Castilla: Carlos Abad; Fran, Hector, Tejero, Leon; Enzo, Marcos Llorente, Javi Muñoz; Alvaro Cedrés; Mayoral.
Mensajero: Killian; Fede, Juande, Silvano Moreno; Rayco, Iray, Jaime Jesus Sosa, Omar; Yeray.
Castilla, without the services of Martin Odegaard due to his national team obligation, took the pitch today versus Mensajero, a newly promoted side from the Canary Islands. The match started off well enough for Castilla as Zinedine Zidane's kids enjoyed a healthy spell of possession without much to show for it though. The held on to the ball fine, but the end product was sorely missing as Mensajero's defense held firm and forced Castilla into mostly speculative attempts on goal.
Then, the unfortunate happened. Mensajero, in their first dangerous foray into Castilla's box, fed the ball to Omar who took his shot and despite a decent effort by Hector to block it, the deflection took a weird turn and beat Abad to give Mensajero the 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute. Poor luck, however, there was much time left and Castilla didn't have to wait too long to level things. Despite Borja Mayoral's attempt to level it on it own on a 2-on-1, it was a corner kick in the 36th minute as Enzo found Leon unmarked on the far post where his header couldn't miss.
Castilla was clearly looking for the winner following this as Mensajero's goalkeeper had to do his best at the end of the half to keep things level versus Mayoral and company. Halftime.
The second half didn't see any kind of dropoff in intensity from Castilla as the visitors continued to give the home side fits leading to a corner kick in the 50th minute. Enzo Zidane, just like last in the first goal, was the man who was to cross the corner kick and just like in the first goal, his kick found his man as Jimenez got a touch to it to beat the keeper and give Castilla the 2-1 lead. Once again, the boys went down a goal but battled back to level and take the lead for good.
Remontada del #RMCastilla. Gol de Álvaro Jiménez tras un centro de Enzo Zidane desde el córner https://t.co/ZbkngsvIEh— Primillo7 (@primillo7) September 6, 2015
Following the second goal, Castilla became more reserved and defensive which allowed Mensajero some chances at goal but nothing too worrysome. Castilla had its own chances on the counter, good chances, but nothing came of it and despite some slightly nervy moments late, Abad was able to hold down the fort and secure the three points for the league leading Castilla side. An aggressive approach early and to come back, a solid defensive approach to hold on to the lead; pretty solid stuff from the kids today as they took their ninth point out of nine.
Three things we learned:
1. This side won't rely on just Mayoral to carry them. Seven different players have scored so far for Castilla, from strikers to defenders. While Mayoral is the star attacker and will likely lead the team in goals given his talent for poaching, it's good to know that others can pick up the slack when he's having an off day.
2. The defense looked better than last week. This was helped by Mensajero not being the most skilled of offensive sides, but the home team did push forward more in the second half and Castilla held. Llorente showed his defensive skill when dropping back and helped corral a defensive unit which gave up far less chances this time around.
3. Zinedine Zidane is making a tangible impact. He substitutions last week were the clear difference-maker and this week it was the set pieces which won it for Castilla. I'm someone who is skeptical of the plan to fast-track Zidane to the first team, but the difference in his management from last season to this one (so far) is noticeable and a marked improvement. Florentino Perez is surely keeping an eye on this and noticing it too.
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