Sow in action against Girona FC
Match reports


Isaac's first league goal ultimately wasn't enough to avoid defeat in Montilivi
Cuerpo Superior

The feel-good factor of a convincing Copa del Rey win at Getafe on Wednesday was a cause for quiet confidence that the Quique Sánchez Flores regime is beginning to take shape. Indeed, no better place to both build on that progress and simultaneously put it to the test than at Girona FC, the league’s second-placed side and surprise package of this LALIGA EA SPORTS season.

On this occasion, we didn't get the desired result. Despite going ahead early through Isaac Romero’s third goal in three games since his promotion from Sevilla Atlético to the first team, Girona scored five to ensure it will be back to the drawing board for Sánchez Flores and his players.

We showed intent from the off as Isaac and Ocampos pressed high, attempting to use Girona’s insistence on playing out from the back against them. And, with ten minutes played, we were rewarded for our bright start when Adrià Pedrosa picked his head up after finding space on the left of the Girona box and cut back for Isaac, who had intelligently dropped back to the penalty spot, to guide a clinical finish in at the near post. 

However, in 19 year-old wideman Sávio, Girona’s standout player this season, and ex-Manchester United veteran Daley Blind, Michel’s team have a strong blend of youthful flair and top-level experience, something that has helped them to the lofty heights of the top of the table this season, in a title fight with Real Madrid that even their most optimistic supporters would have struggled to see coming. 

Despite their great form, neither would anyone in the stadium have predicted the turnaround that was about to take place and, in particular, the speed at which it would arrive. First, in the 13th minute, Sávio set up the equaliser with textbook wing play, dropping a shoulder to get to the byline and stand a cross up to back post where Artem Dovbyk, LALIGA EA SPORTS player of the month for December, was on hand to head home. 

Just two minutes later, the electric Sávio produced the game’s outstanding moment, using sublime trickery to evade several challenges on the touchline and dance down the flank before finding Portu who duly squared for Dovbyk to slot in his second of the night. 

With those watching on still trying to make sense of the three goals already witnessed, Dovbyk then carried the ball forward after being afforded too much space, skipped past two challenges and completed a hat-trick in just 19 first-half minutes to make it 3-1 to Girona. 

After such a high-octane opening period, the game settled down somewhat for the remainder of the half before, in the 56th minute, the hosts scored a fourth when the scintillating Sávio caused more havoc on the left flank before putting the ball on a plate for Viktor Tsygankov to finish. 

Erik Lamela and Hannibal Mejbri, on for his début, then entered the fray, the Tunisian showing some nice touches and plenty of endeavour, almost creating our second goal after breaking into the Girona box, but the game was ultimately already decided after Dovbyk’s early treble. There was even time for a fifth for the home side, substitute Cristhian Stuani converting another cross from the left. 

The scoresheet will tell you that this game belonged to Dovbyk but it was Sávio who really stole the show. Nevertheless, Michel and Girona won’t care as they move back to the summit of the table and now look ahead to their Copa del Rey quarter final at Mallorca on Sunday. Sánchez Flores, meanwhile, will turn his attention towards preparing for our cup showdown at Atlético de Madrid on Thursday night, a game whose importance cannot be overplayed in the context of the season. 


Cuerpo Inferior


5. GIRONA FC: Gazzaniga, Yan Couto, Juanpe (Antal, minute 30), Blind, Miguel, Iván Martín, Yangel Herrera (Solís, minute 65), Tsygankov (Valery, minute 66), Sávio (Pablo Torre, minute 73), Portu and Dovbyk (Stuani, minute 73).

1. SEVILLA FC: Dmitrovic, Jesús Navas, Nianzou, Sergio Ramos, Badé (Marcao, minute 46), Pedrosa, Sow (Agoumé, minute 77), Joan Jordán, Suso (Hannibal, minute 62), Ocampos (Mariano, minute 77) and Isaac (Lamela, minute 62).

GOALS: 1-0, minute 10: Isaac; 1-1, minute 13: Dovbyk; 2-1, minute 15: Dovbyk; 3-1, minute 19: Dovbyk.; 4-1, minute 56: Tsygankov; 5-1, minute 89: Stuani.

REFEREE: Pablo González Fuertes. Yellow cards for Sow and Hannibal.