La Albertina/Abu Dhabi vs La Esquina Los Machitos
Both teams were looking for their first win in the 2017 Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo, and it was La Albertina/Abu Dhabi that displayed an efficient performance, defeating La Esquina Los Machitos 17-8 on Field 2 in Palermo.
Playing an aggressive style of defence, La Albertina pressured La Esquina LM throughout the game, forcing errors and turnovers that resulted in offensive chances that La Albertina was able to convert at a high rate, shooting 14/19 (74%) in the game. Pulling away in the second half, La Albertina was able to control the throw-in battle, winning 11 of 15 throw-ins to run away with the 17-8 victory.
A quick start for La Albertina in the opening chukka gave them the early 3-0 advantage, with Alfredo Cappella scoring two goals, one each from the field and penalty line. La Esquina LM was unable to generate offensive chances, failing to record a shot despite winning all three throw-ins in the chukka. Still without a shot halfway through the 2nd chukka, it was Pascual Sainz de Vicuna who finally broke through, converting a nearside neckshot to open the scoring for La Esquina LM and cutting the deficit to two goals. With time expiring in the 2nd chukka, Ignacio Toccalino restored the three-goal lead with a nearside neckshot of his own, giving La Albertina the 5-2 lead.
The high-pressure defence from La Albertina provided problems for La Esquina LM in the remaining two chukkas of the half, as they only shot at goal twice, unable to convert either chance. With La Albertina scoring two more goals from the field, one each from Ignacio Toccallino and Cappella, La Esquina LM was able to stay within striking distance, thanks to four fouls from La Albertina resulting in two penalty goals. The duo of Cappella and Ignacio Toccalino were leading the way offensively, scoring four and three goals respectively, providing La Albertina with the 8-4 lead at halftime.
La Albertina took control of the game early in the second half, winning the throw-in battle and using the extra possessions to convert six of seven shot attempts in the 5th and 6th chukkas, three of which came off the mallet of Ignacio Toccalino. La Esquina LM continued to struggle creating chances against the La Albertina defence, but found goals via the penalty line, converting all three penalty attempts in the second half.
In possession of a large 14-5 lead, La Albertina wasn’t as aggressive defensively in the final two chukkas, and it wasn’t until the final minute of the game, that La Esquina was finally able to score from the field for their first field goal since the 2nd chukka. Behind the seven goals from Ignacio Toccalino on efficient 6/7 shooting from the field and 1/1 from the penalty line, La Albertina was able to win their first game of the tournament with a resounding 17-8 victory.
La Dolfina vs La Irenita
Playing in his 100th game of the Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo, Adolfo Cambiaso led his La Dolfina team to a 21-4 victory over La Irenita on Field 1 in Palermo.
La Dolfina overwhelmed La Irenita throughout the game, with quick passing and an active defence that prevented La Irenita from maintaining possession. Forcing turnovers from La Irenita, La Dolfina created quick offence and were able to rotate effectively, with Juan Martin Nero often coming from the number four position to attack goal. Combining for 15 goals, Cambiaso and Nero drove the La Dolfina offence forward on the way to the convincing victory.
A video tribute of Cambiaso’s career in Argentina had all on hand reminiscing about his 25-year career, and it didn’t take Cambiaso long to make his mark on the game, placing a perfect pass onto the mallet of Juan Martin Nero just a minute into the game to open the scoring. It was the second chukka when the La Dolfina offence exploded with Cambiaso scoring from 60 yards away on the opening throw-in. La Dolfina was just getting warmed up as they scored six goals on 6/7 shooting in the chukka, while holding La Irenita to zero shots. The team defence of La Dolfina was noticeable as La Irenita rarely had time to use the ball and quickly found themselves chasing the quarter of ten-goalers back to their own goal. Cambiaso finished the chukka with a nice cut shot through the goal, extending the lead to 7-0.
The remainder of the first half showcased the proficiency of La Dolfina, outshooting La Irenita 16-2, and keeping La Irenita scoreless until the beginning of the 4th chukka. Four fouls from La Irenita in the final two chukkas of the half, resulted in three penalty goals for La Dolfina, stretching their lead further to 12-1. The seamless rotation of the four players on La Dolfina provided problems for La Irenita, with Cambiaso and Pablo MacDonough leading the way offensively with five and four goals respectively at the half.
Wasting no time in the second half, David Stirling scored on the opening throw-in and La Dolfina used dominant 5th and 6th chukkas to further distance themselves from La Irenita. Converting seven of their ten shot attempts to begin the second half, it was Cambiaso adding to his total from the first half, scoring three more field goals, bringing his total to eight for the game. La Irentia continued to struggle gaining possession, recording just one shot over the same span, trailing 19-1.
Slowing over the final two chukkas, La Dolfina was held scoreless in the 7th chukka as La Irenita’s Guillermo Willington converted a penalty 2 for La Irenita’s first goal of the half. Juan Martin Zavaleta added his second goal before the chukka was over but La Dolfina was in cruise control with time expiring. A goal each for MacDonough and Nero in the 8th chukka pushed La Dolfina over the 20 goal mark for the third straight game, finishing with the 21-4 victory, setting up a semi-final matchup against La Aguada to determine the Zone B spot in the final.