Well... That game was as entertaining as predicted. Real Madrid lined up almost man for man from my prediction with only one alteration, Isco playing ahead of Kovačić. CD Leonesa lined up without José León even on the bench making that nice story a bit of a waste of time. Madrid went into this match with a 7-1 advantage from the first leg, so decided to start with Castilla starlets Martin Ødegaard and Álvaro Tejero, with Enzo being listed onto the bench. James Rodríguez got a chance to impress with Mariano up top.
The game started as it meant to go on. Fast paced. Within the first minute, a dodgy touch was jumped upon by Asensio and played into Mariano to make it 1-0. After this Madrid started to dominate in the usual way that they tend to... Attentions turned to young Ødegaard, who saw plenty of the ball early on, and created chance after chance. It was no wonder he was involved in goal number 2, as he made space and played the ball out to Carvajal, who whipped a perfect ball in for James to nod home. Madrid continued to attack through Asensio and Ødegaard, but couldn't find a third until minutes before half time when Carvajal picked out Mariano, who absolutely thumped the ball into the net for 3. This would have been his hattrick if not for a disallowed goal not long before. The half was not finished yet though, and Leonesa pulled one back with a really special strike that even Casilla's glove couldn't put a stop to. The teams went into half time with the scoreline 3-1 to Real.
Two changes were made during the break. Varane came on for Carvajal. And Enzo came on for Isco to make his Real Madrid debut! Leonesa actually started the half a bit more brightly, carving out a couple of chances that they really should have put away. Madrid weren't going to rest on their laurels, though. Enzo was a big figure going forward and his link up play with Ødegaard and Mariano was beautiful to watch. It was like watching Castilla from last season all over again. It wasn't long before the goals returned, Ødegaard linking up with Mariano who found Enzo, who released a great low shot into the bottom corner to mark his first game with his first goal! 4-1, heaven! The play started to slow after this with fatigue taking it's toll. Madrid's last substitution saw Kiko Casilla make way for Rubén Yáñez, which was a really nice touch by Zidane, as not many people may know, but this was Yáñez's debut for the club! Just as the game was about to finish, Tejero (who had previously hit the post) swung in a great ball for Mariano to put the cherry on top of the cake and claim his hattrick. There was one more goal before the final whistle, but it was an unfortunate own goal off of the back of a good Nacho cross. The game ended 6-1 to Real Madrid, who go through to the next round 13-2 on aggregate!
Brilliant performances all round. One negative note would be the performance of James, who disappointed me slightly. He took his goal really well and produced some decent dribbles, but besides that you can see that he is obviously struggling with something at the moment. A cracking player, I hope he can get back onto the right path soon. The Castilla boys were superb, and I've ran out of hyperbole's to use for them if I'm being completely honest. Man of the match was a really close call between Hattrick hero Mariano and midfield magician Martin Ødegaard, but I'm going to have to give it to the Norwegian prodigy who produced a fabulous display of skill and intelligence all match long. It really was an exciting game, and I've enjoyed the experience of writing for the first team for the first time! I hope you all enjoyed the match, and my reports!
Goals: Mariano x3, James, Enzo, 'Own Goal'
Assists: Asensio, Carvajal x, Mariano and Tejero, Nacho