Tied for the lowest team handicap at 29-goals in the 127th Abierto Argentino de Polo, La Ensenada La Aguada emerged as a story of the tournament, capturing their second victory in a narrow 13-12 win over Cria Gété. After capturing both the Tortugas Open and Hurlingham Open titles, Ellerstina produced an impressive debut in the second match of the day, defeating Los Machitos 25-10 on Field 1 at Palermo.
Leading throughout most of the game, La Ensenada La Aguada proved to be a resilient team behind the penalty shooting of Jeronimo del Carril and four field goals from Matias Torres Zavaleta, surviving a late charge from Cria Gété. Heavily outshooting Cria Gété 23-8, La Ensenada La Aguada controlled possession but did not convert with the accuracy of their opponent and allowing Cria Gété to stay in the game due to foul trouble. Receiving nine penalty attempts, Cria Gété scored seven of their 12 goals from the penalty line but they fell a step short in their comeback, falling 13-12.
Missing all three shots in the opening chukka, La Ensenada La Aguada faced an early deficit after consecutive field goals from Cria Gété’s Valerio Zubiaurre and Ignacio Laprida. Two missed penalty attempts for Cria Gété kept them from extending their lead further, allowing La Ensenada La Aguada to respond in the second chukka. While their struggles from the field continued, La Ensenada La Aguada added two penalty 2 conversions from Del Carril to tie the score at 3-3. The momentum of the game changed in the final two chukkas of the first half as Cria Gété was held without a shot attempt. Finding their stride, La Ensenada La Aguada began to take advantage of their opportunities, scoring five of the final six goals to build a three-goal lead at halftime.
An organized defense from La Ensenada La Aguada continued to frustrate a Cria Gété team that failed to score a field for over 30 minutes of play, with penalty goals being their only source of offense until the eighth chukka. Despite dominating possession, foul trouble for La Ensenada La Aguada prevented them from extending their lead further in what turned into a battle between Matias Torres Zavaleta and Ignacio Laprida. Three field goals for Zavaleta swung the momentum in La Ensenada La Aguada’s favour, but Laprida responded with four penalty conversions heading into the final chukka. Trailing by four, Cria Gété pulled within one after two goals in one minute from Zubiaurre and Magoo Laprida. Surviving the late pressure from Cria Gété, La Ensenada La Aguada stood strong over the final seconds to capture the thrilling 13-12 victory.
In a dominating debut, Ellerstina overwhelmed Los Machitos with a relentless attack that produced 34 shots at goal. Finishing 8 for 9 from the penalty line, Facundo Pieres followed up Adolfo Cambiaso’s 15-goal performance with a 16-goal performance of his own, while also adding five assist to put all facets of his game on display against Los Machitos. Held to two or fewer shot attempts in the first seven chukkas, Los Machitos were unable to produce enough opportunities to match the elite offense of Ellerstina that finished with a season-high 25 goals.
Wasting little time, Facundo Pieres scored back-to-back goals within 45 seconds, one each from the field and the penalty line to give Ellerstina the early 2-0 lead. A step behind, Los Machitos could not match the pace of Ellerstina, who extended their lead to five by the end of the first chukka in part due to two goals from Gonzalito Pieres. Ignacio Toccalino gave Los Machitos life, scoring two goals as part of a three-goal second chukka, but that proved to be their only offense for the remainder of the half as Ellerstina seized control of the game. The duo of Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres worked seamlessly together, driving the Ellerstina offense forward with five goals and three assists over the third and fourth chukkas to end the half with a 14-4 advantage.
The second half featured Facundo Pieres at his best, scoring Ellerstina’s first four goals over the fifth and sixth chukkas. Los Machitos responded with one goal each from Agustin Merlos, Ignacio Toccalino and Mariano Aguerre, but it was a brief reprieve from Ellerstina’s potent attack. After adding two assists, Facundo Pieres continued to score at a rapid pace, including his second and third safety conversions. The ball remained in Los Machitos’ half throughout the second half as Ellerstina produced 33 shots at goal, compared to just nine for Los Machitos after the seventh chukka. Cruising to the 25-10 victory behind 16-goals from Facundo Pieres, Ellerstina’s statement victory began their quest to capture all three legs of the Triple Crown.
Photo credit: Matías Callejo / Press AAP
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The remaining participating teams:
The Dolfina Saudi Polo Team: Adolfo Cambiaso (h) 10, David Stirling (h) 10, Pablo Mac Donough 10 and Juan M Nero 10. Total: 40.
The Monjitas Nativity: Camilo Castagnola 8, Pablo Pieres 10, Bartolomé Castagnola (h) and Ignatius Du Plessis 9. Total: 36.
RS Murus Sanctus: Facundo Sola 9, Francisco Elizalde 8, Guillermo Caset (h) 10 and Alfredo Cappella Barabucci 8. Total: 35.
La Irenita: Martín Podestá (h) 7, Juan Martín Zavaleta (h) 8, Facundo Fernández Llorente 7 and Juan Martín Zubía 8. Total: 30.
The Irenite II: Santiago Loza 7, Tomás Fernández Llorente (h) 7, Juan Ruiz Guiñazú (h) 8 and Pedro Falabella (h) 7. Total: 29.
The Dolfina Polo Ranch: Guillermo Terrera (h) 8, Juan Britos (h) 8, Diego Cavanagh 9 and Alejo Taranco 8. Total: 33.
La Ensenada-La Aguada: Second Bocchino 6, Alfredo Bigatti 8, Matías Torres Zavaleta 8 and Jerome Del Carril 7. Total: 29.
Geté Breeding: Valerio Zubiaurre (h) 8, Cristian Laprida (h) 8, Tomás García del Río 7 and Ignacio Laprida 8. Total: 31.