Jude Bellingham helps Real Madrid end Girona’s unbeaten start

By Sports Desk September 30, 2023

Jude Bellingham continued his fairytale start to life at Real Madrid with another starring performance in a 3-0 victory over previously undefeated Girona.

Bellingham set Real on their way with a superb assist for Joselu’s first-half opener and, after Aurelien Tchouameni had made it 2-0, the England midfielder wrapped things up with his seventh goal for the Spanish giants.

Real Madrid’s victory, their seventh in eight LaLiga games, saw them return to the top of the table with Girona dropping from second to third.

The final scoreline was harsh on a Girona side who had recorded six successive wins since their opening-weekend draw at Real Sociedad, but the Catalan underdogs paid the price for not taking their chances.

Madrid have developed an unwelcome habit of conceding early goals this season and Girona could easily have been 2-0 up inside the opening five minutes.

Yangel Herrera should have done better with a header which cleared the crossbar before Viktor Tsygankov struck the outside of the post with a far-post header that left flew across the outstretched hand of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Real were riding their luck but took the lead in the 18th minute following a moment of magic from Bellingham.

The summer signing from Borussia Dortmund curled in an inch-perfect cross with the outside of his right foot which picked out Joselu’s run at the far post and the Spain striker’s finish was too powerful for Paulo Gazzaniga to keep out.

The buoyant visitors were celebrating a second goal barely three minutes later when Tchouameni escaped his marker at a corner to power home a header.

Girona were suddenly looking shaky at the back and Bellingham almost made it 3-0 in the 28th minute after racing onto Vinicius Jr’s pass, with Gazzaniga denying the 20-year-old.

Gazzaniga also produced a fine save to tip over Toni Kroos’ effort on the stroke of half-time as Madrid looked to finish their opponents off before the break.

However, Girona managed to keep the deficit at two goals going into the interval and, like in the first half, they came out all guns blazing at the start of the second and should have pulled a goal back.

The unmarked David Lopez saw his powerful header from a free-kick parried away by Kepa before Herrera headed another good opportunity down into the ground and over the bar.

That was as close as Girona would come to getting back into the game, though, and Real wrapped up the points with Bellingham again centre stage.

The £88.5million man was denied at close range by Gazzaniga just after the hour but there was no stopping the red-hot midfielder in the 71st minute as he made it 3-0 with a clinical finish.

Joselu saw his shot parried back to him by Gazzaniga and, after the ball looped up into the air off the forward, Bellingham pounced to fire a volley into the ground and past the helpless Girona keeper.

The hosts would have breathed a sigh of relief at seeing Bellingham substituted soon after, but the damage has been done, although Real’s win was soured following a late red card for Nacho Fernandez.

The visitors’ captain was initially shown a yellow card for his flying studs-up challenge on Cristian Portu, but that was quickly changed to a red after the referee consulted the pitchside monitor, and a touchline melee involving both teams followed.

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