Alegría (Alejandro Muzzio, Hilario Ulloa, Lucas Monteverde and Fred Mannix) earned a semifinal spot in the 2016 Argentine Open Sunday afternoon at Palermo where they will face Hurlingham Open Champion Ellerstina (Facundo Pieres, Gonzalo Pieres, Polito Pieres and Nico Pieres), but not until after the 29-goal La Irenita lineup (Juan Ruiz Guiñazu, Juan M. Zavaleta, Matías MacDonough and Clemente Zavaleta) gave them fits in their 13-11 win.
Playing with 8-goaler Alejandro Muzzio replacing injured 10-goaler Sapo Caset (torn riding muscle), Alegria took the early lead on a goal from Lucas Monteverde. Consecutive goals from Clemente Zavaleta and Juan Martin Zavaleta quickly had La Irenita in front, 2-1. Hilario Ulloa tied the game at 2-2 with Juan Ruiz Guiñazu and Fred Mannix exchanging goals to end the opening chukker all even at 3-3.
In second chukker action both teams took a decidedly defensive stance. Ulloa and Guiñazu traded goals for the only goals of the chukker. At the end of the period the score remained tied at 4-4.
Juan Martin Zavaleta gave the lead to La Irenita, 5-4, with the opening goal of the third chukker on a well-executed neck-shot from Matias MacDonough, but Alegria roared back. Back-to-back goals from Ulloa had Alegria leaving the field on top of a 6-5 score.
Ulloa converted a 30-yard penalty shot after nearly five minutes of scoreless play in the fourth. The Alegria lead expanded to two goals, 7-5. Guiñazu responded a minute later with a goal from the field to cut the lead back to a single goal, 7-6. Alejandro Muzzio scored the final goal of the chukker at the 6:26 mark with Alegria enjoying an 8-6 halftime advantage over a very competitive La Irenita squad.
Monteverde made it 9-6 with a goal from the field in the fifth, and teammate Ulloa added his sixth goal of the day for a 10-6 advantage. Juan Martin Zavaleta scored a single goal for La Irenita with less than a minute left in the chukker. Alegria continued to lead, 10-7.
Guiñazu and Ulloa traded goals in the sixth as both teams struggled to get their offenses on track. Missed and blocked penalty shots kept the scoring at a minimum. Alegria’s lead held at three goals, 11-8, with two chukkers left to play.
Goals were scarce in the seventh period as Alegria held La Irenita scoreless. A single goal from Muzzio was the only score of the chukker as the Alegria lead grew to four goals, 12-8.
The La Irenita attack wasn’t ready to give up as they entered the final period trailing by four. An aggressive attack resulted in Alegria fouls resulting in three consecutive penalty conversion from Guiñazu. The four-goal lead Alegria had once enjoyed had been reduced to a single goal, 12-11, with two minutes left to play. The Alegria defense stepped up with Ulloa converting a 60-yard Safety for the 13-11 win at 6:50.
Ulloa led the field in scoffing with eight goals (three on penalty conversions). Muzzio and Monteverde each scored twice and Mannix added a goal for the win. Seven goals from Guiñazu led the La Irenita offense with five coming on penalty shots. Juan Martin Zavaleta scored three times and Clemente Zavaleta added a goal in the loss.
The second quarterfinal of the Argentine Open Championship, originally slated to be played on Sunday is now scheduled to take place at Palermo on Tuesday, November 29th at 4:30pm between La Aguada-Las Monjitas (Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Eduardo. Novillo Astrada, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Francisco Elizalde) and Cria Yatay (Guillermo Terrera, Magoo Laprida, Joaquin Pittaluga and Inaki Laprida).