Three Spanish clubs in Europa semis
MADRID -- Spanish clubs had another impressive night in European play, with Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid and Valencia advancing to the Europa League semifinals along with Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.
Bilbao rallied twice for a 2-2 draw against visiting Schalke to advance on 6-4 aggregate, Valencia routed visiting AZ Alkmaar 4-0 for a 5-2 win in the home-and-home series, and Atletico won 2-1 at Hannover to advance 4-2. Sporting tied 1-1 at Metalist Kharkiv to win 3-2.
In the all-Iberian semifinals, Sporting plays Bilbao and Atletico faces Valencia. Three Spanish clubs also reached the final four in 2007.
Earlier in the week, Barcelona and Real Madrid reached the Champions League semifinals.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's tournament-leading 10th goal put host Schalke ahead in the 28th minute, but Ibai Gomez tied it in the 41st. Raul Gonzalez gave Hannover a 2-1 lead in the 52nd, then Markel Susaeta retied it three minutes later.
In Hannover, 2010 champion Atletico got goals from Adrian Lopez in the 63rd, Mame Biram Diouf tied it in the 81st and Radamel Falcao controlled with his chest to volley his eighth goal of the tournament in the 87th.
Sporting, missing injured American defender Oguchi Onyewu, went ahead on Ricky van Wolfswinkel's header in the 44th. Jonathan Cristaldo tied it in the 57th. Metalist could have evened the series in the 64th but Rui Patricio saved Cleiton Xavier's penalty kick.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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