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Girona missed the chance to move five points clear at the top of LaLiga after German Pezzella’s late strike earned Real Betis a 1-1 draw.

Artem Dovbyk swept home a first-half penalty to put Girona on course for a ninth win in 10 matches.

Betis tried to force the issue in the second half but had failed to register a shot on Paulo Gazzaniga’s goal until Pezzella’s rocket found the top corner late on.

The visitors had the first noteworthy chance when Yan Couto’s cross found Savio in the area but his first-time effort was saved by Rui Silva.

Betis spurned a golden opportunity to open the scoring shortly afterwards when Assane Diao ran through on goal but fired over the crossbar with only the keeper to beat.

The home side forced a superb save from former Southampton and Tottenham goalkeeper Gazzaniga when Willian Jose drilled a powerful effort goalwards which needed to be palmed away.

Girona took the lead six minutes before the break when Aitor Ruibal brought Savio down inside the area and Dovbyk made no mistake in slotting home the resulting spot-kick.

The away side were happy to rest on their goal advantage and Betis came close to an equaliser but Diao once again shot over the bar from outside the area.

Betis left it late to level when a corner caused confusion in the box and when the ball fell to Pezzella he lashed it into the top corner.

Girona almost snatched a winner in stoppage time but Daley Blind guided an effort from outside the box just wide as they moved three points clear at the top ahead of Real Madrid’s clash with Alaves.

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