Girona striker Taty Castellanos hit an incredible four goals as his side thrashed champions Real Madrid 4-2 in La Liga on Tuesday, helping leaders Barcelona edge closer to the trophy.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid are 11 points behind Barcelona having played one extra match, with this defeat virtually killing any hope they had remaining of defending the title.
Castellanos was left in tears after missing a big chance against Barcelona earlier in April as Girona drew, but made amends in spectacular fashion at Montilivi against Madrid.
The Argentine striker, on loan at Girona from New York City FC — owned by the City group — exposed gaps in Madrid’s defence ahead of their Champions League semi-final tie against Manchester City in May.
Castellanos shut down his social media accounts after his bad night in front of goal at Camp Nou, but thanked those close to him for their support.
“It was a dream night, we had a great game against one of the best teams in the world, it was a dream night,”
“I never imagined this, (I’m) enjoying it with our fans, with the people who have sent me support — my family, people in Argentina, they are always supporting me and that’s fundamental.”Castellanos said.
In April 2022 Castellanos hit four goals for New York City against Real Salt Lake and repeated the trick a little over a year later.
“Obviously they are different days, it was a dream to score against Madrid and to score four — you can’t even imagine it,”
“I’m very happy for everything, for the fans, for the lads.”He added.
Castellanos now has 11 goals in La Liga this season in 29 appearances.
Girona coach Michel hailed the striker and not only for his top-notch finishing.
“Taty was very good apart from the goals when it came to his work,”
“I’m happy for him because after his game against Barca, and his miss, he shut his social media down.
“I told him to be calm, that it was his first season in Europe.”Said the coach.
Ancelotti had said his team needed to stay in a positive winning dynamic in the league to stay at the top of their game in Europe, but badly took their eye off the ball in Girona.
“A tough night, yes, when you lose a game like that it’s a tough night,”
“On a defensive level it was a bad game, and that was the key to the match… the individual level was lower than normal too.
“Everybody’s was, not just some people. The level was very low, because the defensive aspect, which was very good in recent games, today, we have forgotten.”Said the Italian.
Ancelotti was hampered by striker Karim Benzema taking a knock in the win over Celta Vigo at the weekend, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois did not travel because of a stomach problem among other absentees.
Former Madrid defender Miguel Gutierrez set up the opening goal with a cross for Castellanos, which he headed home from six yards out after 12 minutes.
Rodrygo might have equalised for Madrid but badly mishit his shot after the electric Vinicius Junior set him up following a mazy dribble.
Castellanos doubled Girona’s lead after 24 minutes when he got in behind Eder Militao and blasted through Andriy Lunin’s legs.
Vinicius pulled one back for Real Madrid with a header from Marco Asensio’s fine inswinging cross, giving them hope of a second half comeback.
However Castellanos netted his third just 36 seconds after the interval after a fine run and cross from Yan Couto.
The striker pounced again after 62 minutes, again capitalising on a Militao mistake to net his and Girona’s fourth.
It brought to mind Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski netting four against Madrid for Borussia Dortmund in 2013 in the Champions League.
Militao, who has been one of the league’s best defenders this season, will hope to move on quickly from a painful evening.
Lucas Vazquez pulled another back for Madrid late on after more good work by Vinicius, but it was too little, too late.