It was an historic night in the region of Catalonia on Saturday night as Manchester City sister club Girona FC faced Barcelona in the first ever competitive league derby between the two sides. In an unprecedented move by manager Pablo Machín, he started three Manchester City stars in arguably the club’s biggest ever game. Pablo Maffeo as ever held his position in the side while Douglas Luiz and Aleix Garcia were rewarded with starts. However, despite Girona’s encouraging start to the season, they were unable to match the firepower of Barcelona as they fell to a 3-0 home defeat. The home side conceded two own goals in the game while Luis Suarez bagged the third. Olarenwaju Kayode and Marlos Moreno both made late cameo appearances as they came off the bench in the second half but both were unable to make a strong impact. Instead, the rave reviews unsurprisingly went to Pablo Maffeo who was praised by local Spanish media for his tightly contested battle with Lionel Messi. The young full-back already looks fully accustomed to life in the Spanish top flight and could be a key component in helping Girona stay up this season. Meanwhile, in the second tier, Yaw Yeboah featured for 54 minutes for Real Oviedo as they were defeated 2-1 away at Albacete.
Cartoon from Spain on Pablo Maffeo's man-marking job on Lionel Messi yesterday in Girona vs Barcelona. "Honestly Maffeo, the game is over."😂 pic.twitter.com/WL2gKMiyXL
— Alexis Monteith (@AlexisMonteith) September 24, 2017
In Holland, NAC Breda are seemingly going from strength to strength as their 2-0 result away at Feyenoord marked their second consecutive victory of the season. Once again, a host of Manchester City stars featured for the Dutch side, namely Angelino, Pablo Mari, Manu Garcia and Thierry Ambrose. As City did at the start of the season, NAC Breda took the lead in the first half with our very own Ambrose creating the goal for Giovanni Korte to open the scoring away at the champions. Although NAC Breda survived a missed penalty for Kramer in the second half, it didn’t take them too long to double their lead and secure one of the shock victories of the season. The goal marked jubilant celebrations and helped to secure a huge victory for the newly promoted side as they move up to 13th in the table.
Elsewhere in the Eredivisie, another two of our loanees’ sides faced against each as FC Twente travelled to Groningen. As has been the case all season so far, Isaac Buckley-Ricketts originally started the game on the bench but came on late in the second half but was unable to prevent his Twente side falling to their fifth defeat of the season, while Mexican starlet Uriel Antuna was an unused substitute.
— ambroseT68 (@thierryambrose) September 24, 2017
Back in England, Joe Hart was once again on the losing side. His West Ham side faced Tottenham in the early kick off on Saturday and immediately looked set for a terrible afternoon conceding three goals within the first hour. Tottenham continued to look impressive as the match progressed before falling to pieces when Serge Aurier was sent off in the 70th minute, but held on for a 3-2 win. In the second tier, Angus Gunn enjoyed more success on the day as his Norwich City side held Bristol City to a 0-0 draw. The result wasn’t what they would have wanted before the encounter, however the away presented a dangerous threat and Gunn was there to secure his fourth consecutive clean sheet. On the contrary, Bersant Celina’s Ipswich were involved in a 3-2 thriller at Leeds United. The Kosovan midfielder was brought on after 68 minutes with his side 3-1 down at the current Championship leaders and although the away side showed character to bring the game back to 3-2, some fans will be left wondering why stars such as Celina and Waghorn were left on the bench for such an important game.
In League One, Rodney Kongolo continues to make waves at Doncaster Rovers, the young Dutch midfielder provided the goal for Alfie May as Duncan Ferguson’s side eased to a convincing 3-0 away win at Plymouth Argyle.
In Scotland, it was the return of the one derby that appears to find itself on City Loan Watch every other month, the Old Firm. Patrick Roberts started the game as Celtic eased to a 2-0 away victory over their rivals Rangers and as expected, the young English winger was there to make an impact. The 20-year-old was awarded the assist after his superb ball fell nicely to Leigh Griffiths who doubled the champions’ lead. Rangers struggled to recover and threw one final roll of the dice by bringing on City-owned forward Aaron Nemane for the final 6 minutes but it proved to be too little, too late. Celtic move 8 points clear of Rangers and look set to run away with the title once again.
Meanwhile, Brandon Barker was not named in the squad for Hibernian’s 1-0 victory over Ross County. The young winger was ruled out of the affair with a hip injury while Ashley Smith-Brown continues to watch on the sidelines for Hearts, who drew 1-1 away at Partick Thistle.
Elsewhere around the world, Galatasaray continue to take the Turkish league by storm. The 21-time champions came from behind to beat Bursaspor away 2-1 to extend their unbeaten streak to 6 league games. Jason Denayer featured for the current leaders as a substitute on the 64th minute. After a torrid season last year at Sunderland, it certainly looks like the Belgian centre-half is starting to enjoy competitive league football again.
In the United States, our sister club New York City were in action against Houston Dynamo and were however held to a 1-1 draw. The point will feel more like two points dropped rather than one point gained but it keeps New York City in second place. Patrick Vieira’s side will look forward to the return of Yangel Herrera who was sidelined for the game against Houston Dynamo.