By Gonzalo Etcheverry
The 18-goal McLaren Cup, opening tournament of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series 2018, kicked off on Friday with an exciting day of double action at Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club. A huge crowd saw Habtoor Polo defeat Wolves Polo by 5 goals to 4, and Zedan Polo defeat UAE Polo 8-7.
In the first game, Habtoor Polo, owned by Mohammed Al Habtoor, got off to a good start, but Wolves managed to tie the match in the second half. Talented 8-goaler Francisco Elizalde took control of the play and scored the decisive goal in the last chukka to give Habtoor Polo the victory. Elizalde was the top scorer in the winning team with three goals, and for Wolves, Habtoor Al Habtoor was the top scorer, with two goals.
Score Habtoor Polo: 2-0, 3-2, 4-3, 4-3, 5-4.
In the second match of the day, Zedan Polo claimed a great 8-7 victory against UAE Polo, in what was a thrilling game. Amr Zedan’s team got off to a flying start and gained a 3-1 lead in the first seven minutes. But a quick comeback from patron HH Sheika Maitha’s team put UAE in the lead (5-4) by the end of the second. Zedan fought back and gained the advantage once again (7-5) in the third chukka.
The second half of the match was full of action with both teams playing at a great level and battling hard for the victory. The fourth chukka finished with 7-all, and in the last both teams had several chances to seal the deal. But it was 10-goaler superstar Pablo Mac Donough who gave Zedan Polo the win after scoring a 60 yard penalty. Polito Pieres was the top scorer of the match with five goals, and Mac Donough was the top scorer for Zedan, with four.
Score Zedan Polo: 3-1, 4-5, 7-5, 7-7, 8-7.
The McLaren Silver Cup continues on Monday:
2pm: Mahra Polo vs Bin Drai Polo
Followed by: UAE Polo vs Wolves