LNTUP

Real Madrid Suffered A Shock Defeat Against Girona In La Liga

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Girona claimed a stunning 2-1 victory over Real Madrid to deal a major blow to La Liga champions’ hopes of retaining their title. Although it is still early in the season, Zinedine Zidane’s side already have eight points to make up on Barcelona and are four points behind Valencia.

Few would have seen a hiccup coming at Barcelona’s Catalan neighbours Girona, playing in the top flight for the first time. This is by far the biggest result in the minnows’ history and will no doubt be celebrated wildly across Catalonia given the political backdrop.

Despite security concerns before the Spanish capital team’s visit to the region, which has been fighting for its independence from Spain, there were no major incidents before, during or after the game in Girona, a city filled with separatist sentiment just north of Barcelona. Several pro-independence flags were on display at the small Montilivi Stadium, and the crowd sang “freedom” chants, but nothing disrupted the match.

This was no smash-and-grab raid either, with Girona twice hitting the post in the first half and unlucky to be behind to an Isco breakaway goal. They turned the tables with two goals in four minutes early in the second half from Cristhian Stuani and Portu and withstood the inevitable Real salvo with relative comfort.

Girona’s improbable comeback began in the 54th minute, Pere Pons picking up possession in midfield and dancing past Sergio Ramos to tee up Stuani, who glided into the box and slid the ball past Casilla.

“We fully deserved it,” said the Girona coach, Pablo Machín. “If you’d said to me three years ago the fans would leave singing after beating Real Madrid I’d have said you were crazy.”

And Real barely had time to regather their composure before they were behind, Stuani again striking at goal with an angled drive and as the ball broke for Maffeo his fizzing shot was deftly back-heeled in by Portu.

Zidane threw on Marco Asensio in a late bit to rescue the game, but it was Stuani who went closest to extending Girona’s lead, dinking a shot over Casilla and past the post as the Catalans held on to down the champions and record a famous victory.

Girona travel to face Levante next Sunday at 11am, whilst Real’s next outing is against Tottenham at Wembley on Wednesday at 7.45pm, before facing Las Palmas at home in La Liga on the Sunday night.