Castilla were never going to get a better chance at making the play-offs than last weekend. Whilst they were playing relegation bound Rápido de Bouzas, their main rivals all had tougher match-ups, which they had to win to keep the race alive. The main rivals Pontevedra played high-flyers Atlético Madrid B, and lost 2-0. CD Leonesa played UD San Sebastián de los Reyes, and scraped a 2-1 win after going behind. Was this enough to send Castilla into the play-offs with a win?... To find out, first they had to ensure that they did indeed win. The team was similar to the side that beat Coruxo 3-0 last week, but with a couple of tweaks. Firstly, Javier Belman came in for Luca Zidane who was with the first team. Finally, Álex Martín slotted in at centre-back to fill in for the suspended captain Javier Sánchez.
It was as surprising as Luca Zidane getting a first team call-up to see that this game could swing either way from the start, but encouraging nonetheless. This game was winnable, and after both of Castilla’s rivals conceded early goals - any goal from Castilla would be worth its weight in goal. It always takes something quite special to break that deadlock in these games, and main man Cristo González had his eye on that twenty goal mark. Jorge De Frutos booted the ball very high into the air in Roberto Carlos 2002-esque fashion, before Cristo attempted a bicycle style kick from outside of the box! The technique wasn’t perfect, and neither was the connection - but the ball still amazingly bobbled through the box and past the keeper into the bottom corner to give Castilla the lead. That was Cristo’s nineteenth goal of the campaign. From there on out they dominated the remainder of the half, and Cristo was hungry for that next goal. Dani Gómez wasted two golden chances to add to his season tally, before Castilla recorded a second. Javier Belman produced a magnificent save at one end, before playing Castilla in on the counter. Gómez found Martín Calderón, who slotted in Cristo towards goal. Cristo again took advantage of the keepers poor position to slide the ball into his nearest bottom corner to hit twenty goals for the season. An amazing achievement. The half time whistle blew moments later, and it was all looking very positive at this point.
If Rápido de Bouzas lost this game, then they would be confirmed as relegated. So it was no shock that they came out and gave it some real fight. They looked better than Castilla for large spells of the second half, but Javier Belman was on his game as usual - and that two goal cushion looked too a challenge to great for the hosts. Elsewhere, CD Leonesa had managed to turn things around against SS Reyes, which could potentially have thrown a spanner in the works for Castilla. At one point in the second half Dani Gómez was fouled in the area after a really good run, and Cristo González had the perfect opportunity for another hat-trick this season. However, not for the first time - he fluffed the spot kick and the keeper saved. After a battle of a second half, Castilla did push on and score again right at the death. Substitute Alberto received the ball off of Jorge De Frutos in the box, before turning his man and giving the keeper no chance. The final whistle blew to a muted reaction, to confirm Castilla’s 3-0 win, and the relegation of Rápido de Bouzas.
REAL MADRID CASTILLA ARE IN THE 2019 SEGUNDA DIVISION B PLAY-OFFS pic.twitter.com/UcA5cdXOLC— Real Madrid Castilla Stats (@CastillaStats) May 12, 2019
As previously stated, that Leonesa win could have been controversial for Castilla, if not for the head to head ruling in Spain. This season, Castilla beat Leonesa away, and drew with them at home. This rule means that if Castilla lost next week and Leonesa won, meaning both teams would finish the season on 65 points, then Leonesa’s stronger goal difference would count for nothing. Pontevedra could have caused real problems if they beat Atlético, as they play Castilla next week in the final league game of the year. Luckily, they lost - meaning that Real Madrid Castilla achieved the impossible, qualifying for the 2019 Segunda División B play-offs. Man of the match for the game went to Cristo González, who despite his penalty miss still stood up and grabbed that play-off spot with both hands. His goals were vital, as they have been all season long, and will continue to be if Castilla want any further success this season. There is still a very small chance that they can finish first next week and qualify for the champions play-offs. For that to happen they will need to beat Pontevedra, and hope that every other team around them loses... Is there time for one last miracle? Find out next week... If you are pondering on how the confusing Segunda B play-offs work exactly, then my very next piece will be dissecting the process, as well as Castilla’s chances! Don’t miss it.
Goals: González x2 and Alberto.
Assists: De Frutos x2 and Calderón.