Dubai and Ayala to the finals of the Cartier Gold Cup
The semifinals were filled with emotions and good polo, today the spectators at the Santa María Polo Club witnessed how Ayala Polo Team and Dubai Polo Team qualified to the final of the Cartier Gold Cup.
Ayala defeated Brunei by 13-12 in the last play of the game and thanks to a great goal by Nicolás Pieres, while Dubai did the same with Lechuza Caracas by 12-5.
They were two very different matches, one was characterized by the good game level and the emotions, and the other by the tactical order and the capacity to make key movements on the game.
Ayala had a great first half facing Brunei, maybe the best of the season so far. Facundo and Nicolás Pieres on top of their game, but also with Tom Brodie as a protagonist in attack and defense. That was definitely how Inigo Zobel’s team was able to take the lead in the first three chukkas, and even though the goal advantage further shortened, and evened at some parts of the game, the match was always favorable for them.
Brunei, with David Stirling Jr. showing great skills, put serious pressure in the second half of the match, and was able to even out the actions and the scoreboard when there was only one minute till the bell announced the end of the game. That was when Nicolas Pieres stole a ball at the middle of the field, and made an outstanding move that ended up in a goal, to give Ayala the pass for the finals by defeating its opponent by 13-12.
On the second match of the afternoon, that pitted Dubai and Lechuza Caracas against each other, there were two very marked stages. The first one was rowdy and even, both teams were in order and taking advantage of the few chances of scoring that came up.
The second half was all about Dubai: Rashid Albwardy’s team, with Adolfo Cambiaso as the master puppeteer of the team, absolutely surpassed Lechuza in tactics and horses and set an unreachable difference for the Venezuelan patron Victor Vargas’ team.
Dubai emerged victorious by 12-5 and will fight Ayala next Sunday to defend the title achieved last year, before today’s rival, Lechuza Caracas.
Ayala: 5-1/ 7-4/ 8-4/ 9-7/ 12-10/ 13-12
Dubai: 1-1/ 3-2/ 4-3/ 7-3/ 11-4/ 12-5
Nicolás Pieres- Ayala Polo Team
“Sometimes it just has to happen naturally. We came into the semis through the back door, and today we won a very difficult match, and are very pleased with the results. We know the final is going to be tough and we will have to give our 100% to get the coveted Gold Cup”
Adolfo Cambiaso- Dubai Polo Team
“We knew it was going to be tough but I believe we had a good match. We played far better than how we have been doing so, and the horses performed really good too. On the second half we were able to broaden the difference as the first one was even, we ended the third chukka 4-3 and from there with a couple of quick goals we managed to get a biggger difference, and were able to control it on the following chukkas.
Dubai is lucky to have a solid organization, excellent and big, some horses in the last game didn’t get to play, so they were fresh and well rested for this one.
Tomorrow I’ll start thinking of the finals, as we are very pleased to have won this game, its always great to be present at the definitions, and we are happy about it”
Alejo Taranco- Dubai Polo Team
“The match came out that way, even though we entered on the 7th chukka with a 7-goal difference, we knew we must secure the first two minutes and after that we were at ease for the rest of the game. I feel I played two entirely different games: the first half was bumpy, the defense was tough and we were very cautious. Then on the second half, we broke with this, the horses responded greatly, as they were well rested, and now we must think towards Sunday’s final, we came for that moment”
Bahar Jefri- Brunei Polo Team
“It was a very tough game, we didnt start so well, but they did, then we had two very strong last chukkas and we were close. I hope next year we can pull it through, we were able to win the Triple Crown on 2008, but each season is tougher as the teams are excellent and as well as the organizations”