Girona leapfrog Barcelona into second place after victory over their Catalan rivals


Girona leapfrog Barcelona into second place after victory over their Catalan rivals

Girona secured Madrid's league title
Girona secured Madrid's league titleAFP
Girona leapfrogged Barcelona into second place in the standings after beating their Catalan rivals 2-1 for a first-ever league double over the Blaugrana – a result which also confirmed Real Madrid as 2023/24 La Liga champions.

In a season of unexpected joy and success for the hosts, there was another surprise in store with a blockbuster opening at Estadio Montilivi, with Barcelona centre-back Andreas Christensen chesting the ball down before volleying in a sumptuous effort from 20 yards with just three minutes gone.

Typical of his campaign, Artem Dovbyk led the Girona response to adversity, with the Ukranian’s header just a minute later immediately silencing the Barça faithful – less time than the 12 minutes it took the dangerman to strike in the last H2H.

Dovbyk celebrates his goal
Dovbyk celebrates his goalAFP

The fierce nature of this contest continued with Lamine Yamal’s driving runs pulling his hosts out of their 4-3-3 shape. And despite Míchel’s Girona offering plenty of threat on the counter, with a notable opportunity falling to Viktor Tsygankov, Barcelona eventually reaped the rewards of their young star’s work.

Yamal was felled right on the edge of the area with a VAR-assisted referee pointing to the spot. Fresh off a maiden La Liga hat-trick last weekend, Robert Lewandowski stepped up, making no mistake with his dummied spot-kick.

Barca celebrate Lewandowski's goal
Barca celebrate Lewandowski's goalAFP

The cauldron of noise within the stadium appeared to fuel Girona’s intent early in the second half, but both sides saw chances. The most notable of these saw João Cancelo strike directly at Paulo Gazzaniga from close range.

However, these hosts have refused to relent to pressure throughout the entire campaign, and some error-strewn defending from Barça’s backline saw them concede a quickfire double.

Just two minutes separated substitute Portu’s 10-yard finish after an unfortunate Sergi Roberto error and Miguel Gutiérrez’s deflected strike from an almost identical position which sent the home crowd into raptures.

Portu reels off celebrating
Portu reels off celebratingAFP

The shots continued to rain down on the Barcelona goal, and Marc-André ter Stegen pulled off a superb one-armed block to deny Yangel Herrera’s powered drive and keep Girona from running out of sight.

Then it was again the turn of Portu to step into the limelight, and he had barely touched the ball when grabbing his first goal, doubling his tally for the afternoon with an unbelievable volley from the edge of the penalty box.

LaLiga table
LaLiga tableFlashscore

That was the final blow on a dark day for Barcelona, who may now have to settle for finishing below their Catalan rivals in La Liga for the first time ever.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Artem Dovbyk (Girona)

See a summary of the match


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