Stunning Girona beat Barcelona to top La Liga table | Football News


The win moves Girona two points ahead of Real Madrid, who drew 1-1 with Real Betis, as Barcelona dropped to fourth place.

Girona made a strong case to be considered genuine contenders for the Spanish league title by beating Catalan rivals Barcelona 4-2 and overtaking Real Madrid at the top of the standings.

Ukraine forwards Artem Dovbyk and Viktor Tsygankov teamed up for Girona’s opener, and Miguel Gutierrez, Valery Fernandez and Cristhian Stuani scored a goal each to seal the away victory against the defending league champions on Sunday. Robert Lewandowski and Ilkay Gundogan scored Barcelona’s goals.

The statement win moved Girona two points ahead of Madrid, who drew 1-1 with Real Betis on Saturday. Barcelona dropped to fourth place, seven points behind their regional rivals and five behind Madrid. Atletico Madrid regained third place with a 2-1 win over last-place Almeria to extend their winning streak at home in the league to 17 matches. Atletico have the same 34 points as Barcelona with a game in hand.

Barcelona had never lost in six matches against Girona in the league, with four wins and two draws.

“Girona deserve a lot of credit. It has a great team,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said.

“It was an even match, it could have gone either way. It also would have been a fair result if we had won it.”

Girona, partly owned by Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi ownership, never looked like the minnows, showing maturity and poise from the start at the Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium.

‘Special victory’

The team coached by Michel Sanchez, sporting a white-and-blue uniform with similar colours to Man City, have been playing some of the best football in Spain and holding on to a position near the top from the start of the season.

“It’s a special victory, it gives us the lead,” Michel told reporters after the match.

“Very happy with the result because we faced a great Barca team,” he said.

“I don’t know if we have the ability to win La Liga, but we are able to beat any opponent.”

Girona had won 12 of their first 15 league matches, though they had failed in their first big test when they lost 3-0 to Real Madrid at home in September.

There was no problem against Barcelona, though.

In La Liga for only the fourth season in their history, they played without any fear of their more illustrious neighbours and took the lead early on as the game seesawed deliciously from end to end.

The visitors opened the scoring in a breakaway in the 12th minute. Dovbyk found the net from close range after completing a low cross by his countryman Tsygankov. Barcelona equalised with a header by Lewandowski off a corner kick taken by Raphinha in the 19th, but Girona retook the lead in the 40th with a nice shot by Gutierrez into the top corner from inside the area.

Fernandez scored Girona’s third in the 80th before Barcelona pulled closer with Gundogan’s goal two minutes into stoppage time. Stuani restored Girona’s two-goal advantage five minutes into injury time.

Barcelona’s title defence is on the ropes.

“We’re seven points behind, which is a lot, but there’s more than half a season to go,” de Jong told DAZN.

“There’s time, but we have a lot to come back from.”

Fan death at Granada

The game between Granada and Athletic Bilbao was suspended after a fan suffered a cardiac arrest and died in the stands.

Granada said the fan had been a season ticket holder for 16 years. No further details were given about the fan’s identity.

The match will restart on Monday night from the 17th minute with Athletic leading 1-0. Inaki Williams had put the visitors ahead in the sixth minute.

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