BARCELONA (AFP) – Surprising Spanish team Girona had a big 4-2 victory against Barcelona on Sunday, making history and becoming the leaders in La Liga.
Girona made history with a 4-2 victory over Barcelona on Sunday, securing the top spot in La Liga.
Michel’s team won against their rivals from Catalonia for the first time in the top league. This exciting match helped them move two points ahead of Real Madrid, who drew 1-1 with Real Betis on Saturday.
Barcelona, the champions, are in fourth place. Atletico Madrid, in third place, won against Almeria earlier. Xavi’s team is behind Girona by seven points.
Artem Dovbyk scored, putting Girona in the lead. Then, Robert Lewandowski equalized for Barcelona, but Miguel Gutierrez scored again for the visiting team.
With only 10 minutes left, Valery Fernandez increased Girona’s lead. Then, Ilkay Gundogan scored, making the ending of the game very intense.
In the extra time at the end of the game, experienced striker Cristhian Stuani scored from nearby, securing a remarkable victory that strengthened the underdogs’ hopes of winning the title.
“We didn’t play well; Girona played excellently. It’s our mistake; we didn’t perform at the level we should have,” said Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong to DAZN.
“We still have time, but we need to overcome a lot.”
Girona, partly owned by the City Football Group, didn’t have their key midfielder Yangel Herrera due to injury. They signed him from Manchester City, but it didn’t hold them back.
Girona, in just their fourth season in La Liga, played without fear against their more famous neighbors. They took the lead early in the game, and the match swung back and forth excitingly.
Girona, the visiting team, executed a deadly counter-attack, breaking through the defense of the 27-time champions. Ukrainian winger Viktor Tsygankov passed the ball to his compatriot Dovbyk, who scored in the 12th minute.
Not bothered by the setback, Barcelona quickly equalized through Lewandowski. The 35-year-old scored with a header from Raphinha’s corner, putting an end to a goal drought of three matches.
Barcelona’s goalkeeper Inaki Pena deflected Gutierrez’s shot aimed across the goal, while Paulo Gazzaniga, at the opposite end, stopped Joao Cancelo’s close-range attempt.
Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, who got a facial fracture in their win against Atletico Madrid last weekend, threw away his protective shield, aiming to stay more focused in the intense battle.
But a short while later, Girona scored again.
Ex-Real Madrid left-back Gutierrez, known for venturing forward, charged into the box and unleashed an early shot into the near top corner.
Barcelona attempted to make a comeback, but Gazzaniga saved Frenkie de Jong’s low shot, and Raphinha sent a free-kick over the bar, leaving Lewandowski disappointed.
Valery appeared to dash Barcelona’s hopes when Stuani headed the ball into his path. The Spanish forward easily got past Jules Kounde and scored.
Fermin Lopez attempted an acrobatic shot that missed the target, and then Gundogan skillfully turned in the box, striking the ball past Gazzaniga to provide the hosts an opportunity to secure a draw.
Lewandowski had a chance to equalize but headed wide when he was in a good position.
Stuani scored in the final moments to finish off a fantastic night for Girona. Many of their players jumped over the advertising boards and ran toward their fans to celebrate.
Michel mentioned earlier that a victory would elevate his team to a new level, and there’s no doubt now that they are real contenders for the title this season.
“It’s something hard to put into words; we did an excellent job,” Gutierrez said to DAZN.
“I am pleased for the team, the city as a whole, and the people who came; it’s something really significant,” he added.