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Immediate reaction: Real Madrid Castilla 1-1 Alcorcón

Álvaro Martín scored for Los Blancos

CF Fuenlabrada v Real Madrid Castilla - Primera RFEF Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid Castilla were forced to settle for a point in a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Alcorcón at the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano. The game was a six-pointer given the positions of the two teams, with Castilla in third and Alcorcón first, but neither was able to break away and take the three points.

The Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano was packed, with fans still queuing to get into the ground right up until kick-off. Both stands were in use, unusually for Castilla, and travelling Alcorcón fans took up one end of the east stand. In total, 3,620 fans were in attendance to make it Castilla’s biggest home crowd of the season.

With that backing, it was the away team who looked the more dangerous in the early stages. They hit the crossbar after only six minutes through Chiki, and only moments later goalkeeper Mario de Luis was at his best to dive low to deny a one-on-one up against Víctor García.

Castilla looked nervy and didn’t settle down until a prolonged period of possession. The more Sergio Arribas was on the ball, the more comfortable the hosts looked. Marked by Pedro Mosquera, a man with 175 LaLiga appearances for Getafe, Deportivo, Elche and Huesca, this was a test for Arribas.

It was Arribas breaking away from Mosquera and into space that set up the first goal with a perfectly-weighted pass into the path of Álvaro Martín, who fired the ball high into the Alcorcón net.

The lead last just minutes as Pablo García dropped into space at the far post from a corner and was unmarked as he volleyed past De Luis. Raúl cut a visibly frustrated figure on the sideline as Alcorcón grew back into the game and reasserted their early dominance.

The second period got off to a lively start with both teams going close, but then settled into a more tense affair, with Castilla dominating possession but struggling to create chances against an Alcorcón side happy to settle for a point.

Noel López makes a return

The number nine had not started a game for Castilla since late September against Badajoz, but came into Raúl’s team for this six-pointer. Leading the line, his movement and in-game intelligence helped to open up spaces for others and give Arribas and Martín room to operate in.

In terms of chances himself, they came few and far between. Jean-Sylvain Babin is one of the toughest central defenders in Primera RFEF and few forwards enjoy coming up against him, but López stood his ground and did not allow Babin to bully him out of the game.

Instead, he would look to drift over to Javier Castro to receive the ball in deeper positions to give himself room to turn and face the Alcorcón backline face on. While he isn’t the quickest of players, it was a more even footing than engaging in a physical battle.

When he went down and was forced off with cramp just after the hour mark, it said as much about his work rate as it did about his physical condition coming into the game.

A statement of intent for the title

This was the first game since October in which Castilla have faced a direct title rival in the group of four teams who seem to have broken away from the rest. A gruelling schedule that month saw a thumping defeat to Alcorcón, a draw with Córdoba and a win over Deportivo.

The team have come on leaps and bounds since then, though they did head into this match off the back of three consecutive draws. It’s now been a full month since Los Blancos last tasted victory, but this draw proved once again that Castilla are in the fight.

Alcorcón trounced Deportivo only a matter of weeks ago and continue to lead the division, and while Castilla may the disappointed to drop points having been ahead, this is a valuable point.

With fourth-placed Córdoba next up, followed by Linares Deportivo in sixth the week after, there is a feeling that Castilla are treading water during a difficult period in the fixture list. Retaining their place in the discussion for promotion should be enough to kick on once this difficult period comes to an end later this month.

CF Fuenlabrada v Real Madrid Castilla - Primera RFEF Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Another left-back in the production line

There are few areas of the field where La Fábrica has created such talent in recent years as at left-back. Sergio Reguilón, Fran García and Miguel Gutiérrez are just three of those players to have come through and ply their trade at a good level in LaLiga, and Rafael Obrador could well be the next to do so.

This was his seventh consecutive start and he has now established himself as the solution to a problem position for Raúl. Édgar Pujol and Rafa Marín have both been pushed Wye at times, but neither have looked particularly comfortable.

It was Obrador’s intervention which sparked the move leading to the first goal, pressing high to turn over possession and set up Sergio Arribas to feed the ball into Álvaro Martín.

Most of the progression of the ball from Castilla came down the left, primarily through Obrador, rather than through Vinícius Tobías on the right.

Still only 18 years old and the youngest player to start against Alcorcón, Obrador’s future is bright. New to the Castilla set-up, he held his own and will look to grow under Raúl. With the role being a problem position in the first team as well, he could start to knock on the door earlier than even he may expect.

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