After a heartbreaking 4-2 loss to Girona at the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium on Sunday night, Barcelona will end the weekend in fourth place in the La Liga standings, seven points behind the leaders. Girona made a statement about their title credentials by dominating the last 30 minutes of a highly entertaining game that saw plenty of chances for both sides in the first hour. They won a convincing road derby against Barcelona and will go into Matchday 16 with a two-point lead over second place.


Both teams played incredibly well with the ball and took big chances when in possession, which left them extremely vulnerable at the back. Both sides created chance after chance throughout the first half-hour, which was as exciting and wild as one could wish for. The game was played at an absolutely crazy pace with very few stoppages.

After Girona counterattacked thanks to a misplaced pass by Barça’s captain Viktor Tsigankov, the visitors took the lead through an easy tap-in from Artem Dovbyk. Barça had the better of the first ten minutes of play. Following a brilliant corner taken by Raphinha that found Robert Lewandowski in the box, and the attacker scored the equalizer with his head.

The next twenty minutes were absolutely insane, with both teams trading blows and giving each other enormous opportunities. It was quite amazing that as halftime drew near, neither side managed to score any more goals, and both sets of goalkeepers and center backs were frequently forced to make desperate saves.

With five minutes remaining before halftime, however, there was a pivotal moment in the game: following an exquisite Girona passing sequence through the middle, Miguel Gutiérrez was well-positioned to receive the ball, and the left-back brilliantly struck the ball into the top corner to give the visitors their second lead of the game.

The halftime siren brought an end to forty-five of the most thrilling minutes in any football match across Europe this season, as Barça came dangerously close to tying the score once more but Paulo Gazzaniga produced another outstanding save against Lewandowski. Is Barça capable of making a comeback? Would Girona try to maintain their lead or would they keep attacking? Was the first half going to be as crazy as the second?


The game slowed down a little in the first few minutes of the second half as it was only natural that neither team’s players could maintain the same pace from the first.

Girona attempted to defend deeper in the first fifteen to twenty minutes of the game in an effort to preserve their lead before opening up again, but Barça had more possession of the ball and their strategy paid off as the visitors remained a threat on the counterattack and Barça never really had a chance.

Girona gradually started taking chances once more, moving forward and creating gaps in the Blaugrana defense with deft passing and movement. As the game entered its last 20 minutes, they were still the superior team, despite Xavi Hernández’s triple substitution, which saw Alejandro Balde, Lamine Yamal, and Ferran Torres enter the game but have little effect.

And with ten minutes remaining, the game-ending blow arrived: Valery Fernández beat Jules Kounde to the ball and volleyed it into the bottom corner to double Girona’s lead and all but seal the victory. Cristhian Stuani won the opening header following a long ball from Gazzaniga.

In a desperate attempt to tie the score, Barça naturally sent everyone forward. Deep into stoppage time, Ilkay Gündogan scored to give Barça some hope of a dramatic late equalizer. When Yamal’s exquisite cross found Lewandowski all by himself to head it home, Barça’s best finisher missed their best chance to pull off a miracle. Instead, the ball struck the Pole’s shoulder.

Finally, Stuani scored a fourth goal for Girona to seal the victory after Sávio’s cross found him alone at the far post. This put an end to any hopes of a comeback.

Barça played well for an hour and produced enough opportunities to score more than one goal in the first sixty minutes, but the final whistle brought an end to a terrible evening for them. But they didn’t, and Girona demonstrated that they can score goals against anybody, anywhere, thanks to their appalling defense.


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