The 2021 season in Argentina is coming to an end. A thrilling, exciting season, that had several surprises, injuries, unexpected wins and defeats… As a whole, it was indeed one of the best Triple Crown of the latest years, not to mention such a remarkable 128th. Argentine Open, a completely enjoyable tournament with a much anticipated championship match that definetly will put he ideal icing on the cake – La Dolfina Saudi and La Natividad will go head-to-head for the most coveted polo trophy in the world.
It is worth noting that only La Natividad earned a spot in the final through a league decided, a “semifinal”, against RS Murus Sanctus. It was expected the same between La Dolfina Saudi and Ellerstina, both placed within the same league (A), but since La Dolfina Saudi lost to La Ensenada, this year’s format led to an anticipated clash between the two contenders who have been playing the final at Palermo for more than ten years. That match could have had La Dolfina Saudi disqualified from any chances to play the final, but the fact is that against Ellerstina, Adolfo Cambiaso & Co. displayed their absolute fantastic skills, and at the end of the day, it was Ellerstina who ended up disqualified from any possibilities to secure a place in the final, after several years to do so.
So, what to expect tomorrow? It will be, without doubts, a fantastic final. Perhaps it could be called a “final at home”,not only because both are Cañuelas-based lineups, but it will be also a family affair. The one and only Adolfo Cambiaso will face his absolutely talented nephews, Barto and Jeta Castagnola. The familiar trio will be joined by Pelón Stirling, who will be back on the saddle after his absence in the match against La Irenita last week; Francisco Elizalde and Alejandro Muzzio, who had to sub in for the injured Diego Cavanagh, in La Dolfina Saudi; Polito Pieres and Nachi du Plessis will complete La Natividad lineup alongside the Castagnola brothers.
We also have some interesting facts for those who like numbers and statics. Let’s give a look at them:
- With the exception of 2004, La Dolfina Saudi has been playing every final of the Open, since their beginnings, back in 2000. In the event they win, it will be their ninth consecutive title at the Cathedral.
- In personal terms, Adolfo Cambiaso has won no less than 17 titles at Palermo – 3 with Ellerstina and 14 with his own La Dolfina Saudi.
- Four players will make their debut in the Argentine Open final – La Dolfina Saudi’s Fran Elizalde and Alejandro Muzzio (it would have been Diego Cavanagh’s as well) and La Natividad’s Barto and Jeta Castagnola.
- As we said before, Barto and Jeta will go for their first title at Palermo, the same their father, the legendary Lolo, won seven times with Ellerstina and La Dolfina – 1997, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009
- Polito Pieres is a seasoned man with regards to playing the final of the Argentine Open. He played it for the first time in 2013, with Alegria and the remaining with Ellerstina in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019.
- This will be Nachi du Plessis’ second final at Palermo. The first time he played a final at the Open was on a hot 2014 Saturday, wearing a purple-jersey for Ellerstina. In addition, whether La Natividad win, he will become the first South African to claim the Argentine Open as well as the first ever African-born player.
- Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martín Nero won’t be in the Argentine Open final for the first time in several years. Both Pablo and Juanma played the 2021 season with RS Murus Sanctus, and they’ve been at the finals, with Ellerstina and La Dolfina, since 2007 and 2008, respectively.
So, the championship match of the 128th. Argentine Open is a true path to glory. On one side, the multiple champion, La Dolfina Saudi, looking for their ninth consecutive title; there are no more words to describe La Dolfina Saudi, an unbreakeable team despite injuries or members changes. And they have the extraordinary Adolfo Cambaiso, who, at 46, he is still a remarkable player, a man who had left a mark within the sport like no one else. On the other side, there’s La Natividad, Lolo Castagnola’s and Camila Cambiaso’s creation, with their two sons, Barto and Jeta, who not only have pure polo blood in their veins, but also talent, skills, determination. Two very different boys on and off the field, but with a common purpose – they reached the big leagues through hard work, values and dedication.
But above all, whoever wins, the trophy will travel to Cañuelas, and will stay as a family affair. Fasten your seatbels and get ready to enjoy an unforgettable, unique final!
Road to the final
LA DOLFINA SAUDI
18-3 vs. Alegria Fish Creek
11-12 vs. La Ensenada
16-14 vs. Ellerstina
13-11 vs. La Irenita
15-16 vs. Chapaleufu
18-13 vs. La Dolfina Brava
20-9 vs. Alegria
17-14 vs. RS Murus Sanctus
- 128th. ARGENTINE OPEN – FINAL – LA DOLFINA SAUDI vs. LA NATIVIDAD – SATURDAY DECEMBER 11 4,3Ppm
La Dolfina Saudi.: Adolfo Cambiaso 10, Francisco Elizalde 9, David Stirling 10, Alejandro Muzzio 8. Total: 37.
La Natividad: Camilo Castagnola 9, Pablo Pieres 9, Bartolomé Castagnola Jr. 9, Ignatius du Plessis 9. Total: 36.
Umpires: Gastón Lucero & Guillermo Villanueva
Third Man: Martín Pascual.