Real Madrid outplayed and stunned by La Liga newbie Girona

Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid were outplayed and beaten by Girona. (Getty)

The city will remember the afternoon forever. It will remember the day the European champions came. It will remember the day they left defeated.

Girona’s first-ever La Liga match against Real Madrid, in its first-ever season in La Liga, ended in the most monumental result in club history, a 2-1 victory over the Spanish giants and reigning league champs that was as stunning as it will be unforgettable.

Madrid was legitimately outplayed by the small Catalan club, which had spent the first 87 years of its existence in the lower divisions. Girona had been similarly impressive and resistant against Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, and Barcelona, but without just rewards. Sunday finally brought a reward bigger than many at the club could have even imagined.

Girona traded blows with Real throughout the 90 minutes, and very nearly went ahead after 12. But seconds later, Madrid raced in the other direction, and Isco put the favorites in front:


The minnows, though, were unfazed. The early deficit might have even galvanized them. They pressed for an equalizer, and weaved their way through the Madrid midfield and defense to score it. Cristhian Stuani’s finish was precisely what the attacking move deserved:


The winner, which perhaps should have been ruled out for offside, came just four minutes later:


Madrid was sloppy all afternoon, and gave the ball away time and time again in midfield. It created a decent amount for itself, but Girona, incredibly, manufactured the better chances.


The match was overshadowed in the buildup by the Catalan independence movement, and political tensions in the region and throughout Spain. Catalan flags were scattered throughout the crowd.

All of that was forgotten, however, as the upset materialized. Girona players dropped to the turf at the final whistle, in exhaustion, but also in disbelief. Fans stuck around afterward to celebrate:


Their victory is one that will reverberate around Spain. Madrid’s loss, its second of the season, left it eight points behind FC Barcelona.

There had been an expectation that Madrid would recover from early season struggles; that draws against Valencia and Levante, and a loss to Real Betis, were flukes. That expectation was seemingly validated by four consecutive wins. Sunday’s performance, however, was Madrid’s worst of the season, and one that dug it an even deeper hole in the title race.

But Sunday was primarily about Girona. It was about a club that should not be able to compete with Spain’s and Europe’s best, but is doing just that. It is about those players who ooze passion, and fans who mirror them. Their celebrations will never be forgotten. The 90 minutes will never be forgotten. Girona has etched its name in La Liga lore.

Girona players and fans celebrate their memorable victory over Real Madrid. (Getty)

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Henry Bushnell covers soccer – the U.S. national teams, the Premier League, and much, much more – for FC Yahoo and Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.