Alexis Maldonado came from La Rioja, Emanuel Coronel traveled from Concepción (Tucumán) and Martin Payero from Pascanas (Córdoba). Giuliano Galoppo lived in Italy, went through the lower levels of Boca and Rafaela and reached the age of 16, Jorge Rodriguez he left his childhood in Mendoza to join, Mauricio Arboleda flew from Tumaco (Colombia), Agustín Urzi, Claudio Bravo and Agustin Fontana they grew much closer, in Lomas de Zamora. All of them and several more shaped their access to professional football in Luis Guillon, in the same place where Jesus Dátolo He was part of the first litter that trained on the fields and lived in the property’s boarding house.
This identity holds a large part of the secret of this Banfield, who is a finalist in the Diego Maradona Cup and who, against Boca, no less, will go in search of glory, of third star in its history after the National Cup won in 1920 and the Apertura tournament achieved in 2009.
Of the 28 footballers that make up the professional squad, only seven (Rodrigo Arciero, Jonás Gutiérrez, Alejandro Cabrera, Luciano Pons, Mauricio Cuero, Fabián Bordagaray and Luciano Lollo) were not formed in the lower ranks of the club. The sense of belonging extends to the bench of substitutes. There is Javier Sanguinetti, the man who wore the Banfield shirt the most times: 485 games over 18 years.
You don’t have to explain what the club is about to Archu, who was born and raised a few meters from the Florencio Sola stadium. In the review that joins him to the green and white colors, he says that he was already a champion as a fan in 1987, as a player in 1993 and 2001 (all to be promoted to First), and also as an assistant in 2009 when he was next to Julio Falcioni in consecration in the highest category. He only needs to celebrate as a technician.
An example of the imprint of the Archu: Before the results backed him up, he made the decision to remove Daniel Osvaldo from the squad and Nicolas Bertolo, for different behavior problems. It was an inward signal, a show of leadership that took risks but ended up paying off and strengthening the work group.
What is this Banfield? How does it play? Why can you be a champion?
Agustín Fontana, the club-born center-forward who earned his place in the team and pays with goals. Photo: POOL ARGRA
The draw of the Professional League threw a great challenge to the head Drill: had to debut against River as a visitor. And in the first risky action of the match, Marcelo Gallardo’s team took the lead with a header from Borré. First hard exam. And first approved for Banfield, who knew how to remain calm, grow from his idea of the game, exploit the virtues, bet on worked plays and turn the game with great authority.
From there, Sanguinetti knew that the ideal team was that. Back to front. Arboleda (24) lives a phenomenal present, Coronel (23) bet on the right side instead of Luciano Gómez gave the team more firmness and order, Maldonado (23) is a central marker with a huge future and is so sober in his performance as brave against any rival, Lollo (the only one at the bottom who did not come out of the inferiors) is the voice of command and, despite some errors at the start, he supports from behind, and Bravo (23, already sold to Portland of the MLS) attacks better than he defends, always with an unalterable delivery.
In the middle, the elegance of Martín Payero (he needed a complete game like the one he did against San Lorenzo) and the dynamics of Galoppo (five goals, four headed) stand out. They are worth two asterisks: Payero (22 years old, long strides, head up, very good punch and panorama; a game that resembles Javier Pastore’s) returned to the club this year after a questioned loan exchange with Junior Arias under the mandate of Hernán Crespo. And Galoppo (21, modern midfielder, with back and forth, treads both areas and is very effective in attack) is also now beginning to show his potential after having recovered from a torn ligament and meniscus. Betting on both is Sanguinetti’s greatest success.
But there is a third midfielder who does not score or avoid goals, who does not kick or throw pipes, but that is fundamental.
Jorge Rodríguez almost went to football in Cyprus, Diego Milito also polled him for Racing and Vélez looked for him on loan. He stayed in Banfield and does nothing more and nothing less than simplify the game and manage the team’s times: sometimes he turns around and knocks back to start a tidy outing, other times he takes a long and deep bouncer for Cuero to run, or he puts the front and low touch so that they break the Galoppo and Payero lines.
Mauricio Cuero is the main attack weapon, with speed and dribbling on the right wing. (PHOTO: POOL / AFP)
Rodríguez is the model of footballer weighted by teammates and coaches (in Banfield they all put him and he played as a winger, central defender and midfielder) and looked askance by the fans. Only now, at the age of 25 and with more than 130 games in the First Division, does his silent work begin to make noise.
In attack, the team plays with three points: Leather on the right, Bordagaray on the left (with a changed profile and a lot of sacrifice to help in the setback with the brand) and Fontana (five goals) in the center.
The speed of the Colombian is usually the first option of each attack. And his influence was decisive: he surprised with his starts to unlock the first games, then the rivals took note and knew how to neutralize him, and a tear took him off the field for the closing of the first phase. In the last game, 4-1 against San Lorenzo, he again showed flashes of his qualities.
To Banfield, like the rest of the tournament teams, It was better for him to play away. He won with authority in Arroyito and in Tucumán, he gave it back to Colón in Santa Fe, in addition to the aforementioned triumph in the debut in Avellaneda against River. He only fell in Córdoba and in the last minute against Talleres, after having managed to equalize the game with one less player.
Payero comes out to shout his goal from a free kick against San Lorenzo that finished the game. Photo: Maxi Failla
Local cost a little more. He did not find the return to Godoy Cruz and was able to celebrate for a free kick Leather pearl, he fell in the rematch against River after a very good first half in which he missed a penalty, equalized against Central and beat Gimnasia at the end of the looser match of the cycle. Although his best performance was on the toughest stage: against San Lorenzo, with the pressure of having to win, the Drill He gave the stature and a new sample of maturity to get a ticket to the final in San Juan.
As the games progressed, the team added key contributions from the bench. And so the starting eleven was stretching and presenting options.
Jesús Dátolo, who runs less but did not lose his lucidity, took charge of the hot penalty to beat Gimnasia in the epilogue and scored an exquisite center for the victory against Colón with a header from Asenjo, another who could have gone on loan as so many times, who was running behind the initial idea but who entered and took advantage of his chance.
Sanguinetti found the team based on strong decisions, including leaving Dátolo and Urzi on the bench. PHOTO: POOL ARGRA
The best example in this regard is Agustin Urzi, which during the long stop due to the pandemic was the jewel to sell and an undisputed starter, but to which an injury in the preseason relegated him to the bench of substitutes and now he is looking for his place with good income in the complement.
The same happened with Juan Alvarez (goals against Talleres, Central and San Lorenzo), Jonás Gutiérrez, Luciano Pons and Alejandro Cabrera. The last case is that of Alexis Sosa, a 21-year-old defender, emerged in the club, who in his third game in the First Division had to take the place of Lollo (suspended) and showed courage in the decisive clash against San Lorenzo.
Beyond the names, Banfield’s game is held collectively. In his ideal planning he intends to attack and defend as a block, advance in a few touches, weigh the search for the right wing with Cuero overflowing, Coronel supporting and Payero as connector.
But he also seeks to be sharp with Galoppo’s thrust in the center of attack or the crossed centers for Fontana’s advances or Bordagaray’s surprise arrival. Each stopped ball, that foundational weapon from Falcioni’s first cycle, once again puts the fans who follow him from a distance on their toes.
The team showed a few moles, especially when it was not precise in the start from the bottom or in sections in which by retreating and betting on the rapid exit of the counter, it gave up control of the ball and the process.
Ball stopped and goal by Galoppo from the head: there are already four with that formula. Photo: German Adrasti
But he knew how to win when he played well, like against San Lorenzo, River or Atlético Tucumán, and when he played more or less, like against Gimnasia and Godoy Cruz. He knew how to sustain the results when he did not have Cuero, due to injury, and Payero, due to suspension. He was able to add valuable pieces to his memory eleven. And above all, he shows his mental strength every weekend.
Whoever is looking for secrets should go to Luis Guillón, to the property that is on the avenue that will now also be called Diego Maradona. The players who grew up and lived together and who now dance in the locker room after each triumph came from Colombia, Córdoba, Mendoza, Tucumán, La Rioja and so many points from Buenos Aires.
Therefore, beyond the present, Banfield is positioned in front of an auspicious future, with a seedbed that continues to bear fruit. It is about managing the moments. And so aspire that the harvest, in addition to amending the treasury, serves to aspire to fight big.