STAR PROFESSIONAL Pablo MacDonough justified his billing as one of the top players in the ongoing McLaren Cup as he ran riot for Zedan Polo leading them to a 10-8 success over Habtoor Polo and in turn earning them a spot in the semi-final of the tournament. Zedan beating Habtoor was one of the last two qualifying matches played Sunday at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. The other witnessed Wolves get the better of already qualified Mahra Polo 9-8.5. Mahra led 2.5-1 at the end of the first chukker, but three strikes by Wolves to just one by Mahra in the second chukker saw the advantage change hands at 4-3.5.
Mahra were back in business in the third period and closed with the lead at 5.5-5, but again the Wolves bit back hard to lead the 8-6.5 going into the final chukker where despite Mahra scoring one more goal to Wolves’ single strike, they were forced to accept a 9-8.5 defeat. Mahra’s Isidro Strada was the top scorer of the match. The other match featuring Zedan and Habtoor was keenly contested but without the drama that unfolded in the Mahra v Wolves contest. And led by MacDonough who scored 8 goals, Zedan beat Habtoor 10-8. Zedan led 3-2 after the phase and though Habtoor managed to level it at 4-4 at the end of the second chukker that was the best they could ever do during the match.
Zedan took the lead in the third phase and ensured they were not going to be pegged back and went clear at 6-5 and 8-6 over the next two chukkers and closed the match at 10-8. With Zedan, Mahra and Wolves making the semi-final cut, UAE, Bin Drai and Habtoor Polo were left to battle for the final last four via a penalty shootout. The final of the McLaren Cup will be held at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club on 9 February. The McLaren Cup is one of five high goal tournaments falling under the purview of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series, which runs until mid April.