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Match Report: Atlético Madrid B 2-2 Real Madrid Castilla

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Vinícius Júnior gets off of the mark in style

Real Madrid v AC Milan - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

During a season in which Castilla are unlikely to enter the battle for promotion or relegation, games such as the ‘mini-derby’ against Atlético Madrid’s B team can often turn out to be one of the biggest of the campaign. It’s one of the juiciest ties that Castilla can face, but recently years the games have always been pretty anti-dramatic. Last year Castilla were poor, and Atlético even poorer - making for a very dry couple of affairs. Castilla came out on top of those two, taking a win and a draw from the proceedings. This season would surely be spicier with the inclusion of Vinícius Júnior and a new look Atlético side. Solari chose to stick with the same team that beat Las Palmas B 2-0 last week. The city rivals included new signing Óscar Pinchi in their line-up, a player who became a nightmare for Castilla last season at Deportivo B.

After coming away from the first team game the night prior brimming with jubilation, I was expecting this game to drag me straight back down to earth. To my surprise it only supplied my elation further! Atlético had the better start, and made it count when they managed to scramble the ball into Luca Zidane’s goal off of an incoming free-kick in typical fashion. Just as it started to look bleak for Castilla, Vinícius Júnior arose to spare our blushes. Dani Fernández found Cristo González, and he slipped in Vinícius first time perfectly. The Brazilian took a touch to draw the keeper closer before sliding it the opposite side to score his first goal in a Real Madrid shirt. From that moment it suddenly became the Vinícius Júnior show. He demanded the ball at all times and would drive at the defence attempting all sorts of skills and flicks. Whether they all came off or not was another story, but at least he was truly stepping up to the occasion. Castilla began to regularly attack largely through Vinícius. Just as his day couldn’t get any better, he bagged his second. Man it was special. Castilla were on quite a bland attack when Seoane played the ball out to Júnior. The pass wasn’t placed quite right so the Brazilian decided to cut in and shoot whilst still balanced quite awkwardly. The ball flew straight into the top corner from outside the box to everybody’s amazement... 2-1 Castilla who carried that scoreline through to the break.

I unfortunately did not catch the second half, although Atlético did manage to score the equaliser to salvage a point. This was potentially the best ‘mini-derby’ ever, and it was certainly was the best Atlético B side Castilla had ever faced. They had a tactical game plan and also demonstrated extreme levels of aggression at times, mostly focusing on one man. Whilst the centre-backs had a predictably solid game the full-backs became the target to Atlético’s attacks, and did not cope so well. Atlético constantly found themselves invading Castilla’s box through the wings, giving the players in the middle a lot to do. They just about overcame it though, and Castilla can count themselves unlucky to come away with just a draw. The behaviour directed at Vinícius does need to be addressed. Yes he was running the game and constantly getting under the opponents skin, but Atlético wen’t over the line in their conduct. They were continually grabbing him and dragging him around all game long, and at one point Atlético captain Tachi rugby tackled him to the floor before biting him... Somehow no red cards were shown, but their actions were incredibly reckless and unacceptable. A lot was comparable to their senior side. Vinícius may have to get used to that kind of attention. Although it may not come as shockingly as that, it will inevitably be a common tactic used in attempt to stop him.

I wasn’t really feeling the whole Vinícius to Castilla thing after last weeks win, but this week has shown me that it does have the potential to work nicely. After a performance like that it’s vital that the first team take notice, though. Julen Lopetegui did attend the game, and witnessed the genius first hand. He was also at first team training today. We can only wait and see. As for Castilla, I see this as another positive result. Tactically still absolutely nothing there, but the sheer presence of Vinícius has instilled a new lease of life into some of these young players. It’s become mildly entertaining to watch, and I’ll take anything I can get these days. Castilla are away again next week, as the play Unión Adarve. Can they make it three good games out of three?

Goals: Vinícius Júnior x2

Assists: González & Seoane

MOTM: Vinícius Júnior