Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois believes Girona’s strong second-half display proved key to ending Real Madrid’s eight-match unbeaten run.
Prior to today’s encounter, Real had secured five successive La Liga wins to put themselves within six points of leaders Barcelona and an unlikely title challenge looked set to go ahead after beating city rivals Atletico Madrid 3-1 last weekend.
But Los Blancos were sent back crashing down to Earth this afternoon in front of their home supporters at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Casemiro’s 25th-minute header from Toni Kroos’ cross down the right wing appeared to set a heavily changed Real side, who were missing a suspended Luka Modric with Gareth Bale benched, on course for a sixth consecutive league win.
Things soon fell apart though in the second-half with Cristhian Stuani’s penalty putting Girona back on level terms before Portu headed in another for the visitors in the 75th-minute to seal a shock 2-1 win.
Adding to Real’s misery came when Sergio Ramos was sent off in stoppage-time for an attempted overhead kick that instead caught Girona’s Pedro Alcala.
“We played well in the first half, but the pace was not as high as in some of our recent games,” said Courtois on the club website.
“They had two chances which I was able to stop but in the second half they played much better and brought a real threat. Girona always make life difficult, it’s three points we really had to win today”.
“The penalty is a shame. After that we struggled to control the game and that’s when they made it 1-2.
“We didn’t react well and Girona took the win. Now we have to continue winning games and put in a good performance against Levante. We have to keep fighting, La Liga is a long-run thing”.
Santiago Solari’s side are now third in La Liga and will next take a trip to Levante UD next Sunday.
— Real Madrid C.F.⚽ (@realmadrid) February 17, 2019