Real Madrid is looking back to its best and can make it five wins in a row across all competitions when La Liga’s titleholder travel to Girona on Tuesday. Carlo Ancelotti’s men have won their last four games in a row, all by 2-0 scorelines, and make the trip to the Estadi Municipal de Montilivi hoping to keep alive some hope of retaining their crown with eight games remaining. It seems a futile task given the 11-point gap between them and league-leading Barcelona, though the highest-scoring team in Spain is unlikely to give up until the chase is mathematically impossible.
Girona’s Castellanos was left in tears after missing a big chance against Barcelona earlier in April in a goalless draw, 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,” Castellanos said.
“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.”
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,” he added.
“I’m very happy for everything, for the fans, for the lads.”
Castellanos now has 11 goals in La Liga this season in 29 appearances.
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,” said the Italian.
“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.”
The loss further damaged Madrid’s hopes of catching Barcelona at the top of the standings. Barcelona can increase its lead to 14 points with seven matches remaining with a win at mid-table Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.
“It was a tough night, we played at a very low level in all areas,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
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.
Castellanos doubled Girona’s lead after 24 minutes when he got in behind Eder Militao and blasted through Andriy Lunin’s legs.
Vinicius Junior pulled one back for Real Madrid with a header from Marco Asensio’s fine inswinging cross, giving them hope of a second half comeback.
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