German Sport

Gündogan penalty saves Barca in Las Palmas, Girona wins top game

As of: January 4, 2024 11:39 p.m

In stoppage time, Ilkay Gündogan gave Barcelona a lucky win in Las Palmas. At the top, Real and Girona won in lockstep.

With a penalty he caused and then converted himself, Ilkay Gündogan prevented FC Barcelona from losing further ground to the top duo Real Madrid and FC Girona in La Liga.

The German national soccer player scored with a penalty kick to make it 2-1 (0-1) at UD Las Palmas on Thursday (January 4th, 2024). Gündogan was pushed by ex-Bundesliga professional Daley Sinkgraven during a cross near the goal, for which he received a red card.

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Previously, Barcelona had struggled with the outsiders for a long time. Las Palmas cleverly defended its early lead through Munir (12th). The Moroccan pushed the ball over the line from close range after a quick attack.

Close victories for the top trio

Barca only got going in the second half. Ferran Torres (56th) equalized. After that, Barcelona pressed and deserved the win, even if it came about happily. For Las Palmas it was the first home defeat since October. Barcelona is third with 41 points behind Real Madrid and FC Girona (48 each)

Thanks to German central defender Antonio Rüdiger’s first goal of the season, the “Royals” won 1-0 (0-0) against RCD Mallorca on Wednesday and maintained their lead in the table ahead of Girona, who defeated Atletico Madrid in the top game with a late goal 4-3 (3 :2) defeated.

Post and crossbar

Rüdiger redeemed the Madrilenians (78th minute) with a header from a corner. The team of coach Carlo Ancelotti, who surprisingly extended his contract until 2026 during the short winter break, had previously struggled.

“He gives us security at the back and plays very well, he’s playing at his highest level,” Ancelotti praised his defense chief after the game. “He’s always focused and ready.”

Mallorca’s Antonio Sanchez hit the crossbar with his head (41′), Samuel Costa hit the post (54′). The Madrid team’s best chance was missed by Brahim Diaz (69′), who headed it onto the inside post from close range.

Martin scores for Girona in added time

In Girona, Ivan Martin (90+1) scored the victory for the second-placed team, which, like Real, has 48 points and is ten points away from Atletico (38). Valery (2nd), Savio (26th) and ex-Munich player Daley Blind (39th) had previously put Girona in the lead, while Alvaro Morata (14th, 44th, 54th) scored a hat-trick for the Madrilenians.

Equal on points with Real after the first half of the season, the best offensive in the league – and yet Spain’s surprise team FC Girona continues to stack deep. “We can’t keep up with the rhythm of Madrid, we don’t want to call ourselves challengers,” emphasized coach Michel after the next statement victory on Wednesday evening.

Girona’s goal remains the Europa League for now

The Catalans, who were promoted to the first division in 2022, still don’t want to dream of the Champions League. “To talk about bigger things like the Champions League, we have to get to the last ten games,” said Michel: “Then I’m ready to talk about our next destination.”

At this point in the season, Girona, who have the best offense in La Liga with 46 goals, are still only aiming to qualify for the European Cup. “The goal is to think game by game and try to reach Europe, which would already be a success for us,” said the coach.

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