The qualification stage of the Silver Cup, the opening tournament of the Gold Cup Series, came to an end on Saturday, February 1, with two matches played at Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. First, AM/UAE defeated Zedan, before Ghantoot beat Dubai Wolves.
Following their win, AM/UAE qualified for the semifinals alongside Habtoor and UAE, while Ghantoot and Zedan went head to head in a penalty shootout on Sunday. In the end, Ghantoot came out on top and secured the last spot in the semifinals.
The day opened with the clash between AM/UAE and Zedan. The first chukka finished 2-all, but AM/UAE took hold of the reins in the second chukka, taking advantage of their opponent’s fouls to convert penalties. By beginning of the last, AM/UAE had secured a four-goal advantage over Zedan (9 – 5).
Zedan fought hard to make a comeback; they managed to outscore AM/UAE 2-0, thanks to goals by Santiago Laborde and Manuel Plaza de Ayala. But AM/UAE was clever enough to hold them back. The bell rang and that secured the victory and the third semifinal spot.
Marcos Araya was the top man in the second match of the day. He gave an extraordinary performance, and did not disappoint when shooting penalties. Araya’s skills were crucial in the first chukka, when he scored three of the four goals that allowed Ghantoot to take an impressive 4-1 lead. Despite the advantage, Dubai Wolves, led by Juan Gris Zavaleta, pushed back.
Ghantoot had a 9-6 lead at the start of the fifth, but a determined Dubai Wolves foursome went on to score three goals, courtesy of Zavaleta (2) and Juan Zubiaurre (1), to keep their hopes of claiming a win alive. However, Araya came through with a 30-yard penalty conversion for Ghantoot (he scored a total of six goals). While Dubai Wolves only lost the match by one goal (10-9), Ghantoot definitely had the upper hand throughout the match.
AM/UAE 9 vs. ZEDAN 7
AM/UAE: Jacinto Crotto 7 (4 goals, 2 penalties), Santiago Cernadas 7 (4, 2 penales), Lucy Venot 0 (1), Nacho Acuña 4 (1).
ZEDAN: Raja Abuljebain 0, Santiago Laborde 6 (5, 1 penalty), Juan Jauretche 6 (1), Manuel Plaza de Ayala 6 (1).
Score AM/UAE: 2-2, 5-3, 6-4, 9-5, 9-7.
GHANTOOT 10 vs. DUBAI WOLVES 9
GHANTOOT: Ali Al Merri 0 (1), Marcos Araya 7 (6, 4 penalties), César Crespo 5 (1), Pablo Llorente 6 (2).
DUBAI WOLVES: Habtoor Al Habtoor 1 (1), Juan Gris Zavaleta 8 (4), Justo Cuitiño 3 (1), Juan Zubiaurre 6 (3).
Score Ghantoot: 4-1, 6-3, 7-4, 9-6, 10-9.
ALL SILVER CUP GAMES ARE BE STREAMED LIVE ON PoloLine TV.
The Dubai Silver Cup resumes on Tuesday with the semifinals:
2pm Ghantoot vs Habtoor
4pm UAE vs AM/UAE
2020 DUBAI POLO GOLD CUP SERIES CALENDAR:
SILVER CUP (18 goal): Jan 24 – Feb 07.
POLO MASTERS CUP (10 goal): Feb 10-12.
GOLD CUP: (18 goal): Feb 15 – March 06.
DUBAI CHALLENGE CUP (10 goal: March 14-21.
DUBAI CUP (8 goal): April 01-10.