The return of Juan Martin Nero and the rise of the young Poroto Cambiaso gave La Dolfina Saudi back that invincible status, that impression of an indestructible machine that nobody can trouble. Not even La Natividad, the title holder, with its two gifted brothers Barto and Jeta Castagnola.
Text and photos: Pascal Renauldon / R&B Press and more photos by Nacho Corbalan
From the start of this 129th Argentine Open final, we felt the two brothers (and their companions), almost resigned: their uncle and cousin had taken the ascendancy strongly supported by a Juan Martin Nero just extraordinary. Not only was he relentless in defence (Jeta Castagnola, the Open’s top scorer could only slash three field goals on Friday), La Dolfina’s back was downright brilliant in attack, anticipating and getting out of the way magically, scoring five goals, including two golazos, which is quite rare for a defender. It was clear from the first half of the game that Nero was going to be named MVP, best man of the match: “But that’s not the most important thing,” he modestly told POLO+10 after the game. The most important thing is that the team performed well today. We found a great team in La Dolfina, we played as we planned. If I received this award, it’s probably because I scored a few goals, but that’s not the main thing today. In any case, his return was decisive: “Yes, it’s really great to be back at La Dolfina, to be back with Pelon, to play with Poroto for the first time and to win again straight away, it’s something incredible”.
The success of the man who is considered the best back in the world is also due to the horses he has selected, such as Anay Sur Brandy, named best product of the Raza Polo Argentino studbook: “She is a mare from the Marcos Heguy’s stud that I bought last year and today she has been fabulous. She went three times in the field, in the second, sixth and last chukker. She did really well today.
Will Nero stay at La Dolfina next year: “I don’t know, we’ll have a meeting during this week, and we’ll discuss the next season and see if they want to keep me”. (laughs). Adolfo Cambiaso, for his part, left some doubt as to whether he would continue his career in the Open during the press conference, which provoked a sympathetic outcry among the journalists present. But this exceptional player preferred to dwell on the present, not without dropping a few hints: “I dreamed of winning this title with my son, it’s done. This is an incredible day for me, and I don’t know what I could have dreamed of more. It’s also a victory with companions who are more friends than teammates, Pelon, Juan Martin… the team worked exactly as we planned. A word also for La Natividad: they are a great team, they are my nephews, my sister’s sons and I love them”.
So, what Dolfina for 2023? The reunion of the three cousins with Juan Martin Nero? There are other possibilities, and we will have to wait a few more days to find out more.
In the meantime, with this fifteenth title in twenty-two finals, the eighteenth title for Adolfo Cambiaso, and with the youngest player to win the Abierto, Poroto at 17 years and 6 days, La Dolfina has become even more firmly established in the history of the sport. Not to mention Mia Cambiaso’s fifth win in the Women’s Open a few hours before. Quite a family!
Last minute: Adolfo Cambiaso confirmed the same team for next year!
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La Dolfina Saudi: Adolfo Cambiaso 10 (2 goals, including 1 corner), Pelon Stirling 10 (1), Adolfo Cambiaso 9 (5, including 2 penalties) and Juan Martin Nero 10 (5). Total: 39.
La Natividad: Jeta Castagnola 10 (6, including 3 penalties), Polito Pieres 10, Barto Castagnola 10 (3) and Nachi du Plessis 9. Total: 39.
La Dolfina: 2-0, 3-1, 6-4, 8-4, 10-6, 11-7, 11-7 and 13-9.
MVP: Juan Martin Nero
Top scorers of the Open: 1- Jeta Castagnola (La Natividad) 54 goals, 2- Poroto Cambiaso (La Dolfina Saudi) 47 goals, 3 – Facundo Pieres (Ellerstina) 31 goals
Copa Lady Susan Townley, best horse of the final: Irenita Harinosa, played by Pelon Stirling.
Best product of the Raza Polo Argentino studbook – AACCP: Anay Sur Brandy, played by Juan M. Nero.
Erratum: in our presentation of this final, we wrote that the last time a father and son won the Argentine Open together was in 1958, with the Heguy family, father Antonio, and son Horacio. In fact, this rare feat was also achieved by the Arayas, Horacio and Benjamín, 39 years ago, in 1983.