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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Ghantoot wins the Gold Cup

by Gonzalo Etcheverry

© Gonzalo Etcheverry
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Bin Drai vs Zedan
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Habtoor vs Mahra
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Salvador Ulloa (Bin Drai)
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Mohammed Al Habtoor
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Ghantoot vs Mahra
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Habtoor vs Abu Dhabi
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Ghantoot vs Bin Drai
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Facundo Sola (Ghantoot)
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Bin Drai vs Habtoor
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Abu Dhabi vs Ghantoot
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Abu Dhabi vs Bin Drai

Ghantoot takes the prize at the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series. Gonzalo Etcheverry was there to witness Ghantoot beat Habtoor Polo in a 14-6 victory.

Ghantoot took home the trophy after wrestling the Dubai Open Gold Cup away from defending Champions – and hosts of the event - Habtoor Polo at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club. The event, considered one of polo biggest titles in the region, wrapped up the tournament that also includes the Dubai Silver Cup which was won this year by Habtoor Polo, led by its patron Mohammed Al Habtoor.

Ghantoot, who played under the patronage of Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was made of Ali Al Merri, Juan Zubiaurre, Facundo Sola and Pelayo Berazadi.

Habtoor Polo began the match as favourites, having defeated the Royal Abu Dhabi club 8-7 in golden goal extra time in the preliminaries. However, Ghantoot finished the first chukker with a single goal lead for a 2-1 scoreline.

After two tied chukkers, Facundo Sola, the MVP of the tournament, led Ghantoot in the second half of the game to a comfortable win. Sola scored nine goals for his team and also was the top scorer of the entire tournament. By the end of the third period the side's top goalscorer, Facundo Sola, Pelayo Berazadi and Juan Zubiaurre all got onto the scoreboard (which read 9-3 by the time the claxon went). Habtoor, never a team to underestimate no matter the scoreline, executed a revival in the fourth period of this five-chukker final, with Ezequiel Martinez scoring twice to bring his side’s total to five. A final strike just seconds before the end of the chukker from Emirati player, Ali Al Merri, brought the score to 13-5 in favour of Ghantoot. Sola scored again in the fifth period along with a goal from Habtoor Polo’s Guillermo Cuitino to conclude the game at 14-6 to Ghantoot.

Six teams took part of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series: Habtoor Polo; Mahra Polo; Zedan Polo; Bin Drai Polo; Abu Dhabi Polo and Ghantoot Polo. Bin Drai Polo Team won the Subsidiary Final after defeating Abu Dhabi by 10 goals to seven. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, the tournament has grown in tandem with the city of Dubai.

The sponsors of the Dubai Open were La Martina, the world’s leading supplier of technical polo equipment and clothing; luxury car manufacturer Bentley Emirates; Al Habtoor Motors, one of the leading car distributors in the UAE which has become synonymous with global brands like Mitubishi, Bugatti, Bentley and McLaren; Speedfit; car rental firm Diamondlease and Hildon Water.

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