The Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge
UAE Polo and Desert Palm to battle it out in the final of the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge 2015
Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge – Semi-Finals
HH Sheikha Maitha’s UAE Polo and Rashid Albwardy and Alan Meeker’s Desert Palm teams have qualified for Saturday’s final of the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge after two fraught semi-finals earlier today.
The Sheikha was forced to retire in the first chukka of her team’s match against the unbeaten Cartier Red team during to an injury. Just a few minutes of play had taken place before she was injured. She was unable to continue and was substituted by regular amateur player here in Dubai, Musab Al Wandawi. The match resumed after some delay only for the UAE’s Santiago Stirling to retire hurt in the second chukka. His place was taken by the four-goal professional Facundo Llorente, who just happened to be watching this semi-final played on the Clubhouse Ground at Desert Palm.
These substitutions not only changed the dynamic of the UAE team, but also appeared to unsettle Cartier Red, who came into this semi-final unbeaten. In fact Cartier Red struggled to produce consistent polo and although Matias Zavaleta regularly levelled the scores, Abu Dhabi always replied with a goal to keep themselves ahead. After much frantic action in the Cartier Red goalmouth, with the scores reading 5-5, Lucas Monteverde put the ball between the posts to ensure UAE Polo are through to Saturday’s final.
Although the second semi, featuring Desert Palm v Abu Dhabi was clearer cut, it was an equally tense game. Abu Dhabi were without their patron Faris Al Yabhouni, who was nursing an injury and Nasser Al Dhaher took his place. However it looked as if unbeaten Desert Palm were going to win by a massive margin as they were 7-2 up at half-time. This was thanks to some great goals from Tom Brodie and Diego Cavanagh.
Abu Dhabi got back into the game in the second half, with Alfredo Cappella and Ernesto Trotz putting in strong performances. This improvement came too late though and when Rashid Albwardy found the flags for Desert Palm after a lovely run down the field to goal, the final score was confirmed at 12-8.
So Desert Palm will play UAE at 4pm this Saturday for the 10th anniversary running of the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge. Meanwhile Abu Dhabi will face Cartier Red for the subsidiary Desert Palm Trophy at 3pm.
UAE Polo Team: Sandra Schneider (-1); HH Sheikha Maitha Al Maktoum (0)/Musab Al Wandawi (0); Santiago Stirling /Facundo Llorente (4); Lucas Monteverde (9). Cartier Red: Clive Reid (0); Martin Valent (2); Tariq Albwardy (1); Matias Zavaleta (7).
Desert Palm: Alan Meeker (0); Rashid Albwardy (2); Tom Brodie (2); Diego Cavanagh (8). Abu Dhabi: Nasser Al Dhaher (0); Nasser Al Shamsi (1); Ernesto Oscar Trotz (4); Alfredo Cappella (7).
10th Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge 2015 Finals – Saturday 21st February at Desert Palm
3pm Cartier Red v Abu Dhabi for the subsidiary Desert Palm Trophy
4pm UAE Polo v Desert Palm for the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge Trophy
Image copyright Images of Polo