Abu Dhabi once again proved they are the team to beat in the UAE as they successfully defended the prestigious Emirates Open Polo Championship at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club with a sound 8-3 thrashing of Maserati Polo Team. Abu Dhabi did not waste any time to make an impact on the game and nearly stunned their rivals into submission. They were the dominant side from the start and surged ahead with a goal in the first chukker itself. They led 4-0 at the halfway phase after scoring three more unanswered goals in the second chukker. Man-of-the-Match and Abu Dhabi’s Argentine star Santiago Cernadas scored all four of those goals, with his compatriots Santiago Gomez Romario and Patricio Cieza getting their names on the scoresheet having scored three and one respectively.
Abu Dhabi had Faris Al Yabhouni as their team patron. Maserati lacked the drive shown by defending champions Abu Dhabi throughout the tournament and the final panned out into being a very lopsided contest with Abu Dhabi winning quite comfortably. Felipe Llorente, Gregorio Geloxsi and Ahmed Bin Dasmal scored a goal each for Maserati. Bin Dasmal picked up an injury during the game and played through the pain, but none could inspire the side to rise to the immense challenge on hand. Al Yabhouni said Abu Dhabi’s team spirit helped it land a second straight Emirates Open title.
“The team spirit was at it best in the final,” he said. “It is a fantastic feeling to win this prestigious tournament for the second successive year, and it feels even better second time around. “I’m very proud of the way all my teammates played, not just in the final, but all through the tournament. This trophy is for the whole team and we hope to be back next year to have another crack at the title.” Maserati star Llorene, from Argentia, was gracious in defeat and said Abu Dhabi were indeed the better side. “I think we played a good game, but it was not good enough against a team as strong as Abu Dhabi,” he said.
“They deserve to be champions as they did not drop a single game throughout the tournament.” In the third place play-off held earlier in the day, Desert Palm edged Wolves Mahra 6-5 via a golden goal scored by Matias Machado in the extra chukker added on at the end after the scores were tied at 5-5 at the end of regulation time. “It was a tough game, the Wolves played well,” said Machado. “The Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club is a great stage for a prestigious event like the Emirates Open Polo Championship. We enjoyed every match in a tournament that has always been fiercely competitive.” Special guests at the final were HH Sheikh Zayed bin Thanoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Suhail Al Maktoum and HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Maid bin Ali Al Nuaimi. Five teams with a handicap of +14, played in the tournament hosted by the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club and supported by Premier Motors, Maserati.