Wednesday May 22, 2024

Berenguer scores twice to help Athletic Bilbao beat Girona 3-2

By Reuters
February 21, 2024

MADRID: Alex Berenguer scored twice as Athletic Bilbao brought high-flying Girona back down to earth with a 3-2 victory on Monday, a result that provided a reality check to the Catalans’ lofty LaLiga title ambitions.

Spanish Footballer Alejandro Berenguer Remiro can be seen in this image. — AFP/File
Spanish Footballer Alejandro Berenguer Remiro can be seen in this image. — AFP/File

Girona, the season’s early pacesetters, were unbeaten in 15 successive league games until their 4-0 thrashing by Real Madrid nine days ago. However, having won only one of their last five games in all competitions, they are now in danger of being overtaken by the likes of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

After suffering their second consecutive league loss, Girona remain second in the standings with 56 points, but only two points ahead third-placed Barca and five ahead of Atletico. They trail leaders Real Madrid by six points.

Fifth-placed Athletic moved up to 49 points, two points adrift of Atletico. Athletic dominated proceedings from the start and outplayed a rather subdued Girona. Berenguer intercepted a pass from rival Aleix Garcia to score and give Athletic the lead in the second minute and Girona were lucky to go to the break only one goal down as the wasteful locals misfired several chances, including an absolute sitter from close-range by Inaki Williams in the seventh minute.

Athletic left the door open for Girona, and they hit back with a Viktor Tsyhankov tap in from a Ivan Martin cross that made it 1-1 in the 49th minute. However, Berenguer put the locals back in front with another strike in the 56th minute and Williams extended their lead in similar fashion four minutes later.

Williams almost scored a fourth after another blunder by the visitors five minutes later but keeper Paulo Gazzaniga managed to make a goalline save with the tip of his boot. Eric Garcia put Girona back in the game, netting a close-range effort from a Aleix Garcia free kick but the hosts held on to secure their seventh consecutivewin at home, a result that put them in the race for a top four finish and a place in next season’s Champions League.

“It’s not easy to beat Girona. It’s something to be proud of,” Williams told DAZN. “We are doing things well and we have to look up, that’s what’s important. We’re going to keep dreaming and keep working because that’s how you get things done.”