Argentine Open – Day 6

© Matias Callejo

Ellerstina Survives Challenge from La Albertina Abu Dhabi in 126th Abierto Argentino de Polo

An exciting day in the 126th Abierto Argentino de Polo featured two thrilling matches beginning with La Natividad continuing their strong tournament with a 14-10 victory over Cria Yatay, while Ellerstina overcame a five-goal deficit to defeat La Albertina Abu Dhabi 13-11. 

An impressive showing from La Natividad displayed the Castagnola brothers at their best, executing a persistent attack that resulted in them outshooting Cria Yatay 26 to 12. The duo combined for 11 goals and three assists to highlight the performance from La Natividad who also utilized an organized defence to limit the opportunities from Cria Yatay. Finishing the game by scoring six of the final seven goals, La Natividad completed the four-goal upset over Cria Yatay despite holding four goals less on handicap. 

A clean, evenly matched contest was evident in the first chukka with Cria Yatay taking the early lead behind the effort of two field goals from Ignacio Laprida. With the opportunity to increase their lead, Cria Yatay missed four shot attempts allowing La Natividad’s Camilo Castagnola to tie the score at 2-2 after a Penalty 2 conversion. Before the end of the half, Ignatius Du Plessis was key on La Natividad’s defence, allowing Camilo and Bartolome Castagnola to alternate goals and push their team into a narrow one-goal advantage. Held to just one shot over the third and fourth chukkas kept Cria Yatay from matching the quick pace set by La Natividad. 

In the most exciting chukka of the game, five combined goals saw Cria Yatay tie the game at 8-8 in end-to-end action. Bartolome Castagnola scored two goals in quick succession in a remarkable display of skill, but was quickly matched by Lerin Zubiaurre’s two goals, leaving the outcome to the final three chukkas. Camilo Castagnola proved to be the difference maker in the final stages of the game, beginning a run at the end of the game by setting up Matias Torres Zavaleta for his first goal of the game. Scoring La Natividad’s final four goals, two from the penalty line and two from the field, Camilo Castagnola guided his team to the victory in what has arguably been the story of the tournament thus far. 

A thrilling second match came down to the final minutes as La Albertina Abu Dhabi gave everything to try and defeat Ellerstina, including a remarkable defensive effort in the first half that frustrated Ellerstina. A short period of foul trouble for La Albertina Abu Dhabi allowed Ellerstina to fight their way back into the game, led by eight goals from Facundo Pieres on accurate 7 for 8 penalty shooting. Held to just one goal over the final three chukkas, La Albertina Abu Dhabi’s upset attempt was thwarted by Ellerstina in their 13-11 victory. 

Defense highlighted the start of the game with zero field goals scored between the two teams over the opening two chukkas. The score remained tied at 2-2 after Facundo Pieres and Ignacio Toccalino traded goals from the penalty line, but it was La Albertina Abu Dhabi that was the first team to break through from the field. Alfredo Cappella set up Toccalino for his third goal of the game, but a four-goal fourth chukka for La Albertina Abu Dhabi propelled them into the lead. Effective in the #1 position, Victorino Ruiz Jorba scored two goals from the field, getting in behind the Ellerstina defence to give his team the unexpected 7-4 lead. 

Building on their momentum from the first half, La Albertina Abu Dhabi increased their lead further with a complete team effort that saw further goal contributions from Toccalino and Jorba. Facing a 10-5 deficit, Ellerstina was in need of instant offense and for the first time in the game, generated consistent offense against La Albertina Abu Dhabi. A decisive chukka in the game, Ellerstina scored five unanswered goals, three from the penalty line in the sixth chukka to erase their four-goal deficit and take their first lead in the game. Held scoreless for the second consecutive chukka, La Albertina saw their deficit grow to two, with Facundo and Nico Pieres working effectively together during Ellerstina’s comeback. A late field goal from Toccalino wasn’t enough to regain the lead, ultimately falling to Ellerstina 13-11.