Girona stuns Real as Ramos sent off

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Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos is shown a red card by referee Guillermo Cuadra during the La Liga Santander match against Girona at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid Sunday. — Reuters

MADRID — Real Madrid’s resurgent La Liga run skidded to a halt as it fell to a shock 2-1 defeat at home by struggling Girona Sunday in which captain Sergio Ramos was sent off in added time, leaving it nine points adrift of leader Barcelona.

Real looked on course for a sixth consecutive league win when Casemiro leapt highest to meet a Toni Kroos cross and head it in front midway through the first half.

But Girona, which had not won in the league since November, came out with a vengeance in the second half, leveling in the 65th minute with a Cristhian Stuani penalty after a handball by Ramos.

Spanish striker Cristian Portu gave Girona an unlikely lead 10 minutes later, nipping in front of Madrid’s lackluster defender Marcelo to nod in on the rebound after Thibaut Courtois could only parry a shot from visiting forward Anthony Lozano.

Madrid substitutes Gareth Bale and Vinicius Jr each squandered opportunities to level for the European champion and things got worse when Ramos earned a second yellow card in added time and was sent off for the 25th time in club football.

Real goalkeeper Courtois came close to salvaging an equalizer but headed wide deep in stoppage time, leaving Real third in the standings on 45 points, nine behind table toppers Barcelona and seven back from second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Lionel Messi scored a penalty and missed another as Barcelona ground out an unconvincing 1-0 win over Real Valladolid, while Antoine Griezmann surpassed Fernando Torres with his 130th goal for Atletico Madrid Saturday.

Messi’s fitness was again in the spotlight Saturday after a niggling thigh strain in recent weeks, but he completed the full 90 minutes at the Camp Nou and hit the 30-goal mark at Barcelona for the 11th straight season.

The Argentine coolly dispatched a spot-kick just before half-time, drilling beyond the reach of Jordi Masip after Gerard Pique was bundled to the ground by Valladolid midfielder Michel.

Masip brilliantly tipped over a Messi volley soon after the interval and Luis Suarez wasted a huge opportunity to double the lead shortly after replacing Kevin-Prince Boateng with an hour gone.

Messi found himself booked for dissent after an apparent foul on him went unpunished, and he then blew the chance to kill off Valladolid when Masip kept out his second penalty of the night — awarded following a trip on Philippe Coutinho.

The excellent Masip alertly gathered Messi’s follow-up header and again denied Suarez late on as Barca pulled seven points clear of Atletico ahead of their trip to Lyon in the Champions League last 16.

Griezmann scored a second-half winner in Atletico’s 1-0 victory at neighbor Rayo Vallecano to provide a timely boost going into next week’s showdown with Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus.

The French forward surpassed Torres — now playing for Sagan Tosu in Japan — for fifth all-time on the Atletico goalscoring charts as it shook off two successive defeats, including last week’s 3-1 loss at home to Real Madrid. — Agencies


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