Bilbao & Atletico make it through to set up Basque-Madrid final in Bucharest
Athletic Bilbao 3 -1 Sporting Lisbon (4-3 aggregate)
The 2011/12 Champions League final may have missed out on the all-Spanish final, but there will be one at the Europa League showcase in Bucharest on 9th May.
It was a night of drama in Spain, as home side Athletic Bilbao rallied from a 2-1 deficit in Portugal last week against Sporting Lisbon, to book their place alongside Atletico Madrid in the final.
It has been 35 years since Athletic Bilbao were in a UEFA final and their attacking, creative style of football was just enough to see them through on the night.
The Spaniards had fired themselves into a 1-0 second-leg lead through Susaeta, but then saw their away goal advantage from the first leg disappear, as Dutchman Ricky van Wolfswinkel netted for Sporting just before half time.
But that was not the end of the first half drama, as Bilbao pulled back in front through Ibai Gomez in stoppage time.
At half time, the tie was standing level on aggregate.
Despite some wonderfully creative and open football, neither side could find a breakthrough in the second half and the tie looked as if it was heading to extra time.
That was, until Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente finally cracked the Portuguese resistance to fire in an 88th-minute strike and take the Spaniards through 4-3 on aggregate.
Valencia 0-1 Atletico Madrid (2-5 aggregate)
The impressive Atletico Madrid booked their place in an all-Spanish final of the UEFA Europa League as they toppled fellow La Liga opponents Valencia 1-0 in the second leg of their semi-final match up.
After already holding the upper hand from the first leg at home, where they had taken a 4-2 lead, the visitors from the capital defended resolutely before striking with another goal of their own.
This was a repeat of the 2010 Europa League quarter-final, an occasion on which Atletico triumphed as well.
That was the season that Los Rojiblancos, inspired by Diego Forlan, went on to win the inaugural Europa League trophy.
Now Madrid are back for the second time in three years, as they head to the Bucharest show-piece on 9th May.
They will, however, be without their influential captain Tiago, who was shown a red card 11 minutes from the end of the match in Valencia.
The crucial point of the second leg came on the hour mark, as Adrian Lopez showed wonderful technique in controlling a pass with his chest, his resulting volley beating Diego Alves in the Valencia net.