Girona Shocks Barcelona: Historic Win Sparks Title Hopes
Girona-born Valeri Fernandez made it 3-1 after Barcelona attacker Jules Kund wasted a 50-50 chance on goal. Barcelona fans have decided by then, they've seen enough of this match at home, no more!
There are still about 10 minutes left for the final whistle in the match. But some Barcelona fans started to leave the gallery. Through this departure, they accepted one thing in a letter. Girona - This club from the Catalan region of Spain was once seen by Barcelona as a wee neighbor. A little friendly eyes look at the way the children look at Arki! That club really attacked Barca! And playing in a way that even Javi Hernandez's team could not translate on the field this season.
In added time, Cristian Stuani scored the last goal of the match to make it 4–2 for Barca. Where? Barca's home ground this season is the Estadio Olimpico Luis, where the 'away' fans (Girona supporters) sit. From the players sitting on the bench at Girona waiting to be substituted, to the coaching staff—no one could hold their own. Joined Stuani's celebration after running past their half. "Catalan derby" by then Girona. Top spot in La Liga too. There were still some Barca fans left in the stadium's 42,000 seats. The Girona fans were jumping and dancing amongst themselves. It's normal for Barca fans to feel bad. But the joy of Girona fans must also be understood. This victory in the history of the club is a historic turning point!
Before this match, Girona coach Mitchell Sanchez said at the press conference on Saturday, "If we win in Barcelona, the club will definitely get a new level." But that was it after the final whistle. Girona are now genuine and realistic contenders for the La Liga title.
The confidence in the voice of the 48-year-old Girona coach was expressed in a slightly different way, 'Winning La Liga is not our goal. And I don't want to compare my team with any other team, but we played really well.
"It's a great advertisement for La Liga," the Girona coach continued. Both teams wanted to be aggressive, wanted to score goals. Any football fan watching this match will feel sympathy for Zerono. "I don't know if we can win La Liga in the end, but I felt tonight (the day before yesterday) that we can beat any team."
Girona tops with 41 points in 16 matches. This is the fourth highest points tally in the league at this stage. 16 years ago, Girona was in the fourth division of Spain. Looking back 24 seasons, it will be seen that the club was in the fifth division. That was the regional league, where Girona faced local clubs from the Catalan region. At that time, there were about two hundred fans in Mereket matches at home.
The club's president, Delfi Zelli, told The Athletic two weeks ago, "Girona's (region) citizens are mainly Barcelona, Real Madrid and even Espanyol fans. This is our reality and the most we can come close to elites. The city once had a basketball team that competed in the top league, but in football...you have to look elsewhere.'
Girona captain Alex Garcia, 26, revealed this week that he was a Barcelona fan as a child. He dreamed of playing in the club. The example of Eric Garcia who joined Girona on loan this season from Barca can also be given. From the age of 5 he grew up in Barca's 'football-farm' La Masia and has always been a Barca supporter. Actually the kids in the Catalan region are not used to supporting Girona. The place that Girona could not make big on the football map of Spain. Girona faced Barca once before they were promoted to La Liga for the first time in 2017. But last night, Girona beat that Barca in such a way that you can remember the victory of a golden generation of Barca.
Girona are shoulder to shoulder with Barca in terms of ball possession (Girona's 47 percent). But the thing to watch was their creation of play from their own half, which Barca's high pressing play could not stop. Xavi's plan was completely defeated in the tactical game. Miguel Gutierrez, who emerged from Real Madrid's age-based project, has caught the eye. This left back cut in and sometimes became an attacking midfielder!
Barcelona did not play badly. Their expected goals ratio was 4.06. Girona had 2.40. In other words, Barca created more opportunities than Girona. But in front of the fearless game of Girona, Barca repeatedly ate. But their fans want to see this fearless football from Barca!
Outside of Girona's squad, many have Barca connections in one way or another. Their president, Delphine Gilles, got his footballing start at La Masia. Sports director Kike Karsel also rose from the same place. One of the club's co-owners is the brother of former Barcelona and current Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola. One of the reasons behind hiring coach Mitchell Sanchez was to match the club's dream of football. The rest is a story of trust, time and long-term dreams.
Girona were languishing in the relegation zone in Spain's second division in his first 10 games since Mitchell took over as coach. In just two years, that team is now the leader in the country's top league! Girona is now an important opponent, against whom Barca have to do a good 'homework' before the match.
Camp Nou club president Juan Laporta said earlier that they want to improve the relationship with Girona. Both sides provide their potential players on loan