After recording no wins in four matches, and with the performances to match, this week fans were hoping for a little entertainment, never mind a winning result. The last few matches had been pretty dull to say the least, and Castilla had lacked creativity in the final third, mainly due to the departure of Martin Ødegaard and some questionable tactics. This week, Castilla were to play host to Fuenlabrada, a Madrid-based side sitting above Castilla in the table. The geographical aspect and the fact both teams were aiming for promotion made this fixture a promising one. Castilla's lineup was as unpredictable as ever, with all three strikers featuring. Star midfield men Aleix Febas (suspension) and Fede Valverde (injury) were left out of the squad, whilst Philipp Lienhart returned to the bench.
Castilla XI: Zidane, Achraf, J Sánchez, Hermoso, Luismi, Seoane, Muñoz, Enzo(C), Campuzano, Vergos & Díaz #RealMadridCastilla pic.twitter.com/wzHWXbzQqT— RM Castilla Stats (@CastillaStats) February 12, 2017
From the first two minutes, you could tell this game was going to be good!
40 seconds in, Nikos Vergos saw his long shot well saved, before a minute later Fuenlabrada and Segunda División B Group 2 top scorer Dioni lofted a shot just wide. It was obvious Dioni was going to be a big threat, but Castilla did well to stop his best efforts early on.
The game was pretty even, when a dangerous Fuenlabrada cross came in, which in turn was well held by Luca Zidane. Just as Luca was looking for options, the referee blew up for a penalty...
Replays showed that the linesman spotted the slightest accidental deflection off of Luismi's fingertips, and was seemingly the only one to bat an eye towards it, but a penalty was given nonetheless and Diomi slotted it away to make it 1-0.
Castilla did not shy away however, and minutes later were on equal terms after Luismi broke away and fired a brilliant long ranged strike into the bottom corner, redeeming himself for the penalty giveaway and making it 1-1. The game continued to be fast paced, and Castilla pressed Fuenlabrada, creating much more than they have in recent games. Sergio Díaz was notably isolated out wide again, and I think could have been the difference in the first half, but Castilla were unable to penetrate Fuenlabrada again before half time, and went into the break even.
Quezada out of nowhere. pic.twitter.com/bKSWGfK6Hk— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) February 12, 2017
Castilla came back out and immediately looked even stronger! Their attacking play was much more fluent, and Javi Muñoz stepped up to put in his best performance so far this season. He was in the middle of most of our attacks, but Luismi Quezada was also always a good option on the left hand side, whipping in excellent crosses the whole game. Díaz on the ball as usual was excellent, but did not get enough of it, whilst Vergos and Campuzano linked up nicely up top.
It was the best Castilla had been playing in a while, and they were dominating proceedings, not allowing Fuenlabrada a sniff at goal. That being said, Castilla weren't looking like putting the ball in the net at any point either, and were unable to score a goal for all of their good play. That was until Enzo picked up the ball and played through the in-form Campuzano, who finished nicely, nutmegging the keeper. 2-1 Castilla, finally!
Castilla brought on Tena and Abner to solidify the defense, whilst Lin Liangming got a run out towards the end. The final 10 minutes were very tense as Fuenlabrada piled on the pressure. The whites were forced to defend to their maximum capacity, and stayed strong to hold out for the victory.
Enzo through-ball to Campuzano who puts Castilla in front. pic.twitter.com/Ix8VqaZzBE— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) February 12, 2017
This was the first home win of 2017 for Castilla, and finally put them back on the right track. The three points propelled them back into the playoff places, in 4th place, ahead of Fuenlabrada and Athletic Bilbao B.
There is a long way to go, and Castilla won't be enjoying the play off spaces for long if they can't maintain a run of winning games. Man of the match goes to Luismi Quezada for a really strong performance out on the left, both offensively and defensively. Although it is worth saying that everyone put in a decent shift today, with Luca Zidane and Javi Muñoz also deserving of a mention.
Today's game brought up a lot of questions and ideas, like the proposal of playing all three strikers available and how that would work. Castilla travel to Rayo Majadahonda next week as they attempt to form a run of winning results. Trust me, you won't want to miss it!
Goals: Luismi, Campuzano
Assists: (Hermoso!?), Enzo