A day after La Liga-leading Barcelona suffered a scare at home only to beat plucky Valladolid 1-0, blood rival Real Madrid fell further behind the defending champions after a shocking 2-1 loss to Girona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
It didn’t seem like a major upset was in the making early on. Casemiro got on the end of a pass by Toni Kroos to put the hosts ahead after 25 minutes:
Real, fully in control of the match, took that lead into the dressing room at halftime. But things began to get interesting after the break.
First, Cristhian Stuani equalized from the penalty spot midway through the second half after Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was whistled for handling the ball. Then, with a quarter-hour to play, Girona attacker Cristian Portugues Manzanera, better known as Portu, scored what wound up being the game-winner:
Things only got worse for the hosts from there, as Ramos was sent off when he picked up a second yellow card in second half stoppage time. Ramos, a towering figure in last week’s emphatic derby win over city rival Atletico, will definitely miss next weekend’s match with Levante and, pending review by by Spanish officials, possibly the Clasico against Barcelona on Feb. 27 as well if his attempted overhead clearance is deemed suspension-worthy:
Sunday’s loss is Real Madrid’s third loss at the Bernabeu this season. It leaves them two points back of Atletico in third place and a seemingly insurmountable nine points behind table-topping Barca. The upset also snaps a seven-match unbeaten run for Santiago Solari’s team, which suffered its last defeat in the Copa del Rey on Jan. 16 versus Leganes.
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