Fine finishes from Portu and Savio sent Girona back above Barcelona into second place in the LaLiga table courtesy of a battling win over Osasuna.

Portu’s sweet first-half strike and a deft toe-poke from Savio sealed a 2-0 victory at the Municipal de Montilivi Stadium in which Michel’s men created enough chances to have won far more comfortably.

Girona went ahead with 13 minutes gone when Ukraine international Viktor Tsygankov’s reverse pass allowed striker Portu to burst clear and fire low across keeper Sergio Herrera and open the scoring.

Striker Ante Budimir headed high over from a promising position and former Girona full-back Johan Mojica dragged a 30th-minute shot from distance just wide as the visitors responded.

Osasuna’s Jon Moncayola curled an attempt wide from 22 yards seven minutes before the break with the hosts struggling to build upon their early breakthrough, and they headed for the dressing room still only a goal to the good.

Girona striker Artem Dovbyk fired wastefully wide three minutes after the restart after Portu and Tsygankov had combined to set him up, and he only just failed to get on the end of Miguel Gutierrez’s 53rd-minute cross.

Defender Jorge Herrando blocked efforts from Tsygankov and Daley Blind in quick succession and the home side were incensed not to be awarded a penalty after Savio went to ground under Alejandro Cateno’s clumsy challenge, with VAR official Carlos del Cerro Grande backing referee Mateo Busquets’ original decision.

Herrera clawed Dovbyk’s 64th-minute header off the line with Girona pressing for a second, and substitute Cristhian Stuani passed up a glorious opportunity eight minutes from time when he ballooned a shot high over after going one on one with the keeper.

Savio saw an 85th-minute strike ruled out for a foul during the build-up, but was celebrating within seconds when he ran on to Aleix Garcia’s back-heel to cement the win.

Jude Bellingham made it 20 goals for the season as he and Vinicius Junior teamed up to put Girona to the sword and send Real Madrid five points clear at the top of the LaLiga table.

The England midfielder scored twice with both set up by Vinicius, who had opened the scoring before Rodrygo wrapped up a 4-0 win with a fine run and finish. Substitute Joselu also missed a late penalty.

It was just surprise package Girona’s second defeat of the league campaign, with the first also coming at the hands of Carlo Ancelotti’s men, and it was every bit as comprehensive as the scoreline suggests.

With visiting head coach Michel banned from the touchline following his dismissal for leaving his technical area during last weekend’s draw with Real Sociedad, and opposite number Ancelotti forced to field a makeshift back four with injuries biting hard into his resources, there was an air of uncertainty around the Bernabeu Stadium as the game kicked off.

However, the fears of the locals were settled within six minutes when Vinicius picked up possession wide on the left, cut inside Ivan Martin and curled an unstoppable right-foot shot across keeper Paulo Gazzaniga and inside the far post.

With Toni Kroos dictating play, Madrid continued to look the more threatening and Girona skipper Juanpe was mightily relieved to concede a free-kick on the edge of the box rather than a penalty after he had rudely interrupted Eduardo Camavinga’s blistering 21st-minute run towards goal.

Federico Valverde curled the resulting set-piece straight into Gazzaniga’s arms, but there was little let-up in the home side’s efforts to build upon their encouraging start.

Bellingham dragged a 32nd-minute shot wide, but made amends within three minutes when he ran on to Vinicius’ superb ball behind Eric Garcia and rounded Gazzaniga to make it 2-0.

Vinicius scuffed wide after being played through as the whistle approached, but the sides headed for the dressing rooms with the hosts very much in the driving seat.

The visitors, who had offered little before the break, returned in determined mood and it took a last-ditch clearance by Ferland Mendy to cut out Miguel Gutierrez’s inviting cross as they finally started to make an impression going forward.

However, their hopes suffered a further blow within nine minutes when Vinicius cut in from the left and saw Gazzaniga parry his shot straight to Bellingham, who tapped into the empty net.

The Englishman’s evening ended prematurely with 57 minutes gone when, having earlier turned an ankle, he was replaced by Brahim Diaz.

His team did not feel his loss, however, and Rodrigo extended their lead within four minutes, accepting Vinicius’ pass before racing away to fire emphatically past Gazzaniga.

It should have been 5-0 at the death, but Joselu struck the post with a penalty awarded for Yan Couto’s foul on Arda Guler.

Real Madrid’s top-of-the-table clash with Girona this weekend will not be a title decider, insists Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti.

LaLiga leaders Real are two points ahead of second-placed Girona, who have defied the odds to emerge as genuine contenders in just their fourth-ever season in the top flight.

Michel’s side would leapfrog Madrid back into pole position with victory at the Bernabeu Stadium, but Ancelotti said Saturday’s showdown will not be decisive.

The Italian told a press conference: “Whoever wins will gain the advantage, but there is still a long way to go in the league.

“Both teams are very well positioned and the game won’t decide the league, but (the winners) will have an advantage over the others.

“I don’t think the league will be decided no matter what happens. Both teams have high points and the sooner we get to 80 points, the sooner we can win the league.

“You don’t win the league with 80 points, but if you get close as soon as possible, you’re very close.”

Girona finished 10th in LaLiga last season after winning promotion via the play-offs under head coach Michel in 2022 and have beaten both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in this campaign.

Ancelotti said: “It will be a demanding match against a team that has done better than everyone else, including Real Madrid.

“It’s going to be tough, they’re doing very well. We have a lot of respect for them, while we are confident of winning again after drawing.”

Girona boss Michel will be absent from the Bernabeu dugout as he starts a two-match touchline ban after his red card in the closing stages of last week’s 0-0 home draw against Real Sociedad.

The Catalan club will also be without defender Daley Blind and midfielder Yangel Herrera through suspension.

On Michel’s absence, Ancelotti added: “Football is about the players, but the coach’s presence gives confidence to the team.

“However, it’s not a determining factor. It’s not decisive because football is about the players.

“Sometimes we coaches get carried away a bit in protest, but we need a bit more understanding because of the circumstances we’re in.

“A little more understanding could allow him to be at the Bernabeu on Saturday.”

Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger faces a late fitness test after missing last week’s 1-1 derby draw against city rivals Atletico due to a thigh injury.

Vinicius Junior (neck/shoulder) was an unused substitute against Atletico but will be in contention and Ancelotti confirmed defender Nacho (thigh) is hoping to be back for Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 clash in Leipzig.

Barcelona will aim to close the gap to the top two in LaLiga when they take on neighbours Girona on Sunday.

Barca are not just four points behind big rivals Real Madrid but also their fellow Catalans, who have been the surprise package of the season so far under head coach Michel.

But Xavi’s men go into the clash boosted by last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid, with Joao Felix scoring the only goal against his parent club.

Xavi told reporters: “It will be a great match. Michel is a great coach and has a philosophy similar to ours. They want the ball and are very dynamic.

“We are looking at the game through several different scenarios because it can play out in different ways. I don’t know which Girona we’ll see, but we’re looking for the win.”

Barca have some injury problems, with Gavi out for the season and now joined on the sidelines by goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and defender Inigo Martinez.

Ter Stegen has sat out the last three games with a lower back problem and has now undergone surgery to correct the issue while Martinez suffered a hamstring injury in the warm-up ahead of the Atletico game.

Fellow defender Ronald Araujo is set to play in a mask after suffering a fractured jaw in an accidental clash with the boot of Atletico’s Marcos Llorente.

“It’s a part of competing,” said Xavi. “Every year we talk about injuries but, yes, we are having bad luck. It’s because of the schedule and the demand it puts on the players.”

Girona have won all but three of their LaLiga matches so far, with their only defeat coming against Real Madrid, and defender Daley Blind insisted all the pressure is on Barcelona.

The former Manchester United and Ajax player told ESPN: “We don’t want to put pressure on ourselves to aim at something. Of course you talk in the dressing room to be as high as possible, that is what you want.

“I think if we continue like this, this already is a special season, but it can be something special as well at the end of the season.

“I think Girona is still a small club which is building, we are in a good build-up now. We take it game by game and the pressure is not on us.

“Barca are a great team, they have some great individual players. It will be a very difficult game, but these are the games you want to play as a kid against those teams.”

Blind’s sentiments were echoed by boss Michel, who said: “We’re going to enjoy our game. Our league is not Madrid, Barca and Atletico. We just want to keep this successful run going as long as possible.”

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