CORNELLA DE LLOBREGAT, Spain – Girona, playing its first-ever season in La Liga, beat Espanyol 1-0 on Monday to climb to ninth place in the top-flight of Spanish soccer.
For the hosts, a second straight loss leaves them in the 16th spot, just four points above the drop zone, and fans at RCDE Stadium weren’t shy about expressing their unhappiness, with Espanyol coach Quique Sanchez Flores the main target.
Girona dominated from the start, getting its first chance in the 7th minute, when Jonas Ramalho’s header off a corner fell short.
It took a stop by goalkeeper Pau Lopez against Girona’s Borja Garcia to jolt the home side into action and the match grew progressively livelier.
Espanyol thought they had taken the lead after Gerard Moreno hammered in Aaron Martin’s cross, but the goal was disallowed on an offside call.
Moreno and Pablo Piatti threatened the Girona goal in the waning minutes of the first half, but it was the visitors who scored, as David Timor put the loose ball in the net after Lopez made an outstanding save against Pere Pons following a corner.
Espanyol pressed hard for the equalizer in the second half, yet their efforts were ineffectual against a visibly more-composed Girona squad.
The best opportunity of the second half went to Girona’s Portu, whose shot hit the cross-bar, and Espanyol’s demand for a penalty when Hernan Perez went down in the box went ignored.