GHANTOOT // Hugo Barabucci, the Argentine professional, scored four goals to lead ADCB Polo Team to an impressive 8-4 victory in the President of the UAE Polo Cup last night.
And Nasser al Dhari, his talented Emirati teammate, claimed a hat-trick while fellow Argentine Matias Colombres also scored in the win over the Tom Ford Polo Team.
The season-ending tournament, the most important event on Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club's calendar, is being played all this week, with the final being held on April 1.
Tom Ford scored their goals in the first two chukkas, through Ramiro Dagna and Oscar Colombres, the brother of ADCB's Matias.
But once ADCB drew ahead at the halfway point in the four-chukka match Tom Ford could not live with them.
"It was a great game, we played so well," al Dhari said.
"Hugo was a class act as always and I was very happy with my performance. Tom Ford played well also, but we were just stronger and a little more aggressive. Like us, Tom Ford won their opening game so we knew that we had to beat them."
ADCB will play Ghantoot, the defending champions, tomorrow, a team with a point to prove after losing their opening match. A win would seal ADCB's place in the final.
"If we win we will be clear for the final so I'm very much looking forward to that," Dhari said. "We intend to play pretty much as we played today. We need to keep the pressure on and not take anything for granted."
Faris al Yahbouni, Tom Ford Polo Team's patron, was philosophical in defeat and said that his team may be down but they were not out.
"Even though I hate losing it's a real honour playing in this tournament," he said.
"We now have to put that defeat behind us and focus on our next game. Our team played very well and we will gather momentum for Friday's match."
In the second match of the day, Dubai Polo Team beat Al Basti Polo Team by just one goal in a match that finished up 7-6.
A young Dubai team, featuring Emirati rising stars Rashid bin Drai and Habtoor al Habtoor, put in a true team effort with all four players adding to the scoreboard.
Bin Drai and al Habtoor both got one goal, Nicolas Petrachi scored three, including the winner and Gaston Devrient found the target twice.
"It was an amazing game today, open and extremely fast with a lot of running," said Petrachi.
"Our boys, Rashid and Habtoor, played a great game and really make the difference for us.
"Al Basti played well. It was a very close game that could have gone both ways, but thanks to Rashid stopping a 50-yard penalty that would have seen the scores tied, we managed to hang on until the end."