Castilla have survived their second relegation scare of the season. Unfortunately, that leaves them with absolutely nothing to play for over the last five games of the campaign. With the visit of play-off hopefuls Fuenlabrada, the team that gave the Real Madrid first team a good run for their money, things were looking pretty bleak. Castilla included academy players Pedro and César Gelbart in the squad - a decision that may have been surprising if they hadn’t both already made their debuts and various other Castilla match-day squads. Luca Zidane walked back into the starting line-up, which is another decision that really should; but no longer surprises any of us. Besides that it was a pretty standard line-up, with all eyes surely following Franchu after his absolutely stunning performance last time out against Cerceda.
Once inicial del Castilla para el partido contra el Fuenlabrada:— Cantera Real Madrid (@lafabricacrm) April 22, 2018
4. Manu Hernando
5. Javi Sánchez
11. Quezada pic.twitter.com/yhsFn0SzSR
On paper this isn’t really a close match up, but after the 0-0 draw in the last fixture, Castilla made sure that they were yet again going to be a hard team to beat. At times they looked more comfortable than the first team did in their Copa Del Rey match-up earlier this season. After scoring first, it looked like the visitors may just sneak this one. However, Castilla refused to back down, and substitute César Gelabert was instrumental in the comeback - providing the assist in the form of a cross for Cristo González to head home. Cristo is now Castilla’s top scorer for this season. The score finished at 1-1, with Castilla recording a decent result against one of the best teams in the league. As always, I took some notes from the game:
Zidane estuvo pendiente de la evolución de los jugadores del filial y vio la actuación del Castilla frente al Fuenlabrada desde la grada del Alfredo Di Stéfano. pic.twitter.com/SdlVCEiWq7— Real Gómez (@RealGomezRM) April 22, 2018
Here we are again. The defence were yet again vital in aiding the team to grab a result. It must be a huge task having Luca Zidane covering the goal behind you, as any shot towards goal instantly becomes dangerous. Despite this, the defence still consistently stands tall and individually they continue to improve as players rapidly. They have four games left to do their thing for Castilla, and then they can be very optimistic about flying the nest this summer.
Usually when a player gets called into the squad from the academy, it all goes the same way. They get handed their debut, get given ten or so minutes to get some nice touches of the ball in, and that’s it. Although César’s debut followed that mould, this game was very different indeed. He was given 34 minutes to help Castilla get back into the game, and he did just that. He demanded the ball from the left hand side whenever Castilla were on the attack, and tried to create as much as possible for the strikers to eat up. Eventually, the game-plan worked, as it was César’s cross that met Cristo’s head for the equaliser. Gelabert was so impressive that he claimed the man of the match award, being the first academy player to come in and do so for as long as I can remember. Remember, he is just 17 years old... The sooner he gets promoted to Castilla full time, the better!
There are only four games left to play now. Four weeks that will be sure to drag on like four years, before a busy summer ahead. There are plenty of changes to come. Tomorrow Castilla travel to relegation bound Toledo. If I were you I’d stick to watching the Bayern game.