It has been so long since Castilla have made me feel this way, that I had forgotten why I made the decision to follow them so closely, nearly two years ago. Yet it has taken only one game to fill me with nostalgia and have me jumping for joy over a Segunda División B game. I’m trying to type as fast as I can before this sensational feeling expires. Castilla travelled to Vigo this week, to attempt to grab their first win of the new season. They put out a strong squad, with exclusions including Luca Zidane who is with the first team, and Franchu who sustained a small injury in training. Here is how they lined up:
Castilla XI vs Coruxo: Belman, Reguilón, Javi Sánchez, León, Tejero, Jaume, Rodríguez, Molina, Mancebo, González & Gómez#RealMadridCastilla pic.twitter.com/Ef7tT5A1ia— RM Castilla Stats (@CastillaStats) August 27, 2017
In 2015, watching inexperienced kids make grown men and angry crowds cry week in, week out grabbed my attention like never before. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and with Castilla, this is true more often than we would like. The 15/16 squad disbanded, the manager was fired, and Santiago Solari was put in charge of the rebuilding process. During 16/17, that spark I had with this team started to die. Performances were slow and dull. Results were poor, and the manager was utterly helpless to try and change that. I didn’t think I would ever reignite my love for Castilla, that is, until today.
The game started off pretty normal, with both sides scrapping to keep the ball early on. If anything, Coruxo had the better chances in the first half, with the defence having to stand strong to deny the hosts the opener. Belman was called upon time and time again to save the whites from losing this game in the first half. Castilla looked deflated when attacking, and didn’t manage to create much at all. They went into the break even, but it was what happened after that has gotten me in such a giddy state.
Gooolllll d @DaniGomezAlcon9 tras pase d @sergio_regui y gran control y disparo d nuestro goleador. Bravo Dani!!! 0-1 pic.twitter.com/MMJC59kEiU— VaNeSsA (@vanessa_dsr) August 27, 2017
Castilla had kick-off duty for the second half, and then they scored. It was that quick! Cristo González brought the ball down from a throw-in for Sergio Reguilón, who found top scorer Dani Gómez, and he did the rest. I don’t know what was said at half time, and I am incredibly hesitant to award Solari any credit, but something worked! From here, Castilla continued to attack, and started to play some really good football. It was at this moment I started getting the butterflies in my stomach that had abandoned me so long ago. It wasn’t long before Castilla doubled their lead. A Mancebo corner came in, and Molina somehow was given time to scramble a shot into the net. 2-0!
Arturo scores Castilla's 2nd. pic.twitter.com/LA93vwh03R— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) August 27, 2017
Usually, if Solari’s Castilla somehow gain a lead, they struggle to keep it, and invite enormous amounts of pressure onto themselves. This week was different. They kept pushing Coruxo, largely through star man Dani Gómez. Just over 10 minutes later, they made it three. Cristo Gonzalez found himself in the centre of the pitch for a change, and did what he does best. He drove straight at the Coruxo defence, before finding Víctor Campuzano (who had only recently been introduced to the game). Víctor finished off the move nicely to cap off a wonderful Castilla performance. The game was not over yet though, as Coruxo looked to salvage something. This is where Javier Belman stood up, and produced a string of fantastic saves to earn his much deserved first clean sheet of the season. The final whistle blew and the scoreboard read out a delightfully 3-0 victory for Castilla!
Campuzano makes it 3 for Castilla. Through-pass from Cristo. pic.twitter.com/bxCdpt13qV— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) August 27, 2017
Last week, after I typed up my Majadahonda article, one of the comments was very overcritical to a number of players. But one statement touched one of my nerves in-particular. This gentleman claimed that strikers Dani Gómez and Víctor Campuzano were not ready or good enough to lead Castilla’s front line in the Spanish third division. He followed this up by saying that because opposition defenders were 28+ years old, both players would miss more chances and contribute nothing but getting fouled, and even went as far as to diagnose this as the reason for Sergio Díaz’s downfall.
I found this laughable, to the point where it has earned a slot in this weeks report. Both are far more than good enough to play at this level, and will be looking to play at a much higher level in the near future. They have managed to impress during a very poor tenure for Castilla, and anyone could tell within five minutes of watching them today, that they have what it takes. Perhaps they both read the article and saw the comment, and stepped up their game this week. In that case I’d advise Solari to read my articles and tweets every week. Depending on how the boys fare this season, they could even catch the eye of first team boss Zinedine Zidane. Both ended up scoring, and I am very much so looking forward to hearing from said critic soon.
50' Due to playing against 27 yo centre backs 2 in 2 now... That one was for you, sir! [0-1] #RealMadridCastilla #RealMadridCastillaLive— RM Castilla Stats (@CastillaStats) August 27, 2017
It feels so good being able to write a positive article for a change. It’s difficult watching a tedious showing every week and then having to sum it up, and in all honesty at times watching Castilla became a chore. This performances brought back so many nostalgic memories of why I got hooked on this project for so long, and has literally slapped a beaming smile all over my face. Unfortunately it’s a huge sign of the times that even after a performance like that, I still have two concerns to raise:
For the second game in a row, Cristo did not seem as effective as he could have been. Solari has made it very clear that González will be starting on the wing this season, although he seems much better through the middle. This is the only decision Solari made that you could see publicly, and it backfired. Cristo actually played very well when he had the ball, and he will put up a far better fight than Sergio Díaz when put into the same situation. The question that has to be asked, is why does Cristo have to put up a fight? Why did Real Madrid sign a player just to accommodate this manager’s ridiculous tactic? I find this utterly bizarre, but do hope Cristo pushes on to have a great season.
Sure, we all feel great now, but the task on hand now is for Castilla to carry this form on. What made the 15/16 squad so amazing, is that they thoroughly entertained throughout the season. Their play was of such high quality that they often outclassed their opponents in every aspect of the field. This is the first high calibre performance from Castilla for a long time, and it was only really during the second half, too! For these reasons, I highly doubt that Madrid will keep this up, and I expect them to revert to normal as soon as next week. After all, it is Santiago Solari in charge lest we forget.
Man of the match went to Dani Gómez, who proved a constant threat with the ball at his feet for someone not good enough. Two goals in two games for him. Javier Belman was also fantastic today, as were the rest of the team. Castilla host Ponferradina next week, and will be looking to extend their good form to two games. For now, I will reserve my hopes and dreams for this year. Until next week!
Goals: Gómez, Molina, Campuzano.
Assists: Reguilón, Mancebo, González.