Bilbao vs. Atletico in all-Spanish Europa final
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Fernando Llorente set up two goals, then scored in the 88th minute to give Athletic Bilbao a 3-1 win over visiting Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night and a 4-3 aggregate victory that set up an all-Spanish Europa League final against 2010 champion Atletico Madrid.
Markel Susaera scored in the 17th minute for Athletic and Ibai Gomez in the second minute of first-half stoppage time, just after Ricky van Wolfswinkel had tied the score in the 44th. American defender Oguchi Onyewu dressed for Sporting but did not get into the match.
Adrian Lopez scored in the 60th minute, boosting Atletico to a 1-0 win at Valencia and a 5-2 victory in the home-and-home, total-goals series.
Valencia midfielder Sergio Canales had to be taken off the field on a stretcher in the 58th minute after apparently injuring the same right knee that had him sidelined for six months this season because of torn ligaments.
"We knew the injury to Canales would be a blow for them,'' said Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who won the 1998 UEFA Cup with Inter Milan.
The final is May 9 final at Bucharest, Romania.
While Chelsea and Bayern Munich spoiled an all-Spanish Champions League final by eliminating Barcelona and Real Madrid this week, Bilbao made sure Spain will win Europe's second-tier club competition for the fourth time in seven years.
"This is incredible. It's the first time that I have wanted to cry on the pitch while I'm still playing,'' said Llorente as his teammates celebrated with their fans. "This is beyond words. This is the best!''
Bilbao, which eliminated Manchester United and Schalke, will play its first European final since losing the 1977 UEFA Cup to Juventus.
"We made history tonight, and I hope we continue to do so in the final, which I hope we can win because these players and these fans deserve it,'' Llorente said.
Bilbao will play Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final on May 25.
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings
NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets