LAHORE - Diamond Paints and Learning Alliance have qualified for the Royal Residencia Aibak Polo Cup main final after registering victories in the respective matches played here at the Lahore Polo Club (LPC) ground on Friday.

In the first match of the day, Diamond Paints defeated Master Paints 5-4 after a tough contest. Diamond Paints started their campaign on high note scoring two goals in the first chukker – both were converted by Santiago Cernadas. Saqib started second chukker superbly scoring a goal on spot penalty near the goal post to make it 3-0 for Diamond Paints. Argentinean Juan Cruz Losada then played aggressively and hammered two back-to-back goals – both were field goals – to reduce the lead to 3-2. But Saqib once again enhance the lead to 4-2 through a fabulous field goal.

Losada once again showed his class and struck a superb goal on spot penalty near the goal post to lessen the lead to 4-3 but Sanitago too continued his good form and converted a 30-yarder skillfully to make it 5-4. Losada then hit a field goal to reduce the lead to 5-4 before the end of the last chukker. When the final whistle was blown, Diamond Paints were one goal ahead, thus were declared winners and opportunity to play the final. Howard Smith and Max Charlton were field umpires while Shah Shamyl Alam was referee.

In the second match of the day, Learning Alliance, having half goal handicap advantage, beat Master Paints/Habib Metro 5½-4. Matias Vial Perez was star of the day, as he contributed three goals in his team’s triumph while Ahmed Ali Tiwana added two. For the losing side, Pedro Guiterrez and Sufi Amir scored a brace each but that was not enough to save their team from the loss.

Matias opened the Learning Alliance’s account with a field goal and then hit the second on 40-yard penalty hit to finish the first chukker at 2-0. Pedro proved too hot in the second chukker as he slammed two back-to-back goals to level the score 2-2. But Matias converted a beautiful goal on spot penalty near goal post to give 3-2 lead to Learning Alliance.

Ahmed Tiwana then played superbly and amused the spectators with his outstanding performance. He hit two back-to-back field goals to make it 5-2 before the end of the third chukker.

The fourth and last chukker was dominated by Master Paints/Habib Metro as they slammed two back-to-back goals through Sufi Amir to make it 5-4. It was all that Master Paints/Habib Metro could earn as Learning Alliance won the match 5-4 and also qualified for the main final. Howard Smith and Santiago Cernadas officiated the match as field umpires while Hamza Mawaz Khan acted as referee.