Girona 1-2 Athletic Club: Second Have Brilliance Silences Montilivi
Playing on the road is never easy and Athletic found that out against a Girona side who were in need of points. The Catalans were much better in the first half and were able to control the pace of play. Athletic did well to win back possession on several occasions, though they were unable to do anything with it. Girona would eventually answer first and send Montilivi into a fury.
In the 37th minute, a cross was sent into the box to the dangerous Cristhian Stuani who beat Iñigo Martinez to put a header into the back of the net. There was nothing Iago Herrerín could do but watch as the ball ripples the netting and the Basques found themselves down early. Girona were in control going into the break and Gaizka Garitano would urge his team to turn things around in the second half.
Athletic made a few minor adjustments and came out firing. The Lions were sharper with their passes, more organized at the back, and constantly looked as though they were going to be a threat in front of goal. Eventually, Girona were put on the back foot and forced to defend for long stretches. Athletic’s direct attacking started to create problems for the hosts who would pay the price.
Raúl García played a beautiful pass into the left side of the box to Yuri Berchiche in the 53rd minute that opened up the Girona defense. Berchiche then sent a cross to the far corner where Iñaki Williams directed a header on goal to level the score at Montilivi. Just 6 minutes later Iñaki would be the one to provide an assist as Raúl García nodded home a second goal to put the Basques in front 2–1.
The match wasn’t over there with half an hour still left to play. Ander Capa and Oscar De Marcos would both have efforts but it was Girona who started pushing hard for an equalizer. Herrerín would have to make a spectacular save to keep the Catalans from finding their second but the final whistle would soon follow. Taking all three points saw Athletic move into a tie for 7th place, albeit Valencia do have the tie-breaker, and the Zurigorri are now in a serious battle for European qualification.