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Three takeaways from Castilla’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Baleares

Real Madrid

A depleted Castilla snatched a draw from the jaws of victory at home to last season’s group champions on Wednesday morning. Carlos Dotor scored in back to back matches to put Castilla in an early lead the hosts dominated proceedings for much of the first half. Things went a bit stale in the second as Baleares got back into the game and finally equalised in 73rd despite Luis Lopez’s best efforts. Raul’s side will now set their attention to Poblense this weekend.

In the meantime, here are three takeaways from this match.

Castilla show their depth

Raul entered this game with far from his ideal squad. Diego Altube, captain Victor Chust and top goalscorer Hugo Duro have all travelled to Milan with the first team. Pablo Ramon was injured while Mario Gila and Miguel Gutierrez both pulled out due to discomfort just before the game.

The absentees saw Guillem return to the starting lineup alongside Sergio Santos while the other two spots were filled by U-19s regulars, Oscar Carrillo and Javi Reuda. Dotor shifted into his more natural midfield position allowing first starts for super sub Cesar Gelabert and pre-season star Peter Federico. Baleares haven’t had the best start to the season, however, you’d have fancied them to beat a patchwork Castilla team. That the hosts will feel hard done by not to have taken all three points speaks highly of the depth Castilla have at their disposal this year and should pose some really questions for the regulars in Raul’s team.

Given that he was bought by Real, Hugo Vallejo has had a pretty slow start to life at Castilla and that sluggishness has been highlighted by the performances of Gelabert and Peter off the bench. Federico set up the goal today and Gelabert continued a fine run of form having been instrumental in last weekend’s comeback victory. There is little time for patience this year and with such dangerous players showing form out wide, it makes little sense to stick by Vallejo next weekend, not to mention how much better Carlos Dotor played in midfield compared to recent showing as a winger.

There was also a great showing in depth at the back as Carrillo and Reuda pasted their baptism by fire despite failing to hold onto a clean sheet. Some really selections headaches await Raul later on this week.

This Castilla team still has lessons to learn

Against Real Navalcarnero, Castilla learned a valuable lesson about patience. At 1-0 down, the match had fallen into a pattern we’d seen in defeats against Getafe and Rayo Majahonda. Namely, Castilla would get into position, put the opponent’s defence under pressure and force a rushed clearance which would often fall to a white shirt outside the box. Where patience was required, Castilla players in this position regularly opted for their first instinct, fire a shot from range. Though there are plenty of good long range shooters in this crop of players, the opportunity to shoot from outside the box was rarely on and it made defending Castilla quite easy for low sitting backline.

When, for the first time in three games, a pass to stretch the opponent was opted for instead of shooting, Castilla equalised and went on to win 3-1.

This lesson was again at work on Wednesday with Castilla showing plenty of maturity and patience in attack which resulted in more and higher quality chances at goal. Unfortunately, there are still some lessons that need to be learned. At their best, Castilla play high up the pitch and are very good at putting their opponents on the back foot, however, when they inevitably run out of gas, Raul’s side often find themselves lacking control and penned in their own half. This sort of atmosphere breeds mistakes and its inevitable that good sides like Baleares are going to find a goal.

Its frustrating because Castilla have players capable of controlling matches regardless of tempo, however control is clearly not what they are looking for when on the backfoot, opting to attempt a quick counter that, on this occasion, Baleares were well capable of dealing with. Having seemed like they’ve figured out some of the offensive issues, managing matches on the backfoot should be next on the list of things to solve.

Keep an eye on Hugo Duro

The senior squad are lacking in-form offensive options right now and few have been in hotter goalscoring form than Duro. His selection for the Milan game was more down to injuries than anything, however, his presence might prove a happy accident should he get any game time at the San Siro.