Sporting Lisbon Athletic Bilbao Odds : Fernando Llorente to fire Marcelo Bielsa’s side to Europa League Final
April 18, 2012 · 0 Comments
Sporting Lisbon host Athletic Bilbao on Thursday night in the Europa League semi-final first leg, as its reported by Paddy Power that punters have piled in on Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente to score first in Portugal.
Sporting had a very impressive 1-0 win over second placed Benfica in the league at the weekend, so they will be looking to take that form into Thursday’s encounter.
The Portuguese side sit fifth in the Primeira Liga and with European football almost certain next season, they can afford to put their full focus into reaching the Europa League final.
Lisbon have been fantastic in the competition this season, knocking out Manchester City in the round of 16 and picking up a victory against Lazio in the group stages.
Despite being the underdogs for this tie, Sporting Lisbon will know they are more than capable of causing an upset, they have also won their last eight at home conceding just one goal.
Athletic Bilbao have been arguably the most impressive this in this year’s competition, knocking out Schalke and Manchester United on their route to the semi-final.
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The football Bilbao have played, especially against Manchester United, has earned them a lot of praise. They have passed teams of the pitch in some matches.
The Spanish side are being touted as the favourites to win their first ever major European trophy, something they would not have been expecting at the start of the campaign.
Bilbao have won just twice on the road in nine games so know it will be a very difficult trip to Lisbon this week.
Fernando Llorente has scored five goals in six matches and the forward seems to be coming into form at the perfect stage of the season.
The two sides have not met for 27 years, which should make for a special occasion this time round especially considering how big the game is for both clubs.
It all gets underway from 8.05pm on Thursday night.
By Joe Rooney