Girona go top despite stumble at winless Almeria

AFP , Sunday 14 Jan 2024

Girona moved top of La Liga despite stumbling to a 0-0 draw at bottom of the table Almeria on Sunday.

Almeria s
Almeria s Brazilian defender #02 Kaiky (L) challenges Girona s Ukrainian forward #09 Artem Dovbyk during the Spanish league football match between UD Almeria and Girona FC at the Municipal Stadium of the Mediterranean Games in Almeria on January 14, 2024. Photo: AFP


The winless hosts outplayed the surprise contenders, now a point clear of Real Madrid, but could not find a way through to secure their first victory of the season.

Girona playmaker Aleix Garcia was sent off with 10 minutes to go for pulling down Gonzalo Melero as he ran through on goal.

Madrid face Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia later Sunday, with their match against Getafe postponed until February 1.

Almeria coach said his team were far stronger defensively now than when he took over in October, with his first match at the helm a crushing 5-2 defeat at Girona.

It proved the case, with the formerly free-scoring Catalans shackled well as Almeria picked up a third goalless draw in their last six league games.

Almeria had the better of the few chances there were, with Girona goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga doing well to deny Sergio Arribas before half-time.

The former Real Madrid winger had another chance early in the second period but fired narrowly off target, while Gazzaniga denied Leo Baptistao and Adri Embarba.

Girona coach Michel Sanchez withdrew their top goalscorer Artem Dovbyk, who barely had a sniff, sending on Uruguayan veteran Cristhian Stuani in his place.

To make a tough afternoon worse for Girona, Garcia was sent off with 10 minutes to go for grabbing Melero's shirt to hold him back as he ran in on goal.

The midfielder, key in Michel's plans, had not missed a single minute of the season until now.

Almeria brought on striker Luis Suarez, missing injured since October, as they pushed Girona back in search of a winner.

They could not find it and sit 10 points from safety, next facing giants Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

No team has failed to win a game in a La Liga season and this was another performance to give Almeria hope they will avoid that fate.

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