In Wednesday’s edition of the Argentine Open, Alegría Land Rover toppled Chapaleufú Cardón 18-10. Ellerstina Johor was put to the test but hung on for a 12-11 win over La Dolfina Polo Ranch.
All four teams had to put up with an unwelcome intruder: a double-barreled hit from the weather gods. High summer kicked in, and Palermo awoke to a choking blanket of heat. During the second half of the first game (Alegría/Chapaleufú), a cloudburst dumped blinding sheets of water all the way to the end. Eight soggy players slugged on, probably wishing that goggles came with windshield wipers.
Both teams found the wet footing required adjustments and slowed the pace somewhat. The pelting rain affected Alegría’s passing attack as the ball started rolling slowly through the damp grass. That went to Chapaleufú’s advantage and enabled them to jump on those passes and get in a better defensive position. Chapaleufú revved up for the fifth, sixth and seventh chukkers but could not overcome the widening gap that ended in an eight-goal spread (18-10).
Alegría led by a comfortable margin from beginning to end: 4-0, 7-1, 9-2, 9-4, 14-5, 15-8, 15-10 and 18-10. Within the first three minutes of play they made three goals (Facundo Sola two and team captain Sapo Caset one). Sola came through again with a slick steal on a Chapaleufú penalty and ran straight into goal. Later on Chapaleufú slowed Alegría down a notch, winning five of the last six throw-ins. Alberto Heguy took full advantage of the possessions and scored three goals on the day for Chapa.
Sola, who has been performing at a supersonic level in Argentina, had one of his best games this season. He made six field goals and played in the sync he has developed with Caset, who made eight goals (two from the penalty line). Sola finished some nice runs and had two good steals that directly led to goals.
Alegría’s passing was extremely effective and accurate throughout the game, particularly so in the first half. Hilario Ulloa set up multiple goals along with Caset and Sola, and Alegría consistently generated an easy offense with the pass. Chapaleufú struggled to adjust, finding themself in a trailing position too often. Alegría didn't miss their chances, shooting 16/20 for the game.
By the end everyone was soaked through to their underwear, but pushing through the discomfort paid off for Alegría. Now 3-0, they have a solid chance of finding themselves playing on field 1 December 2.
- Alegría shoots16/20 (80%), Chapaleufú 8/13 (62%), both teams efficient
- Sapo Caset and Facundo Sola combine for 12 field goals
- Chapaleufú only committed 6 fouls, keeping Caset to only two penalty attempts
- Even scoring for 3 straight chukkers:
- Both teams scored evenly (6 goals apiece) over three chukkers: 5th chukker Alegría 5-1; 6th Chapaleufú 3-1; 7th Chapaleufú 2-0
NEXT GAMES: There are four games scheduled over the weekend. Saturday: La Albertina Abu Dhabi vs. La Esquina Los Machitos (2 p.m.) and La Dolfina vs. La Irenita (4:30pm). Sunday: La Dolfina Polo Ranch vs. Chapaleufú (2 p.m. and Ellerstina vs. Cría Yatay (4:30 p.m.). All times are local. Buenos Aires is two hours later than U.S. Eastern time.
LIVE STREAM: ESPN is live streaming all games in the 2017 Argentine Open. The stream is only available online in certain geographical areas. Viewers in the United States can watch on an iPhone or iPad. More information: http://espni.go.com/player/video/ESPNPlayPolo/index.htm.
Photos by Katerina Morgan