LAHORE-Master Paints clinched the Aquafina Allama Iqbal Polo Cup after beating BN Polo in the sudden death chukker by 10-9 in the main final played here at the Jinnah Polo and Country Club (JP&CC) on Sunday.
Pakistan Polo Association (PPA) Chairman Lt Gen Azhar Saleh Abbasi HI (M) graced the finals as chief guest and distributed prizes and shields among the winners. Other notables present on the occasion were GOC 10 Div Maj Gen Aneeq-ur-Rehman Malik, GOC 11 Div Maj Gen Muhammad Raza Aizad, JP&CC President Col (r) Shoaib Aftab, Secretary Maj (r) Baber Mehboob Awan, players and their families and polo enthusiasts, who witnessed and enjoyed the action-packed final.
Marcos Panelo emerged as hero of the final with a contribution of fabulous five goals while his teammates Mumtaz Abbas Niazi hammered a hat-trick and Juan Cruz Losada and Raja Jalal Arslan hit one goal each. For BN Polo, Eulogio Celestino smashed in superb six while Tito Ruiz Guinazu hit a brace and Raja Mikael Sami one.
Both the finalists were off to flying start as they converted two goals each in the first chukker to draw the score at 2-all. BN played better polo in the second chukker and thrashed in two more against one by Master Paints to earn a slight 4-3 lead. The highly-charged third chukker saw Master Paints prevailing over BN Polo by firing in fabulous five goals against two by BN to gain an 8-6 lead.
Master Paints converted one more goal in the beginning of the fourth and last chukker to enhance their lead to 9-6 but BN Polo then thrashed in three back-to-back goals to level the score at 9-all. No further goal was scored so the final was then decided in the sudden death chukker, where Raja Jalal Arslan malleted the match-winning goal to guide his side to a 10-9 victory.
Speaking on the occasion, PPA Chairman Lt Gen Azhar Saleh Abbasi said: “The tournament was named after ‘Poet of the East’ Allama Iqbal on my directives, and I am very glad to witness the high-quality polo on offer by top national and international players in this 14-goal tournament final. I also congratulate the club management for conducting this prestigious tournament in a befitting manner and I announce Rs one million for the club.”
Earlier, an exhibition match of the kids was played between Team Red and Team White and after a tough fight, Team Red won it 2-1. From Team Red, Muhammad Matloob Aizad and Sofia converted one goal apiece while Mustafa struck the lone goal from Team Red. A mesmerizing Army band ‘Drum Solo’ was another master piece, which showed perfection in their craft.