By Alex Webbe
Dubai (Rashid Albwardy, Kian Hall, Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martin Nero) crushed Zacara (Jack Hyde/Juan Jose de Alba, Lyndon Lea, Lucas Monteverde and Pablo MacDonough) Wednesday afternoon in the first semifinal of the 2016 Cartier Queens Cup, 16-12, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate.
In a penalty-laden first half, Dubai took a 3-2 first chukker lead on three goals from Adolfo Cambiaso (two on penalty conversions) and two penalty goals from Zacara’s Pablo MacDonough.
Dubai picked up the pace in the second chukker as Cambiaso added three quick goals (one on a penalty shot), to move ahead, 6-2. MacDonough converted a 30-yard penalty shot followed by a goal from the field from Rashid Albwardy on a pass from Cambiaso that ended the second chukker with Dubai in front by four goals, 7-3.
Four straight penalty goals set the tone for the third period with MacDonough converting from60-yards followed by three penalty goals from Cambiaso that had Dubai on top, 10-4. MacDonough scored the final goal of the chukker from the field as Dubai rode off the field with a 10-5 advantage.
A 30-yard penalty goal from Cambiaso was followed by a goal from the field from Albwardy as Dubai stretched their lead to seven goals, 12-5. Lucas Monteverde got Zacara on the scoreboard with his first goal of the day, cutting the lead back to six goals, 12-6. Albwardy closed out the chukker with his third goal of the afternoon, as Dubai dominated the game, 13-6.
La Indiana upsets Queens Cup defending champion13-12
The King Power Foxes (Top Srivaddhanaprabha, Pepito Araya, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) were one of only two teams to enter the semifinals with a perfect record but in a stunning turn of events Michael Bickford’s La Indiana polo team (Michael Bickford, Nic Roldan, Agustin Merlos and Julian de Lusarreta) dashed any hopes they had of defending their 2015 title with a 13-12 last chukker win.
Gonzalito Pieres opened the scoring for King Power on a penalty conversion followed by a goal from the field for the early 2-0 lead. Nic Roldan responded with a goal for La Indiana, 2-1, as they tried to slow down the aggressive King Power attack. Facundo Peres scored his first goal of the game to give King Power the edge, 3-1. Roldan found himself on the receiving end of a scoring pass from teammate Julian de Lusarreta to bring La Indiana to within a goal of the lead, 3-2. Gonzalito Pieres closed out the chukker with a 30-yard penalty goal that had King Power leading by two goals, 4-2.
A determined La Indiana team took control of the game in the second period as the rain began to fall. Agustin Merlos scored his first goal of the match following a run of over 140 yards, cutting the lead back to a single goal, 4-3. Roldan leveled the score at 4-4 and Merlos ended the chukker by scoring a well-executed neck-shot for a goal that had La Indiana in front for the first time all day, 5-4, and King Power scoreless in the chukker.
Facundo Pieres took the opening throw-in as the third period got underway and raced down the field to tie the score at 5-5. Goals from Roldan and de Lusarreta ended the first half with La Indiana leading by two goals, 7-5.
A regrouped King Power team pressed the attack in the fourth. La Indiana fouls were costly with Gonzalito Pieres converting on two tried to level the score at 7-7. Merlos scored from the field to put La Indiana on top, 8-7, but the Pieres brothers got the lead back for King Power on a 100-yard angle shot from Facundo and a 70-yard cut shot from Gonzalito. With two chukkers remaining in regulation play, King Power held narrow lead, 9-8.
The fifth chukker was all La Indiana as Merlos, Roldan and de Lusarreta pressed the King Power defense. Merlos scored the first three goals of the chukker (two on penalty conversions) and de Lusarreta added a goal from the field. For the second time in the game King Power was held scoreless and now trailed underdog La Indiana by three goals, 12-9.
King Power dug deep in the sixth with Gonzalito Pieres scoring twice on penalty shots that cut the La Indiana lead to a single goal, 12-11. A frantic rush toward the La Indiana goal by Facundo Pieres saw team captain Top Srivaddhanaprabha picking up the loose ball and scoring to tie the game at 12-12 with just a minute left in regulation play. Both teams fought for control of the ball in the throw-in with La Indiana staging a charge at the King Power goal. A foul by King Power resulted in a 30-yard penalty shot that Merlos converted for the 13-12 win and a trip to Saturday’s final.
Merlos led the La Indiana attack with seven goals. Nic Roldan added four and de Lusarreta was credited with two goals for the win. Gonzalito Pieres scored eight goals for King Power. Facundo Pieres added three and Srivaddhanaprabha scored once in the loss.
In their first Cartier Queens Cup appearance, La Indiana will face Dubai in Saturday’s final.