Girona beat Atletico Madrid in LaLiga thriller despite Morata hat-trick


Ivan Martin’s strike saw Girona beat Atletico Madrid 4-3 in a thriller at the Estadi Municipal de Montilivi to keep pace with Real Madrid at the top of the LaLiga table.

Martin fired the ball into the top corner in the first minute of added time to restore Girona’s advantage after Atletico fought back from 3-1 down to level at 3-3, with Alvaro Morata scoring a hat-trick.

After Morata canceled out Valery’s early opener for the visitors, a busy first half continued with further efforts for Girona from Savio and Daley Blind.

Morata reduced the score with his second in the 44th minute before completing the treble early in the second half – but Martin should have had the decisive say.

Michel’s Girona moved back level on points with leaders Real, who beat Mallorca 1-0 on Wednesday, and Diego Simeone’s Atletico are 10 points back in third.

Girona took the lead in the second minute with a wonderful finish from Valery, who headed in from the edge of the box after receiving the ball from Pablo Torre.

Atlético struck back in the 14th minute when Antoine Griezmann headed a long ball to Morata who sent a curling finish past Paul Gazzaniga.

The guests were then punished for sloppiness at the back in the 26th minute, when Koke was eliminated just in front of his own goal by Martin, his shot was deflected by Jan Oblak and Savio fired into the goal.

And Girona had another in the 39th minute when Aleix Garcia’s cross was helped by playmaker Artem Dovbyk, the ball was released to Blind and he kicked it at the far post.

Five minutes later the scoring spree continued as Morata struck again, running onto a pass from Rodrigo De Paulo before slotting home.

He then thought he had scored another goal in first-half stoppage time, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside via VAR.

Atlético then made an energetic start to the second half, with Morata seeing one header saved by Gazzaniga and another going wide.

The former Chelsea man scored his third nine minutes in, lifting a wonderful shot past Gazzaniga after a great lunge forward from De Paula to put things back on track and move to 12 LaLiga goals for the season.

In the 62nd minute, Girona came close to taking the lead again when Dovbyk fired a shot at the keeper and Oblak brilliantly deflected the ball wide.

It looked like the points would be shared but when stoppage time arrived, Martin made sure Girona took all three when he lifted the ball past Oblak to seal a memorable victory.

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