Before the season started, I predicted Castilla a 4th place finish. Naturally some people challenged that view, implying that as Castilla's squad had become considerably weaker that summer, they wouldn't perform nearly as well, and finish mid-table at best. Others disagreed more so, and suggested that Castilla would challenge for 1st place, and had one of the better squads in the league. After a poor pre-season, the team picked up a sense of unpredictability which carried them into the season. As we approach the half-way point of the campaign, I have witnessed results to back up all three predictions.
Today, Castilla played host to Logroñés, who sat one point adrift from the relegation zone. It was still a highly anticipated match up, and game Castilla needed three points from it to crack on with their title aspirations. It did not take very long at all to go wrong... 25 minutes in Logroñés took the lead. Castilla had chances to score but squandered them all. 10 Minutes later, the lead was doubled, then tripled instantly. Castilla were stunned to be 3-0 down. The play didn't necessarily reflect the scoreline but Castilla were lethargic. Half time arrived and Castilla had everything to do in the second half.
However, it went from bad to worse for Castilla as not even 5 minutes into the second half, Logroñés had a penalty, and Achraf was sent off for denying them a certain goal with his hands, proving that he has a lot to learn regardless of his talent level. The penalty was converted and Castilla had to see out the game with 10 men. Liangming, Tejero and Muñoz were brought in for the distant Enzo, Ødegaard and Díaz to try and get back but a miracle could not be made. Man of the match goes to Aleix Febas, who could be described as being "the least bad".
Min 50. Espina hace el cuarto de penalti. Expulsión de Achraf por mano. pic.twitter.com/fUnGOUc3n7— UD Logroñés (@UDLogrones) November 19, 2016
Castilla will be aiming to bounce back next week as they travel to SS Reyes. It is worth remembering that one of the main targets for Castilla is to provide a learning environment within the professional game for players to develop at their own rate. It isn't necessarily a matter of results come second, but games like today's should be looked at as a learning curve for the players involved, and something they should look to use to help them push forwards in the future. Castilla are currently in 7th place, 1 point away from the play-off positions, so a good result next week can make us all forget about the result today! Make sure to tune in next week to find out how they get on.