Europa League action tonight on 2BET2

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Updated: April 26, 2012

Athletic Bilbao are hoping another strong performance at their San Mames home can see them past Sporting Lisbon in Thursday’s semifinal second leg and into next month’s Europa League final.

The Basque club were too strong for Manchester United and Schalke earlier in this season’s competition, but their chances of reaching a second European final  and first since 1977  are on a knife-edge after a 2-1 defeat in the first leg in Lisbon last Thursday.

Sporting make the trip fresh from recording a fourth straight domestic league win, 3-2 at Nacional, and should be able to welcome back Matias Fernandez, an attacking threat who has played under Athletic coach Marcelo Bielsa for the Chilean national team.

The other semifinal might have been decided last week, but a Ricardo Costa header in stoppage time at the Vicente Calderon gave Valencia a precious second away goal in a 4-2 defeat against Atletico Madrid.

Valencia have blown hot and cold in recent times, but they were on fire on Sunday in a 4-0 thrashing of Betis at the Mestalla that strengthened their grip on third place in La Liga.