A sunny Tuesday greeted the second day of the 127th Argentine Open. Action kicked off in the morning with the clash between La Dolfina Polo Ranch and Cria GT (formerly Cria Yatay), the latter having earned their spot through the Qualification Tournament. Cria GT’s Joaquin Pittaluga was unable to play due to an injury, and his place was taken by Tomás García del Río (7).
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The match was very tight, with both teams performing very well. Plenty of goals were scored thanks to many great plays, especially in the thrilling first half when La Dolfina Polo Ranch and Cria GT scored ten goals in two chukkas. Throughout that first half, both teams played at their best, displaying fast, open polo. It was perhaps one of the best matches of the season so far, the kind of polo that delights the fans all over the world. The match saw Cria GT lead 7-6 by the end of the fourth, with goals scored for Cria GT between the two Laprida brothers (Iñaki 5, Magoo 2), while every member of La Dolfina Polo Ranch scored, led by the unstoppable Diego Cavanagh (4 goals).
The remaining chukkas were no different. Both teams fought hard and the scoreboard remained as close as in the first half. Following a scoreless sixth chukka, Cavanagh converted a spectacular neckshot to tie the match 9-all with just 2min 20 sec on the clock. Then Juan Britos found the flags to give La Dolfina Polo Ranch their first advantage in the match (10-9). The last chukka certainly looked as if it would be a true battle of the giants.
And so it was. Magoo Laprida tied the game 10-all in the first minute of play, but La Dolfina Polo Ranch replied quickly with Britos scoring again. Cria GT followed with a goal by Iñaki Laprida, taking the score to 11-all, with 2m 30 seconds left in regulation time. An extra chukka looked imminent, and so it happened.
An extra chukka followed! There were two spectacular attempts to seal the deal from both sides, courtesy of Cavanagh and García del Rio, but the ball went wide both times. The battle went on, until Cavanagh converted to give La Dolfina Polo Ranch a very important 12-11 win.
Up next, Palermo’s number one ground welocmed the second match of the day: La Ensenada La Aguada vs. Los Machitos – a team that saw the comeback of the legendary Mariano Aguerre after an injury that had him on the sidelines during the Hurlingham Open. Before the start of the match, a one minute silence was observed to mark one year since the passing of Rubén Sola, Facundo’s father, one of the most cherished polo players and horse breeders in Argentina.
Then it was game time: Los Machitos got off to a stronger start, claiming an impressive 5-0 lead in the first two first chukkas, leaving their opponents struggling behind. La Ensenada La Aguada took off in the third, thanks to great goals from Jero del Carril and Matías Torres Zavaleta, but Los Machitos managed to keep control. In the fourth chukka, Cubi Toccalino converted a penalty to widen Los Machitos’ lead to 7-2. Following another penalty conversion from Jero del Carril, the match went into half time, with the scoreboard signalling a commanding 7-3 in favour of Los Machitos.
But the second half was another story. Slowly but surely, La Ensenada La Aguada got into the game, and halfway into the fifth chukka, they managed to outscore Los Machitos 3-0, closing the gap to a narrow 6-7, thanks to three unanswered goals by their main man, Jero del Carril. Following a scoreless sixth chukka, a 30 yard penalty was awarded to La Ensenada La Aguada to tie the game 7-all, and they quickly took their first lead after a fantastic field goal by Matías Torres Zavaleta. A determined La Ensenada La Aguada seized the reins to win the chukka 4-0, which meant that they had by now claimed a 10-7 lead, with goals scored by Jero del Carril (2) and Segundo Bocchino.
MVP and top scorer Del Carril converted his eighth goal of the match by converting a penalty shot, which gave La Ensenada La Aguada a 11-7 advantage. It was followed by a powerful goal by Matias Torres Zavaleta which sealed the deal for his team. In an extraordinary comeback, La Ensenada La Aguada took a crucial 12-7 win in their Argentine Open debut.
LA DOLFINA POLO RANCH 12-11 CRIA GETE
LA DOLFINA POLO RANCH: Guillermo Terrera 8 (1 goal), Juan Britos 8 (4, one penalty), Diego Cavanagh 9 (6, six penalties), Alejo Taranco 8 (1). Total: 33.
CRIA GETE: Valerio Zubiaurre 8 (2), Cristian Laprida 8 (3), Tomás García del Río 7, Ignacio Laprida 8 (6 (three penalties). Total: 31.
Score LDPR: 1-3, 5-5, 7-5, 7-6, 8-9, 11-11, 12-11 (OT).
Umpires: Matías Baibiene and Gonzalo López Vargas.
Third Man: Rafael Silva.
BPP Polo Argentino: Mas Acquadance (Machitos Melchor x Machitos Lantana), played by Diego Cavanagh.
Mega Promesa (Open Espacial x Open Prometida), played by Valerio Zubiaurre.
Dolfina Cora (Durazno x Small Pearson), played by Diego Cavanagh.
LA ENSENADA LA AGUADA 12-7 LOS MACHITOS
LA ENSENADA LA AGUADA: Segundo Bocchino 6 (1 goal), Alfredo Bigatti 8, Matías Torres Zavaleta 8 (3), Jerónimo Del Carril 7 (8, four penalties).
LOS MACHITOS: Agustín Merlos 8 (1) (Received a yellow card in the seventh chukka), Ignacio Toccalino 8 (4, two penalties), Mariano Aguerre 7 (1), Santiago Toccalino 8 (one penalty).
Score La Ensenada La Aguada: 0-2, 0-5, 2-6, 3-7, 6-7, 6-7, 10-7, 12-7.
Umpires: Gastón Lucero and Martín Pascual
Third Man: Esteban Ferrari
BPP Polo Argentino: Irenita Emocionado (Dolfina Cuarteto x Open Emocionada), played by Alfredo Bigatti.
Delmay Claro (Open IPhone x Aguada Dinámica), ridden by Segundo Bocchino.
Latia Venus (Ellerstina Picaro x Grappa Estrella), ridden by Segundo Bocchino.
The Argentine Open will resume on Thursday:
11am: La Natividad/Las Monjitas vs La Irenita II
4pm: La Dolfina Saudi vs La Irenita