Girona ease back into second as Atletico Madrid misery continues

 

Girona's Spanish forward #24 Cristian Portugues (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Spanish league football match between Girona FC and CA Osasuna at the Montilivi stadium in Girona on March 9, 2024.


Girona returned to winning ways by beating Osasuna 2-0 on Saturday to move back into second place in La Liga, as Atletico Madrid ceded further ground on the top three with a shock defeat at Cadiz. 

A goal inside the opening 15 minutes from Cristian Portu and a late Savinho strike allowed Girona to leapfrog Barcelona back into second spot. "Getting the three points at home is the most important thing to be at the top," said defender Yan Couto. "Thanks to the fans for their support."

Girona dominated the early exchanges against their 10th-placed opponents and were rewarded with just 13 minutes on the clock.

A clever slide-rule pass by Viktor Tsygankov set Portu free in the box and the Spaniard's unerring first-time finish set Girona on their way.

Tsygankov nearly got a second assist three minutes after the break but his compatriot Artem Dovbyk could not supply the finish inside the box.

Daley Blind came close to doubling Girona's lead just shy of the hour mark but his 12-yeard strike was well blocked by the Osasuna defence.

Savinho then struck in the 85th minute but the goal was disallowed for a foul committed by an team-mate.

However, the disappointment was short-lived for the Brazilian when he again netted two minutes later and this time it stood.

Miguel Gutierrez fed Aleix Garcia, whose backheel fell perfectly to the oncoming Savinho and he stabbed home a left-footed finish to put the game beyond Osasuna.

'First dangerous situation'

Atletico Madrid were shocked by lowly Cadiz as Diego Simeone's men sank to a 2-0 defeat on the south coast.

A brace either side of half-time from loanee Juanmi secured an invaluable three points for the 18th-placed Andalusian side and condemned Atletico to a seventh defeat this term.

"The team started well, with enthusiasm and the desire to generate good things, but in the first dangerous situation, Cadiz found the goal and another different game was presented," said Atletico coach Simeone.

Atletico's season has hit some turbulence and the loss follows on from defeat over two legs in the Copa del Rey semi-final against Athletic Bilbao and a 1-0 first-leg loss at Inter Milan in the Champions League last 16.

Spanish international striker Juanmi was left unmarked in the box to head in midway through the first half before he sealed the victory with a scuffed finish just after the hour mark.

The first period was defined by a litany of fouls as neither side was able to get into their groove.

Ruben Sobrino got to the byline on 24 minutes and his left-footed cross found the head of Juanmi, who gleefully headed home from five yards out to give Cadiz the lead.

Simeone rang the changes at half-time, replacing Memphis Depay as well as experienced midfielders Saul Niguez and Rodrigo de Paul but to no avail.

It was Juanmi, on loan from Real Betis, who was again the difference maker.

With 64 minutes gone, he latched onto Javi Hernandez's long pass and outfoxed Jan Oblak with an untidy but effective volleyed finish.

The result pushes Cadiz closer to safety as they provisionally move to within two points of 17th place, while it leaves Atletico four behind Girona in third.

Real Sociedad required late goals from Robin Le Normand and Andre Silva to come from behind and win at second-from-bottom Granada.

Myrto Uzuni twice gave the hosts the lead in the first half, cancelling out Sadiq Umar's equaliser just after the half-hour.

But Le Normand struck 10 minutes from time to level matters and Silva pounced in the 85th minute to nick a 3-2 win for the Basques.

Earlier, Valencia climbed to eighth with a 1-0 win at home to Getafe, courtesy of a clever lofted finish by Hugo Duro five minutes before the break.

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