Girona striker Artem Dovbyk scored a quick-fire, first-half hat trick to help them to a 5-1 home win over Sevilla on Sunday as the hosts reclaimed top spot in LaLiga.
Surprise package Girona sit alone at the summit with 52 points, one ahead of Real Madrid, who beat Almeria earlier on Sunday and have one game in hand. Sevilla remain 17th with 16 points, one clear of the relegation zone.
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With the win, the Catalan side also set an all-time club points record for a top flight season.
“We are very happy because we have achieved one of our goals, which was to reach 52 points, the first was to avoid relegation,” Girona coach Michel told DAZN.
“The third objective was to finish in the top three, now we have the target of reaching European competitions and step by step we will see if we can do it.”
The visitors took an early lead, courtesy of Isaac Romero’s goal after 10 minutes, but it was short-lived as Dovbyk’s towering header in the six-yard box from Savio’s cross made it 1-1 in the 13th minute.
Dovbyk put Girona ahead two minutes later from Portu’s pass after a break before the Ukraine international bagged his hat trick in the 19th minute with a fine low shot for his 14th league goal this season.
That put the 26-year-old level with Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham at the top of the LaLiga scoring chart.
Girona extended their lead as Viktor Tsygankov scored with a simple finish from Savio’s second assist of the night in the 55th minute before substitute Cristhian Stuani sealed the rout in the last minute of regular time.
“We are not aware of how difficult it is to achieve this,” Girona forward Portu said. “You can feel the happiness on the pitch. The day-to-day is spectacular. You can see the happiness.”
Girona take on Mallorca in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday before visiting Celta Vigo on Sunday in LaLiga.