Savio quick-fire double takes Girona back second with win over 10-man Rayo

Sergio Camello of Rayo Vallecano is challenged by Savio Moreira of Girona FC during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Girona FC and Rayo Vallecano at Montilivi Stadium on February 26, 2024 in Girona, Spain.

Brazilian winger Savio scored a five-minute double as surprise packages Girona beat Rayo Vallecano 3-0 to return to second place in the La Liga table. Savio helped the Catalans to move above Barcelona and to within six points of leaders Real Madrid with 12 rounds of the season to play. 

"There is still a lot to do, but the team needed to win after three games without a win," Girona coach Michel said. "Today was difficult. The 3-0 score is not what we saw on the field, everything was more even," he added.

Rayo remain 14th in the Spanish top-flight, seven points off the relegation spots after Pep Chavarria was sent off with a quarter of an hour to play.

Ukraine winger Viktor Tsygankov supplied the opener after 52 minutes with a smooth side-footed finish.

Rayo's chances of a win in northern Spain were dealt a blow with 15 minutes to go as Chavarria was shown two yellow cards in the space of 50 seconds.

His first was after a late tackle on Yan Couto before being sent for an early shower for a rash challenge on Eric Garcia moments later.

Savio then made sure of all three points with his injury-time contributions, his second goal the highlight after he slalomed past the Rayo defence down the right wing to score.

On Sunday, 38-year-old Luka Modric, who was on as a late substitute, produced a blistering strike as Madrid edged Sevilla 1-0 to maintain their unbeaten league run stretching back to September.

On Saturday, Xavi's rejigged Barcelona side thrashed Getafe 4-0 to temporarily climb to second with recalled duo Joao Felix and Raphinha on the scoresheet.

Dutch midfielder Frenkie De Jong and Fermin Lopez were also on target.

Bottom side Almeria twice came from behind to hold Atletico Madrid to a 2-2 draw. The stalemate left the hosts winless this season after 26 matches.

Atletico, who lost 1-0 in the Champions League last 16 first leg tie at Inter Milan in midweek, remain fourth, 13 points off leaders Real Madrid.

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