Team Azerbaijan is the winner of the 1st FIP Arena Polo European Championship at the Elite Horse and Polo Club in Baku. The German team remains second after a very close 6-5 result.
In an incredibly exciting final, polo team Azerbaijan won the title of the 1st FIP Arena Polo European Championship. In the first chukka the strong team of Azerbaijan started a very precise play and scored two goals. But the German team with Patrick Maleitzke, the two brothers Philipp and Oliver Sommer as well as the young Niklas Steinle did not lose the thread. In the second chukka the Argentinean professional and teacher of the Azeri players, Silvestre Garros, fell off his horse but could get up again very fast. With a +6 handicap Garros was the highest rated player of the tournament. During three months he had coached the Azeri players. On the other side Patrick Maleitzke also suffered a fall-down but could stand up immediately and scored the lead for his team for the first time in the match. The enthusiastic local audience supported their team overwhelmingly. At the end of the third chukka team Germany worked out a lead of two goals to 5-3. In the fourth and final chukka some discussions about penalty shots and valid goals created a tense atmosphere. Both teams were a breath away from victory: 5-5 one minute prior the final bell. The deciding goal of the tournament was scored by the Argentinean professional Silvestre Garros. A perfect coup for the Azeri team and a gorgeous victory. The quality of this final was simply outstanding. Polo at its’ best in Baku.
Italy against Switzerland was the first pairing of the day, Switzerland started with one and a half goal advantage. Tito Gaudenzi, Cedric Schweri, Fabio Zindel and Fabio Meier, who suffered a shoulder injury yesterday, put the turbo on and lead already 4.5-0 at the end of the first chukka. And they could keep control of the game which ended with a 7.5-5 and the fifth place for Switzerland.
In the second game of the day Ireland faced Spain with Marcos and Alvaro Álvarez Talegón and Antonio Ayesa Guix. The Irish team with Patrick EphsonJames Connolly, lady player Siobhan Herbst and James Kennedy Jr. got half a goal advantage. After a 30 yard penalty in favour of team Spain, the game remains without any score until the third chukka. Ireland managed to clear some dangerous situations and could stop the offensive game of Spain. Despite of the little number of goals, the match kept being fast and competitive. James Connolly and his team left no doubt that they really wanted to win the decision about place number three of the tournament. And with the close result of 4.5-4 Ireland did.
This 1st FIP Arena Polo European Championship was a historic tournament indeed. Reto Gaudenzi and the World Polo team in cooperation with the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan Republic (ARAF) and the Elite Horse and Polo Club Bina organised a memorable venue. The organizers provided a pool of 72 argentine polo horses from the Alegría Polo Farm and Garros Polo Farm Argentina. Since its successful first appearance at the Grass Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan in 2013, the host team from Azerbaijan has made tremendous progress. Today they could win the European Championship: Congratulations! For the national team from Germany, the second place at a European Championship is one of the biggest successes ever.
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Friday, September 4th
GERMANY vs. AZERBAIJAN 7 – 9
SPAIN vs. ITALY 10 – 4.5
SWITZERLAND vs. IRELAND 6.5 – 9
Saturday, September 5th
ITALY vs. AZERBAIJAN 6.5 – 12
SWITZERLAND vs. SPAIN 3.5 – 8
IRELAND vs. GERMANY 2.5 – 5
Sunday, September 6th
SWITZERLAND vs. ITALY 11 – 1
GERMANY vs. SPAIN 8 – 5
IRELAND vs. AZERBAIJAN 4.5 – 7
Thursday, September 10th
AZERBAIJAN vs. SWITZERLAND 11 – 6.5
ITALY vs. GERMANY 3 – 5
IRELAND vs. SPAIN 8.5 – 6
Friday, September 11th
GERMANY vs. SWITZERLAND 7 – 4.5
SPAIN vs. AZERBAIJAN 3 – 9
ITALY vs. IRELAND 5 – 3.5
Saturday, September 12th
ITALY vs. SWITZERLAND 5 – 7.5
IRELAND vs. SPAIN 4.5 – 4
AZERBAIJAN vs. GERMANY 6 – 5