Alaves rallies late to beat Girona in debut of new coach


(Darryl Dyck/CP)

MADRID — Forward Ibai Gomez scored a hat trick in the final 20 minutes to lead Alaves to a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind win at Girona in the Spanish league on Monday.

Girona appeared in command at Montilivi Stadium after Christian Stuani and Juan Pedro "Juanpe" Ramirez scored in a three-minute span about an hour in.

But Alaves suddenly came alive with goals by Gomez in the 71st, 87th and in stoppage time.

"Incredible, just incredible," said Gomez, who had not scored previously this season.

"We played with a lot of heart to come back and earn these three points which are vital for us."

Alaves rose off the bottom of the standings with the victory, surpassing Malaga by one point.

Coach Abelardo Fernandez received a winning start in his quest to lift the club out of the relegation zone. Fernandez is the third coach of the season for Alaves, after Luis Zubeldia and Italian Gianni de Biasi.

Girona, playing in the first division for the first time, stayed in 12th place, and on a four-match winless run.

It was the worst thing that could happen to us, especially after being ahead 2-0," Girona defender Francisco Aday Benitez said. "It was a crazy game in the end, it happens."

Girona also conceded in injury time at Real Betis in the previous round.

Barcelona has a five-point lead in the league. Defending champion Real Madrid is fourth.

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