Girona top Liga with superb late Valencia comeback

Girona pulled off a remarkable late turnaround to defeat Valencia 2-1 on Saturday and inject new energy into their surprising La Liga title challenge.

Down to Hugo Duro’s 56th-minute goal with less than 10 minutes left, the Catalan underdogs finally cracked Valencia’s defence to temporarily move three points ahead at the summit of the table.

Experienced striker Cristhian Stuani equalised after 82 minutes, and Cristhian Mosquera diverted a cross into his own net with two minutes left, with both goals assisted by Yan Couto crosses as fans at Girona’s small Montilivi stadium erupted.

After losing two points in a draw with Athletic Bilbao on Monday, Girona looked set to suffer only their second loss of the season.

“I’m very happy for the team, for the battle that we had with the scoreline against us,” Stuani told DAZN.

“The team did not give up—(Valencia) organised very well.

“We did not stop pushing; we trapped them in their box, and in the end, the goals came.”

Tall striker Artem Dovbyk squandered arguably Girona’s best chance until their late goals in the first minute, with Giorgi Mamardashvili blocking his shot after he cut in from the right.

The Catalans faced a blow when Yangel Herrera hobbled off injured and was substituted by Pablo Torre, on loan from Barcelona.

Ruben Bareja’s well-prepared Valencia contained the usually prolific hosts throughout, restricting them mostly to half-chances.

Dovbyk also missed another rare, clear opportunity before halftime, as the Ukrainian forward attempted to flick the ball past Mamardashvili, who again stopped him.

The Georgian goalkeeper made a superb save to deny Girona playmaker Aleix Garcia in the 54th minute, and Valencia swiftly reaped more benefit.

Duro picked off a pass on the half-way line, sprinting into the vacant space ahead of him and chipping a clever finish over Paulo Gazzaniga.

Baraja brought on more defenders from the bench to further annoy Girona, assigning Dimitri Foulquier to shadow Brazilian winger Savinho, who was starting to flourish after Michel switched him to the right.

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