Europa League: Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Sparta Prague
Thursday evening’s game was a cause for celebration of the ‘Catedral’ known as San Mames, as this would be the final European competition the legendary stadium would ever host.
- By Tom Conn Follow @TomConnISF
Yet, the match left much to be desired, as both teams struggled to establish consistency on the attack, despite the presence of Athletic Bilbao’s beleaguered, Spanish international striker, Fernando Llorente featuring up top.
After an unproductive first half, Athletic manager, Marcelo Bielsa made three changes to try and ignite the fire under his squad, but to no avail as both sides struggled to make their mark on the match.
For the majority of the second half, Sparta played very defensively allowing Athletic just three shots (one a headed effort in extra time) in the second half, while the Athletic defence can be proud of their efforts as they held off the barrage of shots from the Czech side to close out the match.
The match ended in a very unceremonious fashion, which is a microcosm of the Athletic’s season. Sparta Prague will move onto the next round, finishing second to group leaders, Olympique Lyon.