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Real Madrid Juvenil A 1-1 Rayo Vallecano

Juvenil lacked precision in the final third.


On Saturday night, Juvenil hosted familiar neighbours Rayo Vallecano, a traditional rival for any Real Madrid team. Rayo Vallecano are a strong team that is fighting for a spot in the Copa del Rey Juvenil de Fútbol, and they couldn't have picked a better time to face Juvenil, who were finally given the Round 16 opponent in UEFA Youth League. Juvenil were drawn against AS Monaco and the date was set for this Wednesday. So Guti fielded a slightly weaker team and generally the attitude from the players wasn't as good as it should have been. They were clearly focueds on the game against Monaco and not the one against Rayo.

As I said, Juvenil weren't focused on this game at all and it showed right from the start. They were sloppy, they took too many touches on ball and the movement from the attacking players was very subdued. Rayo took advantage of this and, while they didn't press as rigorously as some teams do, they applied very efficient pressing and forced Juvenil into unnecessary turnovers. Rayo were shortly rewarded for their good start and in the 11th minute they took the lead.

This conceded goal shook Juvenil. They did regain their focus on the match, but they were still struggling to play through Rayo's pressing. Juvenil’s players were too individualistic in their approach to beating Rayo's pressing. If they had focused on collective approach instead of trying to dribbling their way out of it, they would have certainly been more successful. Around the 30th minute mark, Óscar took control of the match; he dropped a bit deeper and formed a sort of double pivot with Martín Calderón. This adjustment helped Juvenil with progressing the ball into the final third.

However, another obstacle appeared. Juvenil couldn't play the right final ball, as a result they didn't create any clear-cut chances in the first half. Long shots from Fran, Franchu, and Óscar; or corner kicks, were the only way to threaten Rayo's keeper.

At half-time, Guti must have delivered a harsh half time speech, because Juvenil started the second half much better. Rayo adopted a more passive approach — they were willing to sit deeper and focus only on counter attacks. Substitutions played a crucial part in the second half, particularly Mink Peeters. His movement between lines and vision helped tremendously and Juvenil finally started to create clear chances from open play. And it was Mink Peeters who finally equalized in the 76th minute. Fran received a beautiful ball from Javi on the left side and played a low cross towards the penalty spot, where it found Mink. It was a lovely, calm finish.

Juvevnil created a few other chances, but finishing wasn't up to usual standards, so the game ended 1-1. This draw ended Juvenil's 8 game winning streak, but they won't be too bothered by it, because they are sitting very comfortably in first place in the league table.

Goals: Mink Peeter

Assists: Fran García

MOTM: Óscar

Team news:

Gorka Zabarte is back from his injuries, but wasn't called up. Moha just came back from international duty with the Spanish U17 NT. Toni Robaina is still injured.

UEFA Youth League: Round 16: Real Madrid Juvenil A will play against AS Monaco on Wednesday at 4pm CET (10am ET or 8.30pm IST). This game will be streamed via UEFA's official Youtube channel LINK for USA and majority of Europe. In India, Ten Sports channel will broadcast the game.

AS Monaco and generally all French youth sides are tough opponents. They are very physically imposing and have quick players with good technique. Guti will surely call up all healthy eligible Castilla players -> Sergio Díaz, Achraf Hakimi, Luca Zidane, Fede Valverde (doubtful if he has recovered from his injury), Seoane.

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