Girona (Spain) (AFP) – Real Madrid regained first place in the Spanish championship on Saturday by winning on the Girona pitch 3-0, during the 8th day of La Liga, thanks to its English prodigy Jude Bellingham, once again decisive.
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The Madrilenians thus overtake FC Barcelona and take the lead with a one point lead, while Girona, leader before Barça’s victory against Sevilla on Friday (1-0), is now third.
“We played a solid match. (…) We knew they could be dangerous. It was important to defend well in our camp and that’s what we did,” said the Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on Real Madrid TV.
First dominated by the Catalans, who are having the best start to the season in their history, the Merengue gave them a lesson in realism by scoring three goals against the run of play.
Michel’s men, pushed by their supporters in a packed Montivili stadium, had nevertheless put on the pressure from the start, developing their collective game by stifling the Madrilenians in their camp with high pressure.
Bellingham shines again
Venezuelan midfielder Yander Herrera, recruited this summer from Manchester City, almost opened the scoring with a header in the 3rd minute, before the Ukrainian Tsygankov found the post, while Kepa and Camavinga were beaten (4th).
But Real knew how to keep their backs and offered a relentless response to the Catalan fury, scoring two goals in quick succession on their first two chances.
First by Joselu, receiving a perfect cross from Bellingham with the outside of the right foot (17th), then thanks to the first goal from French midfielder Aurélien Tchouameni, with a header from a corner (21st).
The Argentine goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, who could have done better on the first goal, made up for it by winning his duel in front of Bellingham (27th) then diverting a powerful volley from Kroos which was flying into the top corner (48th) to prevent his team from return to the locker room trailing 3-0.
The former Fulham goalkeeper narrowly intervened again in front of Bellingham (63rd) to maintain the locals’ hopes, but ended up losing again, the Englishman scoring a third goal (72nd), his sixth in La Liga.
“We created a lot of chances, in the end I think the 3-0 score is not really deserved,” Girona defender Miguel Gutierrez told the press.
A class away
The Catalans did not give up and continued to attack to get back into the match, without success.
Above all, they learned, perhaps unfairly, that they still had a long way to go before being able to compete with the greats of Spain, even though they are only playing their fourth season in the elite. .
The end of the match was punctuated by excesses between players after a very violent tackle by Nacho on Portu, which resulted in him being sent off (95th).
“Nacho lacked lucidity. (…) He apologized and we hope that it is nothing serious for the Girona player” declared Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti at a press conference.
Forced to go out on a stretcher, Portu was taken to hospital, hit “in the ankle and hip” according to his coach Michel.
In the other matches of the day, Villarreal, who will host Stade Rennais on Thursday in the Europa League, drew 0-0 on the Getafe pitch, after being reduced to 10 in the 23rd minute.
Former Monegasque Radamel Falcao allowed Rayo Vallecano to snatch a point against Mallorca (2-2) at the end of added time on a penalty (102nd).
Led by Takefusa Kubo, scorer of his fifth goal of the season, and his attacking partner Mikel Oyarzabal, Real Sociedad corrected their neighbor Athletic Bilbao in the Basque derby at Anoeta (3-0).
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