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Spanish trio march into Euro semis

ATHLETIC Bilbao and Atletico Madrid overcame German opposition to reach the Europa League semi-finals last night while fellow Spaniards Valencia joined them by demolishing AZ Alkmaar.

Sporting Lisbon completed an all-Iberian lineup by knocking out Metalist Kharkiv, who missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw in Ukraine allowing the Portuguese side to go through 3-2 on aggregate.

Athletic, Manchester United's conquerors in the previous round, played more of the entertaining football which is a hallmark of their eccentric coach Marcelo Bielsa, as they drew 2-2 at home to Schalke 04 to qualify 6-4 on aggregate.

Atletico Madrid won 2-1 at Hanover 96 with an 87th minute winner from Radamel Falcao, to complete a 4-2 aggregate win.

Adil Rami scored two early goals to set Valencia on their way to a 4-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar as they comfortably overturned a first-leg deficit to win 5-2 on aggregate.

Spain also has Barcelona and Real Madrid in the last four of the Champions League and there is now a possibility that both European finals this season will be all-Spanish affairs. Atletico Madrid face Valencia in the semis while Athletic Bilbao play Sporting.

The showpiece will be staged in Bucharest on May 9.


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