La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team Emerges Victorious to Reach Tortugas Open Final
The second semifinal in the 2021 Tortugas Open featured a much-anticipated match-up between the new line-up of La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team against a RS Murus Sanctus team featuring former teammates Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero for the last spot in the final at Tortugas Country Club. Coming down to the final chukka, Francisco Elizalde scored the winning goal to send La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team into the final with the 11-10 victory.
Either tied or within one goal of each other after every chukka, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team and RS Murus Sanctus matched each other stride-for-stride with nearly identical performances from the field. Despite shooting just 55% from the penalty line, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team received five more attempts, converting one more than RS Murus Sanctus in what ultimately was the difference in the game. Sapo Caset provided a determined effort for RS Murus Sanctus, finishing with nine goals but La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team found their way back to the final, led by six goals from Diego Cavanagh to set up a rematch against Ellerstina Johor.
Evident from the opening plays of the game, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team and RS Murus Sanctus were evenly matched, and the score remained tied at 1-all after the first seven minutes with Caset converting a Penalty 4 and Cavanagh responding with a goal from the field. Two penalty attempts led to two goals for La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team as they edged ahead at the conclusion of the second chukka while also carrying a foul into the third chukka to score seconds in and hold a two-goal advantage. Undeterred, RS Murus Sanctus brought the game back within one after goals from Caset and MacDonough. Continuing to exchange goals until halftime, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team maintained their one-goal lead due to their consistent offense from the penalty line, entering the break ahead 7-6.
RS Murus Sanctus struck first in the second half, gaining some momentum to tie the score and then taking their first lead since it was 1-0 on Caset’s seventh goal. Able to effectively draw fouls, La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team quickly pulled even on a Penalty 2 for Cavanagh, leaving the final two chukkas to determine the winner. An injury forced 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough from the game, replaced by Facundo Fernandez Llorente in a tense sixth chukka saw each team push to take the lead, but the score moved in and out of a tie as Caset added two more goals that were answered by Cavanagh and Elizalde. The entertaining semifinal was decided in the final chukka when David Stirling found Elizalde on the receiving end of a pass, putting la Dolfina Saudi Polo Team in front 11-10. Preventing an RS Murus Sanctus attack in the final moments of the game, La Dolfina Saudi Team held on for the exciting victory to secure their place in the final.
Earlier in the day, La Dolfina Brava Polo Team secured their place in the subsidiary final, defeating La Irenita Polo Team 14-9.5 with Poroto Cambiaso leading the way with six goals. Conceding 2.5 goals on handicap, La Dolfina Brava Polo Team wasted little time, bombarding La Irenita Polo Team with eight shots in the opening chukka, yet converted just one of the opportunities to remain trailing. The pressure set the tone for the match as La Dolfina Brava Polo Team dominated the open play battle, outscoring La Irenita Polo Team eight to zero from the field in the first half. An effective rotating strategy featured all four players contributing equally to the offensive outburst, generating two goals each over the second, third and fourth chukkas to hold a commanding 9-4.5 lead at halftime.
Exiting halftime with the same energy they exhibited in the first half, La Dolfina Brava Polo Team surged further ahead, led by young Poroto Cambiaso, whose fourth and fifth goals resulted in nearly insurmountable 13-4.5 lead with two chukkas remaining. The stagnant offense for La Irenita Polo Team came alive over the final two chukkas, with Ignacio Toccalino converting three penalty attempts, but the 4.5 goal difference was as close as they could come. With the victory, La Dolfina Brava Polo Team advances to the subsidiary final against La Natividad.