Immediately ensuing Real Madrid’s comfortable 5-2 win over Osasuna, Santiago Solari’s Castilla side took to battle in the Basque region against Gernika in what was one of the most tedious skirmishes you’ll come across this season. No doubt, many of you either tuned in to Liverpool’s rampant performance against Leicester, Higuain’s outrageous volley against Sassuolo, or Las Palmas’ late-game collapse. Heck - you may even have avoided all of that and went for a nice Saturday stroll. And, while you did that, I took one for the team to ensure you get your Castilla report today.
There wasn’t much to report, sadly. This game didn’t feature a Sergio Diaz back-breaking golazo-special, an aesthetic-spectacle of flicks and touches from Enzo Zidane, or a complete carving of the opposition from Febas’ talented feet. Castilla laboured today to get anything going at all, and didn’t control the match like they did last week against Amorebieta.
Gernika defended well in banks of four, and even though they didn’t create much themselves, they did have the majority of the chances. It came in spurts. In the 66th minute, they forced Carlos Abad into three successive point-blank saves; and then again in the 88th minute, Abad made another huge save to keep the game scoreless.
Just a few quick notes
- Today’s match marked Odegaard’s return. After an annoying off-season where his status was in limbo, it’s now guaranteed he stays with Castilla until at least January. Solari put him in the starting XI for the first time this season — last week he was on international duty, and prior to that, it wasn’t confirmed he would stay with the squad — in place of Cristian Cedres. Odegaard had some really nice touches, and immediately made Castilla more fun to watch. He tends to link the counter-attacks smoothly, and links well with Tejero on the right flank. He would have even more influence though if Solari opted to play him more centrally - today he played on the wing while cutting centrally every time he had possession.
- Enzo Zidane was subdued. He was quiet before being substituted for Cedres, and overall, Gernika really gave him a physical beating, fouling him every chance they could get.
- Tejero has a bright future. The right back has been impressive for a while now, and he continues to stand out when he plays. Today he made some clever runs and defended really well. I don’t see any reason he can’t eventually find a place in the A-squad if he continues to develop.
- Castilla wore their purple away jerseys, and they looked glorious.