The Gold Cup Series kicked off at Al Habtoor Polo and Resort, in Dubai, on Friday, January 24, with two spectacular games for the Silver Cup, the first tournament of the series. Six 18-goal teams are in competition.
The first match saw UAE (who received 1.5 goal on handicap) defeat AM/UAE by 13.5 goals to 10. Sheikha Maitha’s team, composed of the Panelo brothers, Joaquin and Tomás, and Tommy Beresford, were able to maintain the advantage, but AM/UAE fought back, led by Santiago Cernadas and Jacinto Crotto. By the last chukka, UAE held a narrow 10.5 – 10 lead, until Benjamin Panelo and Sheikha Maitha pushed through and scored a total of three unanswered goals to secure their debut victory.
Next, Habtoot and Ghantoot went head to head in what turned out to be a very close match. The score was tied several times throughout, but Habtoor managed to push ahead slightly. Ghantoot, commanded by Marcos Araya, was a tough opponent, and by half time the match was tied 5-all. By the end of the fourth, the match was still tied (7-7). The last chukka was a nail biting affair, as Habtoot and Ghantoot fought hard for the win. Cacu Araya scored two very important goals in the last, but Habtoor replied quickly, thanks to goals by Min Podestá and Felix Esain. As a result, the scoreboard marked 9-all, with only seconds of regulation time left. That was when Facundo Sola came through to avoid extra time, scoring a fantastic goal to and securing Habtoor’s 10-9 victory.
The Silver Cup resumes on Saturday, January 25 with a match between Zedan and Dubai Wolves, at 4pm.
All Silver Cup matches will be STREAMED LIVE on PoloLine TV
UAE 13.5 vs. AM/UAE 10
UAE: Sheikha Maitha (3 goals), Tomás Panelo (4) , Tommy Beresford (2, 1 penalty), Benjamín Panelo (4)
UAE AM: Alya Al Maktoum (1), Jacinto Crotto (5, 2 penales), Nacho Acuña, Santiago Cernadas (4)
Score UAE (1,5): 4,5-1, 5, 5-3, 7,5-6, 10,5-9, 13,5 -10
HABTOOR 10 vs. GHANTOOT 9
Habtoor: Mohammed Al Habtoor, Facundo Sola (2), Mín Podestá (5, 2 penalties), Félix Esaín (2, 1 penalty)
Ghantoot: Ali Al Merri, Cacu Araya (7, 4 penalties), Pablito Llorente (1), Gregorio Gelosi (1).
Score Habtoor: 2-1, 4-3, 5-5, 7-7, 10-9.
2020 CALENDAR DUBAI GOLD CUP SERIES:
SILVER CUP (18 goals): Jan 24 – Feb 07.
POLO MASTERS CUP (10 goals): Feb 10-12.
GOLD CUP: (18 goals): Feb 15 – March 06.
DUBAI CHALLENGE CUP (10 goals): March 14-21.
DUBAI CUP (8 goals): April 01-10.