For Real Madrid Castilla, ‘big games’ often only come with context. A play-off tie, or a game against any direct challenger usually forms the most important occasions. However, there are two fixtures that will always be massive for the team and it’s followers. I am of course referring to the replication of ‘El Clásico’ against Barcelona’s B team, and the Madrid-derby against the reserves of Atlético Madrid. Both dubbed the ‘mini’ versions; these clashes have produced some classic games down the years. There hasn’t been a ‘mini-Clásico’ game in years, and there is no sign of one emerging anytime soon. The mini-Madrid derby comes around far more frequently though, and it was Castilla’s turn to pay them a visit this weekend. For Raúl’s first taste of a derby as a manager, he went with a reasonably strong side, but left the majority of his firepower on the bench. Castilla had not won any of their last four derbies, drawing three and losing one - the defeat coming in this exact fixture last season...
Castilla XI against Atlético Madrid B: Belman, Rodríguez Martínez, De la Fuente, García, Blanco, Calderón, Gelabert, Fidalgo(C), Jordi & Pedro Ruiz.— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) November 30, 2019
Bench: Fuidias, Gila, Bravo, Baeza, Park, Feuillassier & Rodrigues.#MMCastillaLive pic.twitter.com/Ua49sOgZ4l
I like these fixtures. Mainly because their importance for the players is unprecedented. Before the game had even started, Belman’s goal was peppered in toilet paper, and a sizable crowd of home fans had gathered right behind him in an attempt to pile the pressure onto him. The crowd was big and rowdy, Atlético were up for it and Castilla needed to try and build on the win they claimed against Oviedo B last week. It’s always interesting in these games how similar they pan out to the authentic senior team derbies. Atlético took a deserved early lead through an accurate powerful shot past Belman, and then did well to subdue Castilla for the rest of the half using aggression and hostility. Despite looking good on the ball, Castilla barely took a shot on goal in the first half...
The team’s reaction was very positive straight from kick-off for the second half. Gelabert hit the bar within a minute, before Jordi’s shot was really well blocked off of the line. All big Pedro needed to do from there was head it on target for an equaliser, but he could only guide it wide of the target. Castilla continued to dominate the game, and if anything, deserved to win the game come the end. They almost secured a draw, as Pedro bundled the ball over the line in the final minutes - only for that goal to be incorrectly disallowed for a reason still not fully clear. Moments later, the hosts had the ball on the counter and found themselves clean-through on goal. With all of the time in the world, the ball was slotted past Belman to confirm the defeat and the final scoreline of 2-0.
FULL TIME!— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) November 30, 2019
Atlético Madrid B 2-0 Real Madrid Castilla!
Castilla showed superior technique, and deserved a win, but could not beat the ever-rough Atlético defence. Raúl’s poor form continues..
This has been @CastillaStats. Thanks for following the game with me!#MMCastillaLive
This game perfectly summed up Raúl’s managerial career so far. Promising play with all of the best intentions, but no reward. In the second half the team played very well, but things still went wrong. As mentioned on the the last Castilla podcast with Kiyan, I like Raúl as a manager and think he has some really good ideas, and a system which allows every player to shine - but having never actually spent a whole season with one team before, he was simply not the right man for the job at this moment in time. This troubling defeat leaves Castilla two points above safety, below mid-table in 12th. I don’t think Castilla will need to be concerned about the dreaded ‘R’ word because their football is really promising at times, but they are certainly underachieving with the squad they currently have and the poor standard of the division this season. There is still plenty of time to turn it around, but if things don’t improve then it is going to end up being a very uninspired season.
MOTM: Javier Hernández.