Ghantoot Crowned Gold Cup Champions After Defeat Of Habtoor
Young Abu Dhabi Side Down Defending Champions 14-6
Dubai, 15th of March 2013: Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club took home their biggest
scalp of the season this afternoon (Friday), when they wrestled the Dubai Polo Gold
Cup away from defending champions and hosts, Habtoor Polo in a 14-6 victory at
Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club.
The Dubai Polo Gold Cup is considered one of the sport’s biggest titles in the region
and is the concluding tournament in a series that also includes the Dubai Silver Cup.
Habtoor, the defending champions and 2013 Dubai Silver Cup holders, began the
match as justifiable favourites, having defeated the Royal Abu Dhabi club 8-7 in
golden goal extra time in the preliminaries. Yet Ghantoot did hold form over the
home side prior to this match after orchestrating a 9-7 victory over Habtoor in a
charity match at Ghantoot last month.
Ghantoot made their way into this final following their 10-5 semi-final win over
today’s subsidiary final winners, Bin Drai Polo, but did weather two scares after
suffering another defeat, also by golden goal, at the hands of capital city rivals, Abu
Dhabi Polo, before the knock-out stages.
Ghantoot finished the first chukker with a single goal lead for a 2-1 scoreline. By
the end of the second period, Ghantoot had doubled their goal tally, to lead 4-2 over
The third period proved rich pickings for a dominant Ghantoot, with the side's top
goalscorer, Facundo Sola, Pelayo Berazadi and Juan Zubiaurre all getting 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 haul to five.
But the visitors could taste victory and a flurry of fast-paced play late in the period
saw three more Ghantoot goals. Then an angled strike from Emirati player, Ali Al
Merri seconds before the end of the chukker brought the score to 13-5 in favour of
Ghantoot and left Habtoor facing an uphill battle to save the championship in the fifth
and final period.
It wasn’t to be Habtoor’s day. Sola notched again in the fifth period and the best the
hosts could muster at that late stage was a consolation goal from Guillermo Cuitino to
see out the game 14-6 to Ghantoot.
The Ghantoot players, who play under the patronage of HH Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed
Al Nahyan embraced on the field following the conclusion of the match and Al Merri
was lifted high on the shoulders of Ghantoot’s jubilant travelling fans.
“It’s a great feeling to have won this tournament,” he said later. “It has been a
principle focus of ours since the start of the season and to achieve such an important
goal is incredibly gratifying as a team.
“We did not have the smoothest progression throughout this tournament, but we
survived to the final and the produced our best polo on the day and that’s really what
matters. Habtoor are a very tough team and, as you can see from all our past meetings,
the results are always very close when we play each other.”
HE Saeed Bin Houfan Al Mansouri, Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club Vice Chairman
said the club was now focusing on Ghantoot's biggest tournament of the season, the
HH President’s Cup, which starts on March 24. The finals will be held on April 5.
“Congratulations to the players and staff at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club,” he said.
“This victory has come as the result of a lot of hard work and it’s pleasing to see that
this has earned us real rewards. Now we focus on hosting the H.H. President of UAE
Polo Cup 2013 where no doubt we will be treated to more fast-paced and exciting
For more information kindly please contact:
GHANTOOT RACING & POLO CLUB
Phone +971 (0) 2 562 90 50 / 203 Fax +971 (0) 2 562 91 63