By Darlene Ricker
With unsurpassed authority—even for themselves—defending three-time champion La Dolfina Sancor Seguros won the first semifinal of the 123rd Argentine Open over Cría Yatay 27-4 Saturday.
With a 23-goal spread, La Dolfina advances to the final on 10 December with the largest margin of victory in the history of Palermo. Megastar combo Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martín Nero accounted for 19 of their team’s goals, with David Stirling and Pablo MacDonough each contributing four. The match pitted a 40-goal veteran team against a young 30-goal roster.
The four masters from Cañuelas played in their trademark form: Cambiaso was unstoppable; Stirling a tireless fighter; MacDonough smart and swift in defense, and as always, Nero an impassable stonewall (while at the same time managing to make nine goals).
The game was a dose of déjà vu from the opening match of the tournament, in which the same teams faced off and La Dolfina won 22-7. But despite the numbers, Cría Yatay—the first qualifier in history to make it to the semifinals—deserves an enormous amount of respect for playing every minute of every game with determination.
On a historical note, in 1992 Cristian Laprida played alongside Cambiaso in the Argentine Open final. This Saturday, 24 years later, his sons Cristian (“Magoo”) and Iñaki played against Cambiaso in an effort to reach the final.
The second set of semifinals takes place Sunday, with Ellerstina Johor facing Alegría Assist Card. Guillermo “Sapo” Caset returns to the roster after being subbed out after an injury in the fifth round of play by Alejandro Muzzio.
All games in the Open are being live streamed on ESPN (except for in Latin America): http://espni.go.com/player/video/playdemoesp/index.htm