Sporting Lisbon Vs. Athletic Bilbao, 2012 Europa League Semifinal: Final Score 2-1 Sporting After Comeback Win

Sporting Lisbon took advantage of a mediocre Athletic Bilbao to win 2-1 at home at set up a fascinating return leg at the San Mamés next week. Neither side looked entirely at the top of their game, with Athletic sloppy and Sporting lacking a cutting edge, which made the whole affair rather interesting because it was difficult to predict how things would turn out.

As it transpired, it was the visitors who took the lead in the 54th minute, with Jon Aurtenetxe latching onto a free kick following Fernando Llorente's flick, slamming past Rui Patrício with his left foot to give Athletic a vital away goal. They probably didn't deserve it, but hey, Sporting weren't looking great, and if they were going to hand their opponents the tie, I'm sure Marcelo Bielsa would have been perfectly happy with that.

He wasn't so lucky, however. With 15 minutes to go the hosts struck, with Emiliano Insúa taking advantage of a missed clearance to nod home the equaliser. Diego Capel made it 2-1 four minutes later when he found the bottom corner from 20 yards. Both sides tried to get a fourth goal as time wound down, but couldn't manage it and the match ended at 2-1.

So the tie remains up in the air. A 2-1 win for the hosts in the first leg is, thanks to the away goal, a pretty much neutral result, and both sides will feel pretty confident in their chances of reaching the final.

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