Friday, 27 February 2015

Athletic Bilbao 2-3 Torino

Torino produced one of their finest performances in recent history to progress to the last 16 of the Europa League after a 3-2 victory (5-4 on aggregate) over Athletic Bilbao on Thursday evening.

As expected, Fabio Quagliarella started alongside two goal hero from the first leg Maxi Lopez, whilst Giuseppe Vives replaced the suspended Marco Benassi.

The Granata made the perfect start when after only fifteen minutes, Vives was tripped in the area by Bilbao captain Carlos Gurpegi in the penalty area. Fabio Quagliarella stepped up and converted the spot kick, although home keeper Iago Herrerín did get a hand to it.

Just two minutes before half time, Bilbao equalised when Beñat's exquisite pass found wing back Andoni Iraola who took a touch before lifting over Daniele Padelli. However, Toro still took a lead into the half time break, as in first half injury time, Matteo Darmian's cross found Maxi Lopez who headed home.

Toro wasted a couple of chances on the counter attack to put the tie beyond any doubt, and were punished on the hour mark when Iker Munian's through ball found Oscar de Marcos who slid the ball into the far corner.

But for the second time in the match, Torino responded almost immediately as Omar El Kaddouri's cross found Matteo Darmian in space, and the Italian international volleyed the ball past Herrerín.

Substitute Josef Martinez missed a great chance to give Toro a more comfortable margin of the victory, but the Venezuelan striker somehow missed the target after rounding the keeper.

Toro managed to hold on for a famous victory, and the squad were given a heroes welcome on their return to Turin Airport in the early hours of Friday morning.

In Friday's draw for the last 16 of the Europa League, Torino were drawn against Zenit St Petersburg, and will face the first leg in Russia on March 12th.

Forza Toro

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