarter-final slot by winning last Wednesday’s penalty shoot out. That had been delivered by Alfredo Capella, who had been cool and calm under pressure. Today was no different, with Capella scoring the winner in the sixth chukka. The scores were six-all at half-time but Park Place got themselves a three-goal cushion at the end of the fourth (9-6) thanks to goals from Will Harper and Facundo Pieres. This was the moment one expected Park Place to power ahead to win this game, especially as UAE Polo Team ll failed to score in the fourth. This was not quite what happened although there was plenty of drama in the fifth. Lucas Monteverde scored from the first throw-in to bring UAE Polo ll back in contention only for Pieres to score two more goals. Then Monteverde Junior was shown two yellow cards in quick succession which saw him sent to the “sin bin” for a couple of minutes. Incredibly Park Place failed to take advantage of their opponents being a man down, while Capello successfully converted two penalties. So with score reading 11-8 to Park Place going into the sixth there was still all to play for. UAE Polo ll would have known that their stablemates had already qualified and maybe that was the secret ingredient. Park Place failed to score at all in the sixth while Capella fired two shots through the posts and assisted Monteverde in scoring too. This volley of goals brought UAE level once again. Then after the first bell Capella was awarded a 40-yard penalty. The player who had won his team their quarter-final place now fired though the winner to take UAE Polo ll into the semi-finals.
Images: ©Images of Polo