Athletic Bilbao rallied to beat Schalke 4-2 in their Europa League quarterfinal opener, as Atletico Madrid, AZ Alkmaar and Sporting Lisbon also won.
Three goals in the final 17 minutes last night gave Bilbao the away victory. Atletico used a last-minute goal to beat Hannover 2-1, while AZ beat Valencia and Sporting defeated Metalist Kharkiv by the same score.
Bilbao, Hannover, Valencia and Metalist will host the return matches in the two-game series on April 5.
Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente opened the scoring in Germany in the first half with Raul Gonzalez tying the game less than a minute later.
Raul put Schalke in front the 60th minute with his record-extending 76th goal in European competition before Llorente scored with a header in 73rd minute. Oscar De Marcos gave Bilbao the lead with nine minutes left and Iker Muniain clinched the victory in stoppage time.
Eduardo Salvio’s 89th-minute goal gave Atletico, the bookmakers’ co-favorite with Valencia to win Europe’s second-tier club competition, the victory. Radamel Falcao also scored for Atletico and Mame Biram Diouf had the Hannover goal.
A 79th-minute goal from Maarten Martens lifted AZ past Valencia. Brett Holman scored for the Dutch league leader in first-half stoppage time and Valencia’s Mehmet Topal tied the score six minutes after the break.
Goals from Marat Izmailov and Emiliano Insua in the second half gave Sporting a 2-0 lead in Lisbon before Metalist’s Cleiton Xavier scored a consolation penalty in stoppage time.