By Agathe Vanmassenhove || Sports Reporter
La Liga, the top men’s soccer division in Spain, seems to be back in its prime, even with the loss of international superstars Ronaldo and Messi, following a heart-pounding set of matches. As usual, the expected favorites to end as the top teams in the league are FC Barcelona, the reigning champions, along with Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. One of these teams has won the league championship for an incredible ten years in a row. However, an unexpected fourth has entered the competition, leading the league with five wins, an undefeated record. Girona FC is leading La Liga for the first time in their history with 19 points, thanks to their latest win against Villareal during MatchDay 7. Let’s recap the games that led to this unexpected leader.
With Real Madrid leading La Liga and FC Barcelona by just one point, Real Madrid was the favorite to win their game against Atlético Madrid. Yet the world was shocked when it ended in a 3-1 win for Atlético. Antoine Griezmann once again scored, playing crucial football for his coach Simeone, and bringing rhythm to his team. Alvaro Morata scored the rest of the points for Atlético, playing against his former team.
Real Madrid’s defeat allowed Barcelona to play for first place in La Liga, with the team pulling off a tremendous win against Celta Vigo 3-2. The Blaugranas put on a real show at the Montjuic stadium during the last 10 minutes of the game, showing a whole new style of play the past few weeks. After being led for most of the game, everyone thought they had already lost by the 81st minute. Yet the team made a tremendous comeback thanks to the play of their newly-loaned player Joao Cancelo, who assisted Robert Lewandowski on one score and scored an additional goal himself. FC Barcelona was able to pull off the win against Celta Vigo, but couldn’t keep it up in their next game. During MatchDay 7, FC Barcelona lost the lead of La Liga, tying Mallorca 2-2, and only gaining 1 point. Their defense was problematic during the game, with their goalkeeper Ter Stegen committing two unusual errors, both leading to goals for Mallorca.
While FC Barcelona dropped in the rankings, Girona and Real Madrid, who were second and third on the ranking, both ended up winning their respective games. Girona won their game against Villareal 2-1 with the winning goal scored by the defender Eric Garcia, who is a former Barcelona player himself. Real Madrid was also able to make off with a victory, winning 2-0 against La Palma.
La Liga has very rarely seen another team apart from FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid leading the rankings. Girona are now first in La Liga for the first time in their history, leading Real Madrid by one point, and FC Barcelona by two. A battle for first place could be set up next weekend with Girona and Real Madrid facing each other for MatchDay 8 at Montilivi, Girona’s stadium. Real Madrid would be facing a strong opponent while on the road themselves, a challenging prospect for any team. A win from Girona would give them three more points, and a comfortable hold on first place.
Sophomore Agathe Vanmassenhove is a Sports Reporter. Her email is email@example.com.