The distribution of points in Balaídos did not satisfy either Celta, who with 40 points (5 over relegation) does not see salvation assured, or Girona, who with 49 is not too close to Europe. The two goalkeepers were protagonists with their decisive interventions in a round-trip match in which either team could win. Although the protagonist was also Mateu Lahoz, by repeating a penalty (at the behest of the VAR), which meant Stuani's 1-1 on his second attempt.
Celta came to the duel that opened the 36th matchday of the League with urgency, needing a victory after adding four straight defeats – their worst streak since 2019 – and seeing themselves 15th with only a four-point margin over the first relegation place. For this reason, the Galician team came out with much more impetus and ambition in search of the goal.
Thus, the Celtic team, urging on the wings with the speed of Carlos Pérez and Miguel Rodríguez, began to subdue a Girona that was clinging to order. The light-blues had three approaches with some danger: a free kick by Óscar Rodríguez that went wide (15), a cross by Miguel Rodríguez that Gabri Veiga missed diving with his head (27), and a high shot by Carles Pérez after a great slalom in which it was outlined from the outside in (41).
It was Celta's final warning, because in the next attack, Carles Pérez pierced Gazzaniga's goal with a low shot. The 1-0 was born from a blunder at the exit of the Girona ball. Javi Galán stole the ball from Tsygankov, who entered the wing, crossed to the front and the ex-Blaugrana fired a shot that touched slightly between Oriol Romeu's legs, just enough to mislead Gazzaniga.
The winger Javi Galán was confirmed as the hero of the match after his goal assist to save the tie three minutes later. Girona counterattacked, Ricard Artero shot –substitute for the injured Iván Martín at minute 34- and goalkeeper Villar deflected, although he dangerously left the ball loose. Galán took him out of the feet of Stuani, who in his reappearance in the starting eleven arrived with the cane ready.
The Uruguayan striker was once again the protagonist at the restart. In the first arrival of the Catalans, Tygankov snatched an innocent penalty from Hugo Mallo by cutting him in the corner of the area and the Celtiña set foot. Slight tripping, but Mateu Lahoz decreed the maximum penalty. He shot Stuani to the right and Villar guessed his intention (56). But the VAR warned the referee that Unai Núñez had entered the area before the launch and Mateu ordered the penalty to be repeated, since the player later intervened in the clearance. Stuani changed sides and managed to tie (1-1).
The match was encouraged with the tie, when the two teams opened up and launched themselves without complexes to look for the goal. Strand Larsen shot wide but with poison (70), Yangel Herrera replied brushing the right post (71) and Gabri Veiga made Gazaniga intervene (72). In addition, Míchel played it by giving entry to Joel Roca and Taty Castellanos to have more bite.
But the one who became the hero of his team was the goalkeeper Gazzaniga, who prevented three consecutive Celta goals in five minutes. First, at the feet of Strand Larsen, who had an unbeatable one-on-one that the Argentine goalkeeper kicked out of him (79), and in the subsequent action, with his hand he deflected a left-footed shot from Carles Pérez (80). . Three minutes later, Gazzaniga scored the goal with a shot at the long post by Franco Cervi (84).
Celta's siege was broken by Girona with two good chances, from Joel Roca in a low shot that Villar stopped (86) and a forced shot from Ricard Artero at the far post (90).
Girona's best chance was for Joel Roca in the last minute (96). A ball came to him assisted by Oriol Romeu and the youth squad player launched a cross shot placed to the top corner that goalkeeper Villar saved spectacularly, sticking out his right hand.
There the game died: a point for each one that does not satisfy either of them too much. Celta can't just breathe easy, 5 points from relegation (Getafe plays this Thursday at Betis' ground), and with two games in which life will be at stake, and Girona, 1 point behind the Conference place League that Athletic occupies (visit Sadar), still with options to travel to Europe next year.
Celtic: Ivan Villar; Hugo Mallo, Aidoo, Unai Nunez, Javi Galan; Tapia, Gabri Veiga (Iago Aspas 81), Oscar Rodriguez, Carles Perez; Larsen (Seferovic 81) and Miguel Rodriguez (Franco Cervi 71).
Girona: Gazzaniga; Arnau, Santi Bueno (Callens 54), Bernardo, Miguel Gutiérrez; Oriol Romeu, Iván Martín (Artero 34), Valery (Joel Roca 74); Yan Couto (Yangel Herrera 54), Tsygankov and Stuani (Taty Castellanos 74)
Referee: Mateu Lahoz (Valencian). No cards.
Quaffles: 1-0 Carles Pérez (42); 1-1 Stuani, from penalty (59).
Field: Balaídos, 14,117 spectators.