FEBRUARY 11, 2024
The LALIGA title race took a decisive turn as Real Madrid dominated Girona at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, virtually sealing the championship with 14 games remaining.
The visitors faced significant challenges as their coach, Míchel, received a touchline ban following his protests against a refereeing decision in the previous match. Furthermore, key players Yangel Herrera and Daley Blind were suspended. Meanwhile, Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti also encountered difficulties with Antonio Rüdiger injured, leaving the team with no available central defenders.
“In the end, Real Madrid’s defensive solidity was highlighted as Girona failed to muster a single shot on target at the Bernabéu, underscoring their dominance. The match saw Vinícius Júnior seize the initiative with a superbly executed curling effort from the edge of the box, setting the tone for Madrid’s commanding performance.”
“After the treasure chest was opened, Real Madrid discovered their space, enabling Jude Bellingham to exploit it. The England international capitalized by scoring two more goals, cementing the league leaders’ commanding lead over their nearest competitors.”
“In another moment of individual brilliance, Rodrygo Goes extended the lead to four, showcasing his skill by maneuvering through the Girona defense before elegantly curling the ball past Paulo Gazzaniga in the Girona goal. However, the opportunity to make it five was missed by Joselu, who struck the penalty kick against the post in the final moments of the game.”
What does this result mean for the LALIGA title race?
In mathematic terms, Girona are very much still in the fight. This was only their second defeat of the season and they have only drawn five from 24. That means that they are keeping pace with Real Madrid and are only five points behind Los Blancos.
“A win will just give an advantage, but the title will be decided further down the line,” Ancelotti insisted in his pre-match press conference on Friday, but even the Italian must now be feeling quietly optimistic.
Not only is the gap between the two teams now five points, but Real Madrid have also secured a convincing margin in the head-to-head comparison. The aggregate score over the home and away games means that Real Madrid beat Girona 7-0, equivalent to another point in the table.
With several months left of the season, and Real Madrid facing their own issues with a defensive injury crisis, there is plenty to compete for, but it would take a real collapse from Real Madrid to surrender their lead. They are unbeaten in LALIGA since a loss to Atlético Madrid in September, have now drawn level with Girona for goals scored with 52, and have conceded six goals fewer than the next best defensive record in the competition.