Dramatic last week win means Girona FC finish the first half of the season with 48 points, the first side not named Real Madrid, Barça or Atleti to do so

They have become the first team to secure this many points in the first half of a season not named Real Madrid, FC Barcelona or Atlético de Madrid.

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The nearly 14,000 fans who packed the Estadi Montilivi on Wednesday night were treated to a true footballing spectacle, as Girona FC and Atlético de Madrid played out a game for the ages. The back-and-forth duel produced 21 shots on target and seven goals, with Iván Martín producing a sublime solo strike in stoppage time to make it a 4-3 win for the home side. Álvaro Morata may have scored a hat-trick for an Atleti team that attacked and attacked, but Girona FC are so clinical in front of goal too and the goals from Valery Fernández, Sávio, Daley Blind and Martín mean they sit joint-top at the halfway mark of this LALIGA EA SPORTS season, in second place but level on 48 points with winter champions Real Madrid.

The tally of 48 points – achieved from 15 wins, three draws and just one defeat – is historic and is 27 points more than they’d achieved at this stage last season when they had just come up as a promoted team through the 2021/22 LALIGA HYPERMOTION playoffs. In the 93-year history of LALIGA EA SPORTS, the only clubs to have registered a points total as high as 48 points at the midway point of a season are Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid. Now, this exceptional 2023/24 Girona FC squad have done so too, underlining once more that they are serious title challengers.

With the four goals scored against Jan Oblak and Atlético de Madrid on Wednesday night, Girona FC have now netted 46 times in 19 games, an average of 2.4 goals per game. Their goals for total is the second-highest across Europe’s top five leagues, only behind the 49 of Bayern Munich and ahead of clubs such as Manchester City (45), Liverpool (43) and PSG (42), as well as title rivals Real Madrid (40).

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It says a lot that Real Madrid are the only team who have managed to defeat Girona FC this season, while Los Blanquivermells have emerged victorious from their other direct duels with the title challengers. They also won 4-2 away at FC Barcelona, before Wednesday’s dramatic seven-goal thriller against Atleti.

In just over a month, in Matchday 24 on the weekend of February 11th, Girona FC will visit the Bernabéu to take on Real Madrid in a blockbuster top-of-the-table clash. They’ll travel without any fear, especially as their three previous visits there in league play have resulted in a record of one win, one draw and one defeat.

While the fans have already marked that date in their diaries, coach Míchel is keeping his feet on the ground and insisted that Girona FC’s objective is European qualification, rather than a title charge. Following Wednesday’s win, the coach stated: “To take as many points as the top teams is very difficult. Winning the title is not the goal. Our objective is to go game by game and reach Europe, which would be historic. We have done a lot of things well so far. My players have an incredible mentality, and resilience in bad moments and always try to go forward. I see players who want to make history here. They are enjoying themselves a lot and it makes me enjoy it.”

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The coach is right in that securing the club’s first-ever European qualification would already be a historic achievement, yet the Girona FC fanbase can’t help but dream of something bigger. Given the feats they’re seeing this team achieve week after week, and given that this squad boasts superlative talents such as Aleix García, Artem Dovbyk and Sávio, the fans believe that a miracle title win might just be possible. This fairy tale story may only be at the halfway point.