Girona title bid further dented in Athletic defeat

rugby19 February 2024 22:20| © AFP
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Alex Berenguer © Getty Images

Girona's unlikely LaLiga title bid suffered another dent in a 3-2 defeat by Athletic Bilbao on Monday, with Alex Berenguer striking twice for the Basque side.

After leaders Real Madrid were held to a draw by Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, the Catalan minnows, second, hoped to cut the six-point gap but were beaten in a gripping clash at San Mames.

Michel Sanchez's side are now only two points ahead of champions Barcelona, third, and seven in front of fifth-place Athletic, chasing a top four spot.

Girona have now failed to win any of their last three league matches.

Athletic took the lead inside two minutes after Girona playmaker Aleix Garcia played a dangerous ball across the face of his own area.

Berenguer intercepted the wayward pass and drilled home inside the near post, catching out Paulo Gazzaniga.

Girona lacked their usual zip, still chastened from last weekend's heavy 4-0 thrashing by Real Madrid.

The Catalans pulled level at the start of the second half when Tsygankov turned home Ivan Martin's cross.

However, they did not keep parity for long with Berenguer netting his second following another Girona mistake.

Miguel Gutierrez dallied on the ball and was robbed by Gorka Guruzeta, who crossed for Berenguer to finish.

Girona's defence was all at sea as Inaki Williams netted Athletic's third.

However, Eric Garcia headed home from Aleix Garcia's cross to give Girona the chance to rescue a point.

They almost did deep in stoppage time, but Athletic defender Dani Vivian brilliantly headed John Solis' shot off the line to safety.