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Castilla Edge A 3-2 Win Over Amorebieta

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Febas shines; Castilla win despite late scare

Real Madrid CF v SL Benfica - UEFA Youth League Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

As mentioned on Jornada 1, despite having their roster ransacked during the off-season, Castilla have enough talent week in week out to pique our interest - even if it seems subtle for now. The talent pool is still deep within the branches of the youth system, and today, head coach Santiago Solari received really good contributions from several key players - most notably Enzo Zidane and Aleix Febas - en route to their 2nd win of the season.

It was Febas who propelled the team to victory against Amorebieta at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium. He was the best player on the pitch, and the instigator of Castilla’s first two goals. First, he beat his man on the left flank before staying cool and sliding a square pass to the top of the box to Federico Valverde who scored on his Castilla debut; and 2nd, he found himself through on goal and was pulled down and denied a clear goalscoring chance in the box. Castilla were earned a penalty, and captain - yes, captain - Enzo Zidane slotted home to give the whites a two-goal cushion.

Enzo Zidane might not get the same recognition as players like Febas and Sergio Diaz - both tonight, and in general - but it has to be said his ball control this season looks ubber-smooth, and it’s clear where his blood line descends from. Enzo’s first touch was brilliant, and his comfort in tight spaces would make his father proud. Those father-son bonding sessions are finally paying off.

From essentially minute 1-80, Castilla looked so comfortable in contrast to Amorebieta’s ineptitude going forward that the match turned into a proper humdrum. Castilla were fully in control, patiently swinging the ball in a happy-go-lucky possession-based build-up which Amorebieta were unbothered to press. But the match was largely uneventful, and even Castilla star Sergio Diaz was quiet throughout.

But then, Sergio Diaz did what Sergio Diaz does.

Diaz is a certain kind of special. Attempts like that are always audacious - but even those with enough cojones to attempt those half-field flings rarely execute them to that mastery. It’s a sign of a star - the kind that can hurt you even if he spends an entire match napping.

Apart from the usual suspects in attack, Javi Sanchez had a really solid game at the heart of the defense alongside Mario Hermoso. Castilla’s backline was relatively unthreatened, but Sanchez did really well to snuff out attacks and bail out lapses from Quezada on a couple occassions.

Solari did endure some stress to close out the game despite having a 3-0 lead. With ten minutes to go, Amorebieta pulled one back after a freak bounce clearance that rendered the backline outnumbered in the area, and then in the 96th minute, the away side made it 3-2 - capitalizing on a penalty after being pulled down in the box due to a failed offside trap. Both goals were preventable, and did provide us with a reality of what this Castilla team face regularly. They often defend well collectively, but always have one or two lapses per game which seem to cost them.