The sun was shining and the Perrier-Jouët flowing on day two of the Snow Polo World Cup. All the while, some of the best polo players in the world did battle on the frozen lake of St. Moritz, too!
As the Godfather of Polo, Founder, CEO, and Evviva Polo St. Moritz AG vice president Reto Gaudenzi says, “It is the best polo ever—the field is fantastic, there is no wind. Which means we can all really enjoy the amazing skill of the players. What an event!”
Packed grandstands enjoyed the first match of the day between The Kusnacht Practice and Flexjet, who started with a half goal handicap advantage. The Kusnacht Practice got off to a somewhat shaky start, but soon got their flow going. Argentine Alejo Taranco, the highest rated player in the tournament on 9 goals, notched up a hat trick of goals, while Flexjet struggled to find their form. At half-time, the scoreboard read 4 to 1.5.
The talented Patrick Maleitzke was all over the action in the second half and scored for Flexjet. But even with a goal from his teammate Clemente Delfosse, it was unfortunately too little too late. The final score rested on 5 to 3.5 for The Kusnacht Practice—their first win in the tournament.
The semi-final between Azerbaijan Land of Fire and World Polo League began with the crowds standing for the Swiss National Anthem set against the stunning, sun-soaked Engadin mountains. Team Captain Elcin Jamalli raced to the goalposts to score in the opening 24 seconds. It was swiftly followed by a Adrian Laplacette Jr. combination and an under-the-neck shot from Elcin to take it to 3 to 0 at the end of the first chukka.
But it was not over yet, as a duo of goals from Alejandro Novillo Astrada and the Queen of Snow Polo Melissa Ganzi saw World Polo League jump into life with a 3 to 3 tie at half-time. The second half was fast and frenetic—as the seconds ticked down to the final bell, it was Elcin who seized the victory for his team. He made an unbelievable play to secure a 5 to 4 win in the dying seconds—and with it, Azerbaijan Land of Fire’s place in the final tomorrow.
The last semi-final of the day saw St. Moritz take on Clinique La Prairie for the last spot in tomorrow’s coveted final—and both teams meant business from the first throw-in. Fast-paced opening play saw Nacho Gonzalez score for St. Moritz, who had already received a 1.5 goal handicap advantage. The team went from strength to strength with their goal-scoring domination, seemingly unstoppable.
Clinique La Prairie struggled to score from the field but capitalized on their penalty opportunities, getting four on the board. As commentator Jan-Erik Franck succinctly states, “It feels like there is an extra St. Moritz player on the field,” as Max Charlton ably used his skills to bounce the ball off the side boards in his classic arena-style.
Despite flashes of brilliance from Nic Roldan, Clinique La Prairie struggled to find yesterday’s form. It ended with the four Englishmen comfortably running out the winners with 8.5 to 4. This secured St. Moritz’s place in final to jubilant cheers from the crowds.