- Girona suffered a tough defeat against Real Madrid amid their impressive form
- Goals from Vinicius Jr, Jude Bellingham and Rodrygo gave the victory
- Arsenal fans have gone from over-celebrating to over-reacting… their team HAS to get behind Liverpool’s win – It’s All Kicking Off Podcast
Jude Bellingham became the first midfielder this century to score 15 league goals in a season for Real Madrid, surpassing his closest La Liga rivals by four to take a big step towards the title.
With his first-half goal at the Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday night, Bellingham doubled Madrid’s lead over Girona after man of the match Vinicus opened the scoring. He scored a second after the break before leaving with an ankle problem which Madrid now hope will not keep them out of next week’s Champions League round of 16 match against RB Leipzig.
When he got his second and limped out, ‘Hey Jude’ not only bounced around the stadium’s noisy South End, it echoed throughout the stadium.
When he appeared last summer, comparisons with Zinedine Zidane seemed far-fetched, but the Frenchman never scored more than nine league goals in a single season. Bellingham has 16 with most of the second half of the season remaining.
It looked like a title decision with Girona just two points behind Real Madrid in the table: a footballing miracle at this stage of the season considering this is only their fourth season in the top flight.
Real Madrid dominated and beat Girona 4-0.
Jude Bellingham became the first midfielder this century to score 15 league goals in a season with Real Madrid
Rodrygo’s goal crowned an incredible performance by the white team
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They found Madrid too hot to handle, however, the excellent Bellingham wasn’t even the best player on the field for the home team. That accolade went to Vinicius.
He scored the first after seven minutes and gave Girona the first goal they conceded from outside the area all season.
He missed Real Madrid’s last game and left late due to neck pain in the warm-up. Now the pain was all for Girona who cut in from the left and put the ball into the corner from the edge of the area.
There was a square of defenders around him with a Girona player in each corner, but they were all spectators as his shot flew. The visitors had dominated the first exchanges, but out of nowhere Vinicius had conjured the first goal of the game.
Kylian Mbappé’s arrival in Madrid this summer is starting to look inevitable, but he may have to play through the middle instead of his favorite starting position, starting from the left with his right foot because Madrid, in Vinicius, have someone who does that as well as anyone in the world.
And if Mbappé plays in the middle, what to do with Bellingham? He got the brilliant second attack off a pass from Vinicus that Luka Modric would have been proud of. He had Yan Couto in front of him, but the Brazilian bent the ball around him and perfectly into the path of the galloping English midfielder who had split the center of the Girona defense with his run. Bellingham dropped a shoulder and rounded goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga before scoring from a tight angle.
The first goals took pressure off a Madrid eleven that did not have a single center back. Since Antonio Rudiger made a huge move for Mason Greenwood, and came out worse than the Getafe winger, he has been struggling and did not become a starter. With David Alaba and Eder Militao also out for a long time and Nacho suffering a knock, Carlo Ancelotti had to pair full-back Dani Carvajal and midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni in the center of defence, but they had no problems in the first half.
Girona had their first attempt at a goal after the restart when Miguel Gutiérrez advanced from the left side. The former Madrid youth player, on whom Madrid still has an option of 8 million euros, gave Andriy Lunin something to do with a dangerous cross that he deflected.
Savinho, the Brazilian winger that Manchester City has signed for the end of the season, moved away from Lucas Vázquez while Michel’s team continued to show more in the first minutes of the second half than in the entire first.
Girona has been the king of the comeback this season; They don’t lack resilience, but against both Bellingham and Vinicius everything was in vain. Bellingham had sprained his left ankle early in the match and was about to be replaced by a worried Ancelotti, but still had one more goal left.
Vinicus once again found himself surrounded by Girona’s defenders, this time on the right wing, and once again escaped from them. His cross was blocked by Gazzaniga but Bellingham finished it from close range.
He was immediately replaced by Brahim Díaz and Hey Jude resonated throughout the stadium as he left, blowing kisses to the Madrid fans that he has had in the palm of his hands since his first game.
Madrid were just as dangerous despite losing Bellingham. His ankle was taped on the bench as Rodrygo advanced, benefiting from Vinicus recovering the ball, to score the fourth.
Joselu missed a penalty on the last shot of the game after a foul on Arda Guler. Girona had wanted it to be over for a long time and when the penalty hit the post it was. So is, quite possibly, the race for the Spanish title.