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Three takeaways from Juvenil A’s 3-1 win over Juventus

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Raul’s U-19s have reached a historic sixth UEFA Youth League quarter final

Juventus v Real Madrid - UEFA Youth League Round of Sixteen Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Going down a goal and a man within the opening 10 minutes, Juvenil A’s UEFA Youth League challenge was looking set to be as short lived as the senior’s side Champions League campaign. However, goals from Sergio Arribas, Carlos Dotor and Juan Latasa saw Raul’s side roar back into the match, setting up a quarter tie against Inter Milan on Wednesday.

Here is what you need to know about Madrid’s victory

Raul deserves plenty of credit for this win

Real Madrid

Most Real Madrid youth sources agree that the return of the UEFA Youth League caught the club off guard. Its understandable, with the cancellation of so many youth tournaments before and since, that the Madrid higher ups weren’t expecting the tournament to be finished. Its return meant that Raul had plenty of work to do when his squad returned for training at the end of July.

Regardless of what happens in the next few rounds, the current Castilla coach’s work so far has been admirably. He has taken to the opportunity like a fish to water, inviting a range of players from three age groups to train, allowing him to get a better idea of what Castilla will have at their disposal in the short and long term.

In just a few short weeks, he has clearly been able to communicate what he wants from his team with the second goal a prime example of Raul-ball. Granted, he has been helped by the presence of Castilla players and members of his old Juvenil B side, but that shouldn’t take credit away from his influence on Sunday’s performance.

He managed the game fantastically after going a man down and made some really effective substitutions towards the end to ensure Madrid finished largely on top. He still has plenty to learn, but the 2019-20 season has seen Raul emphatically prove, that despite getting job on his playing CV, he is a very talented young coach.

Juvenil A make Youth League history

In overcoming Juventus challenge on Sunday, Juvenil A have become the first youth side to reach six consecutive quarter finals, meaning Los Blancitos have reached the final eight every season since the competition started.

It suggests that Real are on the right track in the hunt for their maiden title, however their track record in quarter finals is a little more mixed having won three and lost three. Wednesday’s match against Inter will offer a chance to put that record back in the green. The Italians squeaked past Rennes in their round of 16 tie match having qualified from a group including Borrussia Dortmund, Barcelona and Slavia Prague. Like Raul, whom recorded just his second away win of the season against Juventus, Inter have struggled away from home in Europe so far, managing just a single away win in the group stages (albeit against Barcelona).

Castilla Corner will do its best to find out more about Madrid’s quarter final opponents, but one can’t help but be optimistic about Real’s after such an uplifiting win.

Antonio Blanco showed everyone what he’s capable of

Juventus FC v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Youth League Round of 16 Photo by Harold Cunningham - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Castilla Corner have been cautious in hyping up Antonio Blanco’s this season. The 20-year-old had a great, but not stellar, campaign at Castilla this year and, speaking for myself, I was expecting more of the steady progress we saw so far with Blanco in the Youth League.

What we got instead was a full display of Blanco’s capabilities and a demonstration of a defensive side of his game that has been largely absent from his time at Castilla. As a deep midfielder, Blanco never shied away from defensive work at Castilla, however, his game against Juventus was comfortably his best defensive, and indeed overall, performance of the campaign.

Aside from seeing such a bright young talent in good form, Raul will be delighted to see Blanco and Ivan Morante instantly connecting in a double pivot. The duo’s long passing allowed Real to stretch a compact Juventus and played a huge role in the comeback victory. Though its worth keeping in mind that there is a jump in quality (and defintely style) from UEFA Youth League to Segunda B, that the double pivot worked so well here might inspire Raul to use it next year regardless.

He will certainly have plenty of homegrown option to play alongside Blanco with Morante doing plenty of favours for his chance today and Dotor and Xavier Sintes already earmarked for promotion.