Castilla were unbeaten in four games, but two of those were draws. If the team wanted to maintain their hard earned pay-off spot then they would have to start collecting a few wins. The visit of relegation battlers Salmantino provided a strong chance to achieve this, and Manolo Díaz knew it. He put out a strong starting line-up, keeping the 4-3-3 formation and making very few changes from the side that beat Burgos last week. Luca Zidane started in goal despite being on the bench for the first team one day prior, whilst Javier Sánchez sported the captains armband.
This game shared the template of 99% of the others games played out this year: eighty minutes of dry football followed by a mildly exciting last ten. The first half really was a tough watch, but Castilla did start imposing themselves more towards the end. Things took a twist in the second half when the visitors broke away on the counter and volleyed a strike past Luca Zidane. By this point Castilla had taken control of the majority of the play, and looked to immediately pull one back. Eight minutes later they made that control count. Dani Fernández did well to push forwards and find the lively Jorge De Frutos, who put the ball on a plate for Cristo González to tap into the corner. That was his fiftheenth goal of the season, quite the achievement for any Castilla player. Castilla got better and better, but although they came close - they couldn’t make a lively last ten minutes count for anything. The game finished 1-1, and Castilla earned another point, extending their unbetaten run to five games.
As always, I have some short and random notes about the game and other things to share:
César played his first game of the season for Castilla today, and his first since being promoted into the Castilla squad. I liked his involvements, and although I thought it was best for him to make a return from a lengthy injury for the under-19s, I have no objection to his involvement for Castilla. Naturally, he’s still quite rusty, but it’s clear that he adds some quality. When the timings are right, it is beneficial for everyone to give him some minutes on the pitch in Segunda B.
The play-off Run
Barcelona B expert and all-round great guy Navid Molaaghaei (who I had on a Castilla/Barca B podcast not long ago) hit the nail on the head when he tweeted that the one thing everyone needs to know about Segunda B is that every team drops points, all of the time. Today all of the top teams in Castilla’s group bar one dropped points, and it is very likely that they will do so again before the season is out. Castilla obviously need to pick up as many points as possible to make the play-offs, but at the same time whilst they sit in third place - there is always a chance that they will remain safe due to the teams around them dropping important points. Especially when considering the standard of this years group. Castilla’s rival teams will have as much of a part to play in the team’s success this year as Castilla themselves.
But still 6g to go. There’s just one thing everyone need to know about Segunda B: everyone drops points everywhere! 1st, 3rd and 5th all lost points this weekend to teams around the relegation zone. If BarçaB at least win their games against 3rd, 5th and 9th, they’ll be in top 4.— Navid Molaaghaei (@navidjaaan) April 7, 2019
Next week contains a bigger challenge: the visit to Guijuelo. They sit in the top half of the table, five points away from the play-offs. The last time these sides squared up, Castilla just about came out on top thanks to a second half Cristo goal. This game will definitely be just as difficult, but with a win Castilla again have the chance to top the table. Man of the match today went to Jorge De Frutos, for the second week in a row. He was the most dangerous player by far today, and got the assist for Cristo’s winning goal. There’s now only six games left to make the dream happen. Make sure to tune in next week in order to digest all of the action. Until then...
Assist: De Frutos.
MOTM: De Frutos.