Striker Artem Dowiek, who has been explosive in his first big league start this season, scored three goals in a game that helped Girona climb to the top of the table.
Girona defeated Osasuna 4-2 in the 12th round of the 2023-2024 La Liga at Estadio El Sadar in Pamplona, Spain on Thursday (Sept. 4).
Girona maintained their lead at the top of the standings as Real Madrid, who played later, failed to win their 12th round match. Girona are in first place with 10 wins, one draw, and one loss. They have second-place Real, third-place Barcelona, and fourth-place Atletico Madrid all at their feet.
Striker Dowiek was the star of the show. Dowiek broke down the left flank in the 16th minute and his grounded cross was finished by Ivan Martin. But back-to-back goals from Osasuna striker Ante Budimir temporarily put the hosts back in front.
Girona fought back, centered by Dowiek, and quickly exploded for three goals. Dowiek tied the game with a header from a cross. Then, Doubik’s Ukrainian teammate Viktor Chihankow scored the game-winner after being set up by Doubik. Finally, Alessi Garcia scored the winner in the 45th minute of the second half.
Dowiek started playing soccer in Ukraine, where he became a regular striker for powerhouse Dnipro and was named the Ukrainian League’s Young Player of the Year for the 2016-2017 season. He then embarked on an overseas challenge with Mittwalland in Denmark. He was a senior to current South Korean national team striker Cho Kyu-sung. However, he suffered severe injuries at Midtjylland and was unable to show his full potential.
Returning to his native country in 2020 with a move to newcomers Dnipro-1, Dowiek finally had a healthy season and was able to showcase his skills. He was the top scorer for the last two years in a row. This has helped him attract interest from the big leagues this time around.
Dowiek currently plays as a frontline striker, taking advantage of his 6-foot-3 frame and big frame, but he was a winger when he was a slimmer prospect. He’s used this experience to his advantage, as he’s equally adept at dropping to the flanks and linking up play. Against Osasuna, he scored a header, dropped to the flank to deliver a ground ball cross to a teammate, and delivered a ball with his back to the defense in the box. It was a game that summarized Dowiek’s strengths in a nutshell.
With six goals and four assists, Dowiek is the only first-time La Liga player in the top 10 in goals and top five in assists. At 26, he’s not a prospect, but he’s definitely a ‘discovery of the year’. 보스토토 도메인
Girona are at the top of the table, with more firepower than Real and Barcelona. Dowiek, who is as good with his assists as he is with his goals, is at the center of it. Girona’s goals come from a variety of players, including central midfielders Yanghell Herrera (four goals) and Alessi Garcia (three goals and four assists). Girona’s 37-year-old captain, Christian Stuani, who has been with the club for seven years, has also done his part with three goals and an assist while splitting time with Dowiek.
Girona is partly owned by City Football Group (CFG), which is also owned by Manchester City’s sister club