La Dolfina Victorious in 2018 Argentine Open Debut
The third day in the 2018 Abierto Argentino de Polo featured a physical game between La Aguada and La Ensenada, with La Aguada claiming the 18-10 victory, while La Dolfina began their tournament defence with a 15-11 victory over La Dolfina Polo Ranch at Palermo.
Coming off a win in their opening game, La Ensenada looked for their second upset of the tournament, displaying a physical style of play against La Aguada that resulted in a stop and start game with a combined 28 fouls. The hard, fought match ultimately tilted in favour of La Aguada, who received 11 penalty attempts, converting 9 to hold the advantage in the game. The La Ensenada offense went cold to begin the second half, shooting at goal just once over the fifth, sixth and seventh chukkas allowing La Aguada to utilize their penalty attempts and relentless offense to finish with the eight-goal victory.
A fast-paced opening chukka saw La Ensenada claim the early lead behind the efforts of Juan Britos and Facundo Fernandez Llorente, who scored a goal each and assisted on the other. The pace from the opening chukka slowed in the second due to four La Ensenada fouls as La Aguada took advantage, winning the chukka 4-0 on perfect 3 for 3 shooting from the field and converting their lone penalty attempt. The game continued to see fewer open runs to goal with players closely marked for the remainder of the half as the fouls piled up and La Aguada managed their lead. A hard fall from Ignacio Novillo Astrada in the fourth chukka forced him out of the game due to injury, with Diego Araya stepping in and making his impact felt in the second half.
La Aguada quickly extended their lead from two to eight over the first two chukkas of the second half, holding La Ensenada off the scoreboard. Six La Ensenada fouls resulted in three penalty goals for Araya who took over penalty taking duties upon entering the game. Two more penalty goals for Araya in the seventh chukka, bringing his total to five goals in just one half of play all but sealed the final result as La Aguada held the commanding nine-goal advantage. The work of Alfredo Bigatti and Alejandro Novillo Astrada defensively continually frustrated the La Ensenada side over the second half and contributed to the 18-10 victory for La Aguada’s first win of the tournament.
The second game of the day saw La Dolfina make their debut as they look to defend their title, facing a La Dolfina Polo Ranch that provided a stern test. La Dolfina’s Adolfo Cambiaso and Pablo MacDonough paced La Dolfina’s offense as they were involved in all but three of their team’s goals in the game. La Dolfina Polo Ranch were able to stay within reach, while dominating the fourth and seventh chukkas, outscoring La Dolfina 6-1 in those chukkas. La Dolfina’s inaccurate 42% shooting kept their opponents in the game, but ultimately late fouls from La Dolfina Polo Ranch sealed the result as La Dolfina received the additional penalty attempts needed to claim the victory.
Early in the game, La Dolfina displayed their potent offense, racing out to a 3-1 lead, including two goals inside the first two minutes. La Dolfina extended their lead in the third chukka, led by Cambiaso, who scored back-to-back goals to push the lead to five. Just as La Dolfina looked to be running away with the game, they were held off the scoreboard in the fourth chukka, while La Dolfina Polo Ranch scored three goals in quick succession, including two penalty goals for Diego Cavanagh, to bring their team within just two goals.
La Dolfina pressured their opponents to begin the second half, looking to run away with the game. Forcing La Dolfina Polo Ranch into five fouls resulted in just one penalty goal for MacDonough as La Dolfina Polo Ranch continued to hang around in the game. A defense anchored by Ignatius Du Plessis and Julian de Lusarreta forced difficult shots for La Dolfina. Trailing by just two goals heading into the final chukka, La Dolfina Polo Ranch’s chances for the upset quickly ended as two fouls turned into a penalty goal each for Cambiaso and MacDonough that sealed the game and the 15-11 victory for La Dolfina.