Cata­lans Girona stun Real in po­lit­i­cally tense Spain

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - EDUCATION - The As­sO­ci­ATed Press

Girona earned a shock vic­tory over Real Madrid that was cel­e­brated by many through­out Cat­alo­nia on Sun­day.

The small Cata­lan club stunned Madrid, the team of the Span­ish es­tab­lish­ment, with a 2-1 come-from-be­hind win in the Span­ish league — just days after the wealthy north­east­ern re­gion de­clared in­de­pen­dence to heighten ten­sions in a dis­pute with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

Pro-in­de­pen­dence politi­cians were quick to cel­e­brate.

“Girona’s vic­tory over one of the great teams in the world is an ex­am­ple and a ref­er­ence for many sit­u­a­tions,’’ tweeted Cata­lan leader Car­les Puigde­mont.

It was Madrid’s first trip to Cat­alo­nia since Spain’s po­lit­i­cal cri­sis es­ca­lated. The match was played after hun­dreds of thou­sands of Cata­lans took to the streets of Barcelona to voice their op­po­si­tion to the uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence. Cat­alo­nia’s po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship was fired Satur­day by cen­tral au­thor­i­ties in Madrid.

“To­day, all of Spain and a great part of the world saw that a small team can achieve any­thing in this great game of foot­ball when it does things well, when it has am­bi­tion and pride,’’ Girona coach Pablo Machin said.

The re­sult left Madrid eight points be­hind league leader Barcelona, which on Satur­day won 2-0 at Ath­letic Bil­bao for its ninth win in 10 league matches.

Sec­ond-place Va­len­cia, which won 2-1 at Alaves on Satur­day, is four points off the lead.

“We can still over­come this,’’ Real Madrid coach Zine­dine Zi­dane said. “We will have bet­ter days and our ri­vals will even­tu­ally lose points.’’

JOSEP LAGO/GEtty Im­AGES

Real Madrid’s Cris­tiano Ron­aldo

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