Late Pezzella stunner rocks Girona as Betis grabs a point.

Pezzella celebrate his late equalizer against Girona


Real Betis Balompié’s Germán Pezzella struck a late equaliser to prevent Girona from securing a first victory against Los Verdiblancos since March 2010 as the sides shared the points with a La Liga 1-1 draw.

Heading into this match top of La Liga with a two-point cushion over Real Madrid, Girona’s confidence was flowing in the early stages against Real Betis as the Gironistes saw plenty of possession and searched for an opening. Yet the table toppers faced the toughest home defence in La Liga. Real Betis held firm for the first 20 minutes before Ayoze Pérez threatened with the hosts’ first chance of the game when he controlled expertly in the box but lashed his resulting shot high and wide.

Despite scoring just once in their last three league matches, it was Los Verdiblancos who continued to work the better quality opportunities. Assane Diao was next to try his luck after he went on a blistering solo run through Girona’s defence and shot over the bar from six yards. Manuel Pellegrini’s side were soon made to rue their missed chances before HT as Aitor Ruibal scythed down Pablo Torre in the box for a stonewall penalty. Having opened the scoring in Girona’s last two matches, Dovbyk confidently converted the spot-kick, sending Rui Silva the wrong way and tapping into the corner.

Girona were well on their way to keeping their unbeaten run on the road this season intact and Dovbyk nearly sealed all three points with a low shot that skimmed the post just after the break. Betis’ eight-match run without loss at Estadio Benito Villamarín was under threat until Argentine Pezzella reacted first to a tame Girona clearance in the 88th minute, unleashing an unstoppable outside-of-the-boot finish into the top corner past a rooted Paulo Gazzaniga

Míchel’s Girona almost secured a 10th consecutive away victory, which would have confirmed top spot in La Liga heading into the winter break, but Pezzella’s late leveller rescued Betis a point. Manuel Pellegrini’s side eventually showed enough grit to keep pushing for a point and a moment of quality from an unlikely source ensured Betis remain unbeaten in 13 league matches.

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