Europa League Final: Review

Posted: May 17, 2012 by Pranoy Biswas in Football
Tags: , ,

A masterclass from Falcao along with a sublime goal from Diego towards the end were enough to crush Bilbao’s dreams of winning their maiden European trophy.

Rarely has there been such a heavy bias for a team among the neutrals in a Europa league final, last time this happened, Atletico were also the winners, winning 2-1 (AET) against Fulham, which incidentally was also the last time someone cared of watching the Europa League.

Atletico started in the 4-2-3-1, initially pressing Bilbao’s back four when they had the ball, especially the centre-backs Javi Martinez and Amorebieta, who passed among themselves so much as if they were vying to be on the Barcelona team. As the game moved on, Atletico retreated, although pressing when the ball came in to the Bilbao midfield to deny them time and space. The animated Atletico manager, Diego Simeone was constantly reminding his team to keep up this pressure.

Bilbao started in their favoured 4-3-3 with Itturaspe deep in midfield, Munain on the left of the attacking three, and Fernando Llorente leading the line. Munain kept coming deep in search of the ball and served as a usefull outball for the under-pressure Bilbao defenders. With the midfield unable to function due to the constant pressure, Llorente was isolated and rarely featured in the game.

The real star of the final ofcourse was Falcao, who has been once again in a superb run of form coming into the Europa league final. He was highly tipped to score in this match, having scored in the recent two meetings between the two sides. Falcao was the star of last year’s Europa final too with his well timed header helping Andre Villas-Boas’s Porto win 1-0 against Benfica.

His movement was terrific, making well timed runs into the channels, which resulted into his marvellous first goal. It was a treat to watch Falcao, exhibiting calmness and composure in the final third and gave Amorebieta a hard time. Amorebieta was also at fault He was also at fault for the second goal when he was caught dabbling on the ball.

At 2-0 up, they could now sit deeper and keep things organised, with Gabi and Mario Suarez doing well to disrupt Bilbao attacks and keeping them out of the final third. Marcelo Bielsa bought on fan-favourite Toquero for Ander Herrera to add an extra striker but Bilbao rarely created much in the final third with Godin keeping Llorente quiet.

Toquero is like Bilbao’s version of Eboue

It was a sad night for Bielsa fans like me, Bilbao have played some entertaining football this season, but they lacked the mentality and experience for a final. Their passes were erratic and were exposed on the counter by a brilliant Atletico Madrid team. Hopefully they would learn from this game and put in a better performance against Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final. Diego Simeone should be commended for a perfect gameplan executed ruthlessly and brillaintly with commendable performances from Suarez, Diego and ofcourse Falcao.

  1. Kartik B says:

    Was an incredible game. Bilbao probably over – acheived by reaching the finals but I wanted them to win. They were always underdogs against Athletico Madrid. Athletico should probably sell off Falcao this summer for an inflated price. So they can but some cheaper fw’s and also sustain their club. Man City/Chelsea will be willing to pay.

  2. jamesbong7 says:

    Yup, now is the best time to sell Falcao, sad the financial situation of some Spanish Clubs

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