It wasn’t all that surprising that Ellerstina won Saturday’s “virtual semi-finals” of the Tortugas Open in Palermo, but the creepy-close call Alegría gave them (11-10) certainly was. Alegría has had a stellar run in Tortugas—but come on!—who could knock Ellerstina out of the final, especially with Facundo Pieres playing like the devil was chasing him?
Alegría came incredibly close to pulling it off or at least forcing overtime. They clawed their way out of an eight-goal deficit in the fourth chukker (8-0) and ended the sixth within a single goal of Ellerstina (9-8). Then with the score tied at 10 in the seventh and final chukker, Facundo Pieres shattered the Alegría dream in the final seconds of regulation time. ,
The contest had rolled out as a game of two halves, with Ellerstina playing a tight game in the first. They took advantage of several fouls and missed opportunities by Alegría in front of goal. Pieres alone made six goals in the first four chukkers.
The second half was all Alegría. They scored six consecutive goals in fourth and fifth chukkers, using a balanced attack from Sapo Caset, Hilario Ulloa and Facundo Sola, with Fred Mannix locking the back end. Superb passing by Alegría consistently opened up space.
Ellerstina responded efficiently to the late Alegría surge. They used Nico Pieres to manage the attack—passing early, not holding the ball, and finding Facundo and Polito Pieres on the run. Gonzalito Pieres was effective in the middle of the field, working hard to free up space for Facundo. And that was all he needed.
Photo Credit Katerina Morgan
-Facundo Pieres made 9 of Ellerstina’s 11 goals.
-Alegria mounted a balanced attack. Sapo Caset made four goals, and Hilario Ulloa and Facundo Sola each scored three times.
-Ellerstina won the second chukker 4-0. Alegria won the fifth 4-0 to cut their six-goal deficit to two.