The 129th. Argentine Open continued on Sunday Novemer 29, with two League B matches, at Palermo. Both games commenced 30 minutes earlier, due to heavy rains forecast, on what it could be called La Dolfina Sunday, because the two teams of the Cañuelas-based organisation were victorious: La Dolfina Saudi and Cría La Dolfina. The Argentine Open, the most important polo tournament in the world and the hightlight of the Argentine season, sees ten teams up to 39 goals in participation.
La Dolfina Saudi and La Irenita Clinova played the first game on field two. The Cambiasos lineup had Brazilian Pedro Zacharias, subbing in for Pelón Stirling once again, since the Uruguay-born player is under recovery from an injury, focused to be in his best form for the upcoming match against Ellerstina.
What could be said about this contest? Quite simply, it absolutely belonged to La Dolfina Saudi. Adolfo Cambiaso & Co. were merciless to La Irenita Clinova thoroghout the eight chukkas of play, leaving them unable to cope with their powerful contender, a contender whose members fit to perfection, no matter lineup changes; and most of all, today they had a remarkable Poroto Cambiaso, who displayed a 100% accuracy to score. Out of 12 goals scored by La Dolfina Saudi at half time, 9 were produced by the soon-to-be 17 Poroto. It was a walk in the park for La Dolfina Saudi; such was their dominance, that La Irenita Clinova who were only able to score just four times in the last chukkas, when the deal was already said and done.
It is worth noting that Pedro Zacharias scored his first four goals at Palermo. But most of all, Poroto Cambiaso equaled his father’s record of goals produced in a single game – 17 – in the impressive 23-4 win.
The follow up was the clash between Cría La Dolfina and Ellerstina. It was expected to be indeed a very thrilling game to watch, that overcame some odds, as well…
Following a 1-all in the first chukka, Diego Cavanagh produced two unanswered goals (a penalty and a field goal) to secure Cría La Dolfina a 3-1 lead in the second chukka. Facundo Pieres converted a penalty in the third and added a field goal in the fourth to tie at 4-all. However, Cría La Dolfina re-took the lead quickly through a remarkable goal by Tomás Panelo, so by half time they were 4-3 up. A very slow played first half, with just a handful of goals; certainly, very different to what one saw in the previous game…
Diego Cavanagh and Tomás Panelo scored one goal each in the fifth chukka to widen Cria La Dolfina’s advantage over Ellerstina to two goals, which extended to three in the sixth chukka. Things were becoming too complicated for Ellerstina. But the relief came by the end of the sixth chkka, thanks to two penalty conversions by Facundo Pieres, to close the gap to just one goal (6-7). And that’s when the match had to be stopped for about 20 minutes due to heavy rainfalls.
Once the storm was over, the match resumed in the seventh chukka, that began with a spectacular goal by Tomás Panelo, an extraordinary young player whose performance improves more and more with every match. While Cría La Dolfina extended the gap, and although Ellerstina was supported by Facundo Pieres’ accuracy to produce goals, the fact is that the General Rodriguez-based lineup had to fight hard in order to endure their rival’s pressure.
But Ellerstina managed to bounce back in the last chukka, when Facundo Pieres converted a corner to tie at 8-all with around three minutes in the clock. It was already anyone’s game… an extra chukka, perhaps? But no, there was not an extra chukka, because the powerful Diego Cavanagh sealed the deal in regulation time, to secure Cría La Dolfina the 9-8 win after a dramatic contest.
But despite the loss, Ellerstina have a significant challenge ahead, and it is the League B decider against La Dolfina Saudi next Sunday. In order to earn the second spot to the final, Ellerstina are obliged to defeat La Dolfina Saudi by three goals and score eight or more. There’s a little hope for Cría La Dolfina, as well – they need a win from Ellerstina over La Dolfina Saudi by a handful of goals, a maximum of seven for Ellerstina and a maximum of four for La Dolfina Saudi.
129th. ARGENTINE OPEN – SUNDAY NOVEMBER 20
LA DOLFINA SAUDI 23-4 LA IRENTA CLINOVA
La Dolfina Saudi: Adolfo Cambiaso 10 (1 goal), Pedro Zacharias 7 (4), Adolfo Cambiaso 9 (17, 6 penalties), Juan Martín Nero 10 (1). Total: 36.
La Irenita Clinova: Facundo Fernández Llorente 8 (2 goals), Tomás Fernández Llorente 8, Bautista Bayugar 8 (2 penalties), Isidro Strada 8. Total: 32.
Score La Dolfina Saudi: 4-0, 7-1, 9-1, 12-1, 13-1, 16-2, 20-2, 23-4.
Umpires: Guillermo Villanueva & Gonzalo López Vargas. Third man: Martín Aguerre.
CRIA LA DOLFINA 9-8 ELLERSTINA
Cría La Dolfina: Guillermo Terrera 9 (1 goal), Tomás Panelo 8 (3), Diego Cavanagh 8 (5, penalties), Alejo Taranco 8. Total: 33.
Ellerstina: Facundo Pieres 10 (6, 5 penalties and 1 corner), Hilario Ulloa 9, Gonzalo Pieres Jr. 9 (1), Nicolás Pieres 10 (1). Total: 38.
Score Cría La Dolfina: 1-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-3, 6-4, 7-6, 8-7, 9-8.
Umpires: Martín Pascual & Gastón Lucero. Third man: José Ignacio Araya.
The final of the 129th Argentine Open is set to be played on Friday, December 2.