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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Girona stay top, Real Madrid fight back amid VAR controversy


Real Madrid came back from two goals down to beat bottom side Almeria 3-2 on Sunday for a controversial home win after getting favorable VAR decisions in the Spanish La Liga.

Despite being winless so far this season, Almeria led 2-0 at halftime following an early goal from Largie Ramazani, who found a big hole in the Madrid defense, and Edgar Gonzalez scored a powerful shot from outside of the area.

Real Madrid got back into the game from a Jude Bellingham penalty, with the home side protesting fouls from Antonio Rudiger and Joselu before a handball was given against them.

The visitors then had a goal ruled out by the VAR, which saw a foul in the buildup to the goal, before Vinicius made it 2-2 with a goal that the VAR gave as legal, despite TV images showing the ball went in off his upper arm.

Referee Hernandez Maeso then added 11 minutes of injury time, with Dani Carvajal scoring Madrid’s winner in the 99th minute of the game.

“Don’t expect us to publish a match report: everything is more than clear,” commented the Almeria social media account after the game, while coach Gaizka Garitano, who was sent off for his protests, commented “this isn’t the first time this has happened to be in this ground.”

Girona remain top of the table after another stunning display to dispatch Sevilla 5-1.

The visitors took an early lead through young striker Isaac Romero in the 10th minute, but Girona produced an immediate and decisive response with Ukrainian striker Artem Dovbyk netting a hat-trick with goals after 13, 15 and 19 minutes to turn the game on its head.

Yangel Herrera hit the post in the second half, before Viktor Tsygankov netted the fourth in the 56th minute after another flowing team attack and Christian Stuani scored from close range following a cross from Miguel Gutierrez.

Ferran Torres scored a hat-trick as FC Barcelona won 4-2 away to Real Betis in a game they nearly threw away, thanks to two goals from Betis midfielder Isco.

Ferran put Barca ahead with a tap-in in the 21st minute and doubled its lead in the first minute of the second half as he fired home a rebound off the post after Lamine Yamal’s shot.

Isco then scored in the 56th and 59th minutes, but when it looked as if Betis would take a point, substitute Joao Felix put Barca back ahead after exchanging passes with Ferran, who had time to finish his hat-trick two minutes later.

Jesus Areso’s spectacular goal gave Osasuna a 3-2 win at home to Getafe, who will be frustrated at losing the game after fighting back from two goals down.

Raul Garcia and Iker Munoz put Osasuna 2-0 up before halftime, but two goals in four minutes from Borja Mayoral and Nemanja Maksimovic brought Getafe level.

Arseo decided the game from close to the corner flag 10 minutes from time, with the ball flying over Getafe keeper David Soria to bounce in off the far post.

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