By Gonzalo Etcheverry
Abu Dhabi remained undefeated and UAE took their first victory following a new qualifying round of the Julius Baer Gold Cup at Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, in Dubai.
Abu Dhabi beat Desert Palm by a narrow 7 goals to 6, while UAE defeated Zedan 7-4. Both games were very even and decided in the last chukker.
UAE and Zedan played a very close match and the game was tied many times in the first three chukkas. UAE took off in the fourth scoring a goal to take a 4-3 lead. The match came to a head in the last chukka; thanks to a fantastic performance by Jack Hyde, HH Sheikha Maitha’s UAE held Amr Zedan’s foursome back to take a 7-4 win.
Score UAE: 1-1, 3-3, 3-3, 4-3, 7-4
UAE: Jack Hyde 5, HH Sheikha Maitha 1, Guillermo Terrera 1
Zedan: Pablo MacDonough 2, Martin Gándara 1, Octavio Olmedo 1
A very similar contest between Abu Dhabi and Desert Palm followed. Abu Dhabi got off to a stronger start, scoring three unanswered goals to take an early 3-0 lead in the first. They maintained this advantage after a scoreless second chukka. Desert Palm outscored Abu Dhabi 3-1 in the third, but Faris Al Yabhouni’s team still held onto the lead.
Desert Palm battled back and took the lead in the fourth (6-5). In a nailbiting last chukka, Abu Dhabi levelled the score toat 6-all. Both teams fought hard in the last minutes of regulation time, but luck was on Abu Dhabi’s side – it was Alfredo Cappella who scored the winning goal with just a minute left to give Faris and the boys a thrilling 7-6 victory.
Score Abu Dhabi: 3-0. 3-0, 4-3, 5-5, 7-6
Abu Dhabi: Joaquin Pittaluga 4, Alfredo Cappella 3
Desert Palm: Alejo Taranco 3, Santiago Laborde 2, Martin Valent 1
The Julius Baer Gold Cup continues on Wednesday, February 22, with two games: 2pm: Bangash vs. Bin Drai
4pm: Julius Baer Team by Habtoor vs. Mahra