LAHORE - Matias Vial Perez heroics helped Learning Alliance hammer Al-Khan 8½-4 in the Royal Residencia Aibak Polo Cup 2016 opening match played here at the historical Aibak polo ground of Lahore Polo Club (LPC) on Tuesday. Matias entered the match with an aggressive approach and kept on scoring in almost all the chukkers and in the end, he managed to pump in fantastic five goals in his team’s triumph while his teammates also played equally well as Ahmed Ali Tiwana produced a brace while Adnan Jalil Azam hit one to land their team home safely. For Al-Khan, it was Max Charlton who utilized all his skills to win the match for his team but his heroics were spoilt by the superb performances of Learning Alliance players.

Learning Alliance started the match on a high note as they struck two tremendous goals through Ahmed Tiwana to take 2-0 lead in the first chukker. But Max Charlton started the second chukker impressively converting a 40-yard penalty hit successfully to reduce the lead to 2-1. Star of the match Matias then hit a superb goal on 60-yard penalty hit to strengthen his team’s the lead to 3-1 before the end of the chukker.

Max also started the third chukker in a convincing way and scored a goal through 60-yard penalty hit to make it 3-2. After that, Matias scored his a field goal to bring his tally to two and made it 4-2 for Learning Alliance. Adnan Jalil Azam then beautifully converted a field goal to further improve their lead to 5-2 before the end of the chukker.

Total five goals were converted in the highly-charged fourth chukker as three came from the winning side and two from the losers. Max Charlton hit his third goal on spot penalty near goal post to reduce the lead to 5-3 but Matias continued his sublime form and hammered two back-to-back goals – first on 60-yard penalty hit and second on 30-yard penalty hit – to stretch their lead to 7-3. Max again threw ball across the goal post complete his four-goal haul and also reduced the lead to 7-4. Matias was in no mood to dictate their terms so he smashed another goal to finish the chukker and match at 8-4. Howard Smith and Juan Cruz Losada supervised the match as field umpires while Saqib Khan Khakwani acted as referee.

Lahore Polo Club (LPC) president Irfan Ali Hyder, executive committee members Azam Hayat Noon, Agha Najeeb, Ali Malik, secretary Col (r) Shoaib Aftab, polo players and fans witnessed the highly-charged polo match.

Speaking at the occasion, the LPC chief said: “Lahore is famous for its polo and it’s a great honour for us that people from across the world come here to witness high-quality polo activity at the Lahore Polo Club. In this season, we have already a lot of people around to see quality polo matches being played here while the top national and international players will make the final of this prestigious event remarkable with their excellent polo skills.”

Today (Wednesday), Diamond Paints will play against Master Paints in the first match of the day at 2:15pm while Al-Khan will vie clash against Master Paints/Habib Metro in the second match to be played at 3:30 pm.