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Ghantoot wins the Dubai Polo Gold Cup

Ghantoot defeated Habtoor Polo in the final by 14 goals to 6 and won the Gold Cup, Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series 2013. 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. The team made by Ali Al Merri, Juan Zubiaurre, Facundo Sola and Pelayo Berazadi played a superb match from beginning to end and took a deserved victory.
Habtoor, the defending champions and 2013 Dubai Silver Cup holders, began the match as justifiable favourites. Ghantoot finished the first chukker with a single goal lead for a 2 to 1 scoreline. By the end of the second period, Ghantoot had doubled their goal tally, to lead 4 to 2 over Habtoor. 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 to 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 to 6 to Ghantoot.
“It’s a great feeling to have won this tournament,” he said Ali Al Merri (0, Team Ghantoot). “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.”
Bin Drai Polo Team won the Subsidiary Final after defeating Abu Dhabi by 10 goals to 7.

The Teams:
Abu Dhabi (+16)
Faris Al Yabhouni (0, UAE)
Manuel Elizalde (+4, ARG)
Juan Jose Storni (+5, ARG)
Juan Ambroggio (+7, ARG)
Bin Drai (+16)
Saeed Bin Drai (0, UAE)
Ignacio Ithurburu (+2, ARG)
Salvador Ulloa (+7, ARG)
Juan Jose Brane (+7, ARG)
Ghantoot (+16)
Ali Al Merri (0, UAE)
Pelayo Berazadi (+4, ARG)
Juan Zubiaurre Canal (+4, ARG)
Facundo Sola (+8, ARG)
Habtoor (+16)
Mohammed Al Habtoor (0, UAE)
Ignacio Bello (+3, ARG)
Guillermo Cuitino (+6, ARG)
Martinez Ferrairo Ezequiel Edwardo (+7, ARG)
Mahra (+16)
Rashid Al Habtoor (0, UAE)
Guy Gibrat (+4, ARG)
Augustin Canale (+6, ARG)
Fernando Pipi Bourdieu (+6, UK)
Zedan (+16)
Amr Zedan (0, KSA)
Matias Logioco (+3, ARG) / Guillermo Healy
Rodolfo Ducos (+4, ARG) / Mariano Uranga
Nachi Heguy (+9, ARG)

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