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British Open finals

ZACARA wins Gold Cup for the British Open over Dubai, 11-8

By Alex Webbe

Adolfo Cambiaso scored the first goal of the game for Dubai (Rashid Albwardy, Nico

Pieres, Adolfo Cambiaso and Alex White), but that was the only time that Zacara

(Facundo Pieres, Lyndon Lea, Rodrigo Andrade and Matt Perry) trailed all day as the

rang up their second British Open Championship in the last three years with an 11-8 win

over Dubai at Cowdray Park Sunday afternoon in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

Cambiaso’s opening goal of the game saw Dubai’s mainstay beat Facundo Pieres for

the goal.  Facundo Pieres retaliated moments later as he sailed a pass ahead to a

streaking Rodrigo Andrade for the only other goal of the first chukker, 1-1.

Defense was the rule in the second period with Dubai having bad luck when a shot at

goal by Dubai’s Nico Pieres hit the goalpost and careened across the goal outh before

being cleared by Zacara.  The only goal of the chukker came on a well-placed pass

from Andrade to Facundo Pieres for the 2-1 lead.

Alex White scored to open the third chukker to tie it at 2-2.  Facundo Pieres shot

through a crowd to give Zacara the lead again, 3-2.  A Zacara foul sent Nico Pieres to

the penalty lien where he converted a 60-yard penalty shot, 3-3.  Facundo converted

a penalty shot for Zacara, 4-3.  Nico Pieres made a run at goal in the final seconds of

the first half, but his shot went wide and Zacara left the field at the end of the first half

leading 4-3.

Matt Perry got on the scoreboard in the fourth on a pass from Facundo Pieres, 5-

3.  Cambiaso answered with a goal from the field on a pass from Nico Pieres, 5-

4.  Facundo Pieres closed out the chukker with consecutive goals for a 7-4 Zacara

advantage.

Consecutive goals from Cambiaso and Nico Pieres (penalty conversion) cut the Zacara

lead to a single goal, 7-6, as the fifth chukker got underway, but Facundo Pieres fired

back with a pair of goals of his own, 9-6.  Nico Pieres converted a penalty shot for a

goal to end the chukker, 9-7.  

The wide-open style of play that both of these extremely well-mounted teams had

established earlier in the game continued in the sixth chukker.   A collision with another

horse twisted Cambiaso’s knee so severely that he dismounted on the field and cringed

in pain.  A brief intermission and assistance from the medical staff had him back in the

saddle.  When play carried on, Cambiaso took a long shot at goal that carried wide.  

Facundo took advantage of a Dubai foul by converting on a penalty shot that had

Zacara back in front by three goals, 10-7.  Nico Pieres got the opportunity to return the

favor by converting a penalty shot for Dubai, 10-8.   Facundo Pieres put an exclamation

mark on the win by stealing the ball from Cambiaso at a full gallop, head-on-head, and

racing the length of the field to score the final goal of the game in the 11-8 Zacara win.

Facundo Pieres led the field in scoring with nine goals (two on penalty shots) and

received MVP honors for his performance.  Andrade and Perry added single goals

for the win.  Nico Pieres scored all four of his goals on penalty shots.  Cambiaso was

credited with three goals and White scored once in the Dubai loss.

Facundo Pieres was also rewarded when his pony, Open Top Model, was named Best

Playing Pony.

The victory gives Zacara a sweep of the English high-goal season and marks the

third time Facundo Pieres has come out on top in a head-on-head meeting with

Adolfo Cambiaso dating back to Zacara’s win in the finals of the United States Open

Championship.  The win also cements Facundo’s position atop the World Polo Tour

rankings, a position he recently took from Cambiaso following Zacara’s Queens Cup

title win.

Following the English season both Cambiaso and Pieres will be traveling to Spain

where they will compete at the Santa Maria Polo Club at Sotogrande, their last stop

before returning to Argentina for their Open season and another round of face-offs.