LAHORE - Superfluous six-goaler Santiago Cernadas steered Diamond Paints to 9-6½ triumph over Master Paints in the Royal Residencia Aibak Polo Cup 2016 match played here at the Lahore Polo Club (LPC) ground on Wednesday.

Santiago Cernadas made bang bang entry for the star-studded Diamond Paints. In his very first encounter of this polo season, Santiago slammed eight out of nine goals for the winning side. The only remaining goal for Diamond Paints was converted by Mir Shoaib Ahmed. Argentinean Juan Cruz Losada alone struggled to help his team to score win but his incredible efforts were spoiled by heroics of Santiago.

Losada started the match in great style scoring two tremendous goals for Master Paints, which had one and half goal handicap advantage, to take 3½-0 lead which was soon reduced by Santiago making it 3½-1. In the second chukker, Santiago pumped in two back-to-back goals to make the score 3½-3 but Losada finished the chukker splendidly thrashing a field goal in the dying moments to make it 4½-3.

Santiago continued his splendor in the third chukker hitting 30-yarder to take 4½-4 lead for his team. On the other hand, in-form Losada contributed a crucial goal to once again stretch his team’s lead to 5½-4. Mir Shoaib Ahmed then hit a field goal to take 5½-5 for his team. Santiago further improved his team’s scores to 6-5½. But Losada hammered a field goal to give 6½-6 lead to his team before the end of the third cukker.

It was all which Losada and his team could earn as the fourth and final chukker totally belonged to Santiago who kept the scorecard clicking and thrashed three back-to-back goals to give Diamond Paints unassailable 9-6½ lead to finish the match as triumphant. Howard Smith and Matias Vial Perez were the field umpires and Ahmed Ali Tiwana referee.

In the second match of the day, Pedro Guiterrez guided Master Paints/Habib Metro to thrilling 6-5 victory over Al-Khan. Pedro pumped in fabulous five goals while Hissam Ali Hyder contributed one in their team’s win. Max Charlton also played tremendously scoring fantastic five but his heroics couldn’t save Al-Khan from the loss.

The first chukker was equally poised as one goal each came from both sides. Pedro opened the account of Master Paints/Habib Metro through a field goal while Max converted a 60-yarder to level the score at 1-1. He continued his good form and slammed another to enhance the lead to 2-1. But Hissam and Pedro then hit one goal each to provide 3-2 lead to Master Paint. The first goal of the third chukker was also hit by Max which leveled the score at 3-3. But Pedro developed a goal through spot penalty near goal post to finish the chukker at 4-3.

Max continued his habit of scoring the first goal of every chukker, as this time too, he hammered a 40-yarder for Al-Khan to draw the score at 4-4. But Pedro once again slammed a 40-yarder to make it 5-4. Max then utilized all his skills to score an impressive goal to draw the blood at 5-5. At this crucial stage, both the teams strived for scoring a match-winner but it was in-form Pedro, who benefited from the opportunity and produced a decisive goal to provide a well-deserving thrilling triumph to Master Paints/Habib Metro. Howard Smith and Raja Taimur Nadeem supervised the match as field umpires while Santiago Cernadas was referee.