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Muniain finish seals Athletic win at Slovan

ŠK Slovan Bratislava 1-2 Athletic Club
Iker Muniain's neat finish before the break swung an entertaining tie in Bratislava in the Basque side's favour.

Iker Muniain (left) celebrates scoring Athletic's winner in Bratislava
Iker Muniain (left) celebrates scoring Athletic's winner in Bratislava ©Getty Images

Athletic Club got their UEFA Europa League Group F campaign off to a winning start, with Markel Susaeta and Iker Muniain scoring in a 2-1 success at ŠK Slovan Bratislava.

Susaeta scored the opener on 13 minutes courtesy of a calm right-footed strike following good work on the wing from Muniain. Karim Guédé made it 1-1 against the run of play, but Muniain scored what proved to be the winner before the interval.

The Basque club threatened to put the game out of sight in the first 20 minutes, dominating possession after Susaeta's opener and creating several more chances, the best of which fell to Igor Gabilondo, who fired his back-post volley into the side netting.

However, the home crowd's unwavering support was rewarded on 34 minutes when, despite Athletic's dominance, Karim Guédé made it 1-1 with an unstoppable right-footed shot low to Gorka Iraizoz's right after the Liga outfit had failed to clear their lines.

Slovan's resurgence was short-lived, though, and their opponents reclaimed the lead six minutes later via a skilfully executed finish from Muniain, who flicked the ball past a Slovan defender before firing beyond Matúš Putnocký.
Muniain almost turned provider when his brave tackle sent Fernando Llorente clean through just before half-time, but the 26-year-old was denied by a fine Putnocký save.

The second half was much more even, as Slovan came out with added belief. They had a goal disallowed shortly after the break but failed to capitalise on their positive start, and Susaeta should have put the game out of sight on 71 minutes when his touch let him down after he was presented with a clear run at goal.