For the first time in the 2020 Triple Crown, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team was at full strength with their four 10-goalers in their first game of the 127th Abierto Argentino de Polo at Polo. In a memorable 15-goal performance from Adolfo Cambiaso, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team defeated La Irenita 20-11, while the first match of the day featured an overtime thriller as La Natividad Monjitas overcame a tough challenge from La Irenita II to capture the 15-14 victory.
Despite a seven-goal handicap difference, La Irenita II left everything on the field in the opening game of the day against La Natividad Monjitas, forcing overtime after scoring six of the final seven goals in regulation time. Converting all six of his penalty attempts, Tomas Fernandez Llorente led the comeback for La Irenita II, working effectively alongside Juan Ruiz Guinazu, but in a game that could have gone either way, it was Bartolome Castagnola that played the hero, scoring the game-winning goal just under three minutes into overtime.
Coming through from the #4 position, Pedro Falabella opened the scoring on the first play of the game, but La Natividad Monjitas responded with four unanswered goals, including a spot penalty from 80 yards that was converted by Bartolome Castagnola. Brother Camilo Castagnola accounted for the other three goals, pushing La Natividad Monjitas’ lead to three. Fernandez Llorente’s first penalty conversion was quickly followed by him setting up Santiago Loza, with La Irenita II displaying enough grit to match La Natividad Monjitas. A second four-goal run for La Natividad Monjitas, ignited by consecutive goals from Polito Pieres seemed to give them all the momentum, but La Irenita II continued to stay within reach, scoring four of the final five goals to trail 10-8.
La Natividad Monjitas’ Camilo Castagnola raced out of the gate to begin the second half, looking to extend the lead for good and end any hopes of a La Irenita II comeback. Converting a Penalty 2, while adding a goal and an assist in a 3-0 fifth chukka for La Natividad Monjitas, Camilo Castagnola brought his goal total to eight and pushing the lead to five. In a constant theme of the game, La Irenita II responded with a 3-0 chukka of their own, with two goals coming off the mallet of Guinazu, restoring the two-goal deficit. In a thrilling conclusion, La Irenita II continued to pressure the higher-rated La Natividad Monjitas, holding them scoreless in the eighth chukka, while Fernandez Llorente tied the score at 14-14 with just over one-minute left. In overtime, after surviving an early attack from La Irenita II, La Natividad Monjitas drove down field and it was Bartolome Castagnola who found the goal, securing the 15-14 victory and improve to 2-0 in the tournament.
Playing in honour of Diego Maradona, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team saw the return of their 40-goal line-up, with each player sporting a number 10 and “Maradona” on the back of their jersey. In a worthy performance of an all-time great, Adolfo Cambiaso was exceptional from start to finish, scoring 15 goals on perfect 10 for 10 penalty shooting. La Irenita attempted to stay within reach on efficient 78% shooting from the field and perfect 4 for 4 shooting from the penalty line, but La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team dominated possession, preventing La Irenita from stringing together enough passes to generate scoring chances. Ultimately, outshooting their opponents 23-9, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team captured the 20-11 victory.
Two quick goals for Facundo Fernandez Llorente and Juan Martin Zavaleta gave La Irenita early momentum against the tough La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team, but it was short-lived with Cambiaso and Juan Martin Nero scoring on consecutive plays, followed by Cambiaso converting a penalty 4 to conclude the opening chukka. In a memorable sequence, Cambiaso scored four goals in just two minutes and 29 seconds in the third chukka, beginning with a penalty 2 conversion and then scoring on three consecutive runs directly out of the throw-in to give La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team the 9-4 lead. La Irenita maintained the five-goal deficit behind the efforts of Juan Martin Zubia, who added two goals and an assist to end the half with his team trailing 12-7.
Foul trouble prevented La Irenita from challenging the 40-goal La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team, conceding another two penalty goals to Cambiaso in the fifth chukker. Unable to be stopped on the day, Cambiaso continued to make every attempt at goal, whether it be from a distance of 30-yards, 60-yards or further, finishing with 10 penalty conversions. A 3-1 seventh chukka in favour of La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team secured the outcome, extending their lead to eight with one chukka remaining, Pablo MacDonough scored two of his three goals in the final stages, but it was the 15 goals from Cambiaso that was the story as La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team begins their defense of the Abierto Argentino de Polo.
Photo credit: Matías Callejo / Press AAP
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Friday 4/12 – Zone B Games:
11.00 – Field 2
Geté Breeding: Valerio Zubiaurre (h) 8, Cristian Laprida (h) 8, Joaquín Pittaluga 8 or Tomás García del Río 7 and Ignacio Laprida 8. Total: 32/31.
La Ensenada-La Aguada: Second Bocchino 6, Alfredo Bigatti 8, Matías Torres Zavaleta 8 and Jerome Del Carril 7. Total: 29.
Judges: Gastón Lucero and Guillermo Villanueva (h). Arbitrator: Esteban Ferrari.
16.00 – Field 1 – Johnnie Walker Cup
Ellerstina Johor: Facundo Pieres 10, Hilario Ulloa 10, Gonzalo Pieres (h) 9 and Nicolás Pieres 10. Total: 39.
The Machitos: Agustín Merlos 8, Ignacio Toccalino 8, Mariano Aguerre 7 and Santiago Toccalino 8. Total: 31.
Judges: Martín Pascual and Gonzalo López Vargas. Arbitrator: Federico Martelli.