After playing out two important 0-0 draws against two of the strongest teams that Castilla had left to play, it was time for the youngsters to start bringing back three points. A trip to relegation candidates Burgos provided an excellent opportunity to do just that. A moment of quality from Franchu proved to be the difference between these two sides last time out, but Castilla would have to look elsewhere as the Argentinian was still out due to injury. One player that was back however was César Gelabert, who made the bench for the first time since being promoted to Castilla. Elsewhere the team was a good one, as Javier Belman finally got an opportunity as Luca Zidane was away with the first team (we’ll talk about that later). Manolo Díaz went back to the 4-3-3 formation after experimenting with two strikers in recent weeks. Cristo González started alongside Jorge De Frutos and Alberto, with Álvaro Fidalgo deployed just behind them. Javier Sánchez took back the armband and sat in at centre-back.
Castilla XI against Burgos: Belman, López, Sánchez(C), De la Fuente, García, Grau, Seoane, Fidalgo, De Frutos, Alberto & González.— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) March 31, 2019
Bench: Ramos, Martín, Fernández, Calderón, Abou, Gelabert & Gómez.#MMCastillaLive pic.twitter.com/aIYqAXZSVW
There was a big crowd for this one, and they were all cramped into two stands due to building work around the rest of the ground. This created quite the atmosphere, and this coupled with the aggression shown by the home team proved to be an intense challenge for Castilla. It had all of the ingredients to be an exciting game, but for around 85 minutes it didn’t really click. Both teams created enough chances to be comfortably ahead, but neither team ever really looked superior. Burgos did have a perfectly fine goal disallowed because of an incorrect offside call, and looked dangerous from set pieces and crosses into the box. This is why it came as a surprise when Castilla took the lead through a set piece, as Jorge De Frutos headed home from a decent Álvaro Fidalgo corner. Burgos replied after working their way into the box efficiently before slotting the ball past Belman. They went on to dominate the remainder of the half and thoroughly deserved the draw if not more at that point.
The second half brought a lot more of the same, but as the clock ticked on Burgos visibly began to lose influence over the game. The hosts were not putting any pressure on Madrid’s goal anymore, and looked tired already. Castilla weren’t exactly taking advantage of this, but they did manage to take the lead after a defender handled the ball inside the area. The Burgos fans, players and even coaching staff did as much as they can to put Cristo off before taking it, and even managed to stall around two minutes of the game due to the referee’s incompetence. Eventually he managed to get things in order, and Cristo silenced the crowd with a great finish from the spot. The goal didn’t change much about the hosts attitude, and despite being very close to the relegation zone they appeared to be stuck in first gear. The Burgos players began getting frustrated with their performance, and could well have seen a red card on another day after some nasty challenges on the quicker youngsters. The last five minutes conjured a bit more excitement up, but nothing clear-cut, allowing Castilla to see out the win pretty calmly.
FULL TIME!— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) March 31, 2019
Burgos 1-2 Real Madrid Castilla!
A huge win for Castilla against a tough team in a tense atmosphere! They jump straight back into the play-offs now and up to third, with seven games to go.
This has been you boy @CastillaStats! Hope you enjoyed it!⚽️#MMCastillaLive
Before we get to another important debrief, here are a few notes regarding the game and a few things around the club:
The Burgos staff and fans seem to feel pretty robbed, and have taken to social media to display their anger at the officials. They should feel hard done by after the goal was disallowed, and they had a few more decisions go against them - but so did Castilla. Burgos should easily have had a red card, and plenty of decisions went against Madrid at the same time. They seem to be questioning the penalty, but after seeing it back the ball hit the defenders hand and the referee pulled it back for handball. Burgos played quite well, but deserved nothing more than a draw at best, and have let themselves down a little bit with thier conduct after the game. Good luck to them for the rest of the season!
Last week César Gelabert returned from a long spell on the sidelines and featured for the under-19s. In the last report I said that this was a good idea and he should perhaps stay there until he is well oiled enough to give Segunda B a crack. Today he was listed on the bench for Castilla, which was his first involvement with the team since being promoted. I’m not opposed to him making Castilla squads for the remainder of the season. It is best for him to get back to his best with Juvenil A, and as I said pushing him into a play-off chase in a physical league isn’t the best idea. However, at his best he would be an excellent boost in the play-off/promotion run, so if he can achieve this in that short space of time then everyone is a winner.
Lets talk about Luca Zidane. I was very happy to see Javier Belman get that start for Castilla, only his seventh of the entire season. I thought it was a bit weird that Luca Zidane was going to make the first team bench, but I didn’t think much more of it. Then after the Castilla game, the first team line-up was released - and Luca Zidane was starting. Luca Zidane has improved more at Castilla than any other player I have ever seen. I mean that. As stated on the podcast with Kiyan last week, Luca has gone from being an incapable, unqualified amateur - to being able to justify his place on the roster, and status as a professional football player. Every aspect of his game has improved tremendously, from terrible to adequate. He does however remain Castilla’s second best keeper (perhaps third if we ever got to see Moha Ramos play). When you are not the best young goalkeeper at your club by some distance, yet you still receive 100% of the opportunities available for young keepers, and the only common denominator you share with the person calling the shots is your surname, then something is obviously not right. I’ve seen many people defending him saying that his recent form or his hype justifies this appearance, but that doesn’t really cut it. The majority of football fans have not actually seen him play very much, and it shows. Below are a few clips from past seasons. Be very aware that this is only a snippet of his highlight reel. He was consistently doing things like this almost every game, and whilst most other players would actually be released for performing at such levels, Luca has continued to stand in the way of numerous talented young keepers. As much as he has improved now, I cannot wait for him to move on, although he is bound to get promoted as first team third keeper next season. Nepotism at its finest.
Luca Zidane ● Best Skills ● Paranormal goals pic.twitter.com/MIps6ldfYW— Rey Cholo (@Cholo14Rey) March 31, 2019
Despite being conflicted about Luca’s start, it was really good to see Brahim in the line-up. And he had a positive performance, gaining his first Real Madrid assist for Isco’s goal. Watching him play made me even more confused about the decision to keep him in the first team alone this season. He is so talented, but there is still so much that he can improve upon. On the ball he was very slow at times and often brought play to a complete stop to make a decision. His decision making was a time questionable as well, but he always looked comfortable and created a fair amount of danger. The optimal way of doing this is simply by playing games. At Castilla he would have almost trebled his entire career minutes so far. Next season is important. If Castilla remain in Segunda B (which is more than likely) then Brahim should perhaps look to be loaned out elsewhere for game time. But if Castilla did miraculously get promoted, then LaLiga2 is the perfect place for Díaz to develop. For now I hope that he can see out the season with a few more appearances with the first team. Let’s wait and see.
Back to Castilla then. They now climb back into the play-off places, and up to third place with seven games to go. They are only one point away from the top of the table, but are still only two away from slipping away from the play-offs again. Next up for Castilla is Salmantino, another team sat towards the bottom of the table. Another great chance to claim three more golden points, but after a six goal 3-3 thriller last time out - it won’t be easy. Man of the match goes to Jorge De Frutos for working his socks off. He bagged the first goal with a skillfull header, and looked menacing on the ball from start to finish. If you aren’t on-board this Castilla hype train yet, then perhaps you soon will be. We can do this! See you next week...
Goals: De Frutos & González.
MOTM: De Frutos.