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Saturday December 15th, 2018 3:44PM

Girona beats Levante for 3rd win in a row in Spanish league

By The Associated Press

MADRID (AP) — Newcomer Girona followed its stunning win over Real Madrid with a 2-1 victory at Levante on Sunday, moving further away from the relegation zone in the Spanish league.

It was the third straight league win for the Catalan club, which is playing in the first division for the first time this season.

Girona was coming off consecutive victories at Deportivo La Coruna and against Madrid at home in what had been a tense meeting at the height of a political crisis involving Catalonia and the Spanish government over the region's push for independence.

"The team is showing maturity," Girona coach Pablo Machin said. "We played a very complete match. We've been very consistent."

Midfielder Borja Garcia put Girona ahead at the Ciutat de Valencia Stadium with a long-range shot into the top corner in the 58th minute, and former Levante striker Christian Stuani added to the lead from inside the area in the 83rd.

The lone goal for the hosts was scored with a header by Enes Unal in injury time.

Levante hasn't won in six straight league games, but it had beaten Girona in the Round of 32 of the Copa del Rey last month.

"We need to improve and find a way to overcome this," Levante coach Juan Ramon Lopez Muniz said. "We must lift our heads and move on."

Girona moved to 10th place in the 20-team standings, while Levante dropped to 14th.

Barcelona, which defeated Sevilla 2-1 on Saturday, has a four-point lead over Valencia, which routed Leganes 3-0. Also Saturday, third-place Atletico Madrid won 1-0 at Deportivo La Coruna with an injury-time goal.

Defending champion Real Madrid, 11 points off the lead in fourth place, hosts Las Palmas later Sunday.

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EARLY LEAD

Three goals in the opening half-hour, including two by forward Iago Aspas, gave Celta Vigo an easy 3-1 home win against struggling Athletic Bilbao.

Sergi Gomez started the scoring in the 16th and Aspas added in the 22nd and 26th minutes at the Balaidos Stadium in Vigo.

Raul Garcia scored in the 38th for Athletic, which has lost three straight in the league.

Athletic dropped to 15th with 11 points from 11 games.

Celta is 11th with 14 points.

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More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports
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