Girona derails Real Madrid’s title bid

Real Madrid’s resurgent La Liga run skidded to a halt as they fell to a shock 1-2 defeat at home by struggling Girona on Sunday.

Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos (L) reacts as he is shown a red card by Spanish referee Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez (R) during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid and Girona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 17, 2019. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

The loss, in which captain Sergio Ramos was sent off in added time, left them nine points adrift of leaders FC Barcelona.

Real Madrid looked on course for a sixth consecutive league win when Casemiro leapt highest to meet a Toni Kroos cross and head them in front midway through the first half.

But Girona, who had not won in the league since November, came out with a vengeance in the second half.

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They leveled in the 65th minute with a Cristhian Stuani penalty kick, after a handball by Ramos.

Spanish striker Cristian Portu gave Girona an unlikely lead 10 minutes later, nipping in front of Real Madrid’s lacklustre defender Marcelo to nod in on the rebound.

That was after Thibaut Courtois could only parry a shot from visiting forward Anthony Lozano.

Real Madrid substitutes Gareth Bale and Vinicius Jr each squandered opportunities to level for the European champions.

Things got worse when Ramos earned a second yellow card in added time and was sent off for the 25th time in club football.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Courtois came close to salvaging an equaliser but headed wide deep in stoppage time.

The defeat left Real Madrid third in the standings on 45 points, nine behind table-toppers FC Barcelona and seven back from second-placed Atletico Madrid.(Reuters/NAN)