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Girona boss denies targeting ‘institution’ Marcelo

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Eusebio Sacristan insists he didn’t deliberately target Marcelo in Girona’s shock 2-1 win at Real Madrid in La Liga.

The Catalan side bounced back from six consecutive defeats by claiming a spectacular victory at the Santiago Bernabeu today.

At one point, however, it appeared that Girona would be heading for another loss when Casemiro put Real in front after heading in Toni Kroos’ cross down the right wing in the first-half.

But Girona took control of the game into the second-half after Eusebio made some key changes during the break, which saw Portu switch from the left wing to the right to directly face Marcelo.

The Brazilian left-back was making only his 12th start in La Liga this season amid struggles to insert himself into manager Santiago Solari’s plans.

And things didn’t improve for Marcelo today after Portu escaped his marker and headed in the decisive goal in the 75th-minute to hand Girona a 2-1 win after Cristhian Stuani had equalised 10 minutes earlier through a penalty.

Speaking after Girona’s memorable triumph, Eusebio denied targeting a struggling Marcelo in the game.

“I respect the rival players a lot and someone like Marcelo is an institution,” said Eusebio, according to FourFourTwo.

“Portu plays on the right and generates a lot of problems, but this time he did on the left.

“Pere Pons was forced [to come off], he was dizzy and it was a big risk to continue in the field after the blow he suffered.

“We were subdued and with [Anthony] Lozano we gained more depth, we thought we could create more problems.”

Girona have now climbed up to 15th-place in La Liga and, critically, six points above the drop zone.

And Eusebio is convinced that his side’s strong showing in the second-half proved they were the deserving victors over the European champions.

He added: “They could have made us more goals in the first half, but in the second half we had more control.

“We made them less comfortable and the match was indicating that we were better. Their advantage was minimal and in the second half we were superior, we scored two goals and that’s why we deserved to win.

“They dominated in the first half, but being 1-0 only made us believe and we tried to take the initiative away from them, we wanted to make them run with the ball, they are three very important points, and achieving the goal depends on us.

“It’s a very happy day, we have won the prize for the work that is done every day. The prize did not arrive and it has arrived today.

“Very happy because they are three important points, we must continue working with that spirit.”

MADRID, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 17: Girona FC players celebrate victory following the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Girona FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 17, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)