La Dolfina Capture Seventh Consecutive Abierto Argentino de Polo Title
Splitting the first two tournaments of the Triple Crown, La Dolfina and Ellerstina battled once again in the final of the 126th Abierto Argentino de Polo on the #1 field at Palermo in front of a packed grandstand with supporters on both sides. Continuing to build on their legacy, La Dolfina’s 40-goal line-up of Adolfo Cambiaso, David Stirling, Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero emerged victorious to capture their seventh consecutive title in the prestigious tournament with the 16-12 victory over Ellerstina.
A common occurrence in their dominance at Palermo, La Dolfina effectively managed possession in open play, utilizing an active defence to generate a quick counterattack. Accurate 63% shooting on 19 shot attempts propelled La Dolfina to their victory as Ellerstina struggled to match the elite offense of their opponent, despite receiving nine penalty attempts in the game. Both teams missed three attempts from the penalty line, leaving the final to be decided in open play where La Dolfina excelled with exceptional horsepower, hitting long passes in behind the Ellerstina defence for the receiver to outrun the defence. Led by six goals from Adolfo Cambiaso, La Dolfina maintained their spot atop the Argentine Open with the convincing 16-12 victory.
Just 41 seconds into the game, La Dolfina’s MacDonough jumped on the lose ball to score from nearly 60 yards out, giving his team the quick 1-0 lead. A fast pace was set for the remainder of the chukka, but Ellerstina was unable to generate a shot against the stout La Dolfina defence, leaving the score at 1-0 in favour of La Dolfina. In an early storyline of the game, Ellerstina was held off the scoreboard from the field for the second consecutive chukka but scored their first goal of the match on a Penalty 2 conversion from Facundo Pieres. Three goals from Cambiaso, two of which came from the penalty line over a three-minute span of play quickly turned their one-goal advantage to three, leaving Ellerstina desperate to find an answer from the field to score goals. Consecutive field goals from Gonzalito and Polito Pieres gave Ellerstina some life, but an abrupt response from La Dolfina to finish the first half proved to be a pivotal moment in the game. Scoring the final four goals of the half gave La Dolfina the commanding 9-4 lead, with the final goal crossing over the goal line with just a second remaining on a shot from a difficult angle by MacDonough.
With Ellerstina in need of offense to mount a comeback, MacDonough was a relentless force for La Dolfina, scoring on the first run of the second half, extending the lead to six. Unwilling to concede defeat, Ellerstina gave their spectators hope in a run of four unanswered goals led by Facundo Pieres. Converting two penalty attempts and a goal from the field, Facundo Pieres highlighted a dominant sixth chukka that kept La Dolfina off the scoreboard to put the outcome in doubt and bring Ellerstina within three goals. A scary fall for Juan Martin Nero put a pause on the game, but he fought to continue with just two chukkas standing between La Dolfina and the victory. However, after just another minute of play, Nero was unable to continue and was replaced by Rodrigo Andrade, thrust into a crucial moment of the game in his first action of the year. Facundo Pieres’ fifth and sixth penalty conversions occurred in less than a minute within the eighth chukka, cutting the lead to two with enough time left to challenge for the victory. Stepping up in the moment, Andrade was on the receiving end of two plays from Cambiaso, converting both shot attempts to score the final two goals of the game, sending La Dolfina to 16-12 victory and a celebration for the seventh consecutive year.