Ghantoot players celebrate with the trophy after winning the HH President of UAE Polo Cup at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club..
Ghantoot Polo overcame Habtoor Polo 9-7 to win the thrilling final of the 21st edition of the HH President of UAE Polo Cup and lift the second major trophy of the season on Sunday.
Living up to its billing of clash of the titans, the two most powerful teams of the UAE tried their best to outlast each and finally the hosts bagged the honours at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club.
The showpiece event of the polo season was held in the name of The President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and under the patronage of Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club.
Habtoor drew first blood after Facundo Sola coverted a 30-yard penalty. Sola doubled Habtoor’s lead after adding one more from 40 yards. Through Marcos Araya’s accurate shot on target, the hosts reduced the deficit.
Skipper Nasser Al Shamsi and Cesar Crespo scored in the second chukker as Ghantoot quickly closed the gap. Sola and Juan Jaureche put one each through the posts to put Habtoor back in the lead 5-4.
Proving to be an unstoppable force, Araya turned the tide in Ghantoot’s favour in the fourth chukker. The in-form Argentine fired four goals in the penultimate chukka to take the game away from Habtoor’s reach. By the end of the fourth chukker, Ghantoot established an 8-6 lead.
Araya’s another shot on target in the last chukker proved to be the last nail in the coffin as Ghantoot finished the 18-goal season in the UAE undefeated.
Shamsi was named best amateur player while Araya was adjudged best professional player.
HH President of UAE Polo Cup, considered to be one of the most prestigious tournaments in Asia and the Middle East, saw the participation of four 18-goal teams comprising top Emirati and international players and offered a whopping Dhs500,000 in prize money.
Before President of UAE Polo Cup, Ghantoot won the 12th edition of the prestigious IFZA Gold Cup 2021, an 18-goal handicap tournament held at Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. They defeated UAE Polo in the final of IFZA Gold Cup.
Earlier, Abu Dhabi won the subsidiary final after defeating Yas International 9-5. Gonzalo Deltour scored four while Bautista Beguerie put three through the posts as Abu Dhabi never relinquished the lead and won the title without much fuss.
Hailing the support of Sheikh Falah, Zayed Khalifa Al Zaabi, Executive Director of the Club, congratulated Ghantoot for winning the President of UAE Polo Cup.
“It was thrilling to watch the performances of the teams throughout the tournament. What a perfect end to the season! Thanks to the support of Sheikh Falah, we managed to complete our season despite the coronavirus crisis,” said Zaabi.
He praised the support of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the sponsors of the tournaments. Zaabi also thanked the Ghantoot club members and the supreme organising committee for their great role they played from the start to the end of the season in paving the way for hosting the event.
The governing partner for the HH President of the UAE Cup was Abu Dhabi Sports Council and it was being held in association with the Emirates Polo Association.