FC Girona started the day in 17th place with only one win and six points from this season so far. On the other hand, Villarreal viewed today’s match as an essential win to keep alive their hopes of playing in Europe next year.
The home side started without two of their three defenders, as Muniesa and Alcalá are out injured. They were replaced by Jonás Ramalho and Juanpe. Villarreal were still without Asenjo and Fernández due to ligament injuries. Bruno Soriano and Adrián Marín were also unavailable for the Yellow Submarines.
Girona immediately felt the lack of defensive strength as they allowed two early goals from Bakambu. The back-to-back goals for Villarreal came in the 9th and 20th minutes. The atmosphere started to get a little tense in the Montilivi.
But, Girona reacted well and kept pressing for a way back into the match. They were rewarded just before half-time in the 41st minute. Stuani managed to position himself in front of Villarreal in the six-yard box, and a quick pass from Espinosa gave Girona their breakthrough. For the final minutes of the first half Girona pressured hard to try and get an equaliser.
At the start of the second half, Machín immediately made a substitution and brought on Kayode to increase their attacking power. Girona were able to maintain the pressure from the end of the first half and started to control the match. However, Bakambu continued to threaten Girona at the back. Several long balls from the Villarreal midfield meant Iraizoz had to stay on his toes.
Giron really dominated the last third of the match. It seemed likely they would earn at least a point from the encounter. Girona had 26 shots in total during the match, compared to 10 from Villarreal. They also had two more shots on target than the visitors.
Ultimately, it resulted in another loss for Machín’s team. After the match, the coach admitted, “The reality is that for the first 20 minutes, Villarreal was better than us.” Machín believes his team did enough to earn a point from the match. But, although it was a good effort from the home side, the result means that Girona are still without a win since the end of August.
Their next test will be away to Deportivo on Monday 23rd. Girona desperately needs a win to ease some of the pressure on Machín. The coach agrees an improvement is needed and said, “We have to take some big steps to grow and to earn some points.” Without some more points soon, the rest of this season will just be a battle to avoid relegation.