Going into this fixture, Castilla had one objective on their minds: Win. Anything but, and their play off hopes would be dead and buried. Intriguingly for Castilla, Barakaldo were their opponents, who were one place above the whites in the table, and needed the win just as much. Last season, Castilla stole the group title off of Barakaldo in the dying seconds of the final day, in what brought an end to an epic showdown between the two sides. Barakaldo were surely looking for revenge today, and with Enzo suspended, and Lienhart, Achraf and the in form Vergos away on international duty, they must have been pretty confident of a result. Castilla started with the usual 4-3-3, but fullback Luismi Quezada started in left midfield, with Abner behind him. Valverde returned to the bench from illness, and was joined by under 19's defender Gorka Zabarte. All 3 wingers available started on the bench; With Sergio Díaz continuing to waste his time out on the right wing.
Castilla XI: Abad, Tejero, Salto, Hermoso, Quezada, Seoane, Febas, Muñoz, Abner, Campuzano & Díaz #RealMadridCastilla pic.twitter.com/4jbZadh15L— RM Castilla Stats (@CastillaStats) March 25, 2017
From the off, it was clear this was going to be a game of high quality football, with both teams opting to pass the ball around on the floor and attempt to play through each other. Impressively, Castilla took a hold on the game early on, and dominated the play. They created a few half chances but nothing critical — but for a long spell, Barakaldo couldn't get a hold of the ball at all. Unfortunately, Castilla couldn't capitalize on their good play, and Barakaldo grew back into the game by the minute.
Unlike Castilla, the Bilbao based side created some very dangerous chances, and it took a world class Luismi Quezada block on the line to prevent them from taking the lead. Luismi proved to be the key figure in all of the action, as not long after Tejero broke forward and found the Dominican, who took a touch and unleashed a powerful strike into the Barakaldo goal. 1-0 Castilla! Madrid almost scored again right away after, but Campuzano could not find the room to shoot between all the defenders. Luismi and Abner were rotating freely, and doing their set jobs fantastically. Few more chances were created before half time, and Castilla went into the break a goal to the good.
Luismi freakin' Quezada. The hype train tickets have just doubled in price. pic.twitter.com/pnRwWRAipY— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) March 25, 2017
Barakaldo were not going to lie down, and came out looking to force an equaliser. But Real Madrid were just as enthusiastic, and mere minutes into the half, Campuzano touched down the ball in a ‘Benzema vs Ajax esque’ manor, for Tejero to control the ball and finish via a deflection. 2-0, and Castilla were flying!
From here, Castilla began to dominate again, and created chance after chance, all being spawned. Campuzano could have ended up with a hat-trick and Díaz saw a few of his efforts blocked. One in particular was blocked after he beat multiple men in the Barakaldo half.
Campuzano had the best chance of the game perhaps, when he found himself clean through on goal, but could only aim his effort straight at the keeper. This could have proved costly, as not long later Barakaldo were back in it after finishing off a decent move. 2-1, and game on with 15 minutes to go.
Barakaldo continued to push for a result, with Castilla's attacking play coming mostly on the counter. It was now Madrid who needed to dig deep for the result, and the intelligence of the players really shone. Díaz on multiple occasions would make space before holding up the ball in the opposition’s half, whilst the defenders were working overtime to stop any Barakaldo attacks. It could have been for nothing however, as right at the end Barakaldo hit the post with a close ranged effort. Seconds later the final whistle blew, and staff, players and fans alike could breathe again! The score finished 2-1 to Castilla, in what could prove to be a vital result come the end of the campaign.
Man, if Sergio Diaz scores this. pic.twitter.com/okKTW45hKM— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) March 25, 2017
For now, Castilla are in 4th place and back in the play offs, but all the teams around them are yet to play. Either way, the result keeps their playoff aim very much alive, with potentially the toughest tests behind them.
Man of the match today took a lot of thought. I could not distinguish between Quezada's first half, and Díaz's second. In the end, I went with Díaz as I felt he had a stronger overall game, but I cannot take anything away from Luismi's brilliant game, as well as the rest of the team. They stood up when we really needed them to. Castilla still have a lot of work to do, and they travel to River Sestao next week to try and keep the dream alive. Be sure to catch it here!
Goals: Quezada, Tejero
Assists: Tejero, Campuzano