It’s not often you see ribbons of purple smoke billowing from the bleachers or a makeshift three-piece band clanging after a goal, but that was the scene Saturday at field 2 in Palermo. The occasion: La Albertina Abu Dhabi defeated La Irenita San Germán Seguros 20-11 in the Argentine Open and qualified for the 2018 Argentine Triple Crown. For supporters of the purple-jerseyed team, that translated to party time.
It was a well-deserved celebration. La Albertina played one of their best games this season after a rocky start in the Open. They lost their first two games but broke the spell with a 17-8 victory over La Esquina Los Machitos. Saturday’s win over La Irenita marked another 9-goal victory.
La Irenita opened the scoring with three goals, keeping La Albertina off the board in the first chukker. It was to be a short-lived lead. La Albertina turned things around around in the second chukker with five rapid-fire goals, three of them in just a minute-and-a-half. Each La Albertina goal drew cacophony from the band (a trumpet, trombone and an enormous drum), whose members were pals of Alfredo Cappella and Santiago Toccalino.
Although the game eventually became a runaway for La Albertina, it was competitive for a few chukkers in the middle. La Albertina led consistently but wasn’t ahead by more than two at the end of the second (5-3), third (7-5), fourth (8-6) and fifth (11-9) chukkers.
In the fifth Santi Toccalino was injured, and Agustin García Grossi subbed in for the rest of the game. García Grossi did a solid job. He made two goals and also played with excellent defensive positioning while Cappella went forward.
The sixth chukker was crucial to the final result. Down by two goals, La Irenita fouled four times in that chukker alone. The result was three penalty goals that generated an insurmountable five-goal advantage for La Albertina. At the same time La Albertina displayed a strong defense, hitting quick backhands and stopping La Irenita from keeping possession on their attacks.
Guille Willington was La Irenita’s standout player the entire game. He and Cappella had identical scoring performances, each with eight goals, six of them from the penalty line. Ignacio Toccalino made the final goal of the day, giving La Albertina a 20-11 victory and a ticket to the 2018 Argentine Triple Crown.
- La Irenita records just 3 shots in 2nd half (converts 1/3)
- La Albertina scores 3 goals in every chukker in 2nd half
- Willington 6/6 on penalties, Cappella 6/7
- La Albertina wins 2nd chukker 5-0
Photos by Katerina Morgan