-- APOEL Triumph Past Valverde’s Bilbao --
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - ROUND OF 32 (LEG 2)
|APOEL||2 - 0||Athletic Bilbao|
Gianniotas (p) 54'
|(4 - 3)
APOEL defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-0 in Cyprus, checking their ticket to the next round of the UEFA Europa League. Both goals for the Cypriot Champions came in the second half with Soteriou and Gianniotas (penalty) finding the back of the net.
APOEL were able to overcome their first leg 3-2 defeat in Spain by defeating Athletic Bilbao 2-0 in the return leg at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, advancing to the Last 16 of the UEFA Europa League. After a goalless, fast paced first half, the Soteriou opened the scoring one minute after the restart with his courageous effort from Efrem’s cross, giving APOEL the advantage on aggregate via the away goals rule (3-3). With the momentum on the hosts’ side and the home supporters behind their team, Gianniotas won a penalty soon thereafter and from the spot, the Greece international made it 2-0 in the 54th minute.
APOEL had complete control of the tie, ahead 4-3 on aggregate (and two away goals to their name), as Bilbao pressed on to pull back into the match. However, former the Olympiacos coach, Ernesto Valverde, was unable to breakdown the APOEL defense as the Cypriot Champions triumphed past the Spanish side to secure their place in the Last 16 of the competition.
APOEL, who finished first in the group stages ahead of Olympiacos, will join the Greek side in tomorrow’s Round of 16 draw where they will find out their opponents in the next stage of the competition. The two sides CAN be drawn against each in this phase of the tournament.