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Girona 0-3 Real Madrid (Sep 30, 2023) Game Analysis – ESPN

Girona 0-3 Real Madrid (Sep 30, 2023) Game Analysis – ESPN
  • PublishedOctober 1, 2023

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Real Madrid outclassed Girona 3-0 on Saturday to return to the top of the LaLiga standings, thanks to goals from Joselu, Aurelien Tchouameni and Jude Bellingham.

Madrid moved on to 21 points from eight games, one ahead of Barcelona, who beat Sevilla 1-0 at home on Friday. Girona dropped to third.

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“The team played well, a solid, convincing game, we defended well,” Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti said in his post-match news conference. “Girona play good football. We hurt them when we could, and we controlled the defensive phase. Solidity is the most important thing in these games.”

“We focused on the defence. They’re a team that attacks well. We kept it tight and the defence played well, with the help of the midfield.

“It’s still early but after the defeat in the derby we’ve reacted well, we’re happy.”

Girona made a strong start and could have scored twice in the first five minutes, as Yangel Herrera directed a header over the bar from close range before Viktor Tsyhankov headed an effort onto the post.

After weathering the hosts’ dominant opening spell, Madrid took the lead in the 17th minute through Joselu‘s simple finish following Bellingham’s delightful cross with the outside of his foot.

Tchouameni doubled Madrid’s lead four minutes later when he cleverly wriggled free of his marker before rising highest to head Toni Kroos‘s corner into the net.

Bellingham should have scored in the 28th minute after he raced clear on goal, but his tame effort was excellently kept out by Girona keeper Paulo Gazzaniga.

Kroos also tested Gazzaniga just before half-time, letting fly with a spectacular volley that was tipped over the bar by the Argentine.

Girona did not give up and continued to push forward after the break, almost scoring when Aleix García crossed for Herrera, whose downward header bounced up and over the bar.

Their resistance was snuffed out in the 71st minute when Joselu’s looping pass found Bellingham, who deftly steered home a volley to score his seventh goal in all competitions for Madrid and wrap up the win.

Madrid will also be buoyed by the performance of Vinicius Junior., who looked lively in his first start since returning from a thigh muscle injury, before being taken off in the 68th minute.

Ancelotti’s side suffered a setback, however, after a moment of madness from Nacho in added time as the defender leapt in with a high tackle on Portu, which was initially punished with a yellow card but overturned to red following a VAR review.

“It was a lack of clarity from Nacho,” Ancelotti said. “He usually does the right thing. We’ve apologised and we hope it’s nothing serious for the Girona player.

“The mistake was a lack of clarity. Nacho understands that, he’s hurt and sad.”

Girona face Cadiz next Saturday and Madrid travel to Italy to face Serie A champions Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday before a home match against Osasuna next Saturday.

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