Pezzella stunner helps Betis hold Girona to draw


Real Betis vs. Girona - Game Highlights

Watch the Game Highlights from Real Betis vs. Girona, 12/21/2023

Argentina centreback Germán Pezzella's strike from a rebound late in the second half helped Real Betis hold surprise LaLiga leaders Girona to a 1-1 draw on Thursday.

The surprise pack of the Spanish season extended their lead on top of the LaLiga standings to 45 points but lost a golden opportunity to secure going into winter break alone in top spot.

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Second-placed Real Madrid could cut their three-point deficit and level Girona on top if they win at lowly Alaves later on Thursday.

Girona's stunning start to the LaLiga season scaled new heights with their first win ever over Catalan rivals Barcelona two weeks ago, with their 3-0 defeat at home to Real Madrid in late September, the only major blip in a stunning start to the campaign.

On Thursday, however, they were unable to display the same intensity they have shown this season and were mostly dominated by a sturdy Betis who are unbeaten at home in LaLiga this campaign.

Manuel Pellegrini's side are seventh in the LaLiga standings.

They were better throughout the game, held most of the possession and wasted two great chances early on with Ayose Perez and Assane Diao missing from close-range.

Girona goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga made a brilliant one-handed save to deny a Willian Carvalho shot from the edge of the box in the 28th minute.

After Brazilian winger Savinho was brought down by a sliding tackle from Betis defender Aitor Ruibal, Ukrainian Artem Dovbyk netted the penalty by wrongfooting the goalkeeper with a tidy finish to the right in the 39th minute.

The hosts managed to find the equaliser in the 88th minute with Pezzella's unstoppable strike from just inside the box making the most of a loose ball in a crowded area after a corner.

"Suffering a late goal hurts, we thought we had it," Girona midfielder Aleix García told Movistar Plus. "We are going on holidays satisfied, the dynamic is very good and now we have to recharge our batteries for what's to come."