The Argentine's overtime winner to win the recent Queens Cup for King Power Foxes should be used to promote sport to wider audience.
Facundo Pieres, the Argentine world No 1, has described his wonder goal at the Queens Cup as a “special moment”, putting his extra time winner for King Power Foxes comfortably into his top three finishes of an already majestic career.
The 29-year-old, who became the world's youngest polo player to hold a 10-goal handicap a decade ago, has been vying with compatriot Adolfo Cambiaso for top ranking over the last few years.
But his star billing was realised in the Queens Cup final thanks to his goal for the sport’s biggest organisational team. It was a clip captured by an overhead drone - an increasingly valuable addition to the sport - and one that polo chiefs should really be making more of to help captivate a new audience.
King Power Foxes had a two-goal lead against Dubai before the final chukker, but relinquished the lead after a double from Pablo Mac Donough, who had the chance for a barely believable winner before the final hooter, as the game was taken to sudden death.
For posterity, Telegraph Sport asked Pieres to describe his gallivanting at Guards, 32 seconds into extra time. This after King Power Foxes had just shaded La Indiana on Thursday after another extra time winner, this time by Facu’s brother, Gonzalito.
“We won the throw in. I had the ball, Pablo took the ball out of me and started running,” said Pieres, speaking after King Power’s first game of the 2015 Gold Cup. “But Gonzalito came from behind and defended the play with a back shot.
“I was turning and hoping for a back shot from Top [Srivaddhanaprabha, the team’s patron and vice chairman of Leicester City]. I was committed that the play would go right. It went to plan, luckily, and I’m glad we were all part of that goal.”
It was some team goal, despite Pieres' individual brilliance at the death. With King Power Foxes attempting to become the only side to go unbeaten through the Queens Cup, the moment meant much to the 60-strong staff behind the well-funded team.
“It was a two-way pass,” added Pete McCormack, manager of King Power Foxes. “Gonzo won the ball and back-handed it. Facundo called Top not to touch the ball, but he’s such an athlete himself, he thought ‘what the hell’".
The Thai subsequently hit another backhand, which was delivered directly in front of Facundo for the Argentina to do one final run.
“When you see the Facundo Express coming down the road to score a winning goal, you’ve got a whole wave energy behind you. Just to get him through the goal was tremendous,” said McCormack.
“It was almost like he jumps off the horse, drops to his knees, throws his hands in the air and says ‘that’s the end of the performance, I’ve delivered’.
Pieres, likely to still have over a decade left competing at the top level, admits that the goal was made more special by the location of the King Power back-up staff, which numbers 60 in all across two teams.
“It’s always nicer to win a tournament in extra time with a golden goal,” he said. “It couldn’t be more special. It’s just what happened in the moment. We were there with all the staff and grooms and friends. It was great to celebrate with them. “It was a big celebration as the game was tough. When it’s like that you celebrate just that little bit more.
“I don’t remember scoring like this before and not many have been scored in this situation. For sure, it’s in the top three scores."
FOXES CUNNING TO THE LAST
King Power Foxes were at it again at Cowdray Park on Thursday when they won their opening game of this year’s Gold Cup. They just held off La Indiana, featuring England captain James Beim, in sudden death, 11-10. Gonzalito Pieres proved the match winner, arcing mesmerically round the La Indiana defence to score the final goal. “The first game after winning a tournament is tough, especially when you’re playing such a strong team,” said Pieres.
NO FAVOURITES IN GOLD CUP
If La Indiana had beaten King Power Foxes on Thursday, it would have meant that four out of the first five Gold Cup fixtures would have gone against the seeding. It still means that the second round of matches will play a key factor in the outcome of this year's event.
For tickets to the 2015 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup semis and final go to Cowdray Park polo
By Rod Gilmour, Cowdray Park - 26th June 2015