Late Llorente goal sets up all-Spanish Europa League final

Fernando Llorente wheels away in delight after scoring the goal that sent Atheltic Bilbao into the Europa League final

Story highlights

  • Europa League final to be all-Spanish clash between Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid
  • Fernando Llorente's late goal helps Bilbao beat Sporting Lisbon 4-3 on aggregate
  • Atletico win 1-0 away at Valencia thanks to Adrian's goal to seal a 5-2 aggregate win
  • The final will be held in Romania's capital Bucharest on May 9

Fernando Llorente's dramatic last minute goal sealed an all-Spanish Europa League final as Athletic Bilbao booked a clash with Atletico Madrid in Bucharest.

The forward's late strike finally settled a pulsating tie against Portugal's Sporting Lisbon ensuring Bilbao triumphed 3-1 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.

The Basque side will face Atletico Madrid in the final on May 9 after their fellow Spanish team won 1-0 away at Valencia to record an impressive 5-2 aggregate victory.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Portugal, Bilbao leveled the tie when Markel Susaeta fired into the net after Llorente had chested a cross into his path.

Just before halftime Sporting's Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel smashed a low shot into the net to edge the away side in front once again.

But a minute later Ibai Gomez locked the tie at 3-3 on aggregate and 2-1 on the night after he converted following a glorious piece of skill from Llorente, who beat a man before flicking the ball into his teammate's path.

Both sides hit the woodwork in the second half, Llorente with a header and Emiliano Insua with a vicious long range strike, but the game looked destined for extra time.

That was until the final minute of normal time when Gomez turned inside the area and crossed for star man Llorente to poke home at the near post and send the San Mames stadium into raptures.

In the other semifinal, Valencia came charging out of the blocks, determined to reverse Atletico's 4-2 advantage from the first leg but striker Roberto Soldado wasted two clear cut chances.

The decisive blow was struck on the hour mark as Adrian Lopez took down a long pass on his chest before thumping a fierce volley into the net.

With the tie all but wrapped up, a moment of madness from Atletico's Portuguese midfielder Thiago cost him a place in the final after an extraordinary melee on the field.

Thinking Thiago had handled a cross the referee pointed to the penalty spot, but replays showed it was a Valencia forward who had made contact with the ball.

As players from both sides argued with the referee, Thiago slapped Soldado and then trod on Jordi Alba's foot, earning him a red card and a suspension for the final.

After consultation with his assistants, the referee then reversed his penalty decision and awarded a free kick to Atletico.

The Europa League final will be held in the Romanian capital Bucharest on May 9.

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