It has been a terrific season for Guti and his U-19 team. They are league champions, they made the semi-finals of the UEFA Youth League, and they are now in the Copa Del Rey youth final. It hasn't been a stroll in the park for them. They’ve had to dig deep and fight hard to achieve their champions status. In the absence of academy genius Ondra Paul, I have stepped in to give you the lowdown of this game. For those of you that know me, you'll know that I constantly look for ways that Real Madrid as a club can stay at the top of football, largely via the academy, through to Castilla and into the first team. With the season over for the senior sides, the U-19s are on the verge of being raided to form a large part of the Castilla squad for the 2017/18 season. These games will be the last chance for certain players to impress, and keep their Real Madrid dream alive!
Juvenil A entered this match with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg. This influenced the way that they decided to play massively. They allowed Villarreal to come at them freely, and tried to punish the boys in yellow on the counter. I won't lie to you, for a while I was worried at this tactic. Villarreal had a lot of ability going forward, and looked really dangerous. Their constant attacking waves were a big cause for concern, and the times the U-19s did manage to retrieve the ball and look forwards, there wasn't enough bodies up the field to create anything. A standard Óscar Rodríguez free kick, and a Dani Gomez disallowed goal were the closest that Real came in the first 45.
Madrid managed to survive the enormous pressure they were put under, and eventually even grabbed a goal, when star striker Dani Gomez was put through straight from the goalkeeper. He poked a shot straight at the keeper, who questionably parried it into the net. 1-0, and 3-0 on aggregate. It was now or never for Villarreal, who desperately threw everything forward in an attempt to get back into the tie!
It looked like they were going to pull one back, when they were awarded a penalty for a foul in the box. Javier Belman, who had a really impressive game, stepped up and saved the penalty well. The game ended 1-0, and Juvenil A made it into the 2017 Copa Del Rey final.
Yet another accolade for Guti and the U-19s. Their season has been long, but it just keeps getting better. In terms of the Copa Del Rey, this is a chance to get one over on current Castilla boss Santiago Solari, who failed to lift this trophy at the same stage last season. Much like last year, Real Madrid will play Atlético Madrid in the final, which will be played on Sunday the 25th of June. I am a big advocate for the idea of Guti taking over of Castilla next season, which sadly looks increasingly unlikely. Luckily for me what isn't unlikely, is that plenty of these Juvenil A players will be joining up with Castilla next year, and I will be able to watch them closely every week. Real Madrid TV will be broadcasting the final live, and Ondra Paul will be back to give you the best coverage possible, so make sure that you tune in to hopefully the domestic double celebrations!