Real win at Alavés and take the lead at the break
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Real win at Alavés and take the lead at the break

Real Madrid won in extra time at Alavés (1-0) on Thursday night and took control of the championship just before the break, taking advantage of Girona’s missteps.

Still reduced to ten from the 54th minute and the exclusion of captain Nacho Fernandez, Real scored by Lucas Vazquez with a header from a corner to the left by Toni Kroos (90+2).

Carlo Ancelotti’s team thus ends the year in first place, tied on points with Girona (2nd), hooked at the end of the match by Betis a little earlier in the evening in Seville (1-1).

In 18 days, Real are also the only team in La Liga to beat Girona this season: 3-0 in Catalonia on September 30 during the 8th day.

In the Basque Country, Alavés (16th) were caught in extra time against Real, who, however, had hardly been dangerous until then.

However, Vazquez’s goal came to punish the excessive caution of the locals, who never knew how to exploit their numerical advantage.

Nacho Fernandez was very logically excluded for a very ugly foul on striker Samuel “Samu” Omorodion (54th).

After being alerted by the video assistance, match referee Isidro Diaz de Mera issued a straight red card to Madrid’s central defence.

Betis rewarded

Argentine captain and Real Betis defender German Pezzella (l) equalizes against Girona on December 21, 2023 in Seville / CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP

In Seville, Girona opened the scoring from the penalty spot, whistled for a foul by Aitor Ruibal on the Brazilian forward Savio and converted with great composure by Artem Dovbyk (39th). The Ukrainian left-back has now scored eleven goals this season, including three penalties.

While the Catalan club looked to be heading for their fifteenth win of the season, Betis, dominant in the second half, logically equalized through their captain German Pezzella (88th).

The Argentine scored after a corner kick from the right and a scramble in front of the Girona goal, guarded by another Argentine, Paulo Gazzaniga.

Real Betis, who were without their French playmaker Nabil Fekir on Thursday due to a hip injury, remain seventh after this fourth straight draw in La Liga.

Still on Thursday night, Real’s English striker Jude Bellingham remains at the top of the goalscorers (13), ahead of Borja Mayoral (Getafe, 12), Artem Dovbyk (Girona, 11) and Antoine Griezmann (Atlético, 11).

On Saturday, Atlético Madrid (4th, 3 points from Barça) play a late game on the 4th against Sevilla FC (16th), then the championship resumes on January 2, 3 and 4. Girona hosts Atlético Madrid and Real hosts Mallorca (14th).

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