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City Loan Watch: Maffeo keeps Ronaldo quiet, Hart’s emotional interview, Roberts injured

In this edition, we have to start in Spain where Manchester City’s sister club Girona claimed a historic victory over the reigning European champions. The recently promoted side had struggled for form going into the game and left a full-strength Real Madrid stunned as they overturned a one goal deficit to win the match 2-1. Once again, Pablo Maffeo started and fully impressed as he kept Cristiano Ronaldo and Isco quiet throughout the game, before adding some attacking impetus as he picked up the assist for Portu’s backheel to see the Catalonian side take the lead with 10 minutes to go. Real Madrid as expected pushed hard to find an equaliser, however, Girona were strong tactically, and brought on Olarenwaju Kayode, proving resilient enough to hold out for a memorable victory. This result was a feat that no first division debutant had done in 27 years but most importantly this was another 3 points towards safety. Girona sit comfortably in 13th place in La Liga, 6 points above the drop. An outstanding achievement so far.

In Holland, NAC Breda are still struggling to adapt to life in the Eredivisie. Angelino, Manu Garcia and Thierry Ambrose started as another of City’s sister clubs picked up a valuable point away at 8th placed FC Utrecht. NAC were forced to come from a goal down after Utrecht hit an early opener, however, Ambrose was there to make an impact as he picked up an assists in either half. The Frenchman has struggled for goals, only two in the Eredivisie so far, but now has 3 assists to his name. NAC looked all but set for a shock victory before Venema found a late equaliser, a sickening blow for the away side on Manu Garcia’s first game captaining the club. There wasn’t such luck either for Mexican starlet Uriel Antuna who was left on the bench for Groningen’s 1-0 home defeat to Willem II. Meanwhile, Isaac Buckley-Ricketts made another cameo appearance for FC Twente, a 5 minute showcase as his side beat Roda JC 3-0.

In England, Joe Hart gave a heartfelt interview to BBC Sport after his West Ham side dropped a valuable 2 points in the dying moments away at Crystal Palace. The Hammers went into the affair on the back of a great comeback themselves away at Wembley in the Carabao Cup against Spurs, and were hoping to find some consistency as a result in the Premier League. In a game which was arguably dominated by Crystal Palace, the England goalkeeper was forced to make some good saves while Palace hit the woodwork twice as West Ham raced to a 2-0 lead. But, Palace were rewarded for their hard work and took advantage on the counter in the 97th minute with a late equaliser through Wilfried Zaha leaving an under-pressure Slaven Bilic hugely frustrated.

Similar feelings were felt by Angus Gunn in the Norwich City camp in the Championship as they conceded a late winner to Derby County. Meanwhile, in League 1, Kean Bryan of Oldham was involved in a 4-4 thriller away at MK Dons. The natural holding midfielder was once again deployed at centre-back and put in a competent performance in a dramatic affair which had seen the home side MK Dons come back from 4-2 down with an equaliser in the 89th minute. Oldham now sit 18th in League 1, only behind Doncaster Rovers on goal difference. Darren Ferguson’s side picked up a valuable 3 points at the weekend with a 2-1 home victory over Portsmouth, Rodney Kongolo started and picked up an assist for Liam Mandeville’s first of the season.

In Scotland, it does appear that the wheels are starting to fall off a little for Celtic. The home side were held 1-1 at home to Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock. The reigning champions have struggled to find consistency at Celtic Park in the last few weeks and were left ruing another dropped two points. Patrick Roberts started the game but was subbed off after 30 minutes, a believed hamstring injury which could see him out of action for between 4 and 6 weeks. Celtic are now only a point clear of Aberdeen and just 5 of their rivals Rangers. They beat Hearts 3-1 away at the weekend, an emphatic response under caretaker manager Graham Murty who took to the sidelines to replace Pedro Caixinha. Aaron Nemane wasn’t involved in the 18 man squad for the game. Meanwhile, Hibernian sit 4th in the SPL, Brandon Barker featured for 73 minutes in their impressive 1-0 away win at Motherwell.

Elsewhere around the world, Jason Denayer played as Galatasaray fell to their first competitive league defeat of the season. Galatasaray had gone 9 games unbeaten before they were beaten 2-1 at the weekend by struggling Trabzonspor. While in the MLS, Yangel Herrera put in an impressive shift for New York City in a 2-2 draw with Columbus Crew.

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