x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Azumendi shines for Ghantoot in bounce back win in President's Cup

The Argentine scores five again as the defending champions and tourney hosts get back in the title mix after loss to ADCB earlier.

A Ghantoot rider, in red, gallops with a Dubai Polo member, in green, closely in pursuit.
A Ghantoot rider, in red, gallops with a Dubai Polo member, in green, closely in pursuit.

GHANTOOT // Gonzalo Azumendi, Ghantoot's Argentine professional, scored five goals for the second game in a row as his team bounced back from Friday's loss to ADCB, the UAE Cup leaders, to beat Dubai Polo Team 9-6 yesterday in the season-ending tournament.

Every player on the Ghantoot Polo Team got their name on the score sheet but Azumendi stole the show with his goals haul after also scoring five in his team's loss to ADCB. Ahmed Al Nueimi and Sebastian Petrachi claimed one each, and Nasser al Shamsi, the Ghantoot captain, scored two.

Nicolas Petrachi scored three goals for Dubai Polo Team, Habtoor al Habtoor, the talented young Emirati player, got two and Gaston Devrient claimed one.

Ghantoot, the defending champions in this annual tournament, will now face Al Basti on Thursday.

Azumendi said: "We won all our chukkas so we were always one step ahead. Nasser did a great job marking the Dubai guys and Sebastian kept their No 4 in his sights at all times.

"We managed to control the game so we are very pleased."

The tournament, which is being held at Abu Dhabi's Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, has been running since March 20 and the final will take place on Friday.

ADCB have already secured their place in the final but the other slot remains open at this stage in the tournament.

Ghantoot's Al Shamsi said his team performed very well.

"We are the defending champions and the hosts in this tournament and it is the most important event of our season, and so we know it is very important that we play to the best of our ability," he said.

"Today was a very gratifying effort. We gelled well as a team and I think the communication between our players is getting better each match.

"On a personal level I am very happy with my performance, but we must reserve a special mention for Gonzalo, who has been exceptional all week.

"Now we look forward to our final game. We will play our hearts out and hope it is good enough to get us into the final on Friday."

The Ghantoot players know Al Basti will be tough to beat on Thursday. They kept a clean sheet against Tom Ford last night, while managing put five goals past their opponents.

Tom Ford are no slouches. They beat Dubai Polo Team 6-3 two days ago and also won their opening game.

Al Basti's goals came from Abdullah bin Desmal and Juan Manuel Roman who both got one, while David Bernal scored three.