La Esquina Los Machitos vs La Irenita
The opening game of the 124th Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo began on Field #2 in Palermo as La Irenita defeated La Esquina Los Machitos 14-11.
Fouls were the story early in the game as the two teams committed a combined nine fouls in the opening two chukkas. Beginning with the third chukka, La Irenita began to speed up the pace of the game, utilizing the combination of Juan Ruiz Guinazu and Juan Martin Zavaleta to score ten times from the field in the middle four chukkas. The quick offense from La Irenita provided difficulty for a La Esquina LM team that struggled to maintain consistent possession in the attacking half.
Despite shooting at goal zero times in the opening chukka, the early fouls from La Esquina LM resulted in three penalty attempts for La Irenita in the opening chukka, as they converted two, taking the early 2-1 lead. A nice backhand from Mariano Aguerre set up Argentine Open newcomer Pascual Sainz de Vicuna for a run that was ultimately finished off by Rodrigo Andrade to tie the score at 2-2. Aguerre followed that with back to back penalty conversions to highlight a strong 2nd chukka for La Esquina LM.
Using quick passes and Guinazu in the #1 position, La Irenita opened up the game and played a style of game that played in their favour. Guinazu and Juan Martin Zavaleta scored two goals each on perfect 4/4 shooting, highlighted by an impressive neckshot goal from distance by Zavaleta. Another goal from distance for Zavaleta in the 4th chukka finished an 8-2 stretch for La Irenita as their open play dominance led to a 10-6 lead at halftime.
La Irenita continued their momentum in the 2nd half with Clemente Zavaleta scoring his first goal of the game to stretch the lead to 12-6. La Esquina LM tried to answer in the 6th chukka, with Aguerre converting a Safety 60 and Rodrigo Rueda converting a penalty. Both goals were quickly answered by Guinazu, bringing his goal total to six for the game as La Irenita held a six-goal advantage with time running out.
La Esquina LM made a push in the 7th chukka to close the deficit, with Rodrigo Andrade scoring from 100 yards out, but La Irenita was able to protect their lead in the final two chukkas, keeping their opponents in front of them and preventing any offensive opportunities for Andrade and Aguerre late, finishing with the 14-11 victory.
La Aguada Las Monjitas vs La Albertina Abu Dhabi
The second game of the 124th Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo, played in front of loud crowd on Field #1 in Palermo, saw La Aguada LM build a large lead and hold on for the 13-10 victory.
In a tightly marked game, that saw five yellow cards, La Aguada was able to use their passing proficiency to control possession and build a lead behind the performance of Ignacio Novillo Astrada. Limiting the chances of La Albertina throughout the game, the back line of Miguel and Ignacio Novillo Astrada held their opponents to just three shots in the first half, while La Aguada shot at goal 15 times over that same time. The seamless transition of La Aguada from defence to offence was the difference as they held on after a late flurry from La Albertina.
La Aguada started the game with an eye-catching play by Ignacio Novillo Astrada as he made a long run downfield and dropped a perfect pass for Alfredo Bigatti to open the scoring. Alejandro Novillo Astrada added a goal to give La Aguada the early 2-0 lead. The ability of Ignacio Novillo Astrada to come forward from the #4 position was evident throughout the game, scoring two impressive goals from distance in the first half.
The 3rd and 4th chukkas provided a fast, flowing pace that favoured La Aguada’s passing style. Back-to-back goals from Alfredo Bigatti pushed La Aguada’s lead to 8-2, as La Albertina was unable to produce a consistent attack against Miguel and Ignacio Novillo Astrada. Francisco Elizalde added his first goal of the game to close out the 4th chukker, but La Albertina found themselves down 9-3 heading into halftime.
The passing of La Aguada carried into the second half, as effective backhands stopped the La Albertina attack while continuing to give La Aguada the offensive chances they needed to increase their lead. La Albertina was held to one goal in the 5th and 6th chukkas as their frustration increased due to their inability to create an attack. The result of the tight defence and physical play in the game showed with 30 seconds left in the 7th chukker, as a congested play resulted in a yellow card to Santiago Toccalino and a second yellow card to Alejandro Novillo Astrada, forcing him to the sidelines for the remainder of the 7th chukka and for the first minute and a half of the final chukka.
La Albertina took advantage of La Aguada being a player down to begin the 8th chukka as Ignacio Toccalino scored to make the score 12-7. Before La Aguada could blink, La Albertina added three more goals in quick succession, one from Elizalde and two from Cappella, to shrink the deficit to just two goals. La Aguada was thankful for their early dominance in the game as their lead was large enough to hold on in a close game, finishing with the 13-10 victory.