HABTOOR, UAE DRAW FIRST BLOOD IN EMIRATES OPEN POLO CHAMPIONSHIP INTERNATIONAL
The Dubai The much-anticipated Emirates Open Polo Championship International got off to a thrilling start under brilliant sunshine and perfect playing conditions at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club.
The opening day’s action in the 15-handicap tournament, featuring five star-studded teams, saw Habtoor Polo Team take on Desert Palm Polo Team in the first match of the afternoon, while UAE Polo Team clashed with hosts Ghantoot Polo Team in the second match.
Both Habtoor and Desert Palm looked well prepared but it was the latter who grabbed the early advantage when they led by two goals to one at the end of the first of six chukkers.
However, Habtoor raised the stakes in the second with Justo Cuitino and Marcos Araya scoring a brace.
Well struck goals by Juan Pedro and Ramiro Cordero ensured Desert Palm stay in the hunt as the second chukker ened with Habtoor up 5-4.
Pedro and Cordero were also the goal scorers in the third as Habtoor failed to find the target.
Rashed Al Bawardi opening his account for the tournament when he struck in the fourth chukker, with match looking evenly poised.
The turning point came in the fifth chukker when Habtoor Al Habtoor and Araya pumping in a brace as Desert Palm drew a blank.
In the sixth and final chukker with the second tied at 8-8 Argentinian Araya showed why is regarded as one of best players on the circuit when he scored the match-winner that clinched a thrilling victory of Habtoot Polo Team.
Argentinie’s Federico Von Potobsky was the star as the Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Polo Team dominated Ghantoot for a two goal victory.
Potobsky pumped in five goals in all including three beauties in the fourth chuckker to ensure his team would go away the winner.
Although he was outscored by Martin Donovan, who scored six goals, the hosts Ghantoot had to settle for defeat, which means that they must defeat Habtoor Polo Team in their second league match on Friday, to keep their title hopes alive.
Desert Palm will also be looking to beat Abu Dhabi Polo Team when they play their second match on Wednesday, a day when the opening day’s winners, UAE and Habtoor meet in a much-anticipated game.
Match 1. Habtoor Polo Team beat Desert Palm Polo Team by 9 goals to 8
Habtoor: Habtoor Al Habtoor 1, Justo Cuitino 2, Marcos Araya 6.
Desert Palm: Rashed Al Bawardi 1, Juan Pedro 2, Maxi Malacalza 2, Ramiro Cordero 3
Match 2, UAE Polo Team beat Ghantoot Polo Team by 8 goals to 6
UAE Polo Team: Feder Potobsky 5, Tommy Panel 3
Ghantoot Polo Team: Cesar Crespo 1, Martin Donovan 6
Wednesday, December 12
2:00pm Desert Palm vs Abu Dhabi Polo Team
4:00pm UAE Polo Team vs Habtoor Polo Team
Umpires: P.W Wright/ M. Lopez Vargas
Referee: Santiago Torreguitar
Abu Dhabi Sports Council
Premier Motors – Maserati
Golden Tulip Al Jazira
Ahmed Al Maghribi
Acacia Advanced Medical Center
Noor Al Wasl Clinic
Beverly Hills Medical One Day Surgery
Bin ham Travels
Premier Events & Management
UAE Polo Team
Shaikkha Maitha Binto Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Nacho Acuna 4
Tommy Panelo 4
Feck Potobsky 6
Abu Dhabi Polo Team
Faris Al Yabhouni 0
Santiago Gomez 4
Guy Gibrat 5
Hugo Barabucci 5
Ghantoot Polo Team
Yousef Bin Dasmal 1
Bautista Beguerie 4
Cesar Crespo 4
Martin Donovan 5
Al Habtooor Polo Team
Habtoor Al Habtoor 1
Tomas Iriarte 4
Justo Chitinio 3
Tomas Beresfor 6
Desert Palm Polo Team
Rashid Al Bawardi 2
Juan Pedro Marty Heguy 2
Maxi Malacalza 3
Ramiro Cordero 5