Girona 2-1 Real Madrid LaLiga Santander 2017: as it happened, goals, match report
Girona 2-1 Real Madrid: match report
A second-half flurry from Christian Stuani and Portu condemned Real Madrid to an historic defeat on their first competitive visit to Montilivi. Isco opened the scoring in the first half to establish a lead for Zinedine Zidane’s side, but Girona’s intensity and tactical clarity proved too much for the visitors as the two strikers scored a goal each to secure three points.
Real Madrid are now eight points behind pace-setters Barcelona after 10 matches. Los Blancos have never recovered from an eight-point deficit to win LaLiga.
Zidane made sweeping changes to the team that eased past Fuenlabrada in the Copa del Rey, with Kiko Casilla and Achraf the only players to retain their places. The cavalry returned elsewhere on the pitch. A trip to Wembley looms on Wednesday to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, yet the 45-year-old named his strongest possible line-up.
Pablo Machín welcomed back leading-scorer Christian Stuani from suspension for a match played in the context of a turbulent political atmosphere. Separatist leaders in Catalonia voted to declare independence from Spain this week, prompting the country’s central government to activate emergency powers to remove the members of Catalonia’s regional government.
Despite that backdrop, the match kicked off in a cordial atmosphere, with Real Madrid supporters scattered among the home crowd.
Girona began at a frenetic pace, with a 3-5-2 formation that placed emphasis on pressing high up the pitch. After 11 minutes, their brave tactics almost bore fruit, as Casilla misjudged Pablo Maffeo’s cross from the right. The ‘keeper, playing in the absence of Keylor Navas, breathed a sigh of relief as the ball evaded Stuani and bounced off the post.
Real Madrid pounced immediately. 15 seconds later the ball was in the net. Karim Benzema charged through the centre of the pitch and laid the ball out to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal international forced the home goalkeeper in to a smart save, but Isco gobbled up the rebound to put the visitors ahead.
Machín’s side remained faithful in their approach, and came within millimeters of levelling the score after 35 minutes when Portu’s glancing header hit the inside of the post and bounced back across the goal line.
The rub of the green was not in Girona’s favour in the first half, and nor did it favour Raphael Varane. Nacho replaced the French defender at the break after he picked up a hamstring injury in an excellent first-half display.
Girona’s luck soon changed. Christian Stuani drew the home side level after 54 minutes, tucking the ball in at the near post after Casemiro, Modric, Nacho, and Sergio Ramos had all failed to clear the ball. It was richly deserved.
The second goal followed four minutes later. Casilla could only parry Stuani’s shot in to the path of Pablo Maffeo. The Manchester City-loanee took a touch and rifled the ball to the far post, where Portu was lurking, primed to flick the ball in to the corner. The Real Madrid defence appealed for offside, but the linesman’s flag remained by his side as players clad in red and white celebrated wildly.
Zidane matched Girona’s tactical system with 25 minutes remaining, sending on Marco Asensio and Lucas Vázquez to play as wing-back, with Casemiro dropping back to form three-man defence alongside Nacho and Sergio Ramos. That move was a tacit acknowledgment that he had been out-thought by Pablo Machín.
The tactics changed, but the impotence and frustration remained. Madrid could not break through a disciplined and gallant defence. The Montilivi crowd rose collectively as the match entered additional time. It is the club’s first season in the top flight of Spanish football. Promotion to LaLiga was the culmination of an entire history. To beat Real Madrid on home turf is more than they could have hoped for.
Girona 2-1 Real Madrid: as it happened
Real Madrid took the lead through Isco, but two quickfire goals from Stuani and Portu inflict defeat on Zinedine Zidane's team.
90'+4' FULL TIME!
90'+4' Fight, fight, fight! Sergio Ramos shoves Granell and he goes down like a sack of spuds. Mohica is booked for a foul.
90'+2' Girona half clear and the ball comes out to Lucas on the right. He tries to make it to the byline but overruns it. Goal kick.
90'+1' Montilivi is, as a collective, on its feet and waving scarves. Girona have three more minutes to hold out. But Madrid have a corner.
90' Four minutes of added time.
90' The ball ends up in Bono's hands after Madrid fail to apply the final touch to a sweeping counter attack. Up at the other end, Larry Kayode almost gets a toe to a long ball. Isco is hobbling heavily after an agricultural challenge from Granell. It's all happening!
87' Casemiro has a pop from 30 yards. It goes very, very wide.
86' Aday Benítez takes plenty of time leaving the pitch, to the extent that he picks up a yellow card for time wasting. He then stands on the touchline with Mojica waiting to take his place. In the end, Aday goes back on and its Stuani to go back on.
84' Asensio rushes on to Isco's smart chip and should really cross the ball. Instead, he shoots from a narrow angle, scuffs it, and Bono gathers the ball. Madrid are looking a little short of ideas.
83' GOOOOOOO... No! Lucas has the ball in the net, sending a cluster of Real Madrid fans behind the goal in to raptures. But the substitute was narrowly offside when Isco played the ball.
82' The scorer of the second goal, Portu, is replaced by Kayode.
79' Marc Muniesa slides in on Isco in the middle third of the pitch, winning a free-kick. It ends up at the feet of Ronaldo in the box. He flops to the ground and calls for a penalty, but Hernández Hernández waves play on. Portu emerges with the ball for Girona. The No.9 has been excellent.
76' Sergio Ramos matches Portu in a foot race, slides in, and does well to win the throw in. Madrid's centre-halves are naturally going to be exposed as the team push forward for an equaliser.
75' Girona sub: Machín sends on Timor in the place of Borja García.
74' 'Av it style defending from Girona, as Juanpe knocks the ball up for himself and hoofs clear after intercepting Asensio's cross.
73' An uncharacteristic mishap from Isco, who sends a simple pass to Asensio straight over the touchline.
71' Ronaldo meets Kroos' clipped free-kick on the penalty spot with a thin contact. Bono is well place to welcome the ball in to his midriff.
70' Stuani is down on his haunches following an off-the-ball incident with Kroos. A replay reveals that the German clipped at his heels after the whistle had blown.
69' Madrid have matched Girona's system. Casemiro, Ramos, and Nacho form a back three. Lucas and Asensio are the wing backs.
67' Stuani comes within a whisker of adding a third! Girona surge forward and are 3 vs 3, and Stuani rushes on to a through ball in the box. The Uruguayan dinks it over the onrushing 'keeper, but it bobbles agonisingly past the post.
66' Zinedine Zidane makes a double change: Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio replace the two full-backs, Marcelo and Achraf.
65' Girona are still piling players forward. Whether that is admirable or foolish remains to be seen....
63' A reminder that Madrid are currently eight points behind league-leaders Barcelona.
61' Real Madrid look to have assumed a new focus. Ronaldo controls the ball deep inside the box with a superb flick of his left foot. But when he squares it across goal, there are no white shirts to apply the finishing touch.
58' GOOOOOOOOOOL! Girona are in to the lead! Stuani forces Casilla to parry his shot in to the path of Maffeo, who leathers the ball towards the back post. Portu nips in to an onside position and flicks it in.
56' Kroos sees his shot blocked as the match flows back and forward. It's very open.
54' GOL GOL GOL! Portu runs through Casemiro and Modric, who both put in soft attempts. The ball then ricochets off Nacho and in to the path of Stuani, who takes a couple of touches and buries it in the bottom corner.
53' Benzema and Ronaldo really do operate on the same wavelength. The Frenchman almost finds his team-mate with an intuitive reverse pass but the 'keeper is out quickly.
50' It's the first goalmouth scramble of the second half! Isco picks up the ball and accelerates in to the box, playing a neat one-two with Modric before flashing the ball across the ball. The ball bounces of a defender, off the 'keeper, off Kroos, back off the 'keeper, and then Aday thrashes it in to Achraf and behind for a goal kick.
48' It's an adductor issue for Varane, apparently. Me neither.
46' Raphael Varane has not emerged for the second half. Nacho is on in his place.
46' The second half kicks off!
The teams are milling around in the tunnel ahead of the second half.
Nacho is warming up during the half-time break, with Varane picking up a knock in the first half.
Real Madrid have a narrow lead at half time through Isco's tap-in, but Zinedine Zidane's side have looked vulnerable in defence. Girona have hit both posts and almost took advantage of an underhit backpass from Sergio Ramos.
45' HT. No added time, and the players trot straight down the tunnel after that Modric foul.
45' Modric takes a yellow card on the brink of half time, cynically felling Pons as he looked to emerge on the counter attack.
42' Achraf takes the ball down on his chest on the right flank, but as he does so, the linesman hoists his flag. Zidane appears irritated, presumably because Achraf had the whole defensive line to look across.
38' Isco is penalised for handball just outside the corner of the box, but escapes a yellow card. Aday wraps his right foot around the free-kick and fizzes it narrowly over the bar.
35' Girona hit THE OTHER POST! Aday swings a gorgeous ball to Portu, arriving towards the near post. He glances the ball on towards the far corner, and it bounces off the inside of the woodwork and across the line. Portu is there to meet it and squares the ball for Stuani, but it's slightly too high for him to reach. Casilla kissed the post when Girona hit it the first time... the match may need to be shown after the watershed if he thanks this other post too.
33' First time and on the volley, Achraf hammers Ronaldo's floated cross back in to the danger zone. The youngster does well, but Bernardo has positioned himself well to clear.
31' Benzema threatens once again, and he is combining delightfully with Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo skips away from Muniesa with a swift stepover and a burst of pace before slipping the ball through to his striker partner. Benzema shuffles on to his left foot and shoots over the bar from deep inside the box. He was narrowly offside, but the flag stayed down.
30' 30' Ronaldo lays the ball to Benzema and it looks like space will open up for him to shoot. Instead, he plays a reverse ball back to Ronaldo, which the Portugal international fails to bring under his control. They overplayed that a little.
28' The Real Madrid midfield are beginning to gain control as the match creeps towards the half-hour mark. Meanwhile, Muniesa whips out a delightful Cruyff turn deep in his own territory to escape the attention of Isco and emerge forward with the ball.
26' Oooh! Benzema runs on to a through ball in the right channel and has a look up to see where a white shirt with the No.7 on the back is. The French striker whips a low ball to Ronaldo, who meets it first time by the penalty spot. It's a good enough contact, but Bono dives to his right and plucks it from the air.
23' The home side fail to properly clear Achraf's cross from the right, and the ball falls at the feet of Cristiano Ronaldo just inside the box. His first touch is slack, which allows red-and-white shirts to form a defensive wall and block the shot behind for a corner. Benzema meets the set piece and his header goes well over the bar.
22' Girona surge forward once again and have a 3v2 numerical advantage. Stuani looks up and crosses for Borja at the far post, but Varane shows a cool head to chest the ball down to Casilla.
21' Borja García drifts in from the left and lets fly on his right foot.... in to the crowd.
19' Sergio Ramos almost sells Casilla short with an underhit backpass that Portu rushes on to. The 'keeper is forced to skew the ball behind for a corner, which is worked short and comes to nothing. There are goals for Girona in this match. Zidane's men look very suspect at the back.
16' Portu sneaks in to the box on Marcelo's side (which is where Girona's threat has come from) and squares the ball. Varane is well-placed to clear on the edge of the six-yard box before Stuani can meet the ball.
12' GOOOOL! Real Madrid take the ball off the post, go straight up the other end, and put it in the net! Karim Benzema charges through the centre and lays it off to Cristiano Ronaldo. He cuts in from the left and shoots to Bono's left. The 'keeper parries, but only in to the path of Isco, who tucks the rebound inside the near post.
11' Girona hit the post! Casilla is all at sea as a Pablo Maffeo cross floats to the far post and bounces off the upright.
10' 'No hard feelings, Sir'. Marcelo and Maffeo exchange a handshake befitting of a Mayfair gentleman's club after the Girona man fouls Madrid's left-back. The visitors take the free-kick short and try to work it in to the box from the left, to no avail.
8' Real Madrid are caught sleeping at the back as Granell sends a clever free-kick to Portu at the near post. The No.9 arrives miliseconds before Casilla, but he can't guide the ball around Madrid's 'keeper and in to the net. That's a big let off for Real, and Girona look bang up for it.
7' Granell swings a left-footed outswinger towards the far post. There are calls for a penalty when Juanpe's glancing header hits Benzema on the arm, but the French striker was so close that he couldn't have done anything about it. Correct call.
5' Aday shapes up to thump a loose ball at goal from a good 30 yards, but Casemiro nips in and hoofs the ball clear before the wing-back has a chance to hit leather with leather. Shortly after, Aday gets forward to the byline and uses Achraf's shin to win a corner.
3' Three minutes in and Girona have committed three fouls. This could be a stop-start first half...
2' Luka Modric is playing in quite an advanced position in the very early stages. As Cristiano Ronaldo drifts left, that creates space on the right for the Croatian. Isco is floating around more or less where he pleases as Real Madrid take control of the ball.
1' Peeeep! Hernández Hernández blows his whistle, Modric adjusts his alice band, and Stuani gets this LaLiga match underway.
Here come the teams! They file out on to the pitch through a cardboard archway advertising beer and proceed straight to the hand-shakes and associated niceties.
Mr. C Stuani (there is a curious lack of consensus on Google as to whether his name is spelt 'Christian' or 'Cristhian') is the only Girona player to have scored against Real Madrid. The Uruguayan found the net against Los Blancos twice while playing for Espanyol. First in 2013 and then in 2015.
Girona boss Pablo Machín deployed Pablo Maffeo in a man-marking role when Barcelona visited Girona. Lionel Messi was the player Maffeo was charged to stick to. Yet the coach does not see that approach to be necessary against Cristiano Ronaldo: "There is a greater dependecy on Messi in Barcelona than Cristiano in Madrid," he reasoned.
Real Madrid have not lost a match on 29 October since 1994, when a late winner from Gus Poyet condemned Jorge Valdano's side to a 3-2 defeat at Real Zaragoza. Their overall record on today's date is played 10, won 6, drawn 3, lost 1.
Alejandro José Hernández Hernández is the man with the whistle between his lips this afternoon. The 34-year-old has been a LaLiga referee since 2012, and has taken charge of 15 Real Madrid matches (10 victories for Los Blancos, four defeats, and a draw). He has never refereed Girona in the top division, for the obvious reason that they had never been there prior to this season.
Two Real Madrid players will be walking a disciplinary tight-rope this afternoon: Casemiro (yes, really!) and Nacho are both one yellow card away from suspension. Bernardo Espinosa and Douglas Luiz are in the same situation for Girona.
Cristiano Ronaldo will face Girona for the first time today, and the Portugal international could really do with finding the net. He is currently enduring his worst ever start to a LaLiga season, with just one goal to his name (admittedly, he did receive a five-match ban at the start of the season for pushing a referee).
Aday Benítez is enjoying his first season in the top division as a professional. The 29-year-old has worked his way right up, having previously played in the fourth, third, and second divisions. If you're keen on Aday-related arbitrary facts, you're in luck - he's the unofficial team barber for Girona.
Pablo Machín's team is as more or less expected. Stuani (Girona's top scorer in the league with four goals) returns alongside Portu in attack. Aleix García drops out of the midfield, with Granell taking his place and the captain's armband.
Girona XI: Bono; Bernardo, Muniesa, Juanpe; Maffeo, Granell, Pere Pons, Borja Garcia, Aday; Portu, Stuani.
In terms of formation, expect to see Isco floating around in a No.10 role behind Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. Achraf and Marcelo will provide the width.
Zinedine Zidane has opted for his strongest possible line-up, with nine changes from the Copa del Rey victory over third-division Fuenlabrada. Casilla remains in goal as Keylor Navas is injured, while Achraf starts a fifth game in the last six matches at right-back, this consigning Nacho to a place on the bench.
Real Madrid XI: Casilla; Achraf, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco; Benzema, Ronaldo.
Marcelo is Real Madrid's lucky charm... the Brazil international has scored 22 goals for Los Blancos since joining from Fluminense in 2007, and Madrid have won each of the matches in which he has scored.
Real Madrid continue to squint up at the back LaLiga pace-setters Barcelona. Lionel Messi and Paulinho scored for Ernesto Valverde's side yesterday evening to secure victory against Athletic Club at San Mamés. That win extended Barça's lead at the summit of the table to four points over second-placed Valencia, and eight points over Real Madrid. It is by no means an insurmountable gap, but in a league where few points are dropped by the high-flyers, Madrid cannot afford to slip further behind their rivals.
"There's a lot of unrest and I'm not going to get involved, my only concern is the game, nothing else," said Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile.
Real Madrid travel to Catalonia in the midst of a Spanish constitutional crisis that continues to escalate, with separatist leaders in the north-eastern region this week voting to declare independence from Spain, prompting the country's central government to activate emergency powers to remove the members of Catalonia's regional government and call elections in the comunidad autónoma for December. In his editorial this morning, however, Alfredo Relaño dismisses concerns about Real's visit to Montilivi - which, after all, sees a club supported by sacked Catalan premier Carles Puidgemont host a side who are Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy's favourite team. "I expect no less than a fine evening's football, albeit with a smattering of allusions to the situation we're in," says Relaño.
This may be Real Madrid's first league trip to face Girona, but that doesn't mean Los Blancos haven't faced the Catalan club at Montilivi before. The two teams have actually met four times at the ground, on each occasion in the pre-season Trofeo Inmortal Girona - and ahead of this afternoon's match, we take a look at how those clashes went.
In today's editorial, Alfredo Relaño also pays tribute to Real Madrid legend Manuel Sanchís Sr, who passed away aged 79 on Saturday. "His [...] electric style of play made him a hit with the fans," writes Relaño of the 1966 European Cup-winning defender, whose son Manuel Sanchís Jr also went on to help Los Blancos to continental glory three decades later.
With Barcelona winning at Athletic Club on Saturday night, Real Madrid go to Montilivi provisionally eight points behind the LaLiga leaders and knowing that only a win will do. 15th-placed Girona, meanwhile, are looking to continue on from their victory at Deportivo last time out in the league.
Good morning! Join us for build-up ahead of this afternoon's clash at Montilivi!
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