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Etxeberria edges Athletic closer

CD Nacional 1-1 Athletic Club Bilbao
Joseba Etxeberria's penalty five minutes from time earned Athletic a point that puts them within touching distance of the last 32.

Joseba Etxeberria's penalty earned Athletic a point
Joseba Etxeberria's penalty earned Athletic a point ©Getty Images

Joseba Etxeberria's penalty five minutes from time earned Athletic Club Bilbao a 1-1 draw at ten-man CD Nacional.

Late pressure
The Portuguese hosts looked set for their first UEFA Europa League win after Edgar kept his cool to convert after being asked to re-take from the spot. Yet after a late surge, Athletic gained their reward when Rafik Halliche's foul allowed Etxeberria to do the business from the resulting penalty. Both teams still had chances to win but were forced to settle for a point that means Athletic will progress from GroupL if they avoid defeat against FK Austria Wien on 3 December; Nacional need a win at already-qualified Werder Bremen to keep their hopes alive.

Upright struck
Both sides struggled to make an impact in the opening period, Edgar providing the first moment of inspiration with an attempted back-heel on 18 minutes. Rúben Micael did much better eleven minutes later but his left-footed shot went centimetres wide. The visitors responded through Xabier Castillo's long-range effort, just two minutes before Fernando Llorente hit a post after springing the hosts' offside trap.

Edgar goal
The Spanish striker was replaced before the break, but Athletic did not seem to miss his quality as David López combined well with Etxeberria after 52 minutes, only to see his shot once again saved by Bracali. The visitors seemed to have a firm grip on the match but when Iraizoz brought down Nejc Pečnik on 64 minutes they found themselves behind. Athletic were caught cold and a comeback looked unlikely until Nacional left-back Nuno Pinto was sent off with eleven minutes remaining after received a second yellow card for a foul on Etxeberria. It would not be the No17's last telling contribution.