Upstarts Girona ease past Alaves to reclaim LaLiga top spot


Girona vs. Alavés - Game Highlights

Watch the Game Highlights from Girona vs. Alavés, 12/19/2023

Ukraine forward Artem Dovbyk scored twice as Girona wrote another chapter of their Cinderella story on Monday with a dominant 3-0 win over Alaves to leapfrog Real Madrid and reclaim top spot in the LaLiga standings.

The lowly Catalan side have forged ahead and sit alone at the top of the standings on 44 points, two ahead of Real Madrid and nine clear of last season's champions Barcelona in third.

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Girona's stunning start to the LaLiga season scaled new heights last week when they claimed a statement 4-2 victory over Barca - their first league win over their Catalan rivals - and they kept the ball rolling against Alaves.

They dominated proceedings with the same intensity they have shown this season, with their 3-0 defeat at home to Real Madrid in late September, the only major blip in a stunning start to the campaign.

Dovbyk opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with a close-range strike from a rebound off the goalkeeper and Portu extended their lead just before the break with a fine first-time effort from the edge of the box.

Most of the hosts' scoring opportunities came from the right side of their attack, with 21-year-old Brazil full-back Yan Couto troubling Alaves' defence with his speed and skill.

On one of his sprints up the wing, he knocked the ball through a defender's legs to get into the box before being fouled from behind in the 59th minute, earning a penalty that Ukrainian Dovbyk netted with a tidy finish right down the middle of the goal.

The win was Girona's 14th in 17 games, giving them the most wins and points in Europe's top five leagues at this stage of the season.

Their remarkable run has fuelled belief that they are equipped to challenge for a maiden title only two seasons after gaining promotion to the top flight.

"This team is so hungry that it doesn't settle for anything," Portu told Movistar Plus. "The team wants more and we only think day to day about continuing.

"We can't look at the standings. The key to the team is to stay focused, nobody relaxes here. It's not easy to get used to winning, to have that extra pressure, but the team is handling it very well."