Girona gives Melbourne a taste of La Liga

Girona FC showed no mercy as it thrashed Melbourne City FC 6-0 in a crucial match of the Toyota Yaris La Liga World pre-season football tournament at the Nehru Stadium on Friday.

Girona's Cristian Portugues Manzanera (Red) scores a goal in his side's 6-0 drubbing of Melbourne FC in the Toyota Yaris La Liga World pre-season football tournament in Kochi, on Friday.   -  H. Vibhu

They are virtually brother clubs, part of the City Football Group owned by Abu Dhabi businessmen who also own the EPL side Manchester City. But Spain’s Girona FC showed no mercy as it thrashed Melbourne City FC 6-0 in a crucial match of the Toyota Yaris La Liga World pre-season football tournament at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday evening.

Cristian Portugues ‘Portu’ scored two goals in the Spanish party. With Girona expected to drub host Kerala Blasters comfortably in the three-team tournament’s last match on Saturday – unless its stars decide to play with their hands – the trophy is now virtually in the Spanish club’s bag.

Girona, a small club which has its base near Barcelona in Spain’s Catalan region and which plays in the La Liga, played an effective brand of football. Melbourne had looked solid and confident in its opener against host Kerala Blasters which it won 6-0 but on the evening, against a much superior side, it was the Australian team’s turn to taste a thrashing.

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The Girona men were too fast for Melbourne and they played a tricky game form of football, appearing fidgety at times and their sudden bursts of speed left their rivals confused. They toyed with their opponents, ran circles around them and used the flanks effectively to advance.

The Spaniards took the lead in the 10th minute. Pere Pons Riera fed Cristian Portugues on the right and the forward shook off Melbourne defender Harrison Delbridge and sent an angled shot. The ball appeared to brush goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis legs before heading home.

Six minutes later, Portugues was at it again, this time following a counter attack. Aleix Garcia raced through the left, and sent a cross to Portugues. The Girona player sidestepped the goalkeeper and sent home another angled shot. Antony Rueben made it 3-0 soon, shooting from a difficult angle from the left after receiving a long ball from the right flank.

After conceding three goals in the first 25 minutes, the Melbourne players were left exhausted. And the Australians' had a tough time in store after the break as Girona’s goal-flow continued.

Melbourne’s best chance came towards the end of the first session when Bruno Fornaroli sent a nice cross from the left but Michael O’Halloran was too slow to take up the offer and the ball raced across the face of the goal.

The result: Girona FC, Spain 6 (Cristian Portugues ‘Portu’ 10 & 16; Antony Rueben 24, Juan Pedro 51, Yhoan Many 67, Pedro Porro 90+1) bt Melbourne City FC 0.

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