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Athletic finish the job in Bilbao
ThinkSpain , Thursday, March 15, 2012

Athletic Bilbao produced another stunning performance to beat Manchester United 2-1 in the second leg of their Europa League tie at San Mamés, winning 5-3 on aggregate.
Manchester United arrived in Bilbao hoping to overturn a 3-2 deficit from the first leg at Old Trafford, but an inspired and determined Athletic side barely let them get into their stride.

Bilbao took the lead with a stunning goal from Fernando Llorente after 23 minutes, volleying into the bottom corner from a long ball over the top of the United defence.

Despite having numerous other chances, the home side had to wait until the 65th minute to double their advantage, when Oscar de Marcos's shot got deflected past David de Gea.

Wayne Rooney pulled a goal back with a superb curling effort ten minutes from time to give United a lifeline and provide added excitement on the night, but Bilbao held firm to advance to the quarter-finals.

Valencia also made it through to the quarter-finals after drawing 1-1 on the night in Eindhoven, giving them a winning 5-3 aggregate score over PSV. After a number of threatening shots from Jordi Alba in the opening minutes of the second half, Rami scored the only goal for Los Che at the Philips Stadium.  Toivonen kept both sets of fans on tenterhooks by levelling the scores in the 63rd minute.  It was a solid, rather than inspiring performance by Valencia, but enough to book them a place in the last eight of the Europa League.

Atlético Madrid made sure of their Europa League quarter-final place with a solid 3-0 win over Besiktas in Istanbul. Goals from Adrián, Falcao and Salvio gave the Spanish side victory on the night, and a convincing 6-1 aggregate win.

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