In a monumental upset, Alegria needed all seven chukkers, along with a couple minutes of overtime to defeat La Dolfina 10-9, advancing to the final in the 2017 Hurlingham Open.
Winning nine of the first ten throw-ins, Alegria was able to get possession in the attacking half; a difficult task against the always strong La Dolfina defence. With La Dolfina inevitably creating attacks of their own, Alegria’s defensive positioning throughout the game was critical as they limited the time and space of the La Dolfina receivers, forcing difficult shots from angles and distance, contributing to La Dolfina shooting 4 for 13 (31%) from the field. Alegria’s physical style in the game resulted in fouls towards the end of the game, but that same style pressured the La Dolfina defence and ultimately led to the penalty goal in overtime to seal the victory.
An early run from Sapo Caset gave Alegria the early 1-0 lead, but was quickly answered by a nice shot from distance by Adolfo Cambiaso to tie the score. Winning all four throw-ins in the first chukka allowed Alegria to continue the pressure on La Dolfina, as a late goal from Sapo Caset restored Alegria’s one goal lead. Alegria kept the upper hand in the 2nd chukka, with goals from Hilario Ulloa and Caset extending the lead to three, as La Dolfina looked frustrated with their limited offensive chances.
After a foul from Facundo Sola in the 3rd chukka, had both teams exchanging words and yellow cards awarded to Sola and David Stirling, La Dolfina was able to finally break through, scoring two goals, one from the field and one from the penalty line to reduce the deficit to one goal. Just as La Dolfina was getting within reach, Alegria exploded for four goals in the 4th chukka, highlighted by back to back goals from Caset and Sola to give Alegria the 8-5 lead at halftime.
With three chukkers remaining, La Dolfina was not going to allow Alegria to pull away as they limited the offensive chances from their opponents, holding Alegria to four shots in the second half. Keeping their three goal lead after the 5th chukka, La Dolfina used a strong 6th chukka, behind a penalty 3 conversion for Cambiaso and a throw-in goal from Juan Martin Nero to finish the chukka.
Alegria continued their physical style late into the game, playing defensive late as they tried to maintain their lead and hold off the La Dolfina attack, but a MacDonough attack resulted in a foul close to goal and the game-tying penalty goal for Nero, sending the game into overtime. Overtime did not last long as La Dolfina hit a long ball downfield, which was quickly turned around by Fred Mannix and Hilario Ulloa, as Sapo Caset ran out the pass to cause a foul and set-up a penalty 3 to complete the upset. Caset struck a perfect penalty shot out of reach for his sixth goal of the game, sending Alegria into the Hurlingham Open finals against Ellerstina.