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EUROPA LEAGUE: Athletic Bilbao to face Atletico Madrid in all-Spanish final

Athletic Bilbao have overturned a 2-1 deficit to Sporting Lisbon to progress through to the 2011/12 Europa League final.

A 3-1 home victory tonight, for a 4-3 aggregate win, sees Athletic book an all-Spanish final with Atletico Madrid who got past La Liga rivals Valencia 5-2 after tonight's 1-0 away win.

Trailing by a goal from the first leg, Bilbao soon edged in front on away goals when Markel Susaeta opened the scoring in the 16th minute before Ricky van Wolfswinkel rescued back the ascendency for Sporting on the stroke of half-time.

But Ibai Gomez replied in stoppage time to give the home team all the momentum going into the break before Fernando Llorente assured their path through to the decider with an 87th minute goal.

In Valencia, Adrian scored the only goal of the match just before the hour-mark as ten-man Atletico extended their 4-2 first leg lead despite seeing Tiago sent off with just over ten minutes remaining.

The two Spanish sides, Bilbao and Atletico, will now play off in the final at Bucharest's Arena National on May 9, saving face for football in Spain following the Champions League shortcomings of Barcelona and Real Madrid during the week.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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