So much for Catalans against Spaniards – a Uruguayan who used to play for Middlesbrough did the most to settle this one as tiny Girona rocked ragged Real Madrid just 48 hours before they fly to London to face Tottenham.
Christhian Stuani scored the first and made the second as newly promoted Girona cancelled out Isco’s goal and showed Spurs the way to beat Zinedine Zidane’s team with a famous 2-1 win.
Madrid were missing Gareth Bale who will not be back in time for the game at Wembley on Wednesday
Christian Portu netted the second Girona goal to put his side two goals ahead
Bounou, Maffeo, Ramirez Lopez, Bernardo, Muniesa, Benitez, Manzanera, Pons, Nogue, Garcia (Timor), Stuani (Mojica)
Iraizoz, Ramalho, de Paulo, Kayode, Garcia
Bookings: Benitez, Mojica
Goals: Stuani (54), Portu (58)
Casilla, Hakimi (Asensio), Varane (Nacho), Ramos, Marcelo (Vazquez), Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Ronaldo, Benzema
Hernandez, Llorente, Ceballos, Ramos Wade
Goals: Isco (12)
Referee: Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez
They were also without first choice keeper Keylor Navas but, that aside, they were at full-strength and Zidane will be concerned at the sight of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema firing blanks upfront and Nacho being given the runaround in defence.
Football, for the moment remains unaffected by rising political tensions in Spain. Girona had been one of the first towns in Catalonia to take the down the Spanish flag after declaring independence but the atmosphere was more carnival than pressure cooker before kick-off.
Just under 13,400 supporters crammed into the stadium to see Real Madrid play Girona in the first division for the first time.
There were plenty of Girona-based Madrid fans dotted around the stadium too with many wearing Real Madrid shirts and Girona scarves, most left heads down after watch Madrid out-played.
Girona started very brightly and Karim Benzema handled in the area under pressure but the referee adjudged it to have been involuntary.
Manchester City loanee Pablo Maffeo was prominent early on defending well but also adopting a position high up the pitch whenever the home team attacked.
First Stuani shot past Casilla after Pere Pons had got the better of Nacho. Then Stuani made a fool of Nacho again and Cristian Portugués (known as Portu in these parts) flicked the ball over the line.
Zidane brought on Spain internationals Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez but it was still Girona having the best chances and Stuani should have made it 3-1 but shot narrowly wide.
Ronaldo had a header six yards out unmarked but he sent it straight into the arms of Girona keeper Bono. Ronaldo still hadn’t found what he was looking for, that second league goal of the season.
Girona fans were now taunting Ronaldo with chants of ‘Messi Messi’. It was probably best not to make him angry with time still left for him to get the leveller.
But when he finally saw the ball hit the back of the net from Vazquez’ shot the flag was raised for offside. Stuani was given a huge ovation when he was taken off with seconds remaining and Girona survived to celebrate a famous win.