Valentín Castellanos, a forward for Girona FC, scored all four goals to help his team defeat Real Madrid 4-2 in the 31st round of La Liga.
Real needed a win against Girona to keep their hopes of winning the league title alive, but Castellanos’ superb performance ended all chances for Carlo Ancelotti’s team. The Argentine striker, playing in his first season in a major league, scored a poker against Real Madrid, a rare feat in the history of the club.
Castellanos opened the scoring with a close-range header in the 12th minute, from a cross by Miguel Gutierrez. In the 24th minute, he received a long pass from Arnau Martinez, dribbled past Eder Militao, and scored past goalkeeper Andriy Lunin. At the start of the second half, Castellanos completed his hat trick with a close-range tap-in from a cross by Yan Couto. He completed his poker in the 62nd minute with another close-range header from a set piece.
In all four of his goals, Castellanos was able to finish from comfortable positions. Real’s center-backs Militao and Antonio Rudiger could not mark the Girona striker, and goalkeeper Lunin, who replaced the injured Thibaut Courtois, did not impress. Castellanos was substituted in the 72nd minute to a standing ovation from the home fans.
According to ESPN, it has been 78 years since a player scored four goals against Real in a La Liga match. The last player to achieve this feat was Robert Lewandowski in the first leg of the 2012-2013 Champions League semi-final when he scored four goals to help Dortmund beat Real 4-1 at Signal Iduna Park.
Girona was in 11th place in La Liga before this match, still in the race for a European Cup spot. They are based in the Catalan city of Girona, like Barcelona. Girona is one of the 12 clubs currently owned by the City Football Group, with Manchester City being the biggest. Coincidentally, Manchester City will be Real’s next opponent in the Champions League semi-finals.
Real scored two goals against Girona, thanks to Vinicius Junior and Lucas Vazquez. With Karim Benzema injured, Rodrygo played as a center-forward but did not make much of an impact. Real suffered their sixth defeat in La Liga this season, and are at risk of falling 14 points behind Barcelona with only seven rounds left. The loss to Girona ended Real’s chances of winning the treble.
Ancelotti’s team still has two competitions to fight for, starting with the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna on May 6. They will then play two legs of the Champions League semi-finals against Manchester City, to compete for a spot in the final.
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