Girona’s Spanish midfielder Ivan Martin (C) found space and then the top corner to snatch his team a remarkable win over Atletico Madrid (Pau BARRENA)
Shock Spanish title challengers Girona snatched a remarkable 4-3 victory over Atletico Madrid to keep pace with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga on Wednesday.
After Madrid edged Real Mallorca 1-0, Ivan Martin’s stoppage time strike ensured the Catalan minnows matched Carlo Ancelotti’s side on 48 points from 19 matches.
Alvaro Morata hit a hat-trick for Atletico at Girona’s tiny Montilivi stadium, but it was not enough as Martin found the top corner at the death to keep Girona firmly in the hunt for the title.
Atletico Madrid, third, trail Los Blancos and Girona by 10 points, as do champions Barcelona, fourth, who visit Las Palmas on Thursday.
Valery Fernandez, Savinho and Daley Blind netted for the hosts in a wild first half, with Morata twice scoring for Atletico.
The Spain international completed his treble early in the second period to pull Atletico level but Martin’s last gasp heroics snatched Girona victory from a compelling clash.
Girona, in only their fourth season in the top flight in their history, could have taken the lead inside the first minute.
Artem Dovbyk fired wide at the near post when well placed, but his team did not have to wait much longer.
Valery curled home in the second minute beyond Jan Oblak with a fine strike from the edge of the area.
Morata pulled Atletico level after being teed up by Antoine Griezmann, and although his effort was ruled out for offside, VAR proved otherwise.
Girona were quickly back ahead with Savinho netting after 26 minutes, turning home after Oblak parried Martin’s effort.
Michel Sanchez’s side pressed high and Atletico were extremely fragile when bringing the ball out from the back.
Blind turned home the third after Aleix Garcia’s cross was cleverly flicked on to the back post by Dovbyk’s outstretched boot.
Morata was heavily involved for Atletico and after netting from Rodrigo de Paul’s pass, struck again — this time he was offside.
The forward slashed another effort over before completing his hat-trick after the break with the aid of a slight deflection, after being sent through again by De Paul.
Oblak was sharp to deny Dovbyk as Girona hunted for a winner, with the game still relentlessly flowing from end-to-end.
Eventually Martin found it, scrapping for an inch of space inside the area and cleverly prodding a finish into the top corner, with Oblak only able to watch as Girona’s dream grew bigger still.