Girona took sole control of the league for the first time in its history. After seven matchdays of play, the victory at La Cerámica recognized a serious and ambitious project that, after years of progress, has developed into a dynamic, organized and generous team for its offensive career. It is led by the Brazilian Savinho, a real centering machine, and the Ukrainian Dovbyk, a lover of attacks and front-handers. Perfect complement and horror for Villarreal, who were defeated 1-0.
Jorgensen, Albiol (Matteo Gabbia, Min. 77), Mandi, Alfonso Pedraza, Juan Foyth, Capoue (Ramón Terrats, Min. 58), Parejo (Trigueros, Min. 87), Morales (Ben Brereton, Min. 77), Yeremy Pino (Ilias Chakkour, min. 58), Sörloth and Álex Baena
Gazzaniga, David López, Miguel Gutierrez, Arnau Martinez (Yan Couto, Min. 52), Eric Garcia (Daley Blind, Min. 88), Sávio, Iván Martín (Portu, Min. 52), Aleix García, Yangel Herrera, Tsygankov ( Jhon Solis, Min. 88) and Dovbyk (Stuani, Min. 69)
Goals 1-0 min. 49: Even. 1-1 min 56: Dovbyk. 1-2 min 61: Eric Garcia.
referee José María Sánchez Martinez
Yellow cards Yeremy Pino (min. 15), Yangel Herrera (min. 57), Álex Baena (min. 87) and Miguel Gutierrez (min. 91)
Pacheta expressed his wish before going to the bench at sunset in Castellón this Wednesday: “That this is the first place where Girona loses, that is the motivation.” The myth of Girona, that after six days in the league undefeated, the revelation team of the summer, began to take shape on Spanish pitches in perhaps a somewhat premature way. The media, fans and professionals, like Pacheta, are thirsty for inspiration at the start of a seemingly impoverished championship journey, the sources have dried up, the horizon blurred by clouds of dust. From the desert of financial fair play, Girona awoke to a promise of miracles as Villarreal received the award, the highest bar set for them following their visit to San Sebastián on August 12th.
The first blow fell to Villarreal. Less than two minutes had passed when Morales – who started on the right wing, a position that forced him to redouble his efforts outside his zone – finished a move from Baena over the crossbar. The move showed Villarreal’s penchant for directing his advances towards the flank defended by Eric García. He also highlighted the ubiquity of Alex Baena, the first beneficiary of the model proposed by Pacheta. The Andalusian midfielder, the heir to the great Trigueros, bears a lot of responsibility.
Girona has not collapsed. He predicted his behavior throughout the meeting from the beginning. While Eric García had difficulty arriving on time, David López always helped him. Based on the experience of his strongest central defender, coach Míchel developed a performance that gave his team a strategic advantage every time they lost the ball. Because while Villarreal didn’t know how to spread its pressure on the opponent’s half, retreating hastily every time its rival managed to string together two passes in a row, Girona repeatedly managed to defend the man. Morales, Parejo, Capoue and Baena struggled to free themselves from their goals, while Aleix García breathed and thought much more calmly every time he received the ball from his central defenders. The Girona players prevailed in these dark pressure and counter-pressure exercises. Through this quiet work they managed to survive the duel against a Villarreal team with a more qualified squad.
Under the leadership of Parejo and Capoue, Villarreal came closer to Gazzaniga’s goal more often and with greater danger during almost an hour of laborious negotiations. Jeremi Pino tested the goalkeeper with a dry shot. But the groguet fans didn’t have a quiet afternoon. As Morales left the dressing room at half-time, he expressed his concern: “We have to take advantage of our chances and we have to try to stop the counterattacks that they throw at us,” he said on DAZN.
Girona’s forward pressure and the repeated opportunities for Savinho to run into space began to become torment for Villarreal. It was still early in the game when a play by Capoue and Morales on the wing showed the tenderness of Miguel Gutiérrez and Iván Martín. Overwhelmed by a whistle, Iván Martín fouled Capoue on the edge of the penalty area and the referee awarded a penalty. Parejo made it 1-0. But Villarreal continued to hold on to his individualities to maintain an increasingly vulnerable lead. Five minutes later, waves broke the dam.
Always thrown behind the local defense, Savinho engaged in an endless chain of duels with Juan Foyth. The Argentine reacted to the seemingly predictable threat with his usual hardness and aggression. Savinho culminated all of his actions with an attempted cross. Rarely successful, but persistent. Just on the hour mark, Foyth faltered and Savinho delivered the ball he was looking for. Dobyk finished the ball at the far post, with permission from Mandi and a very nervous Jörgensen. “The 1-1 draw hurt us,” Pacheta later complained. The move from Capoue to Terrats didn’t help his team either.
Villarreal fell into a crisis. He succumbed to the pressure and barrage of crosses from Tsygankov and Savinho. Panic spread in the defense. At the exit of a corner, after another move by Savinho, Eric García headed the final goal. A historic goal as it gives Girona the lead in the league for the first time in their history.
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