Girona continued its amazing adventure this season and returned to the top with a historic win, its first, beating its giant Catalan neighbors 4-2, Sunday, at the latter stadium, in the sixteenth round of the “Spanish Football League.”
Girona moved into second place by a point after holding Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw with Real Betis on Saturday, and it took full advantage of the Royal club’s fumble to strip it of the lead it shared with it. Two points ahead of the only team to beat it this season, 2-0 on Sept. 30.
With their surprise first defeat of the season, Barcelona suffered their second, dropping to fourth in favor of Atletico Madrid and seven points behind coach Mitchell’s side.
Despite its positive start and its visitors getting into the area several times, Barcelona were awarded a purely Ukrainian goal in the 12th minute by Artem Tovbik, who headed the ball past his compatriot Viktor Tsygankov. Trapped offside, so he fired it off the right post into the goalkeeper’s net.
Brazil’s Rafinha came close to equalizing after a long pass from Portugal’s Joao Cancelo, but Argentina goalkeeper Paulo Casanica made a brilliant save in the 18th minute.
However, he soon bowed to Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, who headed the ball into the net from a corner kick, ending his goal drought with the Catalan giants since November 12 and scoring his eighth goal in the league this season.
Girona almost regained their lead when Tović played with two defenders. Danish Andreas Christensen and Uruguayan Ronald Araujo passed the ball to Miguel Gutierrez before he had a shot, but Peña did well to save for his team.
Miguel Gutierrez replaced him to put Girona in front after an individual effort and Pena’s shot from the edge of the area after he missed a chance when he was in a position to score near the left post. Couldn’t stop it in the 40th minute.
Barcelona started the second half to get back into the game and came close to finding their goal with Dutchman Frankie de Jong’s long shot, but goalkeeper Gazzanica was in time to save his side in the 51st minute.
Xavi tried to rectify the situation and brought on the trio of Ferran Torres, Lamine Jamal and Alex Balde, which revived the side after German Ilkay Gundogan came close to equalizing, but his effort went wide of the left post.
Girona dealt their neighbors the final blow when substitute Valeri Estrada added a third in the 80th minute after another Uruguayan substitute Cristian Stuani’s header passed to him.
Although Gundogan succeeded in closing the gap with Ferran Torres’ pass, Girona withstood the pressure and scored a fourth goal, Stuani scoring in the fifth minute. Assisted by Portugal defender Joao Cancelo, Gutierrez put it into the net from a difficult angle.
Atletico Madrid benefited from Barcelona’s slump to move up to third on goal difference ahead of the Catalan club, beating their hosts Almeria 2-1.
Alvaro Morata scored the first goal in the 17th minute, Argentina’s Angel Correa scored the second in the 22nd minute, and Brazil’s Leo Batistao scored Almeria’s goal in the 62nd minute.
Atletico’s win comes as they face Italy’s Lazio next Wednesday in the last-sixth round of the Champions League group stage. To determine the lead between them.
Almeria have failed to achieve a first win this season and are the only team in the five big leagues without a win (4 draws and 12 defeats).
At the Ciftas Metropolitano Stadium, the hosts quickly began to press, with Frenchman Antoine Griezmann scoring in the sixth minute, but referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengotesia disallowed the goal after referring to the video assistant referee for offside.
Morata opened the scoring for Atlético in the 17th minute as he dribbled past a defender and goalkeeper to score his eighth goal in the league this season.
Correa easily added the second goal in the 22nd minute after Marcos Llorente’s cross.
Batistao reduced the deficit for Almeria in the 62nd minute, capitalizing on a rebound saved by Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
During the match between Granada and its host Athletic Bilbao, the stage was darkened by news of the death of a fan in the stands, which led to the decision to stop it permanently in the 18th minute, with the visiting team leading by 1. -0, according to the Spanish Football Federation.
Bilbao said in a statement that the league and the two clubs “agreed to suspend the competition,” offering condolences to the relatives of the dead.
Spanish media reported that one of Granada’s fans had suffered a stroke.
The “League Association” said that “the date and time for the resumption of the match will be announced shortly”, and it was then decided to end the match, on Monday, from the 17th minute to eight o’clock GMT.