La Dolfina Win

La Dolfina Win the Argentine Open, securing a triple triple.

History is made in Palermo as undefeated La Dolfina just hold off rivals Ellertstina in Argentine season finale.

Forty years after the great Colonel Suarez quartet won back-to-back Triple Crowns, La Dolfina lifted the gloom in Palermo on Saturday to claim an unprecedented triple and create history on the final day of the Argentine season. After wins against Ellerstina at the Tortugas and Hurlingham Opens, La Dolfina, led again by the peerless Adolfo Cambiaso, overcame their rivals 13-12 in a rain-affected but thrilling Argentine Open final.

Chukker 1: Ellerstina and La Dolfina played one another evenly through the first seven minutes of play.  Facundo Pieres scored the first goal of the game on a 60-yard penalty shot, 1-0, that was followed by goals from the field from Pelon Stirling and Pablo MacDonough, 2-1.  Facundo Pieres scored the final goal of the chukker on a 40-yard penalty conversion that leveled the score at 2-2.

Chukker 2: Three minutes into the second chukker a goal from Stirling gave the edge to La Dolfina, 3-2.  Ensuing goals from Adolfo Cambiaso (penalty shot and a goal from the field) went unanswered, giving La Dolfina a 5-2 advantage after only two periods of play.

Chukker 3: MacDonough’s second goal of the day came in the opening 34 seconds of the third chukker and extended the La Dolfina lead to four goals, 6-2.  Polito Pieres scored his first goal of the match, 6-3, but a closing penalty goal from Cambiaso had the La Dolfina lead back at four goals, 7-3.

Chukker 4: Juan Martin Nero gave La Dolfina their eighth goal of the game just two minutes into the fourth for a five goal lead, 8-3.  A penalty goal from Facundo Pieres kept hopes alive, but it was La Dolfina riding off the field at the end of the first half with a comfortable four goal lead, 8-4.

Chukker 5: MacDonough pushed the La Dolfina lead back to five goals, 9-4, in the opening seconds of the fifth period.  Facundo Pieres followed up on his penalty tap to score two minutes later, and Gonzalito Pieres cut the lead back to three goals with his first score of the day, 9-6.

Chukker 6: It was four minutes into the sixth period before the first goal was scored as Cambiaso converted a penalty shot to put La Dolfina on top, 10-6.  Polito Pieres countered with a goal from the field for Ellerstina, 10-7, but Cambiaso’s fifth goal of the game had La Dolfina riding off the field at the end of the chukker with an 11-7 edge.

Chukker 7: Nero opened the seventh with a goal that stretched the La Dolfina lead to five goals again, 12-7, when Ellerstina fired back.  Facundo Pieres converted a 60-yard penalty shot for a goal followed by back to back goals from Gonzalito Pieres. With one chukker remaining in regulation play, La Dolfina was holding on to a two goal, 12-10 lead.

Chukker 8: A minute and-a-half into the eighth period Polito Pieres shaved the La Dolfina lead back to a single goal, 12-11.  Cambiaso answered back at the 4:04 mark with a 40-yard penalty shot to make it 13-11.  Facundo Pieres missed a penalty shot in the waning minutes of the final chukker but stole the ball and made good on a run to goal to bring Ellerstina to within a goal of the lead again, 13-12.  A last furious Ellerstina attack was turned aside in the La Dolfina goal mouth as the ball was driven harmlessly down the field by the La Dolfina defenders  as Cambiaso shot his hand into the air in a triumphant sign of victory.

Undefeated for three years and 35 matches, La Dolfina will go into the record books following another superb undefeated season, marshaled expertly by Cambiaso who was given the Gonzalo Heguy Award for the most valuable player. The 40-year-old notched six goals (four on penalty conversions) in the final and was once again involved in a battle royale with Ellerstina’s Facundo Pieres, who also scored six (four on penalty shots). Other goal scorers were MacDonough who scored three times, while Stirling and Nero added two goals each for the win, Polito Pieres and Gonzalito Pieres scored three goals apiece.

Victory means La Dolfina have secured the last nine of 12 Argentine Open finals. For Cambiaso, it was his 12th win since mustering his first back in 2000. Cambiaso will no doubt contemplate whether he can now sustain the physical exertions needed to combat another season at the top level. After this history-making triple, he would leave the sport on a high. No one would deny him that.

(Sources: The Hurlingham, The Telegraph)