There was a golden opportunity for Athletic to get one over this season’s LaLiga surprise package within the first five minutes, as Gorka Guruzeta failed to shoot either side of Paulo Gazzaniga having been brilliantly slipped through by Mikel Vesga.
Still, there is a reason why Girona are flying higher than ever before in their history, and Cristhian Stuani was twice airborne to test Unai Simon in the Athletic goal.
While the Catalonians have been stealing all the headlines of late, the visitors have been putting in a good series of results themselves, and Oscar de Marcos almost guided on target after some enterprising play from Nico Williams.
That was followed by a pair of smart saves from one-time Argentina international Gazzaniga, including tipping over Mikel Vesga’s effort, while Yangel Herrera had the ball in the net for Girona, but an offside in the build-up ensured a frantic and entertaining half remained goalless.
The opening period had seen just about everything but a goal, and it took only 10 minutes after the break for Savio to combine intelligently with Miguel Gutierrez, sliding a low ball across the box for Viktor Tsygankov, who smashed inside the near post. Girona’s unwillingness to settle for just a one-goal advantage ultimately came back to bite them, as they were soon hit on the counter by a blistering attack, with Inaki Williams capping off the move with a fantastic show of strength and agility to cut inside of Daley Blind and strike under the goalkeeper.
The home side struggled to muster a response to that equaliser, and proceedings came to an end with Girona unable to reclaim their spot at the summit after Real Madrid’s win.
They nevertheless continue to enjoy their best-ever top-flight season by some distance, and a win here over Valencia next weekend would see the Blanquivermells beat their tally for the 2018/19 season in just 15 matches, while Athletic head back to San Mames to try to extend a now four-match unbeaten league run.