The third day of the 126th Abierto Argentino de Polo at Palermo featured the debut of defending champions La Dolfina, who defeated La Irenita 19-7, while La Dolfina Polo Ranch put forth a strong performance in the convincing 16-7 victory over La Ensenada.
The opening game of the day highlighted the defensive prowess of La Dolfina, making life difficult for La Irenita throughout the game. Holding their opponents to 4 for 14 shooting, La Dolfina dominated open play behind accurate 61% shooting on 23 shots and a relentless counterattack. Adolfo Cambiaso led all players with seven goals and three assists in the game in the overwhelming 19-7 victory.
Two goals inside the first one minute and 15 seconds, one each from Cambiaso and Pablo MacDonough, gave La Dolfina a quick two-goal advantage that left La Irenita chasing the 40-goal juggernaut. Diego Araya opened the scoring in the second chukka with a penalty conversion to make the score 2-1, but that was the only offense La Irenita was able to generate over the following two chukkas, leaving La Dolfina to assert their dominance. A run of seven unanswered goals for La Dolfina resulted in a commanding seven-goal lead by the end of the third chukka. The duo of Juan Martin Nero and MacDonough were especially effective for La Dolfina, combining for three goals and three assists during the stretch with accurate passes for uncontested runs to goal. Showing life before the end of the fourth chukka, La Irenita scored three consecutive goals, two from Araya, but faced a 10-4 deficit heading into the second half.
Erasing any doubt of the outcome, La Dolfina came out organized in the fifth and sixth chukkas, conceding zero goals to La Irenita thanks to a high-pressure defence. Foul trouble for La Irenita led to two penalty conversions for Cambiaso as part of a 4-0 fifth chukka for La Dolfina. Extending their lead further to 11 after a field goal from David Stirling, La Dolfina had the outcome all but secured with two chukkas remaining. Content to trade goals, Cambiaso assisted on consecutive goals from Nero and MacDonough, with La Irenita scoring their first field goal since the fourth chukka, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with La Dolfina in the 19-7 defeat.
The second game displayed a dominant performance from La Dolfina Polo Ranch, controlling play from the opening throw in to overwhelm La Ensenada. Inefficient 4 for 18 shooting affected La Ensenada’s ability to keep pace, along with 17 fouls that gave La Dolfina Polo Ranch the possession advantage in the game. Perfect 8 for 8 penalty shooting from the duo of Diego Cavanagh and Juan Britos contributed to the impressive 16-7 victory for La Dolfina Polo Ranch.
After an injury delay in the opening minutes stalled the beginning of the game, it was La Dolfina Polo Ranch that dominated the first chukka, outscoring La Ensenada 4-0. Two penalty goals from Cavanagh and two field goals from Guillermo Terrera placed the momentum firmly with La Dolfina Ranch, which they carried into the second chukka for Cavanagh’s third goal of the game. Led by the efforts of Juan Martin Zubia, La Ensenada found their first offense of the game to finish the second chukka, but fouls continued to be an issue for the remainder of the half. Four third chukka fouls resulted in two more penalty goals for La Dolfina Polo Ranch, who extended their lead to six, which was maintained until the end of the first half.
Using their defence to begin the second half, La Dolfina Polo Ranch forced turnovers leading to scoring chances of their own, especially from Cavanagh and Terrera. Held without a shot in the fifth chukka, La Ensenada saw their deficit grow to eight as they struggled to generate enough offense in the game. In their strongest chukka of the game, La Ensenada received consecutive goals from Facundo Fernandez Llorente and Zubia to have a glimmer of hope, but it was quickly dashed by foul trouble in the seventh chukka. Three penalty goals in the seventh chukka secured the victory for La Dolfina Polo Ranch, completing the 16-7 victory and improve to 2-0 in the tournament.