By Alejandra Ocampo
HH Sheikha Maitha’s birthday was on Thursday, March 5. But she enjoyed a special celebration on Friday, March 6, when her team, UAE, won the Standard Chartered Gold Cup following a 10-8 victory over AM/UAE. The result meant that UAE retained the title they claimed last year in the Dubai Gold Cup Series, the most prestigious polo event in Asia and the Middle East, hosted by Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club.
The closing event of the Standard Chartered Gold Cup was a great, sunny day out in Dubai, as many people came together at to witness the high level of polo and t enjoy the many available attractions.
The final was particularly special as it was the first time that two organisations led by women – UAE’s Sheikha Maitha and AM/UAE’s Sheikha Alya – met in the final of the Series. These women, who are also cousins, are both members of the royal family. The much anticipated match got off to an even start. AM/UAE took a narrow lead in the two first chukkas, but in the third UAE claimed their first lead (5-4) thanks to goals from the the Panelo brothers, Tomás and Benjamín. AM/UAE’s Nacho Acuña replied quickly to tie the score 5-all at half time.
In the fourth, Acuña gave AM/UAE in the lead again, but UAE made a comeback with goals by Tomás Beresford and Benjamín Panelo (2), which took UAE 8-6 up with only one chukka remaining.
In the fifth chukka, Beresford, one of the best players of the 2020 Gold Cup Series, scored a 60-yard penalty to widen UAE’s lead (9-6). But Sheikha Alya’s foursome, the biggest revelation of the Series, were not about to give up that easily. Santiago Cernadas scored a field goal and converted a penalty to narrow the gap down to one goal.
It seemed that the title could go to either team, but in the last minute, Beresford came through once again, scoring a fantastic goal to seal the deal. UAE won the match and retained the prestigious title.
Prior to the big match, Habtoor beat Abu Dhabi 11-7 to secure the Bentley Cup. The Subsidiary Cup got off to an even start, but the second half saw Mohammed Al Habtoor’s team dominate. They outscored Abu Dhabi 3-1 in the fourth chukka, securing a 10-7 lead. Felix Esain was the one to score the winning goal in the last to give Habtoor the title.
ALL GOLD CUP MATCHES WERE STREAMED LIVE BY POLOLINE TV.
STANDARD CHARTERED GOLD CUP – UAE 11 VS AM/UAE 8
UAE: HH Sheikha Maitha 0, Benjamin Panelo 4 (3 goals), Tomás Panelo 6 (2) , Tomás Beresford 6 (5, 1 penalty).
AM/UAE: HH Sheikha Alya 0, Jacinto Crotto 7 (2) Santiago Cernadas 7 (3, 1 penal), Nacho Acuña 4 (3).
Score UAE: 1-2, 3-4, 5-5, 8-6, 10-8.
MVP: Jacinto Crotto.
BPP: Nobu, a thoroughbred ridden by Tomás Panelo.
BENTLEY CUP – HABTOOR 11 vs. ABU DHABI 7
HABTOOR: Mohammed Al Habtoor 1 (1), Felix Esain 2 (2), Facundo Sola 9 (6, 2 penales), Min Podestá 7 (2).
ABU DHABI: Faris Al Yabhouni 0, César Crespo 4, Alfredo Cappella 9 (2), Martín Donovan 5 (5, 2 penales).
Score Habtoor: 1-2, 4-4, 7-6, 10-7, 11-7
The Gold Cup, the most important polo tournament in 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 circuit. The Gold Cup awards points for the WPT Championship Cup category of the World Polo Tour.