Players of Ghantoot Polo and Yas Holding Polo in action during the opening match of the President of UAE Polo Cup.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Hosts Ghantoot kicked off their campaign with 9-6 win over Yas Holding Polo as the 21st edition of the HH President of UAE Polo Cup, considered to be one of the most prestigious tournaments in Asia and the Middle East, got off to a perfect start at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club on Thursday.
The showpiece event of the UAE polo season is being 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.
Nasser Al Shamsi-led Ghantoot Polo team, who recently lifted the 2021 IFZA Gold Cup, started the game on front foot with Cesar Crespo fired two field goals within six minutes into the match which gave them a 2-0 lead. Their tight defense also kept off the board by the end of the first chukker.
Pablo Llorente, a well-known Argentine player, scored a brace in the second chukker to stretch Ghantoot Polo’s lead. Manuel Toccalino put the first goal on board for Yas Holding Polo.
Llorente’s another field goal with superb accuracy increased Ghantoot Polo’s tally up to 5-2 by the end of third chukker.
Unstoppable Argentine put three more through the posts in the next two chukkas as the hosts collected full points.
Habtoor Polo overcame Abu Dhabi Polo 9-8 in a thrilling second match of the opening day of the tournament.
Abu Dhabi Polo started well as Gonzalo Deltour and Bautista Beguerie put them ahead. Carrying the momentum, they extended their lead after skipper Faris Al Yabhouni and Alfredo Capella added one each in the second chukker.
Capella put three more through the posts later to give Abu Dhabi upper hand. Facundo Sola’s three goals in the third chukker helped Habtoor Polo bounce back into the match. After reducing the deficit, Habtoor levelled the scores by the end of fourth chukker with Sola scoring two more for his team.
The excitement kicked in at the final chukker as both teams raced for the win, and Mohammad Al Habtoor stole the victory from Abu Dhabi at the last second that ended the match at 9 goals to 8.
Ghantoor and Habtoor, winners of the opening day clashes, received the cash award of Dhs30,000.
“It’s been an exciting start to HH President of UAE Polo Cup which is the biggest and prestigious tournament of our calendar. The opening day saw thrilling matches, and now we can look forward to further exciting encounters,” said Zayed Khalifa Zayed Al Aboudi Al Zaabi, Executive Director of Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club.
The next round HH President of UAE Polo Cup is scheduled to take place on Sunday when Abu Dhabi will meet Ghantoot while Yas International face Habtoor.
Four teams are taking part in the much-anticipated 18-handicap tournament, which offers a lucrative prize purse of Dhs500,000.
The tournament is being played under the banner of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA), under strict international supervision in accordance with the HPA rules and the terms of its referees.
The governing partner for the HH President of the UAE Cup is Abu Dhabi Sports Council and it’s being held in association with the Emirates Polo Association. Event sponsors include Yas International Holding, Yas International Properties LLC, Al ittihad, Capex.com, Porsche, Bylgari, Yas TV and Tack and Truck. Fans can catch the action live Yas Tv and at the official website of the tournament -- www.presidentpolocup.ae
The 21st edition of the HH President of UAE Polo Cup, considered to be one of the most prestigious tournaments in Asia and the Middle East, will begin at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club on Thursday.
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