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Match report: Eldense 3-3 Castilla: Heartbreak for Castilla, who fought until the end

It was not meant to be for Castilla.

Real Madrid Castilla v CD Eldense - Primera RFEF Play Off Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

26’ Eldense 0-1 Castilla: Rafa Marín (assist: Sergio Arribas).
34’ Eldense 0-2 Castilla: Carlos Dotor (assist: Álvaro Rodríguez).
45+2’ Eldense 1-2 Castilla: Manu Nieto (assist: Jesús Clemente).
68’ Eldense 2-2 Castilla: Carlos Hernández (assist: Álex Bernal).
108’ Eldense 2-3 Castilla: Sergio Arribas (penalty won by Arribas).
114’ Eldense 3-3 Castilla: Juanto (assist: Álex Bernal).

Castilla starting XI: Luis López – Pablo Ramón, Álvaro Carrillo, Rafa Marín, Marvel, Rafel Obrador – Mario Martín, Carlos Dotor – Nico Paz, Sergio Arribas, Álvaro Rodríguez.

Real Madrid Castilla went into the game knowing that only one thing was good enough in their pursuit of promotion: victory. The team had performed at a high level throughout most of the season, but in a playoff final there are no consolation points to be handed out. As Eldense finished higher than Castilla in their group, it also meant that the home team would go through with a draw after extra time.

Sergio Arribas was finally considered ready to start, weeks after suffering injury. Many expected this to result in Nico Paz being dropped to the bench, despite the Argentinian’s impressive recent form. Instead, Raúl opted to start both, with Rafel Obrador returning at left-back. Peter Federico and Álvaro Martin, starters for most of the season, were dropped.

It was an intense start to the match, with tough duels and an atmosphere that highlighted that there was a lot at stake. There weren’t many chances in the opening minutes, but the biggest came from Sergio Arribas, who dribbled through the middle and fired a shot just wide of the goal. After 23 minutes, Arribas was in action again: The little magician hit a perfect cross to Carlos Dotor, but the latter couldn’t get his head on the ball.

Soon after, Rafel Obrador won a free kick on the left. The free kick was, of course, to be taken by Arribas, and of course it was struck perfectly. Waiting in front of goal was Rafa Marín, who scored with a fine header. A very positive start to the game for Castilla.

But Castilla wasn’t done there. Rafel Obrador was again played through on the left, and this time he was able to find Álvaro Rodríguez with a low cross. Álvaro was either unlucky or brilliant with his first touch, but either way it ended up being a nice pass to Carlos Dotor, who rolled the ball into the net. 2-0 to Castilla!

Giving Obrador a chance from the start had proved to be a very successful choice for Raúl. The left-back had been involved in both goals, but just before half-time the youngster was forced off with injury. In came Vinícius Tobias, who had not been given a single minute in the previous three playoff games.

And in injury time, what Castilla wanted to avoid happened: Eldense’s Jesús Clemente hit a beautiful cross towards Manu Nieto, who beat Álvaro Carrillo in the air and scored with a lovely header to give the home team hope. The scoreline was therefore 2-1 to Castilla at the break.

It was Eldese who started best after the break. The home team won the ball from Nico Paz and had a nice counterattack, but the finish from a tight angle went over. However, neither team was able to create the biggest opportunities and we had to wait until the 67th minute to get another great opportunity. Unfortunately, this time the ball fell to Eldense, who once again proved to be very effective. 2-2, and with this result Eldense would be promoted.

There were no more goals until extra time. As previously mentioned, there was never a chance of a penalty shootout, and Castilla had to score to have any hope of promotion.

After 108 minutes, Castilla were awarded a penalty after Arribas went down in the box. The Spaniard took the penalty himself and scored safely. Just when everyone thought Castilla were heading for promotion, Eldense managed to recover the ball and score on the counterattack.

In the dying minutes, Pablo Ramon was denied inside the 16-yard box, but the referee let the situation go. Castilla had good reason to request a penalty kick there. Soon after, Castilla almost scored from behind the midfield in incredible fashion, but the ball went just over the bar.

It ended 3-3, and thus Castilla did not get promoted this season. Incredibly bitter for the young team, which has impressed everyone throughout a long season. Now a summer awaits where there will probably be a lot of changes. Fortunately, there are some very promising players from Juvenil A, who have broken all records this season.

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