In a double display of dominance, Alegría Land Rover and Cría Yatay Colony toppled their opponents Sunday on day 2 of the 124th Argentine Open. Alegría took La Dolfina Polo Ranch 17-12, and Cría Yatay defeated Chapaleufú Cardón 18-8.
Standout players of the day were Sapo Caset (Alegría), Joaquín Pittaluga (Cría Yatay) and Diego Cavanagh (La Dolfina Polo Ranch), each of whom made 10 goals. Demons from both the field and the penalty line, Cavanagh made seven of his goals on penalties, Caset five and Pittaluga four.
Alegría swarmed the field to take an early 5-0 lead at the top of the second chukker. Then as if awakening from a long nap, La Dolfina Polo Ranch dug in for the rest of the first half. They held Alegría to a single goal in the third chukker and tightened the gap to 6-5 at the end of the chukker. At halftime LD Polo Ranch remained a serious threat (8-6).
But then La Dolfina Polo Ranch started overextending themselves, which allowed Caset and Facundo Sola to go on breakaway runs downfield. Alegría owned the rest of the game, consistently leading by at least five and at one point seven goals. The second half was essentially a shutout (11-6, 13-8, 16-9 and 17-12), but a defiant La Dolfina Polo Ranch clawed their way through the goalposts at any opportunity. Guillermo Terrera, who made two goals on the day, was in on the majority of La Dolfina Polo Ranch’s key plays and contributed greatly to Diego Cavanagh’s assaults on goal.
Alegría stayed with a positional change that worked well for them in the Hurlingham Open semi-finals and final. Few may have noticed the change during Hurlingham because team captain Caset still wore his usual #1 jersey (while playing #3 position), and Sola wore #3 (while playing #1).
“Sunday in Palermo we finally decided to change jerseys,” said Sola. “Since the Hurlingham semis I’ve been playing more on attack, with Sapo on defense and driving the field. I feel good in the #1, and Sapo feels much better driving and closing the plays.”
Sunday was also a big day for individually for Caset, whose elite performance put him in the echelon of players who have made 150 goals or more in the Argentine Open.
-Sapo Caset (Alegría) and Diego Cavanagh (La Dolfina Polo Ranch) each scored 10 goals.
-Alegría had efficient 12/17 shooting.
-La Dolfina Polo Ranch won throw-ins 19-10.
-La Dolfina Polo Ranch held to one shot total in the 5th, 6th and 7th chukkers. Alegría made 9 shots over same span.
Chapaleufú was looking good early on, and no one would have guessed they would end the day defeated by 10. Led by brothers Eduardo and Aberto Heguy, the longest-playing participants in the Argentine Open, Chapaleufú came into the game with practical and efficient play. Through the first two chukkers Chapaleufú held Cría Yatay to a single goal, and at the close of the second chukker they led 3-1. Chapaleufú hung tight through the entire first half, tying the score at 4 at the end of the third chukker and closing the fourth just one goal behind Cría Yatay, who was ahead 6-5.
Uncharacteristically for Chapaleufú, the wheels fell off in the second half. They struggled to complete their passes and found themselves almost constantly out of position defensively, allowing runs to goal for Cría Yatay. Eduardo Heguy and Julián de Lusarreta were coming forward, often lacking a defensive cover.
The day proved a strong offensive showing for Cría Yatay, especially from Valerio Zubiaurre. He was all over the field, shooting at goal 11 times and converting 5 shots.
Chukkers 5, 6 and 7 brought some hard-earned magic to Cría Yatay, who outscored Chapaleufú 1-4, 0-4 and 0-3 respectively in those chukkers. Alberto Heguy came through for his team with four goals, all from the field, two of them in the eighth close the game for Chapaleufú.
The 124th Argentine Open resumes Saturday, November 11, with two games: La Dolfina vs. La Esquina Los Machitos (2 p.m.), and La Aguada Las Monjitas vs. La Irenita (4:30 p.m.). Times are local.
-Chapaleufú had zero shots in 5th, 6th and 7th chukkers.
-Chapaleufú shot 1/5 from the penalty line.
-Joaquín Pittaluga made 10 goals (6/6 shooting from the field, 4/5 from penalty line).
Photos by Katerina Morgan