Abu Dhabi Polo overcome the setback of losing one of their key players to a head injury to win the Dubai Silver Cup against Zedan Polo.
Patricio Neves had to be substituted at the end of the second chukka on Friday after a clash saw the Argentine fall from his pony. Neves sprung to his feet and stumbled to the edge of the field at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, but it became evident he could not continue.
Francisco Elizalde, who played with Habtoor Polo in the subsidiary final, stepped in and he scored the final goal in the 7-3 win.
Neves, however, recovered without needing hospital treatment to join the players on the field for the post-match celebrations.
"I have a few cuts and bruises but I'm fine and I'm glad to report that the horse is not injured either," Neves said.
The success was an extension of the team's sparkling form in 2011 which saw them win the Dubai Gold Cup, but the Abu Dhabi team already are looking ahead.
"There's no time to rest. We will be back training straight away to ensure we are at our very best come next weekend when the Gold Cup preliminary games commence," said Faris Al Yabhouni, the patron of Abu Dhabi Polo. "We have our eyes firmly fixed on the Dubai Gold Cup and then soon after we will be looking to continue our success at the President's Cup."
After beating Rhinos 11-5 and Ghantoot Polo 7-6 in the preliminary games, and then Mahra 7-5 in the semi-final, Abu Dhabi found themselves behind after only a minute of the final.
Sebastian Borghi equalised just before the end of the first chukka but Zedan fought back in the second, again taking the lead with an early goal before Alfredo Cappella evened the score in the final few seconds.
The third chukka saw Zedan Polo pull one back after two goals from Borghi but from then on, it was all Abu Dhabi as goals from Cappella, Borghi and Elizalde completed the victory.
"We were 1-0 down after the first chukka, but due to the team's hard work and determination, we were able to turn things around and I couldn't be happier with the result," Al Yabhouni. "It's a good day for Abu Dhabi."
Cappella was named most valuable player.
"I'm ecstatic," Cappella said, "We suffered a setback after Neves fell, but we were lucky that Elizalde meshed very well with the team and we were able to fight back and claim victory."