Spanish clubs call the shots

Athletic Bilbao defeat Schalke 04; Atletico Madrid down Hanover 96

Athletic Bilbao, conquerors of Manchester United in the previous round, continued their Europa League run by scoring three times in the last 20 minutes to win their quarterfinal first-leg tie 4-2 at Schalke 04 on Thursday.

over the moon: Athletic Bilbao’s Iker Muniain (left) celebrates after scoring against Schalke 04 on Thursday. AFP

Atletico Madrid also snatched a late win in a Spain-Germany clash, beating Hanover 96 2-1 with a delightful late goal by Eduardo Salvio. Dutch league leaders AZ Alkmaar beat Valencia 2-1 and Sporting Lisbon beat Metalist Kharkiv by the same score in the other quarterfinal ties.

Raul and Fernando Llorente both scored twice to leave Schalke and Athletic level at 2-2 before Oscar de Marcos and Iker Muniain netted in the last 10 minutes for Marcelo Bielsa's team.

Llorente scrambled Athletic ahead in the 20th minute after a mistake by Schalke goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand, only for former Real Madrid striker Raul to prod in Atsuto Uchida's cross two minutes later for the hosts.

Raul gave Schalke, third in the Bundesliga, a deserved lead with a spectacular volley from the edge of the area just before the hour and was close to a hat-trick when he chipped the ball just wide.

Instead, Llorente began Athletic's late rally when he headed in a corner at the near post in the 73rd minute to put La Liga's eleventh-placed team back on level terms.

Schalke suffered more goalkeeping woes as Mathias Schober, who replaced the injured Hildebrand at halftime for his first appearance in three years, failed to hold Markel Susaeta's cross, allowing De Marcos to score from close range.

Teenager Muniain fired in the fourth to complete another impressive win for the side led by former Argentina and Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, which also won both legs against Manchester United.

Colombian striker Radamel Falcao headed Atletico ahead early in the tie.
In a niggly game with plenty of heavy challenges, Mame Diouf slid in Lars Stindl's cross from the right to put Hanover back on level terms seven minutes before halftime.

But Atletico re-took control after Brazilian midfielder Diego come on just after the hour and Argentine forward Salvio curled in the winner from the edge of the area in the 89th minute.

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