RS Murus Sanctus Emerge Victorious over Ellerstina Johor to Reach Hurlingham Open Final
The first semifinal of the Hurlingham Open featured RS Murus Sanctus against Ellerstina Johor to determine the first spot in the final. Returning with their original line-up for the first time in four matches, RS Murus Sanctus defeated Ellerstina Johor 13-12 on Field 1 at Hurlingham Polo Club.
Decided by the narrowest of margins, RS Murus Sanctus overcame four missed penalty attempts by winning the battle in open play and holding Ellerstina Johor to just 27% from the field. Sapo Caset finished with a game-high eight goals, including three in a crucial fifth chukka that pushed RS Murus Sanctus into the lead. Responding for Ellerstina Johor, Facundo Pieres added six penalty goals including two over the final two chukkas to help bring Ellerstina Johor within one, but it was the difference in production from open play that propelled RS Murus Sanctus into the Hurlingham Open final with the 13-12 victory.
After Ellerstina Johor’s Gonzalo Pieres opened the scoring, MacDonough wasted no time making an impact in his return, providing a quick response for RS Murus Sanctus to leave the score tied at 1-1. Relying on the passing of Juan Martin Nero and MacDonough from the back, RS Murus Sanctus edged ahead by one after two assisted goals proved to be the only offense of the second chukka as Ellerstina Johor was held scoreless. Undeterred, Ellerstina Johor brought the game back even at 4-all after Facundo Pieres’ first penalty conversion of the game and a field goal from Alfredo Cappella Barabucci, making his first appearance in the Triple Crown in place of the injured Nicolas Pieres. Making the first significant run of the match, Ellerstina Johor’s attack pressured RS Murus Sanctus into four fouls, resulting in three penalty goals for Facundo Pieres to end the half and give Ellerstina the 8-6 advantage.
Improving their discipline in the second half, the momentum swung to RS Murus Sanctus as they stormed out of halftime with four unanswered goals, led by the play of Caset, who contributed three goals and an assist to turn a two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead. Ellerstina Johor pushed to close the gap over the final two chukkas but in an intense sixth chukka, both Ellerstina Johor goals were met by a response from Caset, leaving the difference at two in favour of RS Murus Sanctus entering the final chukka. Picking an opportune moment to drive forward, MacDonough’s third goal extended RS Murus Sanctus’ lead to three, forcing Ellerstina Johor into a desperate push to tie the score. Facundo Pieres added his sixth penalty goal and quickly followed with his first field goal of the match to pull Ellerstina Johor within one, and leave enough time for a tying goal. On their only opportunity in the final moments of the match, a shot from Ellerstina Johor sailed wide, as RS Murus Sanctus held on to capture the thrilling 13-12 win and advance to the Hurlingham Open final.