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Girona loses to Athletic Bilbao, misses chance to cut into Real Madrid's lead

Athletic Club celebrates Athletic Club - Getty Images

MADRID (AP) — Second-placed Girona missed a chance to cut into Real Madrid’s lead of the Spanish league when it lost to Athletic Bilbao 3-2 on Monday.

The Catalan side could have reduced the gap to three points but was sunk by an Alex Berenguer double and an Iñaki Williams goal and remained six adrift of Madrid.

It was another stumble for a side that matched Madrid blow for blow in the first half of La Liga. After going more than three months without defeat Girona has taken just one point from its last nine.

The poor run included a 4-0 defeat to Madrid on Feb. 10.

Alex Berenguer put Athletic ahead in the second minute when he skilfully turned the home defense and fired home a left-foot shot from outside the box.

Viktor Tsygankov equalized four minutes into the second half for Girona, but Berenguer finished superbly seven minutes later to give Athletic the lead again.

Williams made it 3-1 when he took advantage of poor defending and scored with a low shot in off the post.

Eric García got the second for Girona with 15 minutes remaining when he stooped to head in a wicked cross from Aleix Garcia.

But although they pushed hard in the final minutes, the visitors could not equalize again.

The result opened up a nine-point gap between Athletic in fifth and Real Sociedad in sixth.

Athletic was only two points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid and an automatic spot in the Champions League.

“Of course we’re going to dream about the Champions League," Williams said. "We’re taking it step by step, as we’ve been quietly saying. We're working and pushing ourselves to the max so that the success makes the noise.”


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