46’ Castilla 0-1 Eldense: Manu Nieto (assist: Mario Soberón).
69’ Castilla 1-1 Eldense: Sergio Arribas (assist: Rafel Obrador).
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, Theo Zidane, Sergio Arribas, Álvaro Leiva, Javier Villar, Iker Bravo, Óscar Aranda, Rafel Obrador, Edgar Pujol, Manuel Ángel and Gonzalo García.
After last week’s incredible comeback in the mini-Clásico, another tough test awaited Real Madrid Castilla. Although the team performed well against Barcelona Atlètic, they were aware that tonight’s opponent could be even tougher to face: Eldense finished the season eight points ahead of Barcelona in the table, and would have been promoted directly if it hadn’t been for the head-to-head.
Raúl started with the same team as in the previous game. Against Barcelona, Sergio Arribas came on and was crucial in his first game back from injury, but was seemingly not ready to start today either. The obvious difference between the teams was the age difference: Eldense, for example, has no midfielders in the squad under the age of 30.
Castilla had the first opportunity after 10 minutes. An Eldense defender misjudged a bouncing ball, giving Peter the opportunity alone with the keeper. Unfortunately, the winger put the ball wide of the goal. However, it was the away team that had by far the most ball, and after 23 minutes Marvel went in very clumsily to a tackle inside the 16-yard box. Fortunately for Castilla, instead of pointing to the penalty spot, the referee chose to yellow card Tony Abad for diving, and the latter therefore misses the return leg.
Raúl was clearly unhappy as he spoke to the players during the water break. Eldense had 80% possession at this point, and they were moving the ball too quickly for Castilla to keep up. This improved after the water break, but just before half time, things went wrong for Castilla. Álvaro Martín was inattentive and lost the ball in midfield, giving Eldense a great counter-attacking opportunity. They took advantage of this and the away team went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
Raúl took action during the break: Sergio Arribas came on for Peter Federico. However, the half started horribly for Castilla. Eldense made a fine run into the 16-yard box and Mario Martín responded with a completely incomprehensible sliding tackle. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, and the task suddenly seemed to get even tougher for Castilla. Fortunately, the Eldense player hit the post and the rebound was sent wide.
Castilla struggled to create the biggest chances, but after the hour mark, they suddenly produced two good opportunities in one minute. First, Nico Paz fired a long-range shot that hit the crossbar. Then Arribas was played through alone with the goalkeeper, but lost his balance.
Castilla suddenly played much better, and after 69 minutes they were rewarded for their efforts. Rafel Obrador, who had just come on, crossed from the left. The delivery was perfect, and in front of the box, of course, Sergio Arribas appeared. The Spaniard is not the tallest, but showed fine precision as he headed in the equalizer. Incredibly important for the home team.
The second half was undoubtedly better for Castilla than the first, and the youngsters continued to push for the winning goal. However, it eventually ended 1-1, which Castilla should be happy with all things considered. The next match will be played in eight days, away at the Municipal Nuevo Pepico Amat in Alicante. After that match, we will finally know who will be promoted to the Segunda División.