Last updated at 23:08, Thursday 26th April 2012
Atletico Madrid midfielder Adrian Lopez Lopez: his stunner ensured Atletico’s safe passage.

Bucharest awaits for Iberian duo


Henry Milward

Fernando Llorente struck in the dying moments on Thursday night to seal Athletic Bilbao’s progress to the final of the Europa League.

Los Leones’ second leg clash with Sporting was heading for extra time before the Basque forward popped up two minutes from the end to hit his 29th goal of the campaign.

Despite going into the fixture at the San Mames 2-1 behind, Athletic were odds on to secure qualification, and it was looking good for them when Markel Susaeta netted 17 minutes in, landing first scorer odds of 11/1 with BetVictor and Coral.

The sides traded blows shortly before the break, with Ricky van Wolfswinkel striking for the visitors and Ibai Gomez replying moments later. At that stage an added period was looming large but Llorente appeared at just the right moment to send Bilbao into a frenzy and set up an all-Spanish final.

That’s because Atletico Madrid completed the job at Valencia in the other semi-final.

Leading 4-2 ahead of Thursday’s game at the Mestalla, Los Rojiblancos were comfortable favourites to make the final, but they obliged punters backing them on the night at 3/1 with a 1-0 success thanks to Adrian Lopez’ effort on the hour mark.

Tiago was later dismissed for Diego Simeone’s men but that couldn’t halt their progress to next month’s Bucharest showpiece.

The finalists sit level on points in La Liga and there’s little to split them in the betting for the crown.

Totesport offer a standout 10/11 on Atletico lifting the trophy while Coral go even money on an Athletic triumph. Our man Mike Holden tipped the Basques to prosper at 20/1 in his outright preview back in February.

Results: Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Sporting (Athletic win 4-3 on aggregate), Valencia 0-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico win 5-2 on aggregate)


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