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Buenos Aires spoil hosts’ party in polo final

Abu Dhabi captain Al Yabhouni misses crucial penalty in Coutts Cup shootout

Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
A Team Buenos Aires player (in blue) vies for the ball with aTeam Abu Dhabi player in the Coutts Polo final on Saturday.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Hublot Team Buenos Aires came out on top at the Coutts Polo Cup held at Emirates Palace here after beating Coutts Team Abu Dhabi 3-2 in a penalty shootout on the final day.

Meanwhile, Maserati Milan beat “How to Spend It” team London 9-8 and thus earning third place.

The match between team Buenos Aires and team Abu Dhabi ended with a tie of 5-5, which led to a penalty shoot-out.

Buenos Aires managed to score all three of their shots while the home team scored only two after team captain Faris Al Yabhouni missed the last one. This prompted sighs of disappointment from the vast crowd that was cheering for Abu Dhabi.

The teams were neck-and-neck throughout the duration of the match and both sides asserted almost equal control of the ball. Even for the players themselves, it was impossible to predict the winner and one player described the penalty shots as “nerve-racking”.

“Both teams did their best and in the end, there is always a winner,” Al Yabhouni said. “You could lose penalties so it’s really luck.”

Al Yabhouni described the polo tournament as “great”, adding that it was “nicely put together and a great honour to have it in Abu Dhabi.”

The Milan vs London match ended with a score of 9-8 after extra time. The match started with an almost immediate goal from the English side. As the game went on, though, the Italian side asserted their presence by taking control of the ball and keeping it on their side of the field for most of the time.

The two-day international tournament kicked off on Friday on the West Lawn of the Palace. The lawn, which is a third smaller than a regular polo field, meant that spectators were closer to the action. Each team had to have three players instead of the typical four.

Spectators who came to watch the sport of kings appeared to enjoy the matches and socialize. Maserati, an Italian luxury car manufacturer that sponsored team Milan, offered those present test drives of their luxury cars.

Not long after this announcement, people were lining up to sign up for a test drive.

The event was sponsored by other high-end brands including Coutts, Hublot, Nespresso, La Martina, and the host, Emirates Palace.

As the sun set on the lush greens of the Palace, the tournament ended with the Coutts Cup awarded to the winning team by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.