On Friday, February 7, Ghantoot beat UAE 9 a 8.5 to claim the Silver Cup, the opening competition of the Dubai Gold Cup Series, , at Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. The victory is particularly significant for Ali Al Merri’s team, since they lost the 2019 final against Sheikha Maitha’s organisation by just a goal.
The final was a very close contest. In the first chukka, UAE retained the 1.5 goal they received on handicap, while César Crespo scored for Ghantoot. In an impressive second chukka, Ghantoot widened their advantage to 5-2.5, but UAE managed to make a comeback from the third chukka onwards. While Ghantoot maintained the lead throughout the match, UAE continuously strengthened their attack. By half time, Ali Al Merri’s boys were leading narrowly by 5-4.5.
Both Ghantoot and UAE fought hard in the following chukkas. Crespo gave a fantastic performance, as did Marcos Araya, who was on point with his penalties. They were well supported by Pablo Llorente and Ali Al Merri. Tomás Beresford was crucial for UAE, scoring both penalties and field goals, were the Panelo brothers, Benjamín and Tomás.
By the start of the fifth, Ghantoot had half a goal advantage (8-7.5) – it was anybody’s match. But Araya scored another penalty to extend Ghantoot’s lead. But UAE were determined to retain the title, Tomás Panelo scored a great goal with a minute remaining on the clock to keep UAE’s hopes alive. Ghantoot replied quickly, taking control of the attack, and ultimately securing the win and the title that slipped through their fingers in 2019.
“It was a great pleasure for me to give my all and help Ghantoot win the Silver Cup,” Crespo told PoloLine. “It is a very special achievement, because we weren’t able to win it last year.”
Prior to the final, Zedan defeated Dubai Wolves by 11 goals to 8 to win the Subsidiary Hildon Cup. With Amr Zedan back in the saddle (he was replaced by Raja Abuljebain during the qualification stage), his team only lost the first chukka. From the second chukka onwards, Zedan dominated Dubai Wolves. By the last, they had secured an impressive 10-5 advantage. Zedan slowed down slightly in the fifth, and Dubai Wolves outscored them 2-1, with goals by Habtoor Al Habtoor and Juan Gris Zavaleta, but by the time the bell rang and Zedan had the advantage.
ALL SILVER CUP MATCHES 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 & Federico Martelli.
MVP: César Crespo.
BPP: Pichot, played by Marcos Araya.
REWATCH 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.
Rewatch the Hildon Cup Final: Zedan vs. Dubai Wolves