Girona 2-1 Real Madrid: Stuani and Portu goals sink champions
By Robert O'Connor
Last Updated: 30/10/17 6:16am
La Liga newcomers Girona stunned Real Madrid by coming from behind to defeat the European champions 2-1 at the Estadio Montilivi on Sunday afternoon.
Cristhian Stuani and Portu struck quickfire goals in the second half to wipe out Real's first-half lead given to them by Isco, as Girona wrote themselves into history in their first-ever league meeting against the champions.
Girona had twice struck the post in the first half through Portu and Pablo Maffeo as they more than matched their illustrious opponents, with Real limited to half chances for Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
Zinedine Zidane's team are now eight points behind Barcelona, as Girona rise to 11th.
No Bale for Real as Isco started, with Asensio on the bench. Stuani started up top for Girona.
The La Liga debutants took the game to Real early on and were inches away from taking the lead when full-back Maffeo cut inside and sent over an arching shot which came back off Kiko Casilla's post.
Girona were made to rue their bad luck less than a minute later when Benzema broke with the ball and slipped in Ronaldo, whose low strike was only parried by goalkeeper Bono allowing Isco to steal in and prod Real in front before Girona's defence could react.
Ronaldo had a chance to double the champions' lead when he shot straight at Bono from Benzema's inviting cross, but it was Girona who came closest to grabbing the next goal when Portu sent a looping header goalwards from Aday's cross, only to see the ball bounce off the inside of the post.
Girona: Bono (7), Bernardo (7), Granell (7), Stuani (8), Pere Pons (8), Portu (8), Aday (7), Juanpe (7), Muniesa (7), Borja Garcia (7), Maffeo (8)
Subs: Mojica (7), Timor (7), Kayode (7),
Real Madrid: Casilla (7), Sergio Ramos (6), Varane (6), Ronaldo (7), Kroos (7), Benzema (7), Modric (7), Marcelo (6), Casemiro (7), Achraf (6), Isco (7)
Subs: Nacho (6), Lucas (6), Asensio (7)
Man of the match: Pablo Maffeo
Girona's improbable comeback began in the 54th minute, Pere Pons picking up possession in midfield and dancing past Sergio Ramos to tee up Stuani, who glided into the box and slid the ball past Casilla.
And Real barely had time to regather their composure before they were behind, Stuani again striking at goal with an angled drive and as the ball broke for Maffeo his fizzing shot was deftly back-heeled in by Portu.
Zidane threw on Marco Asensio in a late bit to rescue the game, but it was Stuani who went closest to extending Girona's lead, dinking a shot over Casilla and past the post as the Catalans held on to down the champions and record a famous victory.
Zinedine Zidane: "We did well in the first half but football is about details and the first goal was from a throw in and we weren't focused.
"I don't think we played badly, we didn't lack intensity or effort, we just lost focus at the most important moments and that's why I'm annoyed. We're eight points behind but it won't change anything, we can pick ourselves up, we'll have better days than this and our rivals are going to drop points."
Man of the match - Pablo Maffeo
Nearly stunned Real with his early shot which bounced back off the post but his moment to hurt the champions came later when it was his drive that set up Portu for the winner. His late tackle to edge the ball away from Ronaldo as Real probed for a leveller was superhuman.
Girona travel to face Levante next Sunday at 11am, whilst Real's next outing is against Tottenham at Wembley on Wednesday at 7.45pm, before facing Las Palmas at home in La Liga on the Sunday night.