Play continued on the eighth day of the 127th Abierto Argentino de Polo at Palermo, highlighted by Ellerstina remaining undefeated on the season, capturing the 15-4 victory over La Ensenada La Aguada and leaving them just one victory from reaching the final. The first match of the day saw Los Machitos capture their first victory, defeating previously unbeaten La Dolfina Polo Ranch 15-11.
Producing their best performance of the season, Los Machitos stifled a tough La Dolfina Polo Ranch team with an organized defense that resulted in just six field goals against. After being sent off for two yellow cards, Agustin Merlos was a standout player for Los Machitos, scoring six field goals on nine shots to lead his team’s attack. Foul trouble for La Dolfina Polo Ranch sent Los Machitos to the penalty line eight times where the duo of Ignacio and Santiago Toccalino combined for 6 of 8 shooting, guiding Los Machitos to the 15-11 victory.
On the opening play of the game, Cavanagh converted the run to give La Dolfina Polo Ranch the lead inside the first 30 seconds. A back and forth first chukka featured chances on both sides, but La Dolfina Polo Ranch maintained their one goal advantage after Juan Britos and Merlos traded field goals. Receiving two yellows at the beginning of the second chukka, Merlos left Los Machitos one player down for two minutes as La Dolfina Polo Ranch built a significant 6-1 lead, adding two penalty 2 conversions during that time. Los Machitos responded behind the duo of Santiago Toccalino and Mariano Aguerre, combining for four goals in just four minutes of play to quickly erase the deficit. Merlos’ second goal tied the score at 6-6 and they carried their momentum into the end of the half to hold a narrow 8-7 lead.
In the most decisive stretch of the game, foul trouble for La Dolfina Polo Ranch allowed Los Machitos to build on their lead, receiving penalty conversions from Ignacio and Santiago Toccalino. A field goal from Merlos to end the fifth chukka ended an impressive 10-1 run in favour of Los Machitos, beginning back in the second chukka. Alejo Taranco came forward from the #4 position to try and bring La Dolfina Polo Ranch back from the five-goal deficit, scoring a field goal in both the sixth and seventh chukkas, leaving his team trailing by two. Determined to capture the victory, Los Machitos excelled in the eighth chukka, keeping La Dolfina Polo Ranch off the scoreboard and receiving consecutive goals from Merlos to secure the 15-11 victory.
The second game displayed Ellerstina’s dominance as they set their sights on the final, just one win away after overwhelming La Ensenada La Aguada in a double-digit victory. Holding possession throughout most of the match, Ellerstina outshot La Ensenada La Aguada 36-4 through the first seven chukkas. Inaccurate shooting kept Ellerstina from winning by a larger margin but the outcome was not in doubt as an efficient attack resulted in assists on nine of the 13 field goals while preventing La Ensenada La Aguada from generating a counterattack.
La Ensenada La Aguada won all three throw-ins in the opening chukka but failed to record a shot, leaving Nico Pieres to open the scoring for Ellerstina. A penalty conversion for Jeronimo del Carril tied the score at 1-1, but Ellerstina asserted their dominance in the second chukka, taking the lead on a Hilario Ulloa field goal. Nico Pieres was a standout player defensively, directing play from the back with accurate passes to goal. The duo of Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres attacked relentlessly to produce a stretch of eight straight goals for Ellerstina, three of which were assisted by Nico Pieres, leaving La Ensenada facing a large 9-2 deficit at the end of the first half.
Recording just two shots at goal in the first half, La Ensenada La Aguada’s struggles carried into the second half as Ellerstina produced six shots at goal, increasing their lead further to 10 on two goals from Facundo Pieres. Continuing to outshoot La Ensenada La Aguada at a 9-1 pace into the seventh chukka, Ellerstina displayed an accurate passing attack that resulted in them completing thirty more passes than La Ensenada La Aguada. Cruising to the 15-4 victory, Ellerstina faces La Dolfina Polo Ranch with a victory sending them to the final.
Photo credit: Matías Callejo / Press AAP
To see the best plays of the match, click HERE, where you can download a video from ESPN.