Alegria vs Chapaleufu
Playing in heavy rain throughout the second half, Alegria remained unbeaten in the 2017 Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo, defeating Chapaleufu 18-10 on Field 2 in Palermo.
Behind efficient 16 for 20 (80%) shooting, Alegria pushed the pace early in the game, converting their chances and keeping Chapaleufu on the defensive. The duo of Sapo Caset and Facundo Sola were an offensive force, forcing turnovers from their opponents and creating quick offense, combining for 12 field goals. As the rain poured down throughout the second half, the pace slowed, favouring Chapaleufu as they closed the deficit, but Alegria built up a large lead to finish with the eight-goal advantage.
Before three minutes had ticked off the clock, Alegria had three goals, two from Sola and one from Caset, with all three coming from well-placed passes to set up the goal. Sola wasn’t finished there as he added his third goal of the chukka, executing a perfect steal on a Chapaleufu penalty 5, and running untouched to the goal to complete Alegria’s dominant 4-0 chukka to open the game.
Alegria continued to utilize their passing attack in the 2nd chukka, scoring three goals on four shots, with all three goals, once again coming via the pass to set-up the score. Fred Mannix came from the back position to score two of his three goals for the game, as Chapaleufu looked stunned at Alegria’s efficient passing and shooting. Trailing 7-1 at the end of the 2nd chukka, Chapaleufu was finally able to slow Alegria for the remainder of the half, winning five of the last six throw-ins to gain possession and begin attacks of their own. Alberto Heguy completed a nice individual effort for his second goal of the game, while Ezequiel Ferrario finished a run of his own in the 4th chukka, but Alegria kept a five-goal advantage, leading 9-4 at halftime.
Heavy rain created more difficult conditions in the second half, but Alegria made sure to extend their lead, with the duo of Caset and Sola converting all five of their shot attempts in a dominating 5-1 chukka to open the half. The slow conditions began to show in the 6th chukka, and Chapaleufu took advantage of a slowed Alegria team, executing a passing attack of their own, resulting in each player scoring a goal during a 5-1 run in the 6th and 7th chukkas, reducing the deficit to 15-10.
Alegria put an end to the Chapaleufu run in the final chukka, behind Caset’s 7th and 8th goals of the game, as the efficient shooting from the Alegria team was too much for Chapaleufu to overcome. Alegria moves to 3-0 with the victory, setting up a rematch of the Hurlingham Open final with Ellerstina, for their chance to reach the finals.
Ellerstina vs La Dolfina Polo Ranch
After the rain cleared from the first game, the 2017 Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo carried on with high winds a factor, as Ellerstina survived a scare from La Dolfina Polo Ranch, finishing with the narrow 12-11 victory on Field 1 in Palermo.
In a game of two halves, Ellerstina built up a five-goal lead in the first half, only to watch La Dolfina Polo Ranch fight all the way back to within one goal in the 6th,7th and 8th chukkas. Winning 13 of 17 throw-ins in the first half, Ellerstina pressured the La Dolfina defence with a fast-paced attack, forcing La Dolfina into six fouls through the first two chukkas. Ellerstina’s passing attack faltered in the second half, as La Dolfina was able to generate interceptions, creating scoring chances of their own, led by Diego Cavanagh’s six goals in the second half. Late in the game, Ellerstina was able to limit the chances of La Dolfina just enough to hold on for the victory.
On the opening throw-in of the game, it was Polito Pieres who tapped in a Gonzalito Pieres backhand to open the scoring. The remainder of the chukka was a back and forth affair, until a late knock-in for Ellerstina was stolen on the first tap by Guillermo Terrera as La Dolfina tied the score at 1-1 to end the 1st chukka. The pace picked up in the 2nd chukkas as they teams combined for seven goals, with five in favour of Ellerstina. La Dolfina Polo Ranch committed five fouls in the chukka, resulting in two penalty goals for Polito Pieres, but he also added two more goals from the field, to bring his total to five goals for the game. In the final play to end the chukka, Nico Pieres found Polito Pieres with a 100+ yard pass right onto his mallet, setting up a breakaway and increasing Ellerstina’s lead to 6-3.
Ellerstina took advantage of a couple of La Dolfina errors in the final two chukkas of the first half to extend their lead to 9-4, looking like they were going to run away with the game. That same Ellerstina offence struggled in the second half and La Dolfina Polo Ranch jumped on the opportunity, scoring the first four goals of the second half. Converting on two shots from distance and a penalty 2, Cavanagh was the driving force of the La Dolfina Polo Ranch offence, but the team defence from Alejo Taranco and Ignatius Du Plessis was equally impactful in the comeback attempt.
With their lead down to one goal, Ellerstina quickly regained their lead, as Polito Pieres converted a penalty 3 and Facundo Pieres completed a run from his own 30-yard line, providing Ellerstina with a three-goal lead with just over nine minutes remaining. La Dolfina fought back, with Cavanagh converting a penalty 2 and safety 60 to end the 7th chukka, trailing by just one.
Ellerstina pushed their lead back to two, whe Gonzalito Pieres jumped on a turnover in front of the La Dolfina goal, scoring his third goal of the game. A defensive battle ensued for the remainder of the final chukka, until Cavanagh broke through for a goal with just a minute remaining. La Dolfina Polo Ranch’s comeback fell just short as time expired and Ellerstina escaped with the win.