With one more game played, Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid sit 11 points behind Barcelona, thereby destroying their chances of retaining the title. Castellanos was inconsolable when Girona’s April match against Barcelona ended in a draw as a result of his missed opportunity, but he made up for it spectacularly against Madrid at Montilivi.
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The Argentine striker, who was on loan from City group-owned New York City FC and playing for Girona, revealed defensive weaknesses for Madrid before their Champions League semifinal match against Manchester City in May. Ancelotti had stated that his team needed to maintain a winning league dynamic to remain at the top of their game in Europe, but in Girona, they seriously lost focus.
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The weekend victory against Celta Vigo saw forward Karim Benzema suffer an injury, and among other absences, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was unable to go due to a gastrointestinal issue. After 12 minutes, Castellanos headed in the opening goal from six yards out after former Madrid defender Miguel Gutierrez opened it up for him with a cross.
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The explosive Vinicius Junior set up Rodrygo for an equalizer for Madrid, but he mishit his shot after a wild move. After 24 minutes, Castellanos doubled Girona’s advantage by slipping behind Eder Militao and smashing past Andriy Lunin’s legs. When two Madrid defenders collided and gave the energetic Viktor Tsygankov a glimpse of goal from the edge of the box, he hammered wildly over and missed the opportunity to make it three.
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With a header from Marco Asensio’s lovely inswinging cross, Vinicius gave Real Madrid a chance for a comeback in the second half. However, after a strong run and cross from Yan Couto, Castellanos scored his third goal just 36 seconds after the break. After 62 minutes, the striker scored again for Girona and himself by taking advantage of another Militao error.
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It made me think of the four goals Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski scored for Borussia Dortmund against Real Madrid in the 2013 Champions League. Militao, one of the league’s top defenders this year, will try to swiftly forget about a difficult night. After further strong work by Vinicius, Lucas Vazquez late in the game grabbed another back for Madrid, but it was too little, too late.