Sports, Football

Girona stun Barca 4-2 to restore LaLiga lead

By Reuters
Published : 11 Dec 2023 08:51 PM

High-flying Girona reclaimed top spot in LaLiga after beating champions Barcelona 4-2 away on Sunday, condemning Xavi Hernandez’s side to their second league defeat of the season.

ArtemDovbyk and Miguel Gutierrez both scored for Girona in the first half, either side of Robert Lewandowski's equaliser, before Girona's Valery Fernandez and CristhianStuani added two more goals after the break with IlkayGundogan netting another for Barca.

Girona, who remain unbeaten away from home in LaLiga this season, top the standings with 41 points from 16 games, having leapfrogged Real Madrid on 39 points after Carlo Ancelotti’s side were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Betis on Saturday.

Barcelona, whose only previous defeat this season was to Real at the end of October, are fourth on 34 points, level with third-placed Atletico Madrid who have a game in hand.

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Barcelona had 31 attempts in the game, 11 of them on target, but Girona keeper Paulo Gazzaniga pulled off a string of saves while at the other end they scored with four out of their seven shots on target.

Dovbyk put Girona in front in the 12th minute with a shot that bounced in off the bottom of the post for his eighth goal in his debut LaLiga season.

Lewandowski rediscovered his goal-scoring form and equalised for the hosts seven minutes later, heading home following a corner.

It was the Poland striker's first goal for Barca in nearly a month, following his brace against Alaves on Nov. 12.

Gutierrez restored Girona's lead before halftime, after the defender broke into the box and scored with an individual effort, and Fernandez made it 3-1 in the 80th minute with a low shot two minutes after coming off the bench.

Gundogan pulled another goal back for Barca before Girona's Stuani scored their fourth in stoppage time.

Barcelona, who on Wednesday travel to Royal Antwerp in the Champions League, next visit mid-table Valencia in the league on Saturday. Girona host 12th placed Alaves on Dec. 18.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid beat Almeria 2-1 on Sunday with first half goals from Alvaro Morata and Angel Correa, extending the bottom side's winless streak in LaLiga to 16 games.

The victory moved Atletico to third, level with Barcelona on 34 points and five points behind league leaders Real Madrid.

Antoine Griezmann had a goal ruled out for offside by VAR but he helped his side take the lead in the 17th minute when he won the ball high up the pitch before he found Morata, who dribbled into the box and rounded the goalkeeper to score.

Correa doubled the lead five minutes later when Marcos Llorente provided the cross from out wide for the Argentine forward to tap in from close range, another goal-scoring move that was orchestrated by Griezmann.