Cria Yatay vs Chapaleufu
Last year’s semi-finalist, Cria Yatay started this year’s addition of the Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo in convincing fashion with an 18-8 victory over Chapaelufu on Field #2 in Palermo.
Producing a dominant second half, Cria Yatay used a high pressure defence, forcing Chapaleufu into costly errors and subsequently quick offense. A season high 18 goals for Cria Yatay, were in large part due to the efforts of Joaquin Pittaluga and Valerio Zubiaurre, as the duo combined for 15 goals, with Pittaluga shooting a perfect 6/6 from the field. The steady presence of the Laprida brothers defensively, further allowed the relentless attack of Pittaluga and Zubiaurre as Chapaleufu was left searching for answers in a game that got away from them.
A strong first chukka for Chapaleufu gave them a quick 3-0 lead, with Ezequiel Ferrario accounting for the first two goals. Quick passes to goal caught Cria Yatay off guard early in the match as they were forced to play defence, struggling to keep constant possession of the ball. After a quiet second chukka that saw Cria Yatay cut the deficit to two, the third chukka saw the beginning of the Cria Yatay attack. Pittaluga scored three goals in the chukka for Cria Yatay, two coming from the penalty line thanks to four fouls from Chapaleufu.
The fourth chukka saw the emergence of Valerio Zubiaurre in the game as he shot at goal four times in the chukka, converting two, giving Cria Yatay their first lead in the game. Chapaleufu looked to respond, with Alberto Heguy scoring his second goal of the game, but missed penalty attempts from Eduardo Heguy, kept Cria Yatay in the lead by one heading into halftime.
The second half was a different game as Cria Yatay outscored Chapaleufu 12-3 in the final four chukkas. Chapaleufu had difficulty completing passes as their frustration increased at their inability to create offence and solve Cria Yatay’s active. The turnovers piled up for Chapaleufu and Cria Yatay took full advantage, shooting at goal 12 times in the second half before Chapaleufu managed one shot at goal. All four Cria Yatay players found the scoresheet with Pittaluga scoring two goals in each of the 5th, 6th and 7th chukkas, extending their lead to 14-6.
Chapaleufu finally placed a shot on goal in the 8th chukka, with Julian de Lusarreta and Alberto Heguy scoring one goal each, but it was too little, too late as Cria Yatay ran away with the 18-8 victory in an impressive performance that will provide them with confidence entering their next match-up against Alegria.
Alegria vs La Dolfina Polo Ranch
Finalists of the Hurlingham Open, Alegria overcame an early scare from La Dolfina Polo Ranch in their first game of the 124th Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo, finishing with a 17-12 victory on Field #1 in Palermo.
The offensive proficiency of Alegria was on full display once again, led by Sapo Caset’s ten goals, but it was their defence that was off at times throughout the game, providing La Dolfina Polo Ranch with opportunities to steal the game. Committing 13 fouls in the game, Alegria sent Diego Cavanagh to the penalty line nine times, watching him convert eight of those attempts. Alegria used a strong second half and efficient 12 for 17 shooting from the field, overcoming their foul troubles to complete the five-goal victory.
Alegria raced out to a quick 5-0 lead thanks to the duo of Caset and Hilario Ulloa, with Caset scoring two from the penalty line and Ulloa scoring two from the field in the opening chukka. After a perfect pass from Facundo Sola set up a goal for Fred Mannix to begin the second chukka, it looked like Alegria was going to run away with the game. That lead quickly disappeared as La Dolfina scored three goals in one minute and forty-five seconds, two from the Cavanagh via the penalty line, cutting the deficit to two.
Cavanagh continued his offensive performance in the third chukka scoring back-to-back goals and nearly adding a third that bounced off the goal post. Combined with the offensive output of Cavanagh, the work of Ignatius Du Plessis and Alejo Taranco kept Alegria to zero shots as La Dolfina was within one goal, trailing 6-5 as Alegria’s frustration and concern began to grow.
The tight game continued to end the half, as both teams were unable to create much offence, trading backhands in the middle of the field. A penalty 2 conversion for Caset finished the half, extending Alegria’s lead to 8-6 as they needed the halftime break to regroup against a La Dolfina team that was providing them difficulties.
The halftime break did just that, as Alegria came out firing, winning the 5th chukka 3-0, behind their usual quick, attacking offence spearheaded by two goals from Caset. Now down five goals, La Dolfina began pushing forward, leaving them vulnerable to the Alegria attack and Alegria took advantage shooting a perfect 5 for 5 in the 6th and 7th chukkas to further extend their lead.
Scoring a goal in every chukka except the third, Caset added three more goals in the final two chukkas, bringing his total to ten goals, sealing the win for Alegria. The strong second half provides Alegria with something they can build upon as they continue to prove they are capable of winning this year’s Argentine Open title.