Habtoor and UAE remain unbeaten in the Standard Chartered Gold Cup, after their respective wins against Bangash and Zedan in a new qualification round of the Gold Cup, the most important polo competition of Asia and Middle East.
Bangash took Habtoor by surprise by claiming the first chukka 2-0 up, with goals by Manuel Elizalde. It was Elizalde humself who widened the lead to 3-0 by the start of the second chukka, but Habtoor made an impressive comeback, led by Facundo Sola who scored three consecutive goals to secure Mohammed Al Habtoor’s foursome a 4-3 advantage. Facu’s powerful skills were crucial throghout the next chukkas, either as the top scorer (he produced seven goals) or just helping his team mates, Felix Esain and Min Podestá, to meet the goalposts.
On the other side, Bangash did the best they could to hold Habtoor back, but the efforts of the team’s three professionals – Federico Von Potobsky, Manuel Elizalde and Juan Ambroggio – weren’t enough to stop Habtoor’s dominance. And by the end of the day, it was Facundo Sola who scored his seventh goal to secure Habtoor’s 10-7 victory.
Up next, title holders, UAE, met Zedan in a very much expected contest. It ended up being a hard fought game from both sides. UAE claimed the first chukka 2-0 and tied at 3-all in the second period, until Zedan captured the lead (6-4) by halftime thanks to a fantastic neckshot goal by Juan Jauretche and two penalty conversions by Santiago Laborde.
UAE reappeared in the fourth episode with goals produced by Tomás Panelo. However, Amr Zedan’s lineup managed to retain a slight advantage (7-6) with another goal by Juan Jauretche.
But nothing was said and done yet. UAE strenghtened their attack in the last chukka and hold Zedan back with four unanswered goals. Tomás Panelo (1), Tomás Beresford (2) and Sheikha Maitha (1) sealed the deal and the 10-7 win for UAE.
The finals of the Gold Cup (Dubai Open) are scheduled for March 6.
ALL GOLD CUP MATCHES WILL BE STREAMED LIVE BY POLOLINE TV HERE.
Action will be back on Monday February 24, with the following order of play:
2:30pm: Dubai Wolves vs. Abu Dhabi
4,15pm: AM/UAE vs. Ghantoot
HABTOOR 10 vs. BANGASH 7
HABTOOR: Mohammed Al Habtoor 0, Min Podestá 7 (2 goals), Facundo Sola 9 (7, 3 penalties), Felix Esain 2 (1).
BANGASH: Haider Bangash 0, Manuel Elizalde 6 (4 goles, 1 penal), Juan Ambroggio 7 (1), Federico von Potobvsky 5 (2).
Score Habtoor: 0-2, 4-3, 7-3, 8-4, 10-7.
UAE 10 vs. ZEDAN 7
UAE: Sheikha Maitha 0 (1), Tommy Beresford 6 (4, 2 penalties), Tomás Panelo 6 (4), Benjamin Panelo 4 (1 penalty)
ZEDAN: Amr Zedan 0 (1 penalty), Santiago Laborde 6 (4, 3 penales), Juan Jauretche 6 (2, 1 penalty), Manuel Plaza de Ayala 6.
Score UAE: 2-0, 3-3, 4-6, 7-6, 10-7
The Gold Cup, the most important tournament of Asia and the Middle East, was established in 2009. Over the last decade, the competition has become one of the most prestigious of the international polo calendar. The Gold Cup also awards points for the WPT Championship Cup category of the World Polo Tour.