This was a hugely entertaining match. End to end breathless action at the San Mames as each team went at each other. There was no let up in the second half. Athletic took an early lead through Mikael Susaeta as the Basques pulled level on aggregate. That would have been enough for them to progress to the finals. But Sporting came roaring back as Ricky Van Wolfswinkel's smashed in a rebound. The pendulum swung back to the Portugese.
The next two goals were crafted through the clever work of Ibai Gomez and Fernando Llorente. Just before halftime Llorente's nifty footwork created time and space to slip the ball to the advancing Gomez on the left who took a couple of steps to drive the ball past Rui Patricio. The duo combined late in the second half as Gomez took the ball one way and then cut back to leave the defense out of position with Llorente squeezing his cross past Patricio and the near post.
The Europa Cup has been the refreshing breath in European football with the Champions League failing to lift with its relatively turgid displays. Marcelo Bielsa has been an inspiration to this young Athletic team built entirely on their prodigious home grown system.