In La Liga, they played only their fourth season ever. They didn’t feel scared of their famous neighbors and quickly took the lead in the game, which went back and forth excitingly.
Surprising Spanish title contenders Girona made history with a 4-2 victory over rivals Barcelona on Sunday, putting them at the top of La Liga. Michel’s team defeated Barcelona for the first time in the top league, moving two points ahead of Real Madrid, who drew 1-1 against Real Betis on Saturday. Defending champions Barcelona is now in fourth place, trailing Girona by seven points after Atletico Madrid secured a win against Almeria. Artem Dovbyk scored first for Girona, and after Robert Lewandowski equalized for Barcelona, Miguel Gutierrez scored again for the visiting team.
Valery Fernandez increased Girona’s lead with 10 minutes left, and then Ilkay Gundogan scored, making the game’s final moments very intense.
Experienced striker Cristhian Stuani scored from a short distance during extra time to secure a remarkable victory, solidifying the underdogs’ dream of winning the title.
“We didn’t perform well. Girona did a great job, but it’s our fault. We didn’t reach the level we should have,” said Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong to DAZN.
“We didn’t handle the ball well, including myself. It ended up costing us the game. We’re now seven points behind, which is a significant gap, but more than half of the season is still left to play.”
“We have time, but we must make up a lot of ground.”
Girona, partly owned by the City Football Group, played without their important midfielder Yangel Herrera, who is currently injured. However, they didn’t let this setback affect their performance.
In just their fourth season in La Liga, they played without being afraid of their more famous neighbors. They got an early lead as the game swung excitingly from one end to the other.
The guests broke through the defense of the 27-time champions with a deadly counter-attack. Ukrainian winger Viktor Tsygankov passed the ball to his fellow countryman Dovbyk, who scored in the 12th minute.
Not bothered by the setback, Barcelona quickly equalized thanks to Lewandowski. The 35-year-old headed in Raphinha’s corner, putting an end to a streak of three matches without a goal.
Barcelona goalkeeper Inaki Pena deflected Gutierrez’s shot away from the goal, and on the other side, Paulo Gazzaniga stopped Joao Cancelo’s close-range attempt.
The match got intense, and Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, who had a facial fracture in their previous win against Atletico Madrid, discarded his protective shield, aiming for better focus in the fierce competition.
But a short while later, Girona scored once more.
Gutierrez, a former left-back for Real Madrid, known for his ventures forward, charged into the box and unleashed a quick shot into the near top corner.
End-to-end – Barcelona attempted to make a comeback, with Gazzaniga stopping Frenkie de Jong’s low shot and Raphinha sending a free-kick over the bar, much to Lewandowski’s disappointment.
Valery appeared to dash Barcelona’s hopes when Stuani directed the ball his way. The Spanish forward easily outplayed Jules Kounde and scored.
Fermin Lopez attempted an acrobatic shot that missed the target, and then Gundogan skillfully turned in the box, shooting past Gazzaniga to allow the hosts to secure a draw.
Lewandowski had a chance to equalize but headed wide despite being in a good position.
Stuani scored in the final moments to finish off a remarkable night for Girona. Many of their players jumped over the advertising boards and ran towards their fans to celebrate.
Michel mentioned earlier that a victory would elevate his team to a new level, and now there’s little doubt that they are real contenders for the title this season.
“It’s something beyond words; we did an excellent job,” Gutierrez shared with DAZN.
“I am delighted for the team, the city overall, and the people who came; it’s something truly significant.”