Friday 2.12.22 in Buenos Aires, the 129th final of the most prestigious tournament in the world will be played: the Argentine Open. A competition of passions, emotions and business that brings together the ten best teams in the world. This final, in front of 18,000 spectators, will be the rematch of last year’s final and promises to be even more indecisive: La Dolfina Saudi vs La Natividad. On the field, there will be four members of the same family, but not on the same team.
Never before in a long time has this Open been so… open. Four or even five teams out of the ten entered could claim the title. The scores of the semi-finals – the same, 15-14 – were proof of this.
To qualify, La Natividad, often behind in the score, had to defeat Pablo Mc Donough’s new team, La Irenita Grand Champions, in one of the most beautiful matches of recent years. With, it’s true, some choice recruits like the brilliant Juan Britos, the prodigy Juan-Martin Zubia (23 years old, who lit up the final of the French Open last September in Chantilly) and the experienced Fran Elizalde, this team made from scratch showed itself to be particularly well oiled for its first participation in the Open.
The other semi-final was the old clásico between La Dolfina and Ellerstina: since 2005, the two teams have met thirteen times in the final with a clear advantage of nine wins to four for Cambiaso’s team. This season, Ellerstina were a shadow of their former selves, but woke up for this clásico pushing La Dolfina Saudi into extra time last Sunday… but in the end, it’s always La Dolfina that wins.
Passing of generations
The golden goal was scored by the youngest player in this Open, 17 years old… a certain Adolfo Cambiaso. The son, of course, aka Poroto. Impressive in his calmness, relaxation, and serenity, he scored all the goals (42 until now in this Abierto) that his teammates, especially his father, offered him with an extraordinary efficiency in the conversion of penalties: 8 out of 9 attempted on Sunday, including the golden goal!
And so, father and son will find themselves together against their nephews and first cousins, Jeta (18) and Barto (20) Castagnola. Four members of the same family on the field is not a first. The record was set in 1996 with six Heguy, two cousinly siblings who hated each other (now it’s getting better), and who clashed in a match of rare intensity, violent at times, passionate in any case.
Friday, the rivalry will only be sporting, because the Cambiaso and Castagnola cousins love each other. They often play together, as they did today in the final of the Abierto Juvenil, the junior version of the Open, where Poroto and Jeta will play with the older sister of the former, Mia, who could become the first player to win this title.
After the Heguy’s, the Cambiaso’s are a family of all records. Tomorrow, before the men’s final, Mia could (and should) win her fourth Argentine Women’s Open. And if La Dolfina Saudi were to win her fifteenth title after that, it would be historic because it would be the first time in 64 years that a father and son would lift this heavy and coveted trophy. In 1958, it was the Heguy family, father Antonio and son Horacio, who achieved this first feat, paving the way for a series of 22 victories by a Coronel Suarez team with at least one Heguy in the squad, not to mention the ten Chapaleufu victories with grandsons between 1986 and 2004. Finally, Cambiaso/Castagnola still have some work to do!
The semi-finals of the 129th Argentine Open
La Natividad: Jeta Castagnola 10 (11 goals including 8 penalties), Polito Pieres 10 (1), Barto Castagnola 10 (1) and Nachi du Plessis 9 (2). Total: 39.
La Irenita Grand Champions: Juan Britos 9 (5, of which 1 penalty), Fran Elizalde 9 (5, including 3 penalties), Pablo Mac Donough 10 (2, of which 1 penalty) y Juan M. Zubía 8 (2). Total: 36.
Progression La Natividad: 2-2, 2-4, 5-5, 6-6, 8-9, 12-9, 13-13 and 15-14.
La Dolfina Saudi: Adolfo Cambiaso 10, Pelo Stirling 10 (yellow card in 4th chukker), Poroto Cambiaso 9 (13, including 8 penalties) and Juan Martin Nero 10 (2). Total: 39.
Ellerstina Turismo Felgueres: Facundo Pieres 10 (10, including 8 penalties and 1 corner), Hilario Ulloa 9 (1), Gonzalito Pieres 9 (1) and Nicolás Pieres 10 (2). Total: 38.
Progression La Dolfina Saudi: 2-2, 6-3, 7-4, 11-7, 12-8, 13-10, 14-11, 14-14 and 15-14 (in extra time).
By Pascal Renauldon/ Photos Pascal Renauldon, R&B Presse