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Barcelona crumbles ‘on form’, suffers ‘2-4 shock loss’ to ‘La Liga sensation’ Girona

The Girona surge is swallowing up Spanish La Liga.

Barcelona lost 2-4 to Girona in the 16th round of the 2023-24 Spanish La Liga at the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, at 5:00 a.m. ET on April 11. The result leaves Barcelona (34 points) in fourth place, while Girona (41 points) leapfrogged into first place.

The home team, Barcelona, led by Xavi Hernandez, started in a 4-3-3 formation. João Felix, Robert Lewandowski, and Xavi formed the back three. In the midfield, Pedri, Ilkay Gundogan, and Frankie De Jong held down the fort. The back four was João Cancelo, Andreas Christensen, Ronald Araujo, and Jules Kunde. The goalkeeper’s gloves were worn by Iñaki Peña.

Girona, coached by Michel Sanchez, went with a 3-4-2-1 formation. Up top, Artem Dovbic and the second line of Xaviou and Viktor Chigankov looked to score. The midfield consisted of Miguel Gutierrez, Alais Garcia, Ivan Martin, and Yann Couto. The backline was made up of Daley Brint, David Lopez, and Eric Garcia. Paulo Gasaniga was in goal.

It was a wild first half. Early on, Girona broke the balance. In the 12th minute, a penetrating pass forward found Chigankov. His cutback to the center was slotted home by Dobbik. It was a complete breakdown of the Barcelona defense.

Barcelona fought back immediately. A corner kick in the 19th minute. A left-footed cross from Hapinha was whipped into the box, where Lewandowski leaped high to head home the equalizer.

In a tense affair, Girona took the lead again. In the 40th minute, Martin found Gutierrez in space. Gutierrez drove the ball into the box and took advantage of a momentary lapse in pressure to shoot. The ball flew like a cannonball and found the top corner of the net.

In the second half, Barcelona brought off Christensen, Felix, and Hapinha, and brought on Alejandro Valdez, Ramin Yamal, and Ferran Torres to try and catch up. Girona brought off Dobbik, Chigankov, and Couto and brought on Christian Stuani, Porto, and Valeri Fernandes.

Barcelona threw in Fermín López in place of Pedri, but conceded again. In the 35th minute, Valeri calmly slotted home a ball that Stuani flicked onto his head after a corner kick. Araujo’s helplessness in the contest was to blame for the goal.

The offense continued. Barcelona pulled a goal back through Guindoan, but Girona responded with a Stuani wedge, and the game ended with a 4-2 win for Girona.

Girona, who have been on a tear under Michel this season, were also victorious against Barcelona, with the result lifting them to the top of the table ahead of Real Madrid (39 points). At the midway point of the season, the Spanish scene is in flux.

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