Ghantoot beat UAE 9 a 8.5 and claimed the Silver Cup, the opening competition of the Gold Cup Series, following the championship mach that took place on Friday February 7, at Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. It was the rematch for Ali Al Merri’s foursome, who lost this same final last year against Sheikha Maitha’s lineup.
The match was a very close contest. In the first chukka, UAE retained the 1,5 goal they received on handicap, while César Crespo scored the single goal for Ghantoot in that first episode. In an imoressive second chukka, Ghantoot widened their advantage to 5-2.5, but UAE managed to make a comeback from the third chukka onwards. Despite Ghantoot maintained the lead thoroghout the whole match, UAE strenghtened their attack and remained close in the scoreboard. By half time, Ali Al Merri and co. were leading by a narrow 5-4,5.
Both Ghantoot and UAE fought hard in the next following chukkas. César Crespo displayed a fantastic performance as well as Marcos Araya, who, as usual, was very accurate to convert penalties. They were very well supported by Pablo Llorente and Ali Al Merri. On UAE’s side, Tomás Beresford was crucial to score both penalties and field goals, as they did the Panelo brothers, Benjamín and Tomás.
By the start of the fifth chukka, Ghantoot had a tight 8-7.5, so nothing was said and done yet, it was anybody’s contest. But Marcos Araya came in once again through a penalty conversion to extend Ghantoot’s advantage. However, UAE determined to retain the title, so Tomás Panelo scored a great goal with a minute remaining in the clock, and kept UAE’s hopes alive. Ghantoot replied quickly, seizing the reins and taking control of the attack, which led them the win and the title that slipped through their fingers in 2019.
“It was a great pleasure for me to give my best to help Ghantoot to win the Silver Cup. And it is a very special achievement, because we weren’t able to make it last year”, César Crespo told PoloLine.
Prior to the final, Zedan won the Subsidiary Hildon Cup, after a 11-8 win over Dubai Wolves. With Amr Zedan back on the saddle (he was replaced by Raja Abuljebain during the qualification stage), they only lost the first chukka, and from the second chukka onwards, they had no trouble at all to dominate Dubai Wolves. By the time to play the last chukka, they had an impressive 10-5 advantage. Zedan seemed to slow down a bit in that fifth chukka – Dubai Wolves outscored them 2-1 with goals by Habtoor Al Habtoor and Juan Gris Zavaleta, but the efforts didn’t pay off.
ALL THE MATCHES OF THE DUBAI SILVER CUP WERE STREAMED LIVE ON PoloLine TV.
FINAL DUBAI SILVER CUP: GHANTOOT 9-8.5 UAE
GHANTOOT: Ali Al Merri 0, César Crespo 5 (3), Pablo Llorente 6 (3), Marcos Araya 7 (3 goals, 2 penalties).
UAE: Sheikha Maitha 0, Tomás Panelo 6, (2), Benjamín Panelo 4 (1), Tommy Beresford 6 (4 goals, 4 penalties).
Score Ghantoot: (0-1.5) 1-1.5, 5-2.5, 5-4.5, 8-7.5, 9-8.5.
Umpires: Nicolás Scortichini and Federico Martelli.
MVP: César Crespo.
BPP: Pichot, played by Marcos Araya.
WATCH AGAIN THE DUBAI SILVER CUP FINAL (POLOLINE TV)
FINAL SUBSIDIARY HILDON CUP: ZEDAN 11-8 DUBAI WOLVES
ZEDAN: Amr Zedan 0 (2 goals), Manuel Plaza de Ayala 6 (2), Juan Jauretche 6 (3), Santiago Laborde 6 (4, 3 penalties).
DUBAI WOLVES: Habtoor Al Habtoor 1 (3), Juan Zubiaurre 6 (1), Justo Cuitiño 3 (1), Juan Gris Zavaleta 8 (3, 2 penales)
Score ZEDAN: 1-2, 5-2, 6,-3, 10-5, 11-8.
Watch again the Final Hildon Cup, Zedan vs. Dubai Wolves