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Spot-on Llorente reels in Salzburg

Athletic Club 2-2 FC Salzburg
Fernando Llorente converted two penalties for the Group F leaders after Salzburg had stunned the hosts by racing into a 2-0 half-time lead.

Fernando Llorente kept his composure on two occasions from the spot
Fernando Llorente kept his composure on two occasions from the spot ©Getty Images

A pair of second-half penalties from Fernando Llorente salvaged Athletic Club a point against FC Salzburg which keeps the Liga side top of UEFA Europa League Group F.

Dominant for half an hour, Athletic were stunned by strikes from Roman Wallner and Leonardo in the space of six first-half minutes. The hosts were offered a route back into proceedings when Ibrahim Sekagya barged into Markel Susaeta and Llorente did the necessary from the spot. The Spain striker kept his composure again with a quarter of an hour remaining, converting after substitute Rasmus Lindgren had received a second yellow card for handling a corner.

Seeking their fourth successive win in all competitions, Athletic were quickly onto the front foot, probing with a patient brand of possession football. For all their territorial control, however, they soon found themselves with a mountain to climb as Salzburg delivered a lesson in clinical finishing.

Having survived when Gorka Iraizoz was quick off his line to thwart Wallner, Athletic were carved open again on the half-hour mark, Leonardo picking the pocket of Llorente and slipping in the lone striker for a low finish.

Six minutes later it was a case of roles reversed, with Leonardo stealing possession in midfield, exchanging passes with Wallner and beating Iraizoz with ease. Athletic's exasperation heightened when Llorente, in space, guided Iker Muniain's centre straight at Eddie Gustafsson.

The start of the second period mirrored that of the first, with the visitors happy to sit deep and let the Basque team ask the questions. Yet with Leonardo a constant menace and Gonzalo Zárate a willing runner on the opposite flank, Salzburg's threat lingered.

Athletic seemed set for frustration until Sekagya's foul and Llorente's subsequent thumping penalty stirred them into action. Though Llorente scored again soon after, Marcelo Bielsa's men, scenting blood, were unable to strike the telling blow.

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