By Gonzalo Etcheverry
In a day full of action, goals and the unfortunate injury of ten goaler Pablo Mac Donough, Zedan and Abu Dhabi achieved wins in today’s matches for the Julius Baer Gold Cup at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club.
Mac Donough suffered a hard fall in the fourth chukker of the match against Edrees and left the field with an injured ankle. Replaced by Lucas Monteverde, Zedan achieved a bitter but still comfortable victory by 8 goals to 2. Mac Donough was the top scorer of the match with 4 goals.
Pablo Mac Donough will face between 4 and 6 weeks of recovery after a fracture in his right tibia was confirmed. He will be replaced by Lucas Monteverde on next friday game against Wolves.
Zedan: 2-1/ 5-1/ 5-1/ 7-1/ 8-2
In the second match of the day, Abu Dhabi Polo Team achieved his first victory in the Julius Baer Gold Cup after defeating Bin Drai by 11 goals to 7 in a thrilling match.
Team made by Ali Al Merri, Valentín Novillo Astrada, Facu Fernández Llorente and top player Alfredo Cappella, had to fight till the very end to defeat the strong Bin Drai team.
With an outstanding half time, Abu Dhabi achieved a comfortable difference in the score of 7-3 but Bin Drai ́s reaction in the fourth chukker, closing the gap to only one goal (7-6), put some suspense to the last 7 minutes of the game.
Talented Alfredo Cappella showed up in the last chukka to score four consecutive goals for Abu Dhabi’s 11 goals to 7 victory.
Cappella was the mvp and top scorer of the match with 8 goals.
Abu Dhabi: 4-1/ 5-2/ 7-3/ 7-6/ 11-7
The Julius Baer Gold Cup will continue tomorrow with another double action day at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club.
The order of play will be the following:
2pm: Julius Baer by Habtoor Polo vs UAE Polo
Followed by: Mahra vs Ghantoot.
Martín Gándara (Zedan): “Before this game we talked and we said that we need to stay focus after being a little sleepy during the first 3 chukkers in our last game. Now we are playing the Wolves. We played them this year in the Silver Cup and they are a well balanced team; but we are going to play our game plan and thinking about winning. When Pablo left the field injured we kept on playing as we were, hitting the ball and even scoring a couple more with Lucas on the field. Don’t know yet who is going to replace Pablo”.
Alfredo Cappella (Abu Dhabi): “Our last game slipped away from us against Pablo in the fourth chukker and today Bin Drai narrowed the gap during the fourth as well. Therefore, we are going to check the list of horses or see in what aspects are we failing in order to adjust everything and not have those ups and downs again. After our last game, we checked our mistakes and, on one hand, we had a bitter taste, but, on the other one, we knew we could play well. To reach the final we need to win; in fact, I think we need to win our next two games. The guys (Valentín Novillo Astrada and Facundo Fernández Llorente) have been travelling for many years now and they know this level of polo. We always try to find good players, but nice people as well, who, in fact, they are”.