By Darlene Ricker
La Dolfina Sancor Seguros became the first finalist of the 123rd Hurlingham Open, defeating El Paraíso 14-11 Saturday in round one of the semifinals.
La Dolfina systematically controlled the field. Juan Martín Nero was back in action, having recovered from a bad fall that kept him out of the last game. Appearing none the worse for wear, Nero padlocked the back door in his usual style.
El Paraíso struggled throughout to contain the La Dolfina attack. They held their own through the first five chukkas, never allowing La Dolfina to get more than two or three goals ahead. But La Dolfina surged ahead decisively in the seventh, taking a six-goal lead (14-8) courtesy of Adolfo Cambiaso’s three pinpoint goals.
El Paraíso cranked up the pressure in the final chukka, scoring three goals (Agustín Merlos, Ignacio Heguy and Ignacio Toccalino) and keeping La Dolfina off the scoreboard. By then, however, it was too late to capitalize on their eleventh-hour traction. La Dolfina took the win 14-11.
Cambiaso was high-scorer of the game with nine goals, four of them from the penalty line. Merlos led the scoring for El Paraíso with five goals (three penalty).
Sunday’s match will determine the other finalist, with Ellerstina Johor playing Alegría Assist Card. The final is set for Wednesday.