Europa League: Atlético 3 – 0 Athletic

Falcao the hero as Atleti are crowned Europa League champions in Bucharest

Atletico champions of the Europa League

Hero Falcao lifts gets his hands back on the trophy

Atlético Madrid won the UEFA Europa League for the second time in three years this evening with a fantastic 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.

On the back of 11 successive wins in the competition, Diego Simeone’s team went into the final as slight favourites, but had a tough task on their hands against the team that had taken on all comers en route to Bucharest, with many backing Marcelo Bielsa’s team for glory.

However, the Colchoneros and especially Radamel Falcao had other ideas, the Colombian netting a brace and Diego another late on to ensure yet another trip back to Neptuno.

Atleti started brightly, and it was clear straight from kick-off that our game plan was to frustrate our Basque counterparts and catch them on the break. Seven minutes was all it took to pay dividends, and just a goal shy away from taking the competition golden boot for a second year running, it was Falcao who rifled us in front.

Having gathered a hopeful ball from Diego over the top, the Colombian was faced with the large frame of Fernando Amorebieta, but superbly found space to get the ball onto his left-foot, before lashing the ball into the top corner and sending the travelling fans into raptures.

Los Leones had to respond, but looked somewhat overawed by the occasion as passes were misplaced and balls were lost. The closest they came to finding the net in the first half was from a well struck Muniain long range effort, but the outstanding Courtois was equal to it as the designated away side began to grow into the final.

34 minutes in they shot themselves in the foot though, with Amorebieta a possible culprit once again. The Venezuelan international lost the ball on the edge of the area, and after great work from Miranda and Arda, the ball found it’s way to Radamel Falcao yet again, who turned Aurtenetxe inside out, keeping his composure to slot the ball past Iraizoz for the second time.

The loyal Athletic supporters had been silenced, but did what they could to roar their team back out for the second half and to an improbably comeback.

Bielsa made two changes at half-time with Ibai and Iñigo Pérez entering the fray, but despite their attempts to push up the tempo and really apply extended pressure, our rearguard stood up strong as they have done all throughout the campaign and repelled everything thrown at them.

Diego could’ve found our third just minutes after the break but hit the side netting, before a succession of Athletic players fired over on the hour mark; De Marcos unable to take advantage of a defensive slip from Juanfran.

Ten minutes from the end they had their best change to reduce the deficit, but teenager Courtois made a huge save to deny Susaeta. Some excellent last-ditch defending from Godín had prevented Llorente from getting a shot away, but it was the Belgian stopper who came to our rescue with a sensational block.

Atleti broke away with pace yet again, and Falcao, unusually quiet since firing home our second, was almost able to claim a hat-trick, but saw his deflected shot treacle onto the foot of the post and away to safety.

However, the third would not take long in coming, and in some fashion too. Diego had done a fine job in midfield and gave fans what we hope will not be a goodbye present, walking his way through the Athletic backline before firing home, and carving our name onto the trophy in the process.

With just moments remaining, substitutes waiting in expectation for the final whistle and a charge onto the pitch and fans as always in full voice, the backline did what they had done so well for the previous  85 minutes and saw out the win, as referee Wolfgang Stark brought an end to proceedings, letting the celebrations get underway.

Captain for the night Gabi went on to lift the trophy alongside departing skipper Antonio López, and will return to Neptuno as heroes tomorrow along with the rest of the team.

A fantastic performance, not just tonight but throughout the tournament, and a night that will never be forgotten by Madrid’s Rojiblancos. On Sunday we’ll try and stake our claim for next season’s Champions League but for now, let’s enjoy the moment and bask in the glory of another much deserved European title. Vamos Atleti!

Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Mario Gabi; Arda (“90 Domínguez), Diego (“90 Koke), Adrián (“88 Salvio); and Falcao.

Goals: 1-0 Falcao (“7); 2-0 Falcao (“34); 3-0 Diego (“86)

  • Croatia Atletista

    Regards from Split,Croatia
    I love you all people celebrate this well!!!

  • Javi

    Fantastic poise from the beginning, we took advantage of Bilbaos young mindset and the Tiger did the rest
    Campeon es!!!!!

  • Falcao has done it again. We gonna party hard today. Mission one achived, remain one mision that is CL futbal next season.

  • What an intelligent play. Falcao should us why he costs that much.

    Congratulations to all players!

    Miranda played incredibly nice! Refused all the balls in the defense and stole the ball to the 2nd goal.

    And we HAVE to keep Diego and Courtois!

  • Dircil

    keeping Diego permanently is possible but i’m not sure about the case of Courtois. Anyway, forget about it and enjoy the feeling of being the winner of EL this season

  • Nexus

    Yeah, we did it. Ds season is goin to be a one to remember……Aupa Atletico

  • I am glad the Europa League is in the bag now we need CL in the bag.

    Aupa Atleti!!! Never stop Believing!!!!11

  • Evan C

    Wonderful Performance, Mario Suarez was awesome for me. We need to keep this team and with a few additions next year will be very special!

  • KTBell

    I agree Mario was great, everybody was great though. So happy Champions again!

  • starvs

    Fantastic performance by the whole team, so happy.

    Keeping Diego would be great, I really hope we do, but it would ultimately be a a luxury. Whereas keeping Falcao, as he proved tonight, is a necessity. Diego can be replaced decently by a player like Borja; can’t come close to replacing Falcao though.

    Vamos a Neptune! (plane tickets on you)

  • shay

    I am out of breath after last night.. Simeone is pure genius and 11 thumbs up for Miranda and Mario. Didn’t expect that kinda performance..


    By the way, the fans were on fire!!

  • kabir


  • Mahmoud

    That was absolutely fantastic, I can’t remember the last time Atleti have looked quite so impressive in all departments against a genuinely great team (maybe the 2-1 win over Barcelona in 2010?).

    And while Falcao and Diego will rightly take the plaudits, Mario Suarez was imperious. Only disappointment for me was that Simeone did not bring Antonio Lopez on for the last few minutes after Diego’s goal.

  • ratchet

    We did it! EL champions again, we were excellent last night. Brilliant match performance.

  • Paco

    Congratulations to all Atletico fans!!!
    Great match, fantastic FALCAO, grande SIMEONE! Another tropfy and night to remember!

  • Zhulaoshi


  • Zhulaoshi

    we are the champion !!!!!!!!!!!

  • shlomgar

    Grande Simeone, the guys came prepared and well organized. Team played like one on defence and everybody seemed to be having fun. Final should move permanently to Madrid, the competition is ours.
    Falcao is some target now, he’s got nothing left to Prove, he is the ultimate no. 9.
    Absolute joy. Aupa Atleti!!!


  • falcao

    we are the champions we are the champion…………..
    must keep Diego,awesome performance from all team,especially from Mario

  • Blaugrana 7

    Falcao was incredible. Damn! He can’t be stopped.

    Super Mario. He really bossed the midfield.

    Great team performance. Worthy champions.

  • Sergio Lopez

    Gracias por todo! Aupa Club Atletico de Madrid!

  • DJ_ZA

    Interview with Courtois on arrival in Madrid

    … and Happy 20th Birthday Thibault.

  • FancyFartPants

    Atletico was not even at his best this season, and won uefa!.. atletico is defenitely a champions leuague team! awesome team

  • Matt

    This was a great game and a great victory. Atletico has a lot more to come. I’m so exiteted about next season.

    Next target will be playing Champions League next year. This would be a great end of a season which started pretty low.

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  • Ash

    I watched the award ceremony over and over again cos I just cannot me stop from doing that. I even pulled out our 2009-2010 award ceremony and watched them both at the same time. I’m simply enjoy those moments seeing my beloved team winning trophies. The greatest joy ever in my life, beyond anything. Some may say EL champion is nothing compare to CL, but in both that year and this one, it is us who brings glory back for the Spanish side while rich ones like RealM and Barcelona all got kicked out.

  • Edletico

    Where are you watching the award ceremony, Ash?

  • Ash

    @Edletico I download clips ppl uploaded to YouTube to my PC and watched those at my home in Beijing 🙂