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Saturday, March 10, 2012
Sports

UEFA Europa League

Bilbao stun Man Utd

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea (R) makes a save during their Europa League second round clash against Athletico Bilbao at Old Trafford on Thursday.Photo: AFP

Manchester United's miserable European season continued at Old Trafford as they suffered a stunning 3-2 first-leg defeat by Athletic Bilbao in their Europa League last 16 tie here on Thursday.

Bilbao appeared to have taken complete control of the game -- and the overall tie -- when the hugely impressive Iker Muniain shot his side into a 3-1 lead, only for Wayne Rooney to reduce the arrears with an injury-time penalty.

Rooney's 23rd goal of the season had initially handed United an undeserved lead before Fernando Llorente equalised towards the end of the first half.

Oscar de Marcos struck to put the visitors ahead after 71 minutes, appearing on the end of one of the numerous slick Bilbao passing attacks to which United had no answer and making it 2-1.

Muniain started the move before Ander Herrera lobbed through a weighted pass, met by a first-time, left-foot volley from de Marcos, eight yards out, which left the United goalkeeper David de Gea rooted to the spot on its way into the bottom corner.

Then, with one minute of normal time left, Bilbao claimed a third as Muniain pounced ahead of a sluggish Rafael to slam the ball into an open goal after de Gea had palmed away de Marcos' low shot.

The goal was shrouded in controversy as it stemmed from a Bilbao free-kick that had been awarded in a bizarre incident after United defender Patrice Evra lost his boot.

Rooney handed United some glimmer of hope in the 91st minute, convincingly converting from the penalty spot after de Marcos had capped an eventful night by handling a cross from Javier Hernandez.

United, winners of just one of their previous four home European ties this season, endured a torrid start before taking the lead.

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