Saturday, 21 February 2015

Torino 2-2 Athletic Bilbao

Torino will need to produce a special performance in Bilbao in order to qualify for the last 16 of the Europa League, after being held to a 2-2 draw by the Athletic on Thursday night.

Giampiero Ventura surprisingly left top scorer Fabio Quagliarella on the bench as Josef Martinez and Maxi Lopez started upfront.

Despite a promising start by the hosts, Toro were behind in only nine minutes as Borja Viguera's left wing cross was turned in by young striker Iñaki Williams, who was making his European debut for the Basque side.

The Granata responded well though, and were level less than ten minutes later after great interplay by Omar El Kaddouri and Cristian Molinaro, and the latter provided the cross for Maxi Lopez to turn into the net.

Josef Martinez missed an excellent chance to give Toro a lead, but he was unable to make sufficient contact on Matteo Darmian's cross. However, moments later, Torino did take the lead as another fine cross from Italy international Darmian was met by Lopez whose header flew into the far corner.

Toro looked like they would travel to Spain with a first leg lead intact, but seventeen minutes from time Carlos Gurpegi headed home Beñat's free kick to equalise.

Things almost got worse for Toro as Bilbao hit the bar late on, but the game ended level and the advantage lies with the La Liga side ahead of the second leg. Torino will need either a victory, or a high scoring draw in order to qualify for the last 16, which is a difficult but not impossible task.

Forza Toro

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