Only a penalty shootout could separate the two teams in the opening game of the highly anticipated Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup at Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club today, Monday 1st October, with the USA converting three penalties to Hong Kong’s one, to claim the victory after an 8-8 draw in normal time.
In a hugely exciting and fiercely contested fixture, Hong Kong held a slender lead for the vast majority of the six chukka game, before goals from Chris Mackenzie and John Fisher opened up a three point gap going into the final three minutes. With the game looking likely to be over, the USA hit back three times to level the match, thanks to goals from Mason Wroe, Jeff Hall and Mike Azaro, and may have even won it as a shot hit the post in the final seconds. Penalties then ensued, which saw Wroe, Hall and Kris Kampson all convert their efforts for the USA, whilst only Hong Kong’s Jose Donoso could score from the spot, as Fisher and Mackenzie missed their chances, giving the USA team the win.
Azaro of the USA led the scoring with five goals to his name, whilst Hong Kong’s 8-goal player John-Paul Clarkin hit four for the opposition team. Remarkably, Hong Kong ended three of the six chukkas in front, taking the lead on seven separate occasions, with the USA only coming out on top in the penalty shootout.
USA will now go through to the Super Nations Cup Final on Friday 5th October, against the winner of England vs. Argentina who face-off tomorrow, Tuesday 2nd October at 14:00HKT. Hong Kong will contest the Subsidiary Final the day before versus the loser of the same fixture. Both games will be televised live TVB in Hong, and can also be seen on a delayed feed at www.hurlinghampolo.com, www.tvb.com and www.us-polo.org.
To follow the tournament as it unfolds, please visit www.supernationscup.com.
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