Ghantoot A, Abu Dhabi and RA Noon enter Sultan Bin Zayed Cup semi-finals
Ghantoot A, Abu Dhabi, RA Noon and Ankora have punched their tickets to the semi-finals of the Sultan Bin Zayed Cup following an exciting final round of qualification matches.
The inaugural edition of the Sultan Bin Zayed Cup is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club.
Bouncing back from their loss in the last round, Ghantoot A hammered Anningsley Park Farm 8-2 to make it to the last four, with skipper Nasser Al Shamsi leading their charge.
Anningsley Park Farm took the lead in the second minute of the game after Pablo Llorente scored a field goal, but Shamsi and Juan Diaz Alberdi responded to end the first chukker with a 2-1 score in favour of the hosts.
Alberdi’s second and Ali Al Marri’s accurate shot on target stretched Ghantoot A’s lead to 4-1 by the end of second chukker.
Anningsley Park Farm failed to send any through the posts in the next chukker. Displaying impressive offensive performance, Shamsi added two to his tally while the team’s superb defensive skills held Anningsley Park Farm to just two field goals in the game. The Ghantoot A captain was well supported by Alberdi and Marri.
The highlight of the day was a closely contested match between Abu Dhabi and RA Noon. Both Abu Dhabi and RA Noon were closely matched, but Hugo Barabucci produced a standout performance to make the difference.
Barabucci fired seven goals, including three through penalty, as Abu Dhabi beat RA Noon 10-7.5 for their third straight victory.
RA Noon also advanced to the last four on the basis of points collected from their two wins in the first two rounds.
In the last game of the day, Ankora defeated Ghantoot B 6-4.
Ricardo Garros and Tomas Iriarte scored one each to give Ankora a 2-0 lead, but Ghantoot B levelled the score through Ramiro Cordero’s brace. Breaking past the rivals’ defense, an unstoppable Garros went on to score three more to ensure semi-final ticket for his team.
At the end of the qualification round, both Ghantoot A and B were tied on the points. A match took place between them to determine the winner. Ghantoot A won the clash through penalties to secure a berth in the semis.
Ghantoot A will take on Abu Dhabi while RA Noon face Ankora team in the semi-finals which are scheduled to be held at Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club on Wednesday.
The Abu Dhabi Sports Council is the governing partner of the tournament in collaboration with Emirates Polo Association, while Capex.com, Yas International Properties LLC, Yas International Holding, Alpine Rent A Car, Zone Waste Management and Recycling, Ateeq Farriers Best Choice are the official sponsors of the Sultan Bin Zayed Cup.
Meanwhile, there is good news for polo enthusiasts in Abu Dhabi as Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club management will allow fans to a maximum of 30 per cent of their capacity for the semi-finals and final, as per the Abu Dhabi Sport Council safety regulations.
It will be the first time that the fans will be allowed at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club since the resumption of sporting activities after months-long suspension due to COVID-19. The polo matches were resumed at the club in November behind closed doors.
Fans can also catch the action live through Ghantoot Polo and Racing Club’s YouTube channel. The Abu Dhabi sports channels will broadcast the final live on February 1.