United knocked out of Europa

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Manchester United were knocked out of the Europa League at the last 16 stage, as Athletic Bilbao got the better of the English champions for a second time after last week’s 3-2 win at Old Trafford.

Iker Muniain hit the post and Fernando Llorente missed an open goal as the hosts bossed the early exchanges, but the Spanish international striker made no mistake with a stunning 23rd minute volley to open the scoring.

Fernando Amorebieta’s diagonal ball dissected the midfield and defence, with the highly-rated Llorente firing past David de Gea with exquisite timing.

It was no more than Bilbao deserved, but appeared to spark the Red Devils into life, with Ryan Giggs having a couple of headers deflect wide and then miss the target.

But, after failing to take advantage, Oscar de Marcos all but ended the tie on 65 minutes, bringing the ball down in the United box before striking past De Gea with the help of a deflection.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side continued to press United, as they did in the first leg, but Wayne Rooney gave the scoreline some respectability with a sublime curling strike on 80 minutes.

It was all too late for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side though, who were soundly beaten again by a side currently fifth in La Liga.

They finished the tie as desrving 5-3 aggregate winners, bringing an end to United’s disappointing European season following their early exit from the Champions League.

Europa League
Manchester United
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