A shortened 2020 Hurlingham Open kicked off with the single elimination format making every match a must win. In the opening game of the tournament, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team produced a dominant 15-4 victory over La Ensenada/La Aguada, while RS Murus Sanctus survived a strong challenge from Los Machitos to capture the narrow 13-11 victory and advance to the semi-finals.

               The return of 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough, ignited the La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team offense has he formed a formidable duo alongside Poroto Cambiaso. The rising star converted five runs to goal to lead all players in scoring, allowing the remaining teammates on La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team to effectively defend against the La Ensenada/La Aguada counterattack. Held to zero penalty goals, La Ensenada/La Aguada managed just four field goals as they were often pinned in their own half in the 15-4 defeat.

               A penalty conversion for Adolfo Cambiaso inside the first minute gave La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team the quick 1-0 lead, but La Ensenada/La Aguada’s Alfredo Bigatti set up two consecutive goals push their team ahead. Held to zero goals and just three shot attempts for the remainder of the first half, La Ensenada/La Aguada were kept on the defensive against a relentless La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team attack. The continuous pressure resulted in four penalty goals as part of a dominant stretch of 10 unanswered goals. Combining for eight of their team’s 10 goals to finish the half, Poroto Cambiaso and MacDonough guided La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team to the commanding 11-2 advantage.

               Facing a large deficit, Jeronimo Del Carril scored a goal while adding an assist to open the second half for La Ensenada/La Aguada, but the seven-goal difference was as close as they would come. Continuing to fill in for the injured Juan Martin Nero, Ignacio Laprida scored two goals in quick succession in the sixth chukka, ending any hope for La Ensenada/La Aguada. Holding their opponent off the scoreboard in the final two chukkas, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team completed the dominant victory with perfect 6 for 6 penalty shooting in the 15-4 victory. 

               After falling to eventual champion Ellerstina in the Tortugas Open, RS Murus Sanctus began the second tournament of the Triple Crown against Los Machitos without 9-goaler Facundo Sola. A stiff challenge saw RS Murus Sanctus trailing entering the final chukka, but 10-goaler Sapo Caset led them to victory with the eight-goal performance. A tightly-marked match saw the umpires whistle send RS Murus Sanctus to the penalty line nine times, but despite 5 for 9 shooting from the penalty line and 42% from the field, RS Murus Sanctus captured the victory behind the additional chances created over the final three chukkas.

               Catching Los Machitos for a foul in the early seconds, Caset converted a penalty 2 to open the scoring for RS Murus Sanctus. Filling in for Sola, Valerio Zubiaurre made an immediate impact, extending the lead to two by the end of the first chukka. Displaying instant chemistry, Zubiaurre assisted on Caset’s second goal as RS Murus Sanctus looked to run away with the game. Re-organizing, Los Machitos produced a balanced team attack that saw contributions from all four players during a 7-2 run that propelled them into the lead. Three goals from Santiago Toccalino, along with two from Ignacio Toccalino gave the momentum to Los Machitos with only moments left in the first half. Scoring three goals in the final two minutes restored RS Murus Sanctus’ lead and setting up an exciting second half with just one goal separating the two teams.

               Zubiaurre’s third goal gave RS Murus Sanctus a two-goal advantage on the scoreboard, but Los Machitos fought back again, led by the play of Agustin Merlos. Two field goals and back-to-back penalty 2 conversions over the fifth and sixth chukkas for Merlos left Los Machitos just one chukka away from the upset, holding a slim one-goal lead. With a spot in the semi-finals on the line, Caset converted a crucial penalty 3 to tie the score at 11-11. Relying on their 10-goaler, RS Murus Sanctus secured the victory with a three-goal final chukka from Caset, dashing the hopes of Los Machitos in the hard fought 13-11 defeat.

Photo credit: Sergio Llamera / Prensa AAP

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

The teams for Sunday 11/15:

11.00 – Field 4

Ellerstina Johor: Facundo Pieres 10, Hilario Ulloa 10, Gonzalo Pieres (h) 9 and Nicolás Pieres 10. Total: 39.

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

Judges: Gastón Lucero and Gonzalo López Vargas.               Referee: Esteban Ferrari.

16.00 – Field 2

La Natividad-Las Monjitas: Camilo Castagnola 8, Pablo Pieres 10, Bartolomé Castagnola (h) 9 and Ignatius Du Plessis 9. Total: 36.

La Dolfina Polo Ranch: Guillermo Terrera (h) 8, Juan Britos (h) 8, Diego Cavanagh 9 and Alejo Taranco 8. Total: 33.

Judges: Guillermo Villanueva (h) and Martín Pascual. Referee: Martín Aguerre.

The first semi-finalist of the tournament:

La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team: Adolfo Cambiaso (h) 10, Adolfo Cambiaso (n) 6, Pablo Mac Donough 10 and Ignacio Laprida 8. Total: 34.

Qualified to the semifinal of the subsidiary:

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

They are sponsors of the 127th RUS Polo Open of the Hurlingham Club: Río Uruguay Seguros as Title Sponsor; ESPN, Ford, La Nación, Medicus, Acudir and Escorihuela Gascón.

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