Ellerstina Piaget's close win against La Aguada
Ellerstina Piaget (14) vs. La Aguada (13)
In the feature match of the day, Ellerstina Piaget had a tough time beating La Aguada on field 1. The Open Door based foursome, who had to regroup their lineup mid-season by hiring Nachi du Plessis, due to Nacho Novillo Astrada's broken collarbone during the Hurlingham Open, showed ability, skill and a strong determination as well as a higher handicap than what was shown on the scoreboard (31), to push Ellerstina Piaget to the limit. The defending champions could only reach the 14-13 win during OT.
The match had a very leveled start, though both teams played very well, exchanging enough goals which led to three consecutive ties, from the first to the third chukka.
The tie was broken in a very entertaining fourth chukka. Guillermo Terrera scored a great goal to give La Aguada their first lead (4-3), but Facundo Pieres quickly responded through a 40-yards penalty conversion (which by the way, was his 300th goal at Palermo). A pass from Miguel Novillo Astrada to Facu Sola ended up in a brilliant neckshot goal by Facu, while the other Facu scored to obtain a new tie, 6-6, after a spectacular run, riding Easy Go. But at the end of the fourth episode, it was La Aguada who took the lead by half time: 7-6.
There was a comeback tie, 7-7, in the fifth chukka, thanks to Facu Pieres' single goal of the chukka. La Aguada's dominance starts in the next period, when they took the lead for the next two chukkas. With Facu Sola and Terre playing the game of their lives, Miguel as the leader, and a great and solid Nachi du Plessis on defence, La Aguada made things very tough for Ellerstina, who trailed by four goals with only one chukka remaining.
The last chukka was now or never for Ellerstina. They rode onto the field with their best horse strings, determined to show why they are the title holders. They had to score at least four goals... and they did it. The hurricane, Facundo Pieres kept Ellerstina alive, forcing there to be extra time. That is when Mariano Aguerre, riding Katrina, took the ball in the throw-in and scored the goal that secured the defending champions a very hard fought win.
Beyond the result, there was a big applause for La Aguada, as a reward for the fantastic performance of the team's four members; that included a special sing-along to wish Facundo Pieres a happy birthday; for Ellerstina it was the moment of truth. Next week they will play for a place in the final against Alegria, but first they need to review a few things to improve their performance in the near future.
Score Ellerstina Piaget: 1-1, 3-3, 4-4, 6-7, 7-7, 8-10, 9-13, 13-13, 14-13.
Ellerstina Piaget: Facundo Pieres 10 (6 on penalty shots), Mariano Aguerre 2, Nicolás Pieres 2 (received a yellow card). Mariano Aguerre: “We won, but it was a difficult match. We played against a very good team. We didn't know what to do until the last chukker. That was our hardest time, but then Facundo appeared with some spectacular goals to give us the opportunity to go to OT.”
Facundo Pieres: “We need to improve a lot. Now we have a whole week to regroup the team, but we definitely have to play better. If we want to win the semifinal, we have to play better. We woke up in the last chukka... it was the only good thing we did during the whole game.”
Gonzalo Pieres Jr.: “It was a lost match for us, but having the chance in the last chukka to win in OT was incredible. We have to plan things better, and be more concentrated. We were scared a lot today. However, we're in the semifinals but we depend only on us. Having had a negative result today, could have obliged us to win by many goals, which is very difficult.”
Nicolás Pieres: “Apart from winning this match, we played horribly. Honestly, I think it's been our worst match of the entire season. The only good thing is that we trailed by four goals in the last chukker and we won. During seven and a half chukkas we played terribly, we only played well in the last one.” Pablo Erbin (coach): “We didn't play well but we had a good reaction in the last chukka. When you don’t play well, the important thing is to win. Now, we have to be well preparation for next week's game, because it will almost be a final.”