Europa League - Emotional Llorente hails 'incredible' win

Fri, 27 Apr 00:36:00 2012

Fernando Llorente said his dramatic late winner was the "most important goal" of his career as Athletic Bilbao eliminated Sporting to set up an all-Spanish Europa League final.

2011-12 Europa League Athletic Bilbao's forward Fernando Llorente - 0

The towering striker was the hero at a typically vibrant San Mames, setting up Athletic's first two goals and then pouncing to volley the crucial strike two minutes from time to give the Basques a 3-1 win and take them through 4-3 on aggregate.

"This is incredible," Llorente said, struggling to make himself heard over the fans celebrating wildly in the stands.

"It's the first time I have felt like crying on a football pitch," added the Spain international, whose nickname is the Lion King due to his mane of thick blond hair.

"That was without doubt the most important goal I have ever scored."

Victory for Athletic, chasing their first continental title, and the presence of their compatriots and 2010 winners Atletico Madrid, who comfortably held on to a first-leg lead to oust Liga rivals Valencia, in the May 9 showpiece in Bucharest may help ease Spanish pain in Europe this season.

The country's two heavyweight clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, were dumped out of the Champions League this week.

Athletic Blibao - Sporting

Eurosport / Reuters

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