Girona beats Leganes 3-0, continues to impress in Liga debut
GIRONA, Spain (AP) — Girona continued to impress in its debut season in Spain’s first division by beating Leganes 3-0 for a fourth consecutive home win on Friday.
Christian Stuani and Cristian “Portu” Portugues added to their team-leading goal tallies with strikes to decide the result before halftime.
Stuani converted a penalty in the 23rd minute after Martin Mantovani used his hand to divert a cross destined for the Girona striker.
Portu doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 36th after he led a solo counterattack and blasted the ball over goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar from a tight angle.
Juan Ramirez claimed the last with a header at the end.
Girona rose into eighth place, just two points from sixth place and the last of two Europa League spots.
The goal was Stuani’s 13th, good for fourth in the league after Lionel Messi (20), Luis Suarez (16) and Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas (15).
Girona captain Eloi Amagat made his long-awaited first division debut late in the second half. The 32-year-old midfielder had yet to play this season. Previously, Amagat played in the second, third, and fourth divisions over the nine years he has been at the club.
“I had been waiting a long time for this, too long. I am happy to have debuted in the first division, and to do so at home, in front of our fans,” Amagat said.
“We are surprising even ourselves,” Amagat said about Girona’s campaign. “Our goal has to be to make sure we avoid relegation. But we have hungry players and we will be ambitious and take whatever we can achieve.”
Girona earned promotion to the topflight last season for the first time in its 87-year history. That was followed by Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi ownership buying a 44.3 percent stake in the Catalan club in August.