Atletico Madrid beats Athletic Bilbao to win Europa League
The 2012 UEFA Europa League Final was held at the Arena Na?ionala, in Bucharest, Romania between two Spanish teams, Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao. Two goals by Colombian striker Radamel Falcao helped Atletico Madrid on their way to a 3-0 victory over Bilbao, ensuring their second Europa League trophy in three seasons.
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Falcao scored his two goals in the first half, taking his goal total in this years competition to 12. He also became the first player to win successive Europa League trophies after having been in last years final with Porto, where his headed goal won the trophy for the Portuguese team.
Atletico were dominant from the kick off, showing dazzling displays of intricate link up play in Bilbao's defensive area. Falcao's first goal came in the seventh minute, when his curving shot found it's way past Bilbao keeper Gorka Iraizoz into the top corner. Atletico Madrid saw another couple of chances go astray before the half hour mark, just as Athletic Bilbao finally seemed to be getting to grips with the attacking play, but in the 34th minute, they were taken by surprise as Falcao turned defender Jon Aurtenetxe and scored from close range. The goal was his 29th Europa League goal in 29 games.
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The opening 15 minutes of the second half saw the sides more evenly matched, with Madrid's Diego almost scoring and Bilbao's Inigo Perez seeing his shot tipped over the bar by the young Madrid keeper, Thibaut Courtois. Falcao saw another shot beat the keeper but rebound off the post, but it was Diego who sealed victory for Atletico with five minutes of the game remaining. After winning a tackle with Fernando Amorebieta, he saw his shot from the edge of the area hit the back of the net, leaving Atletico to celebrate winning the trophy again.