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Juvenil A Score 6 In Copa Semis; Febas Features In Zaragoza’s Playoff

Some notes on an impressive display from Guti’s boys, as well as Febas’s tough day in La Romareda

Real Madrid v Ajax: UEFA Youth League Quarter Final Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Guti’s boys put on a clinic in today’s Copa del Rey first leg semi-final against San Felix. This was a good opportunity to catch Juvenil A in one of Guti’s last remaining matches with the team — even if it was just to get a sense of his footballing philosophy.

It was an impressive performance. It’s actually staggering how much more fun Juvenil A are to watch than Castilla. Guti implements a very direct style of play — with the aim to get the ball as quickly as possible into goal-scoring chances to maximize efficiency (eerily similar to how he played, really), and if the ball is lost, he has his team playing a quick counter-press to retain possession immediately.

Individually, Juvenil A are very good technically. They are really good on the ball, hard to dispossess, and do a tremendous job of hounding the opposition. Key cog today: Alberto. He just has an incredible motor, and as you’ll see in a goal below, he carves through the opposition with his mazy dribbling and low center of gravity.

Guti’s boys -- the defending champions of this tournament, to be sure — got on the scoreboard in the first minute. Moreno scored from a Pedro cut-back:

Just over 20 minutes later, it was 2 - 0 — this time Sergio Lopez cut it back for Pedro Ruiz:

By the time Pedro Ruiz scored his second, San Feliz were lucky to only be down 3 - 0. A glimpse of Alberto’s dribbling in the build-up:

Perhaps some complacency kicked in to start the second half, as Juvenil gave the ball away and then were caught in transition as they were unable to keep their clean sheet.

Juvenil reacted quickly and imposed themselves again. After a really nice build-up, Gorke Zabarte made it 4 - 1 with a Kroos-like finish:

And then five, and then six. Adrian Moreno and Alberto respectively Fernandez respectively:

The match ended 6 - 1. It’s safe to say Juvenil have this tie in the bag.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid loanee Aleix Febas was involved in a big game with Real Zaragoza in their massive Segunda B playoff at La Romareda. Your boi was doing his best to cover both this match and Juvenil A’s, which overlapped — a bit tough to focus on Aleix as I was mostly focusing on Juvenil, but I did my best.

Febas played 83 minutes in what turned out to be a disastrous and heart-breaking day for Real Zaragoza. They completely dominated the flow of play and lost 1 - 2 (2 - 3 on aggregate). Before going down 0 - 1 to Numancia (on a goal completely against the run of play), Zaragoza missed four sitters — three of them coming from their leading goalscorer Borja Iglesias. As Zaragoza equalized (on a possibly offside goal), it looked like they were going to take the game into extra time.

But on a moment of heart-break, Numancia scored in the 91st minute to destroy Zaragoza’s promotion hopes.

OK — Febas stuff. One of the things I wished I had more time for this season was watching this kid play more. He was one of my favourite players at Castilla two seasons ago, and is a ton of fun stylistically. I really missed him. Zaragoza’s games just overlapped too often with other games I had to cover. Today I was reminded of how much I like him.

He started in the Kroos role — as a LCM. But unlike Kroos, he’s much more of a box-to-box threat. Similarly to Kovacic, he can dribble through two or three players at a time, which usually ends in him being fouled.

Again, it was tough to focus on his play entirely as I was spread thin, but one thing to note was that there wasn’t a ton of space for him to work with when he got the ball, and this was a very feisty game with a lot of stoppages and fouls. He did have the task of acting as a vertical outlet when Zaragoza built from the back. Febas’s small frame and dribbling makes him a target to get fouled constantly. He’s like Ceballos in the sense that he’s often the most fouled player on the pitch — and it’s usually aggressive fouls that take him down.

It sucks not having Zaragoza back in Primera for another season, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens to Febas now.

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