Juvenil didn't have much luck in the Copa del Rey Juvenil R16 draw, because they were drawn against one of the best Juvenil teams in Spain: UD Las Palmas. Las Palmas enjoyed a great campaign, winning their group with ease. Over the course of the season, they won 29 games out of 32 games, scoring 107 goals and conceding only 17.
However, a brilliant 3-1 victory in the first leg and this draw means that Juvenil are through to the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey, and let's hope that they will get an easier opponent.
Starting XI for the second leg of Copa del Rey Juvenil against Las Palmas. Juvenil A won the first leg 3-1 away at Las Palmas. Vamos! pic.twitter.com/YEcb7FkWIx— Ondra Paul (@OndraPaul) May 20, 2017
Guti chose to make five changes from the first leg. Oscar returned and Echu, Mink, Javi and Dario were given a chance. Mink played in sort of a free forward role roaming across the frontline. It's not his best position, but he is capable of performing in this role. Dario was given his first start after he suffered an injury in September.
Juvenil started the game quite nervously, misplacing many passes, which inevitably led to frantic screams from Guti. He isn't shy to let his players know that they should do much better.
After about 10 minutes, the game settled. Juvenil players calmed down and started to pass accurately and play their game. Most of the attacks went through Echu on the right side. He moved brilliantly and created quite a few chances together with Gorka Zábarte. After one such chance, he found Mink in the box and Mink didn't miss. 1-0 for Juvenil.
Mink's opening goal. Good awareness and pass from Oscar. pic.twitter.com/nnvGbFCAzo— Ondra Paul (@OndraPaul) May 20, 2017
This opening goal gave a lot of confidence to Juvenil and they started to toy with Las Palmas. Las Palmas tried to press very high, but Juvenil time and time again found ways to slice through their pressing. Óscar and Martín as the two deepest midfielders played a huge part in successfully beating Las Palmas’ pressing.
Guti's kids are balling. pic.twitter.com/6BIQtD06Iu— Ondra Paul (@OndraPaul) May 20, 2017
Unfortunately, Juvenil lost their focus in the the last 10 minutes of the first half. In the 33rd minute, Las Palmas found a way to quickly release Adib, and Dário didn't manage to save his powerful shot. A few minutes later, Las Palmas were awarded a free-kick about 35-40m away from the goal. Nebay stepped up and released an absolute rocket. It hit the bar and bounced down on to the line and back. The ball never crossed the line, but to the surprise of all Juvenil players and Guti, the referee pointed to the center circle and the goal stood.
At half time, Guti made two changes. Toni Robaina and Echu came off and Bravo and Llario came on. Llario moved to the striker position and Mink was moved to the right wing.
Las Palmas started the second half very strongly. They sensed that they have a real chance of a remontada, however, as a knight in shining armour, Óscar Rodríguez Arnaiz arrived.
This man, ehm young man, is an unbelievable talent. As most midfielders, he started as pure no.10, but this season he transitioned to a much deeper role where he can orchestrate the play. And he has a fine right foot. Just watch this:
Óscar (@oscararnaiz10) is a freekick wizard. pic.twitter.com/KnTbXZEGmX— Ondra Paul (@OndraPaul) May 20, 2017
Once again, he stepped up in a difficult time and delivered. A few weeks ago, his free-kick crowned Real Madrid Juvenil the Champions of Spain on Juvenil level and today this goal finally put Juvenil through to the quarterfinals. Everybody should write down his name, he'll be a star.
Goals: Mink, Óscar
MOTM : Óscar