* STL hits Silver Cup semis
Lagos Leighton Kings gallop off to a brilliant start in the Open Cup with a 10 – 6 ½ win over Lagos A-Plus as the GTBank-sponsored 2017 NPA Lagos International Polo Tournament gathers momentum.
Argentine pro, Santiago Cernadas (+6) was the architect of Kings’ triumph scoring six of his team’s goals in the five-chukka match. Hassan Fayad (+1), who scored a goal, Bowale Jolaosho (0) and Martin Juaregi, another four-goaler from Argentina featured for the winning side.
Ahmadu Umar (+3) opened scoring for A-Plus but it proved to be that he and his teammates namely Lukman Adebayo (+1), Isa Kwame (+3) and Abdulrahman Mohammed (+3), had bitten more that they can chew as Leighton Kings ran riot from the second to the fourth chukkas scoring eight goals in succession to lead 10 – 2 1/2 heading to the last chukka.
The spirited performance of A-Plus got them reduced the deficit with Adebayo (twice) Kwame and Abdulrahman getting on the score sheets for a final 10 – 6 1/2 score-line.
In the Silver Cup, Lagos STL defeated Kano Manarat 7-3 to progress to the semifinal while
Ibadan Challenge and Kano Agad both bounced back with wins following defeats in their previous matches in the Silver Cup.
Ibrahim Musa Dantala was the star man netting five goals for STL, who had a convincing 11-3 win over Ibadan Challenge in their first match in League 1.
Dantala, a +2 handicap, who won the MVP at the Kaduna International Polo Tournament last May, opened the score in the tough match via a breakaway move.
Fellow two-goaler, Tata Alikura missed back-to-back chances – the latter which saw him missed a tap-in shot having been set up by Dantala.
Manarat, formed by Najib Galandachi (0), Khalil Halilu (0), Jamilu Umar (+2) and Sarki Waziri (0), drew level through their hit-man Umar but Dantala restored the home side’s lead to end the second chukka 2-1.
Both sides scored a combined 19 goals in their previous matches and the three goals scored with half part of the match reflected the tightness of the match. However, Dantala took matters upon himself scoring two goals early in the third chukka but Halilu pecked back scores to 4-2 heading to the last chukka.
Alikura redeemed himself scoring the game’s next two goals one of which was an open back-hander, greeted with a resounding applause.
Umar scored again for Manarat to make scores 6-3 but Dantala signed off a great performance with another goal for STL who also have Seyi Tinubu (-1) and Lolu Agoro (-1)
In the preceding match, Ibadan Challenge put themselves back into contention for qualification with a 6 – 2 1/2 win over Lagos Redefini. Babao Lawal (+1) and Sodiq Rabiu made significant contribution to help Challenge to a triumphant outing.
Redefini were in the spotlight by parading Natalie Allan, the only female player featuring in the 11-day tournament.
“It’s fun and exciting to play my first match at the Lagos International Polo Tournament. This is a prestigious event and to play with Mamuda Shehu is an honour,” the -2 handicap said.
Kano Agad had a field day as they steamrolled Lagos Adcom 9 – 2 1/2 with Nabil and Abba Dantata running the show. The high margin win enhanced their chances of qualifying to the knock-out stage.
Three Silver Cup matches and an Open Cup match are scheduled for Friday. Kano Nakudu face Lagos Insight Redefini and Ibadan Jericho confront Lagos Ardant while Lagos Aragon tussle with Lagos Adcom. A juicy final match of the day will see Lagos Riverlake Caverton go head-to-head with Lagos Lintex.
The tournament splits to two weekends also has Bell Oil & Gas, Veuve Clicquot, Old Mutual, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production, Southern Sun, Balmoral, Majekodunmi Family as co-sponsors while Wapic Insurance, Chapel Hill Denham, Metro Capital, Arbico, Elektrint Nigeria Limited and Elper Oilfield Engineering Nigeria Limited as Cups sponsors.
The first week will be rounded off on Sunday.