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February 15, 2020

ASC, Pebble enter Lotus Aibak Polo final

Sports

February 15, 2020

LAHORE: ASC Polo Team and Pebble Breakers qualified for the main final of The Lotus Aibak Polo Cup 2020 after defeating their respective opponents in the semifinals played here at the Lahore Polo Club ground on Friday.

In the first semifinal of the day, ASC edged out BN Polo Team by 6½-6. From the winning side, which had one and a half goal handicap advantage, Raja Samiullah cracked a classic quartet while Eulogio Celestino struck the remaining one.

From the losing side, Juan Maria Ruiz also scored a quartet while Saqib Khan Khakwani contributed with a brace but it was a half goal difference, which declared ASC winners of the semifinal.

The match started with ASC Polo Team enjoying one and a half goal handicap lead and it was BN Polo Team, which converted the opening goal of the first chukker through Juan Maria Ruiz to reduce the margin to 1½-1. ASC then fought back well and succeeded in thrashing two back-to-back goals – one each by Raja Samiullah and Eulogio Celestino – to gain 3½-1. The only goal of the second chukker was pumped in by Saqib Khan Khakwani, which helped BN Team reduce the deficit to 3½-2.

The third chukker saw BN Team bouncing back in great style and hammering three back-to-back goals – two by Juan Maria Ruiz and one by Saqib Khan Khakwani – to have 5-3½ edge. In the dying moments of the third chukker, ASC converted a 30-yard penalty through Raja Samiullah to make it 5-4½. ASC played better polo in the fourth and decisive chukker and banged in a beautiful brace against one goal by BN Team to win the match 6½-6. Nicholas Scotichini and Martin Fewster supervised the match as field umpires while Nicholas A Recaite was match referee.

In the eight-chukker semifinal, Pebble Breakers played outstanding polo and outscored Guard Group/Artema Medical by 11-8½. Phenomenal Juan Cruz Losada emerged as hero of the day as he smashed in superb six goals from Pebble Breakers while Bilal Haye contributed with one goal while from Guard Group/Artema Medical, Raja Temur Nadeem struck both the goals.

The semifinal was resumed with Guard Group/Artema Medical having 6½-4 lead after the first four chukkers but Pebble Breakers started the day with an aggressive approach and slammed in a brace each in the fifth and sixth chukkers – all goals were scored by Juan Cruz Losada – to gain a 8-6½ lead.

Guard Group made their presence felt in the seventh chukker as they converted a 30-yard penalty through Raja Temur Nadeem to reduce the margin to 8-7½. But Losada added one more goal in Pebble Breakers’ tally, further enhancing his side’s lead to 9-7½.

In the eighth and last chukker of the match, both the sides played well against each other but Pebble Breakers once again showed their potential and succeeded in scoring two goals against one goal by Guard Group. From Pebble Breakers, Juan Cruz Losada and Bilal Haye slammed in one goal each while from Guard Group, Raja Temur Nadeem’s struck his and his side’s second goal to finish the match at 11-8½. Nicholas Scotichini and Martin Fewster supervised the match as field umpires while Nicholas A Recaite was match referee.