Madrid captures Europa League title

Updated: May 10, 2012, 9:12 AM ET
Associated Press

BUCHAREST, Romania -- Radamel Falcao scored twice, Diego had a goal and Atletico Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in an all-Spanish final Wednesday night to win the Europa League for the second time in three seasons.

Falcao scored in the seventh and 34th minutes, giving him 29 goals in 29 games over two seasons in Europe's second-tier club competition. Diego added a goal in the 85th.

Bayern Munich hosts Chelsea on May 19 in the final of the Champions League, Europe's top club competition.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone got the better of his former mentor Marcelo Bielsa. Simeone played for Argentina when Bielsa was the national team coach.

Atletico, which beat Fulham in the final two years ago, won its last 12 matches in this season's competition.

Atletico dominated the final before 52,347 mostly Spanish fans, who were hard to distinguish since each team's colors are red and white. Bilbao, being the "away" team, wore green shirts.

Falcao scored the first goal after a through ball from Diego. Defender Fernando Amorebieta slipped, and Falcao curled a left-footed shot inside the far post at the upper right corner.

His second came after another error by Amorebieta, who carried the ball outside of his penalty area but lost it again to Mario Suarez. Arda Turan collected it to set up Falcao, who turned a defender and slotted into the roof of the net from close range.

Amorebieta's miserable evening got even worse when he was easily rounded by Diego for the final goal.

Only three other non-European coaches have won a major European club competition, and all three were Argentines: Luis Carniglia with Real Madrid, Helenio Herrera with Inter Milan and Alfredo di Stefano with Valencia.

Simeone became the third man to win the competition as coach and player. He played for the Inter Milan team that won the 1998 title of what then was called the UEFA Cup. Dino Zoff won in 1977 with Juventus (beating Bilbao in the final) as a player and in 1990 as the coach. Huub Stevens won with PSV Eindhoven in 1978 and as coach of Schalke in 1997.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press