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Castilla advance to the final after a stunning comeback in the mini-Clásico

Sergio Arribas was again decisive in his return from injury.

Real Madrid Castilla v RC Celta B - Primera RFEF Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

21’ Castilla 1-0 Barcelona Atlètic: Carlos Dotor (assist: Álvaro Martín).
78’ Castilla 2-0 Barcelona Atlètic: Iker Bravo (assist: Gonzalo García).
95’ Castilla 3-0 Barcelona Atlètic: Sergio Arribas (penalty).

Castilla starting XI: Luis López – Peter Federico, Álvaro Carrillo, Rafa Marín, Marvel, Pablo Ramón – Mario Martín, Carlos Dotor, Álvaro Martín – Nico Paz, Álvaro Rodríguez.

On the bench: Lucas Cañizares, Vinícius Tobias, Noel López, Sergio Arribas, Álvaro Leiva, Javier Villar, Iker Bravo, Óscar Aranda, Rafel Obrador, Edgar Pujol, Manuel Ángel, Gonzalo García.

Sunday’s match at Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano was a very important one. Real Madrid opted to keep many players at Castilla last year, although several seemed to be ready to play at a higher level. The objective was clear: The club wanted to ensure the second team was promoted to the Segunda División.

After the 4-2 away defeat the previous weekend, Castilla knew they had to put in a good performance to have a chance of advancing to the play-off final. Raúl opted to make a surprise change to the team. Rafel Obrador, who has been good for Castilla this season, was dropped in favor of Peter Federico.

Castilla got exactly the start they wanted. After 21 minutes, Álvaro Martín crossed in from the right, where Carlos Dotor was waiting. The midfielder was positioned far away from goal, around the penalty spot, but still managed to head the ball into the net. Impressive from Dotor, and another key involvement from Álvaro Martín, who registered two assists in the first leg.

Castilla were clearly gaining belief, and their aggressive press was working. Shortly after scoring, Nico Paz almost assisted Álvaro Rodríguez for the equalizer. Unfortunately, the Uruguayan’s finish went wide. The teams went into the half-time with a 1-0 lead for Castilla.

The second half started relatively calmly, but suddenly both teams had a great chance each. First Nuñez put the ball wide for Barcelona, and soon after Dotor missed the ball completely after a cross from the right.

After 78 minutes, Castilla were rewarded for their efforts. Gonzalo García, who had recently been subbed on, was played free on the right. The Juvenil A player hit a magnificent cross and found another substitute, Iker Bravo. The former Barcelona academy captain headed the ball beautifully into the net.

And then, just before everyone thought the game was going to extra time, the moment came. A Barcelona player inexplicably handled the ball after a corner, and the referee awarded a penalty to Barcelona. The penalty was of course taken by Sergio Arribas, who had been substituted for his first minutes back from injury. The little magician was, of course, infallible from the penalty spot and sent Castilla through to the play-off final in the 95th minute. An absolutely incredible comeback, truly worthy of the Real Madrid badge.

Last hurdle for this fantastic group of players: Eldense.

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