By Carolina Beresford
Ladies and gentlemen, we have our XPL finalists! After two nail-biting matches, Las Monjitas and Ellerstina qualified for Saturday’s championship match. What a day of action we had! Four 10-goal players, two double pointers from beyond the 80-yard mark, and the threat of an extra chukker. The wind was the ninth player on the field, blowing the ball any which way, and making it particularly tricky for players to shoot from far out. But shoot they did! Both matches provided a constant influx of goals, and the new set of XPL rules made play more dynamic than ever.
In the first match, Las Monjitas took on La Albertina Abu Dhabi. The star of the encounter was 10-goal pro Sapo Caset, who worked hard in defence and offence to steer his team to victory. He scored 8 goals in the game and was named MVP. It wasn’t easy for Las Monjitas to claim the win, however; La Albertina Abu Dhabi did everything they could to disrupt their strategy. The match was tied with less than a minute left in the sixth. That was when 19-year-old Tomás Panelo came through to score the winning goal for Las Monjitas, and secure their place in the final (15-14).
Next up, Ellerstina faced La Aguada. The match marked the debut of 10-goal legend Facundo Pieres in the Xtreme Polo League, and boy, was he inspiring to watch! He dominated every facet of play—running, pushing, turning, anticipating, striking… It was a true spectacle! He scored a double point penalty from outside the 80-yard mark in the fifth to give his team the advantage. Yet he wasn’t the only one to score from that distance; South African Ignatius Du Plessis proved his strength and skill for La Aguada in the sixth by smashing a monumental 80-yarder. But the goal came too late in the game; the bell rang and Ellerstina grabbed the 14-12 victory.
Join us tomorrow, Saturday, October 5, at the AAP in Pilar, for the finals!
Subsidiary - 12:30pm: La Albertina Abu Dhabi VS La Aguada. FINAL - 3pm: Ellerstina VS Las Monjitas