Argentine Open – Day 5

La Aguada Las Monjitas vs La Esquina Los Machitos

Continuing their run in the 2017 Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo, La Aguada Las Monjitas improved their record to 3-0, defeating La Esquina Los Machitos 11-8 on Field 2 in Palermo.

In a tightly marked, physical game, it was La Aguada that had a strong start and finish to the game, behind a balanced team effort offensively and defensively. Rotating effectively, all four players on La Aguada scored at least two goals in the game, creating enough chances to get past a La Esquina team that was putting in their best effort in search of their first win of the tournament. Fighting foul trouble in the first half, La Aguada avoided the whistle in the second half committing just three fouls, keeping the game in open play where they were able to outshoot La Esquina 16-9 to finish with the narrow three goal victory.

Just minutes into the game, a penalty 1, in favour of Ignacio Novillo Astrada opened the scoring for La Aguada. The lead didn’t last long as a penalty 2 conversion for Pascual Sainz de Vicuna tied the score at 1-1. Committing five fouls in the opening chukka, La Aguada was fortunate to only allow the one penalty attempt, as they controlled open play, scoring the next three goals, extending their lead to 4-1.

In what turned out to be a back and forth game, La Esquina didn’t allow La Aguada to increase their lead any further, responding with a three goal run of their own, led by Mariano Aguerre’s penalty 4 conversion and goal from distance, restoring a tie at 4-4. The game remained tied leading into halftime as both teams traded goals in the 4th chukka, with Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Rodrigo Andrade responsible for their team’s goals. Entering the half, La Aguada was looking to reduce their 11 fouls and utilize their effective passing in open play throughout the second half.

La Aguada was able to do just that, committing zero fouls in the 5th chukka, while receiving two penalty attempts of their own, with Alejandro and Ignacio Novillo Astrada each converting one penalty, giving La Aguada a slim one goal lead. The balanced offence and defence of La Aguada began to create issues for La Esquina, as they were held to zero field goals the remainder of the game, while conceding three field goals to La Aguada over the 6th and 7th chukkas. With one goal each from Alfredo Bigatti, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Ignacio Novillo Astrada, it was Ignacio Novillo Astrada’s impressive neckshot from distance, with a minute left in the 7th chukka, that secured a three goal advantage for La Aguada with time running out.

A defensive 8th chukka saw zero shots on goal for both teams, as La Aguada protected their lead. Penalty conversions for Aguerre and Ignacio Novillo Astrada accounted for the only two goals in the final chukka, as La Aguada kept their three-goal lead to finish with the 11-8 victory, with just La Dolfina left in their path to reach the finals.
La Albertina/Abu Dhabi vs La Dolfina

In a dominating performance from start to finish, La Dolfina continued their pursuit of their 5th consecutive Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo title, defeating La Albertina Abu Dhabi 22-6 on Field 1 in Palermo.

Using quick passes and exceptional horse power, La Dolfina was able to continually get past the La Albertina defence, attempting 31 shots for the game. Playing their style of game, La Dolfina rarely held the ball and used a fast-paced attack that had La Albertina on their heels, chasing the quartet of 10-goalers from the opening chukka. David Stirling and Juan Martin Nero impacted the game defensively, while the duo of Adolfo Cambiaso and Pablo MacDonough were an offensive force, combining for 15 field goals on 15 for 23 shooting.

After MacDonough capitalized on a La Albertina turnover to open the scoring, Santiago Toccalino answered with a long run of his own to tie the game at 1-1. That would be the only shot on goal La Albertina would have in the entire first half, as La Dolfina sped up the game and controlled possession of the ball, scoring the next twelve goals over the following three chukkas. The 2nd chukka showcased La Dolfina at their best as they were a perfect 4 for 4 shooting, highlighted by Cambiaso’s second goal of the chukka, as he picked up the ball at half and ran past three La Albertina players, tucking a cut shot just inside the near post to extend La Dolfina’s lead to 7-1.

The offensive pressure of La Dolfina resulted in fouls for La Albertina, with La Dolina converting both of their penalty attempts in the 3rd chukka to go along with another field goal each for Cambiaso and MacDonough. La Albertina was finally able to end the 12-goal run from La Dolfina to end the 4th chukka, with Alfredo Cappella converting a penalty 3, taking advantage of one of La Dolfina’s two fouls in the entire game.

Finding more success offensively in the second half, La Albertina was able to score one goal in each of the final four chukkas, with each player scoring one goal, but La Dolfina continued to play at a breakneck pace that left La Albertina searching for answers defensively. Scoring his 7th and 8th goals of the game in the 5th chukka, Cambiaso pushed La Dolfina’s lead to 16-3, but wasn’t done there as he would finish with ten goals in the game. The pace finally slowed in the final two chukkas with the game out of reach for La Albertina, as La Dolfina was held to one goal in the 7th chukka, but they finished the game strong converting their three shot attempts in the 8th chukka, cruising to a convincing 22-6 victory.

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