FC Lokomotiv Moskva will take a slender lead to Bilbao next week, after coming from a goal down to beat Athletic Club 2-1 in the first instalment of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie.
Iker Muniain gave the visitors a deserved lead to take into the interval, but the Railwaymen hit back strongly in the second half. Denis Glushakov equalised from the penalty spot after a foul on Felipe Caicedo, who grabbed the winner 19 minutes from time with a well-taken finish.
Both teams took time to settle, but it was the visitors who enjoyed the majority of the early possession as Óscar de Marco and Fernando Amorebieta tested Guilherme in the Lokomotiv goal. The Railwaymen, in the midst of their winter break in Russia, looked rusty but they fashioned opportunities of their own. It took a desperate rearguard action to deny the lurking Glushakov when Gorka Iraizoz spilled Dmitri Tarasov's drive.
On 36 minutes Athletic were in front. Markel Susaeta was the instigator, splitting the Lokomotiv defence apart with a mazy run and finding the unmarked Muniain. The 19-year-old had time to take a touch before placing a right-footed shot into the far corner via Guilherme's fingertips.
Lokomotiv were stunned, but had rediscovered their poise during half-time and just after the hour mark they levelled after Jon Aurtenetxe brought down Caicedo. Glushakov made no mistake from the spot, stroking the ball straight down the middle as Iraizoz leapt to his left.
The goal gave the home side renewed confidence and ten minutes later they were ahead, Caicedo capitalising after the Athletic defence failed to clear Renat Yanbaev's left-wing cross. The visitors had chances to equalise, but Guilherme denied Fernando Llorente's tepid effort and a more threatening one from Muniain to leave Lokomotiv with their noses in front.