La Aguada Las Monjitas remains undefeated (3-0) in the Argentine Open after defeating La Esquina Los Machitos 11-8 Tuesday in Palermo. In another match La Dolfina sliced La Albertina Abu Dhabi 22-6.
The score in the first game was on parallel tracks from the get-go, with the teams either tied or La Aguada LM one goal ahead all the way through the end of the fifth chukker (7-6). There was a traded flurry of backhands in what became a tense, physical game that earned La Aguada a yellow card.
Whenever possible La Esquina kept the game in the middle of the field, maintaining a slower type of pace that suits the style of Mariano Aguerre. He made four goals on the day, two of them from the penalty line.
La Esquina’s difficulties came from La Aguada’s exquisitely balanced offense and defense. La Aguada played as a classic four-man team, with scoring distributed almost evenly among the Novillo Astradas—Ignacio (four goals), Alejandro (three), Miguel (two)—and their teammate, Alfredo Bigatti (two). Ultimately the balance of La Aguada overcame the two-man offense of La Esquina (Aguerre and Rodrigo Andrade). That same balance also helped La Aguada defensively, as all four players could rotate to the back and stop the La Esquina attack.
Neither team could really break away as they traded goals in the middle few chukkers. After that, though, La Aguada swarmed the field and the game turned into a near-washout for their opponent. La Esquina made only one goal in the last three chukkers combined.
By the time the second half began La Aguada had racked up 11 fouls, five of which came in the first chukker. They dialed it down in the fifth with no fouls and ended the game with 14 fouls to La Esquina’s eight.
One minute into the sixth, with La Aguada only up by a single goal (7-6), La Aguada made the clincher play and gained the momentum. Pascual Sáinz de Vicuña sent the ball inside the La Aguada 30, but Ignacio Novillo Astrada got possession. He sent the ball to the sideboards and found Miguel Novillo Astrada near center with a perfect pass. In turn, Miguel, (also with a pinpoint pass) found Bigatti for a breakaway that he ran in for a goal.
Two minutes later in a crowded play Miguel made a neck shot from 50 yards out to give La Aguada a three-goal lead. Finally they had some breathing room for the first time in the game, and they maximized on it, winning by three goals (11-8).
We started very well, and we were winning 3-1 in the first chukker. At one point in the second we were able to run and hit the ball. Suddenly the umpires started blowing some difficult penalties that made us lose concentration, and I think that helped the other team get closer in the score.
So we were tied and that’s when it started getting messy. We couldn’t hit the ball properly and open the game as we did at the beginning. But then in the seventh and eighth chukkers we were able to open up the game again, hit long passes and score some good goals. That gave us the lead and the confidence to finish the game strong.
- La Esquina held to 1/3 shooting in 2nd half
- 11 first-half fouls for La Aguada, 3 in second half
- Both teams equal on penalty conversions (4/5)
- Throw-in wins: La Aguada 15, La Esquina 11
Photos by Katerina Morgan