Early strikes in both halves gave Athletic Club Bilbao a winning start to UEFA Cup Group B.
Defender Asier Del Horno struck four minutes into the second half, after Carlos Gurpegui had given the Basque side a dream start early on, against a Parma FC team who are still without a win in Serie A this season.
Parma decided to rest several key players and found themselves behind within six minutes. Gurpegui opened the scoring in stunning fashion, volleying in from 25 metres after Parma had failed to clear a long throw-in.
It was a portent of things to come as Athletic dominated the play in the opening period. Just three minutes after scoring they could have doubled their lead as Ismael Urzaiz weaved his way past two defenders before unleashing a shot which fizzed just wide. And then, midway through the half, the striker was denied by Parma goalkeeper Gianluca Berti from a diving header.
The second goal had seemed inevitable and it finally arrived just after the interval. A inswinging free-kick from Francisco Yeste found the home defence flat-footed and Del Horno was on hand to head the ball in at the far post.
Finding themselves 2-0 down, 1998/99 UEFA Cup winners Parma finally got going as an attacking force, launching a series of attacks on the Bilbao defence. However, Athletic came closest late on when Pablo Orbaiz screwed a left-foot shot narrowly wide.
Parma will now try to salvage their UEFA Cup hopes when they meet the night's other Group B winners FC Steaua Bucuresti in a fortnight. Athletic, meanwhile, will attempt to continue their winning form as they travel to Besiktas JK on the same night.
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