Castilla broke a five game winless streak on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Real Oviedo B.
Me, Kiyan and Sam were at the game and, courtesy of me sitting in an airport with time to kill, I've volunteered to do the match report.
Raul rotated a bit for this one, Pedro Ruiz (who looks every inch of his 6ft 5 inches in real life) started once again after his goal last weekend. Miguel Baeza and Antonio Blanco started on the bench, likely with the UEFA Youth League game against PSG in mind. In their place, Martin Calderon and Cesar Gelabert started with Alvaro Fidalgo captaining the side in the middle of midfield.
XI DEL REAL MADRID CASTILLA— RM Fabrica (@RMFabrica) November 23, 2019
Entra Jordi por Antonio respecto al último partido. pic.twitter.com/kSCsuha44b
As they have done on several occasions under Raul, Castilla went in hunt of an early goal straight from kick off.
Despite an arguably better flank of Fran Garcia and Franchu on the other side, Castilla looked to funnel possession through the left flank. After threatening in the opening minutes, the hosts scored off their first real opening in the 18th minute. Jordi broke Oviedo’s defensive line with a great through ball and Pedro Ruiz scored with a slow rolling shot past the goalkeeper.
⚽ 18' | 1-0 | ¡GOL! ¡Así abrió el marcador Pedro Ruiz para el #RMCastilla! #LaFabrica | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/ZcVBgURh9I— Cantera Real Madrid (@lafabricacrm) November 23, 2019
It was a well deserved lead and one Castilla should have pushed on from, however, the scores remained 1-0 at halftime with the away side finishing the stronger. There were no personnel changes at halftime, however Raul clearly made some tweaks to his approach. Fidalgo enjoyed alot more of the ball in the second half, as well as Fran Garcia and Franchu. It was a stunning run from the former that led to the penalty which captain Fidalgo converted with ease.
⚽ 54' ¡GOL! ¡@Alvaro10fidalgo puso el 2-0 en el marcador desde el punto de penalti! #LaFabrica | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/OplNRiwDx7— Cantera Real Madrid (@lafabricacrm) November 23, 2019
From there on, the game was a bit of a breeze. Fidalgo demonstrated that he’s a level above Segunda B with a man of the match display, Pedro Ruiz staked a further claim to be Castilla’s starting striker and Raul’s side completed a very encouraging performance following a really tough run of results.
As a fan experience, going to the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium for a Castilla game goes down as one of the bizarre and fun things I’ve done in football. Castilla’s home ground sits on the outskirts of Madrid city centre, two metros and bus away from the Santiago Bernabeu. The bus ride is through this strange desert-like landscape with a series of expensive houses populating the horizon. The Valdebebas is akin to a military base, its fenced off and a handful of security guards patrol the area, though they don’t seem greatly interested in what you are doing.
The Alfredo Di Stefano stadium itself is a surprisingly nicer stadium than I expected. Real Madrid TV portray it as run down, empty and a bit dull. In reality, its a good looking building from the outside, well maintained and was home to its own unique fanfare and atmosphere on Saturday evening.
Despite its being quite a cold day in Madrid, a very decent crowd showed up for the game, hiding away from the camera in the upper reaches of the main stand. You can rarely hear the crowd on Real Madrid TV, however, the home supporters certainly made themselves heard during the game.
It’s quite a unique experience, even to the Santiago Bernabeu, and seems to attract unique characters. Take Kiyan’s infamous old man, for instance. He was largely silent for this game, but only because he was so busy running around the stadium doing other things. He showed almost everyone in attendance his collection of Castilla badges and photos, waved a big white sheet in different parts of stadium and gave people high fives when Castilla scored.
This is alot of talk from someone who has been to just one Castilla game, but the experience has left an impression on me between the journey getting there and the stadium itself. It’s in a small sampling like this that you realise what a great shame that tickets to Castilla games are so exclusive. Despite sharing a name, a badge and a city, Castilla and Real Madrid are two very different fan experiences and it would be fascinating to see how a capacity crowd at both stadiums would further compare.
Finishing this long match report, Raul’s kids now sit in ninth position in the table, still some distance away from the league leaders and the promotion spots. Next up, a mini-derby against second place Atletico Madrid B!