Thursday February 26 2015
EL: Torino conquer Athletic!

Torino became the first Italian side ever to conquer the San Mames, eliminating Athletic Bilbao with a stunning 3-2 victory.

Juventus in the 1998 Champions League were the only Italians out of eight attempts to avoid defeat here.

The first leg was an exciting 2-2 draw with Maxi Lopez bagging a brace, so the Spaniards had the upper hand in terms of away goals going into the San Mames. Guillermo Fernandez, Ander Iturraspe and Unai Bustinza missed out for the hosts, while Marco Benassi was suspended and Salvatore Masiello injured.

Athletic Bilbao were aggressive from the start and Daniele Padelli had to beat away from Benat. Maxi Lopez’s effort was charged down and a Fabio Quagliarella chest and volley was off target.

Torino took the lead in Bilbao when Carlos Gurpegi clumsily tripped Giuseppe Vives and Quagliarella converted the powerful resulting penalty.

Quagliarella fired on to the side-netting and Gurpegi limped off, completing his nightmare evening. However, his team equalised moments later. Benat’s ball over the top found Andoni Iraola for a great first touch and he scored from a very tight angle.

Just as Athletic were preparing to go in at half-time with an aggregate lead on away goals, Maxi Lopez penalised them again with a header at the near post on Matteo Darmian’s cross, his third goal of the tie.

Not only does this give Toro the lead on aggregate, they also wiped out the two away goals Athletic scored in Italy.

After the restart Aymeric Laporte’s free kick skimmed the bar and Iago Herrerin was decisive on Maxi Lopez from point-blank range. Inaki Williams could not have gone closer, as his glancing header thumped the far post.

Athletic did get their equaliser and put the tie completely level on away goals. A great Muniain through ball sent De Marcos clear on goal and he kept his cool to stroke past Padelli.

Toro do not give in easily and proved that again with a spectacular goal to restore their advantage in Bilbao. A long Omar El Kaddouri cross found Matteo Darmian at the back post for a stunning volley.

That meant the hosts needed a victory, because the Granata were now in front on aggregate and away goals.

Athletic Bilbao 2-3 Torino (4-5 agg)

Scorers: Quagliarella pen 16 (T), Iraola 44 (A), Maxi Lopez 45+3 (T), De Marcos 61 (A), Darmian 68 (T)

Athletic Bilbao: Iago Herrerin; Iraola, Etxeita, Gurpegi (Williams 42), Laporte, De Marcos; Benat (Susaeta 70), San Jose, Rico (Unai Lopez 79); Muniain, Aritz Aduriz

Torino: Padelli; Maksimovic, Glik, Moretti; Darmian, Vives, Gazzi, El Kaddouri (Farnerud 83), Molinaro; Maxi Lopez (Martinez 73), Quagliarella

Ref: Liani (ISR)

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