GHANTOOT // The home team made a winning start to the HH Golden Polo Cup at Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club yesterday, defeating Al Basti 4-1. With the tournament consisting of three top-rated teams in the country, made up of two Argentine professionals and two Emirati players with handicaps of one or two, the action was fast-paced and highly skilled. A round-robin competition will take place during the remainder of this week, with the final being played next Saturday.
The first chukka yesterday saw a goal for Al Basti through the Argentine David Bernal, who galloped up the stand-side wing and sliced the ball between the posts. Ghantoot's reply did not come until the second chukka when Hugo Barabucci, a seven-goal professional, hit a penalty from a long way out and Nasser al Dhari, made no mistakes in connecting and sending the ball home. Just moments later a second Barabucci penalty went wide.
The third chukka saw Ghantoot pressure Al Basti and again Barabucci was key. His chip from the boards cut out the Al Basti defence and landed in front of the mallet of Oscar Colombres who scored for 2-1. Barabucci then took an outrageous shot from just over the half-way line, which went between the posts for 3-1. Al Basti fought back in the fourth chukka but it was too late. Colombres repaid Barabucci for his earlier assist, chipping the ball to the Argentine, who drove it between the posts before the final klaxon.
"By the end we had a good advan- tage, but the first chukkas were close," said Colombres. "The games are very fast because we have the professionals and the Emiratis play above their handicap. We now play Emirates on Monday." firstname.lastname@example.org