The highly anticipated second semi-final of the 2020 Hurlingham Open featured Ellerstina against the up and coming La Natividad/Las Monjitas, with just three goals separating the two teams on handicap. Behind a dominant start, Ellerstina effectively managed their lead to capture the 15-10 victory and advance to the final to face RS Murus Sanctus on Sunday.

               The tone of the match was set in the opening two chukkas as Ellerstina started the game on an 8-goal run, outshooting La Natividad/Las Monjitas 12-2 during that stretch. Ellerstina produced consistent offense from the penalty line where Facundo Pieres converted 7 of his 9 opportunities. Limiting former teammate Polito Pieres to just one goal, Ellerstina’s defence prevented any early runs from La Natividad/Las Monjitas, allowing them to build their lead and cruise to the 15-10 victory.

               Foul trouble signalled a difficult start for La Natividad/Las Monjitas, committing four fouls in the opening chukka. Converting all three penalty shots, Facundo Pieres highlighted a 5-0 chukka in favour of Ellerstina that placed La Natividad/Las Monjitas in a big deficit just minutes into the game. During open play, Ellerstina utilized their four-man line-up effectively, receiving one goal from each player to complete an eight-goal unanswered run to begin the match. In the final seconds of the second chukka, Camilo Castagnola finally ended the run, leaving La Natividad/Las Monjitas facing an 8-1 deficit on the scoreboard. The defensive intensity increased on both sides of the ball, resulting in an increase in fouls leaving Facundo Pieres and Camilo Castagnola to trade penalty goals through the third and fourth chukkas. Conceding just two field goals, Ellerstina held a commanding 11-4 lead at halftime.

               In a crucial stage of the match, La Natividad/Las Monjitas raced out of the gate to begin the second half, converting two penalties while adding a field goal from Polito Pieres to quickly turn a seven-goal difference to just four. With a comeback now within reach, La Natividad/Las Monjitas pushed to close the gap, but Facundo Pieres excelled in the front of the game, scoring his eighth and ninth goals to maintain Ellerstina’s lead with one chukka remaining. Four goals were as close as La Natividad/Las Monjitas could get as Ellerstina’s duo of Facundo Pieres and Hilario Ulloa secured the 15-10 victory in the seventh chukka. With the victory, Ellerstina remains undefeated on the season and sets up a match-up against RS Murus Sanctus to determine the Hurlingham Open champion.

Ellerstina Johor: Facundo Pieres 10 (10 goals, seven from penalties) (He received a yellow card in the seventh chukker), Hilario Ulloa 10 (3), Gonzalo Pieres (h) 9 (1) and Nicolás Pieres 10 (1). Total: 39.

La Natividad-Las Monjitas: Camilo Castagnola 8 (7, four from penalty), Pablo Pieres 10 (1), Bartolomé Castagnola (h) 9 (2) (He received a yellow card in the seventh chukker) and Ignatius Du Plessis 9. Total : 36.

Ellerstina Johor: 5-0, 8-1, 10-3, 11-4, 11-7, 13-9 and 15-10.

Umpires: Gastón Lucero and Guillermo Villanueva (h). Referee: Martín Pascual.

Photo credit: Sergio Llamera / Prensa AAP

To see  the best plays of the game, click HERE , where you can download a video from ESPN.

The Open finalist:

RS Murus Sanctus: Facundo Sola 9, Francisco Elizalde 8, Guillermo Caset (h) 10 and Alfredo Cappella Barabucci 8. Total: 35.

The Drysdale Cup Finalists:

La Irenita: Martín Podestá (h) 7, Juan Martín Zavaleta (h) 8, Facundo Fernández Llorente 7 and Juan Martín Zubía 8. Total: 30.

La Ensenada-La Aguada: Segundo Bocchino 6, Alfredo Bigatti 8, Alejandro Muzzio 8 and Jerónimo Del Carril 7. Total: 29.

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