Falcao fires Atletico to glory
Radamel Falcao fired Atletico Madrid to Europa League final glory for the second time in three years with a first-half double against Athletic Bilbao.
The Colombian has now scored 29 goals from 29 games in the competition and took just seven minutes to get on the scoresheet in Bucharest, curling a superb left-footed effort inside the far post and wide of goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz after getting free in the area.
Fernando Llorente then headed wide for the visitors despite him having a fair claim for a penalty after being manhandled by Diego Godin, but Falcao doubled Atleti’s advantage on 34 minutes. Athletic defender Fernando Amorebieta failed to control the ball on the edge of the box and, from Arda Turan’s squared pass, Falcao made no mistake after turning Jon Aurtenetxe and lashing home.
The Basques made a double substitution at the break in a bid to get themselves back into the contest, Ibai Gomez and Inigo Perez coming on for the ineffectual Ander Iturraspe and Aurtenexte, and they started the second half brightly with Iker Muniain, Javi Martinez and Markel Susaeta all having chances to score.
However, Marcelo Bielsa’s men were unable to achieve the breakthrough and Diego finally put the game out of their reach five minutes from time when he made it 3-0, running past two defenders and firing an angled shot that gave Iraizoz no chance to ensure Los Colchoneros lifted the trophy.
Atletico Madrid 3- 0 Athletic Bilbao
Scorers: Falcao 7, 34, Diego 85 (ATL)
Atletico Madrid: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe Luis; Mario Suarez, Gabi; Adrian (Salvio 87), Diego (Koke 89), Arda Turan (Domínguez 92); Falcao.
Athletic Bilbao: Iraizoz; Iraola, Ekiza, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe; Iturraspe, De Marcos, Ander Herrera (San Jose 70); Susaeta (Ibai Gomez 83), Muniain, Llorente (Toquero 86).
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany)