Mano pairs: Irujo and Goni take first blood as semi finals get underway

Saturday 28th February
Labrit, Pamplona

With the drama of the quarter finals now a distant memory, the first encounter of the semi finals took place in Pamplona last night where the defending champions, Aimar Olaizola and Oier Mendizabal took on the mercurial Juan Martinez de Irujo and Fernando Goni. These pairs played each other twice in the quarter final rounds, emerging with one victory apiece, so anticipation was high for the opening game in the last four. What transpired was a game full of errors, largely decided by the relative performances of the two defenders, Mendizabal and Goni. Goni had a near perfect game, committing no errors in the entire hour and eighteen minutes. Mendizabal on the other hand committed seven, and this was the essential difference between the sides. The Aspe pair made it their clear policy to bombard Mendizabal, in the realisation that his form has been erratic in the championship thus far, thus neutralising the threat that Aimar might pose in attack. It was a plan which worked to perfection; Aimar could find no way to break free. The forward battle was more evenly matched, Aimar making seven errors to Irujo’s nine, but the die had been cast in the tactical success of the Aspe pair.

Points sequence: 0-2 2-2 4-4 5-6 5-10 9-10 10-12 15-13 16-14 16-20 17-20 17-22

Duration: 1:18 min.
690 strikes of the ball
Olaizola II: 0 seques, 7 tantos, 3 errores.
Mendizabal II: 7 errores.
Mtz. de Irujo: 3 saques, 8 tantos, 9 errores.
Goñi III: 1 tanto, 0 errores.

Goni III was the star of the show

Goni III was the star of the show

Image from:

Sources: Diario de Navarra, Asegarce

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