Girona beat Real Betis with late Stuani winner


Stuani grabs last-minute winner for Girona vs. Betis

Cristhian Stuani scores in stoppage time as Girona beat Real Betis 3-2 to keep in touching distance of second-place Barcelona.

Girona beat Real Betis 3-2 in a LaLiga thriller on Sunday after the visitors came from behind twice before Cristhian Stuani grabbed an injury-time winner to move them one step closer to Champions League qualification for the first time.

With the score tied at 2-2 after Artem Dovbyk and Willian Jose scored two goals each, Girona's all-time top scorer Stuani scored in the 91st minute to send the fans at a rainy Estadi Montilivi into raptures.

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The result moved third-placed Girona up to 65 points, two points behind second-placed Barcelona and nine ahead of fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao. Betis suffered a fourth straight defeat and are seventh with 42 points.

"Until it is mathematically guaranteed, we will continue working and preparing for games as if they were our last," Stuani, who stuck with Girona when they were relegated to the second division, told DAZN.

"We are living an historic year and we want to finish it in the best way. To be able to play in the Champions League with this team is a dream."

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After a goalless half-hour, Girona took the lead when they were awarded a penalty for a handball following a VAR review when Dovbyk's header was deflected wide by Betis defender Chadi Riad who had his arm raised.

Dovbyk stepped up to take the penalty himself and the Ukrainian striker sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to end his drought by scoring his first goal in nine games in all competitions.

However, Girona gifted Betis an equaliser with the last kick of the first half when defender David Lopez made a poor pass which was intercepted by Jose, who saw the keeper off his line and lobbed the ball into the net from nearly 40 yards out.

The home side restored their lead in the 65th minute on a counter-attack when they cut through the Betis midfield and defence with two sharp passes, with Portu feeding Dovbyk who fired home with a low shot to make it 2-1.

That moved Dovbyk to 16 league goals for the season, level with Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham and Osasuna's Ante Budimir as top scorers in the race for the LaLiga golden boot.

But as the rain lashed down, Betis fought back and equalised again when Lopez made another error as he failed to deal with Pablo Fornals's cross and allowed an unmarked Jose to score, giving keeper Paulo Gazzaniga no chance to make a save.

Stuani came on with less than 10 minutes left and the substitution worked wonders when the 37-year-old had a shot saved before he pounced on the rebound, firing home with the outside of his boot when the ball popped up waist high.