La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team Begin Argentine Open Defense with Victory
The 128th edition of the Abierto Argentino de Polo kicked off on Friday, November 12 at Palermo with the eight-time defending champions La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team defeating Alegria Fish Creek 18-3, while La Ensenada Brubank overcame a slow start to claim the 16-11 victory against La Irenita Polo Team.
Qualifying for a place in the final leg of the Triple Crown, Alegria Fish Creek faced a dominant La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team who produced an emphatic victory behind the 10-goal, four assist effort from Adolfo Cambiaso. Providing energy early in the match, Alegria Fish Creek scored early, but were held scoreless over the final five chukkas as La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team dominated possession to outshoot their opponents 32-18. Leaving little doubt of the outcome, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team shot above 50% in the second half to claim the decisive 18-3 win.
Making his debut at Palermo, Bautista Bayugar needed just 13 seconds to score his first goal, putting Alegria Fish Creek ahead on the first play of the game. Quickly increasing the pace, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team received two penalty attempts, both of which were promptly converted by Cambiaso. Bayugar’s second tally on a Penalty 4 conversion kept Alegria Fish Creek within one at the end of the first chukka. Continuing to score from the penalty line, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team increased their advantage to three with two more goals from Cambiaso, but Alegria Fish Creek continued to fight, maintaining the difference into the fourth chukka. Cambiaso took control of the match, scoring the final three goals of the half to change the dynamic and leave Alegria Fish Creek facing a six-goal deficit.
Turning their focus to the defensive end, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team thwarted any Alegria Fish Creek attack to hold their opponents scoreless throughout the entire second half. Despite failing to find the goal in the fifth chukka, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team’s Diego Cavanagh drove forward to contribute two goals, while a balanced attack saw Elizalde and Stirling add their names to the scoresheet in the seventh chukka. Holding the double-digit advantage, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team completed the dominate victory with Cambiaso finishing with 10 goals in their quest for a ninth consecutive title.
The second game of the opening day came down to the final chukkas between La Ensenada Brubank and La Irenita Polo Team on Field 1 at Palermo. Battling foul trouble, La Ensenada Brubank conceded seven penalty attempts to Isidro Strada, yet raced into the lead in the second half with accurate shooting from the field and a game-high seven goals from Juan Martin Zubia. After the quick start, La Irenita Polo Team struggled to contain the La Ensenada Brubank attack that ultimately produced 16 goals in the victory.
Striking first, La Irenita Polo Team’s Strada took advantage of three La Ensenada Brubank fouls to add two penalty goals in the opening chukka. Despite entering the game with two less goals on handicap, La Irenita Polo Team continued to showcase a strong attack through the second chukka, receiving one goal each from Strada, Ignacio Toccalino and Segundo Bocchino to extend their lead to three. Reorganizing, La Ensenada Brubank prevented La Irenita Polo Team from scoring in the third chukka and providing an opportunity to cut into the lead. One goal and an assist from Zubia kickstarted his team’s offense as they pulled back even at 6-6 entering halftime.
A standout player in the match, Zubia was a significant factor in the opening moments of the second half, adding a field goal and penalty conversion inside the first two minutes to give La Ensenada Brubank their first lead. In the decisive chukka of the game, La Ensenada Brubank exploded for four goals on perfect 2 for 2 shooting from the field and the penalty line to quickly increase their advantage to four and leave La Irenita Polo Team desperate for offense with two chukkas remaining. Foul trouble prohibited La Irenita Polo Team from closing the gap, conceding two penalty conversion to Juan Britos. Despite their best efforts in the final chukka, La Irenita Polo team fell short in the 16-11 defeat.