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Real Madrid Castilla 2-2 Amorebieta

Castilla drew after conceding a penalty in 90th minute.

Aleix Febas

After last weekend’s loss, Castilla needed to bounce back and get back to the play-off spot in the table. They faced a bottom 3 team - Amorebieta, who they’ve previously beaten 3-2 at home. Solari probably expected a very physical game, so he opted to bolster the midfield with an additional defensive midfielder, Tena, and he got this right. Amorebieta’s players were tackling hard, made a lot of cynical fouls, tried to disrupt the play as much as possible and yet somehow they escaped well-deserved yellow cards.

Castilla's starting XI: Luca Zidane; Achraf-Javi-Hermoso-Tejero; Valverde-Tena; Enzo-Febas-Sergio Díaz; Campuzano

Unlike in previous games, Castilla started strongly this time. In the first couple of minutes, Achraf and the Febas-Diaz duo created few good chances, which were saved by Amorebieta’s keeper. Febas particularly caused a lot of trouble to Amorebieta’s defence with his marauding runs, which often had to be stopped by fouls. This early dominance was rewarded by a goal in the 18th minute and Enzo released Campuzano with a beautiful through ball.

Amorebieta threatened mainly from set pieces and corners, so it was paramount not to give away too many fouls near the box. However, even from the few set pieces, they created several excellent chances. In the last fifteen minutes of the first half, Amorebieta were the better team with much better chances. Castilla’s defence once again showed lack of concentration and allowed 1v1 chance for Amorebieta, a free volley from the penalty spot and two other great chances. Only thanks to absolutely exquisite goalkeeping from Luca Zidane, it stayed 1:0 at half time.

In the second half, Castilla started strong again and after two minutes, they scored their second goal of the match. Campuzano correctly guessed the bounce of the ball and left the defender behind him, then he played a brilliant pass to Aleix Febas, who was free on goal and calmly put the ball in the net to make it 2-0. Sergio Diaz had a couple of brilliant runs down the left wing, however his decision-making needs to improve, because he wasted far too many good chances including a very promising 2v1 situation. Febas and Diaz were our main attacking outlets and when Febas got tired in the second half, our offence suffered a lot. Sergio Diaz was forced to rely only on himself and this led to many long dribbling runs, which ultimately ended in nothing.

In the 62nd minute, Javi Sanchez, who until then was rock solid, had a shocker. He completely missed the ball when he tried to clear it, and let Amorebieta’s player through and to score – 2:1. Three minutes later, Luca Zidane channeled his inner-Lev Yashin and produced two stunning saves in quick succession and saved a sure goal. But even these moments didn’t wake Castilla up enough to start playing their football. Instead they allowed Amorebieta to impose themselves on the game. Solari reacted by taking off the tired Febas and Enzo — who apart from that assist didn’t produce anything else — for Javi Muňoz and Seaone. This helped to stabilize the midfield and regain a bit of control of the match. Amorebieta then started to target Castilla’s left wing, so Solari took off Diaz and put Abner on to ensure extra protection. This move totally shut down our offence in the last 15 minutes.

The last 15 minutes were far too familiar for Castilla followers. After an early lead, Castilla slowed down, lost composure and concentration, and allowed the opponent into the game to the point they were fearing for the result. Amorebieta found an extra gear and were constantly pressuring and squeezing Castilla, who defended all the crosses and set pieces quite well. But in the 90th minute, Amorebieta were awarded a throw-in — the ball went into the box and Valverde made a challenge. He got the ball and guess what? The assistant referee signaled that it was a foul and thus a penalty, which Amorebieta converted to level the game late.

It’s a real shame. Castilla should have won this game and the players were rightfully angered by the last-minute penalty that was called against them. Castilla now find themselves in 8th position in the table, two points off the 4th place (play-off spot).

The man of the match award has to go to Luca Zidane, who has pulled off several excellent saves and single-handedly kept Castilla in the lead till the 90th minute. He didn't put a foot wrong on Saturday and I only hope that he will be able to consistently produce such performances in the next games.

Final thoughts:

  • Injuries to Carvajal, Marcelo, Fabio and Danilo mean that first team is now without any fit natural full back. We can surely expect Nacho to play as full back against Celta, but Zidane will have to decide who will be the second one. Achraf and Tejero are the two options, should Zidane look for a fullback in La Fabrica. I personally would vouch for Achraf, I think he would be a better option than Tejero. Even in such a young age, Achraf has an exceptional ability to simply own the whole flank. He is comfortable playing anywhere across the right wing -- RB, RWB, RM, RW — and at times you can find him finishing moves in the box. He is joint top assister in Castilla with Febas -- 5 assists in 15 games. And since Zidane’s system depends a lot on full backs and what they can create, Achraf should be the clear choice.

And he also made this outrageous assist to Segio Díaz this season:

  • Fede Valverde continues to grow. He is rivalling Aleix Febas as the best midfielder on the team. Today he didn’t have that many defensive duties like he used to, so he was free to make late runs and roam on the pitch, which is his strong suit. He has almost all the necessary skills to make a wonderful defensive midfield. He is excellent on the ball, his passing range is great, he can easily dribble his way out of danger, and is sound defensively. His only weakness is his positioning, as he tends to get caught up the pitch when making runs when a simple pass would suffice. But these things can be ironed out over the years.
  • Víctor Campuzano is in form. He has scored 4 goals in the last 5 matches and has cemented his starting place in the lineup. It's encouraging that he managed to get in form quite quickly after his injuries at the beginning of the season.

Goals: V.Campuzano, A.Febas

Assists: Enzo, V.Campuzano

MOTM: Luca Zidane

All goals from the match

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