Attacking Ghantoot clinch title

Ghantoot put 11 goals past Emirates to claim the final of the Ghantoot Golden Cup last night with the losers scoring six.

ABU DHABI // Ghantoot put 11 goals past Emirates to claim the final of the Ghantoot Golden Cup last night. The Ghantoot team's fast-paced attacking play proved too much for Emirates to deal with during the five seven-minute chukkas at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, with the beaten team scoring six, including a last-gasp consolation goal. Ghantoot, unbeaten in the week-long three-team tournament, which also included a team from Al Basti, once again benefited from the services of their seven-goal Argentine playmaker, Hugo Barabucci, as well as two amateur Emirati players.

The hard-hitting five-goal pro, Oscar Colombres, the other Argentine on Ghantoot's team, proved as dangerous as Barabucci and at one point broke the head of his mallet during play. Warning bells may have started ringing for Emirates when Colombres emerged from the opening throw-in, streaked up the middle of the pitch with the ball and hammered it between the posts in the first 20 seconds. Barabucci then followed up after some over-zealous defending from Emirates, to bury the first of three penalties that Emirates gave away during the game.

"During the week we knew this team would be tough to beat and our tactics that we decided on was to keep the game as fast as possible," said Colombres. "Emirates are very skilful and we knew that their playing style was to slow things down and get players behind the ball. "So we concentrated on hitting hard and getting the ball moving as fast as possible from end-to-end. That way we kept them under constant pressure and they made a few mistakes and we took advantage."

Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club will host the HH Presidents Cup on March 20. Entry is free and spectators are encouraged.