The transfer window is shut, and we now know what the full Castilla squad looks like for this season.
The first two fixtures of the season resulted in a loss and a win, or more importantly; a bad performance and a good one. Today saw the visit of Ponferradina — a side who often find themselves aiming for the playoff places. Castilla were looking to form a run of good performances for the first time in ages, and deployed the same outfield XI as the week prior that saw them dismantle Coruxo 3-0. The only change to the line up was the incoming Luca Zidane, who replaced Javier Belman. Belman had a stormer of a game against Coruxo, and a poor showing from Luca would only further expose the obvious father-son advantages that Luca receives from his powerful namesake father.
The early stages of the game were filled with mistakes from both sides. Luca Zidane’s kicking wasn’t at it’s finest, and there were plenty of misplayed passes further up the field. Predictably, the first goal came after a mistake. Luca Zidane rushed off of his line into a crowd before losing his balance, leaving the goal exposed. To be fair on him, he made a good recovery save before helplessly witnessing the ball fire into his net moments later.
1-0 down, Castilla had to step up. Impressively, step up they did! The whites didn’t shy away, and pushed forward searching for a way back. The play was similar to that of last weeks — quick passing, with lots of movement to go with it. The wings were being used effectively, with Mancebo and González providing plenty of crosses into the box.
Castilla’s equalizer came directly through the middle, however. Dani Gómez picked the ball up, and linked well with Óscar Rodríguez outside of the box, before letting off a powerful low shot straight into the bottom corner.
1-1, and three goals in three games for that boy.
The play continued in Castilla’s favour, with Mancebo and Gómez doing a lot of work up front. Jaume was very impressive in midfield for the second week in a row, and he and Seoane look like they have a huge role to play this year. A few more chances were created in the first period, with them largely falling to Gómez, but he was unable to double his tally. The score was 1-1 at the break.
Dani Gomez is on fire to start the season pic.twitter.com/7hnnkKSTxK— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) September 3, 2017
The second half was far slower than the first, which makes for a change. Both teams looked to have come out in second gear. Few chances were created, but when it came to the opposition attacking, the Madrid defence remained strong. As the half went on, the play thankfully picked up a bit. Dani Gómez could’ve had a hat-trick on the day, but left his finishing boots in the changing rooms at half time it seemed. If there was going to be another goal, it certainly looked like it was going to be from Castilla.
It wasn’t until the last minutes of the game where it all went a bit crazy... Gómez was played clean through, and looked set to score, but he was taken out at the last second by a Ponferradina defender. The defender received a straight red, and Castilla were handed a chance late on against 10 men. Ponferradina used their experience well, and wasted what time they could with tactical fouls and dramatic play, and it proved just enough to get over the line with a point in hand. The game ended 1-1!
So, not the best result in the end, but not a bad performance by any means. The 17/18 squad is weaker than the 16/17 squad on paper, but they already look like they can go further after their showings so far. Of course, Santiago Solari will have something to say about that, and it was he who perhaps cost Castilla the point today, waiting far too long to make his changes. But maybe, just maybe, there are reasons to be secretly optimistic this year.
Man of the match for the second week running goes to Dani Gómez who worked tirelessly for 90 minutes, and continued his fine scoring run. What a player! Next week is a big one, as it is the first B team showdown of the season, against Deportivo de La Coruña! Entertainment is almost guaranteed, so be sure to stop by next week!