The 127th Argentine Open featured a historic family affair on the opening match on Wednesday December 9. It was the clash of the two young and talented La Irenita and La Irenita II, representing the proud MacDonough family’s organisation. Beyond any result, it was indeed a very moving tribute to the unforgettable Jorge MacDonough, renowned horse breeder, founder of the family’s horse breeding, whose legacy is continued today by his sons, Matías and Pablo.
The first half was very close, very tight, with just a few goals – only six in four chukkas, with La Irenita leading 4-2, despite the efforts made by both teams attempting to score. A great fifth chukka followed. Tito Ruiz Guiñazu and Pedro Falabella produced two great goals to tie at 4-all within the first minutes of play in the chukka, followed by another quick goal by Santiago Loza to earn La Irenita II’s first lead in the match, 5-4. But in the last seconds it was Juan Gris Zavaleta who tied the contest once again, 5-5. La Irenita changed the story in the seventh chukka, when they scored to make it at 8-5. Despite Tomás Fernández Llorente produced a goal for La Irenita II, luck was not on their side, and the “elder brother” emerged victorious 8-6. The win they needed to remain with chances to be among the eight teams to qualify to the 2021 Triple Crown.
Up next, what a match would follow at Palermo! No less that the much expected clash between title holders, La Dolfina Saudi and RS Murus Sanctus. For both, a win meant a possibility to fight for a spot in the championship match in their respective next games. La Dolfina got off a strong start, and the difficult start of the season for the Cañuelas-based foursome is well past behind. During the first two chukkas, Adolfo Cambiaso converted all his penalty shots, to secure La Dolfina a 5-2 lead by the end of the second chukka. The first half was very rough, hard fought, plenty of fouls, with almost all goals scored on penalty conversions and only a couple of field goals. But before stepping into half time RS Murus Sanctus managed to hold La Dolfina scoreless – a penalty conversion by Facu Sola closed the gap to one goal and a fantastic field shot by Fran Elizalde, ended up between the goalposts in the last seconds of play, to tie at 6-all.
While La Dolfina managed to hold on to their lead, RS Murus Sanctus presented battle to the multiple champion. Following a fifth chukka plenty of goals, and with La Dolfina leading by two (10-8), RS Murus Sanctus was able to tie 10-10 halfway the sixth chukka, courtesy of Alfredo Cappella and Sapo Caset. With two chukkas remaining, nothing was said and done yet. And so it proved. While Pablo MacDonough scored for La Dolfina, there was another great field goal by Fran Elizalde and a 30 yards penalty conversion by Sapo Caset to secure RS Murus Sanctus a 12-11 lead. Juan Martín Nero converted a penalty from the spot in the eighth chukka to tie at 12-all, and quickly added a field goal to put some more drama with just three minutes remaining in the clock. But definitely, RS Murus Sanctus was far from giving up and their momentum was about to arrive. First it was Sapo Caset who tied once again, and finally Fran Elizalde did it again – he produced a fantastic goal to become the hero of the day. RS Murus Sanctus broke the streak of no less than 34 undefeated matches for La Dolfina in Palermo, and claimed a fabulous 14-13 win.
Now, we have to wait and see what happens on Saturday, in order to decide who will reach the final within League A. These are the possiblilities, in case RS Murus Sanctus beats La Irenita:
-If La Natividad Las Monjitas defeat La Dolfina, La Natividad Las Monjitas will earn a ticket to the final.
-If La Dolfina defeat La Natividad Las Monjitas by a gap of two goals or more, La Dolfina will step into the final.
-If La Dolfina beats La Natividad Las Monjitas by a gap of one goal and score 13 goals or more, La Dolfina will reach the final.
-If La Dolfina beat La Natividad Las Monjitas by 1 goal and score 12 goals or less, RS Murus Sanctus will earn a spot in the final.
LA IRENITA 8-6 LA IRENITA II
La Irenita: Martín Podestá 7 (1 goal) (received a yellow card in the seventh chukka), Juan Martín Zavaleta 8 (2), Facundo Fernández Llorente 7 (2), Juan Martín Zubía 8 (3 penalties). Total: 30.
La Irenita II: Santiago Loza 7 (2) (received a yellow card in the seventh chukka), Tomás Fernández Llorente Jr. 7 (3 penalties), Juan Ruiz Guiñazú 8 (1) (received one yellow card in the secon chukka), Pedro Falabella (h) 7. Total: 29.
Score La Irenita: 0-1, 2-2, 3-2, 4-2, 5-5, 6-5, 7-5, 8-6.
Umpires Matías Baibiene and Gonzalo López Vargas. Third Man: Esteban Ferrari.
BPP Polo Argentino: Irenita Gaviota (Open Easy Ride x Irenita Golondrina. Player: Santiago Loza.
Emezeta Cocinera (Open Abelino x Gete Pinga). Player: Juan Martín Zubía.
Irenita Maya (Dolfina Cuarteto x Irenita Milenaria). Player: Martín Podestá-
RS MURUS SANCTUS 14-13 LA DOLFINA SAUDI
RS Murus Sanctus: Facundo Sola 9 (1 penalty) (received a yellow card in the third chukka), Francisco Elizalde 8 (4), Guillermo Caset 10 (7, five penalties) (received a yellow card in the seventh chukka), Alfredo Cappella Barabucci 8 (2) (received a yellow card in the fifth chukka). Total: 35.
La Dolfina Saudi: Adolfo Cambiaso 10 (7, five penalties), David Stirling 10, Pablo Mac Donough 10 (1), Juan M Nero 10 (5, four penalties). Total: 40.
Score RS Murus Sanctus: 0-3, 2-5, 4-6, 6-6, 8-10, 10-10, 12-11, 14-13.
Umpires: Guillermo Villanueva (h) y Martín Pascual. Third Man: Gastón Lucero.
The 127th Argentine Polo Open resumes on Thursday, December 10:
12pm: La Dolfina Polo Ranch vs. Los Machitos
5pm: Ellerstina vs. La Ensenada La Aguada