Athletic Bilbao vs Spartak Moscow
UEFA Europa League
Date: Thursday, 22 February 2018
Kick-Off at 20:05 UK
Venue: San Mames Barria (Bilbao).
Athletic Bilbao had a tough trip to the cold Russian capital to make seven days ago when they tackled the Russian champions in the first leg of last 32 round in Europa League. Jose Angel Ziganda had fears ahead of the travel knowing that the Russians have previously demolished their La Liga rivals Sevilla in the group phase of the Champions League 5-1 at Otkrytiye Arena, but the Basques have put on a superb display to practically book their spot in the last 16 round even before the rematch at San Mames.
It was Bilbao’s star man Aritz Aduriz who inspired the convincing 1-3 victory for the Lions as the Spanish veteran bagged a brace in the first half to remove doubts about the winner of the tie. The Russians could have only net the consolation goal at the hour-mark when their best player Luiz set the final score 1-3 for the Spanish outfit.
The rematch is thus only a formality for Ziganda and his men who are looking to make a deep run in Europa League given that they’ve been struggling for consistency in the domestic league where they won’t feature the battle for European football next year. We can thus expect the hosts to line up a strong side here.
Athletic Bilbao vs Spartak Moscow: Head-to-head
The match played seven days ago in Moscow was the first ever head to head encounter between the two teams.
Bilbao were in complete control from the first whistle and they deservedly notched a 1-3 win at the end.
Athletic Bilbao vs Spartak Moscow: Prediction
Knowing that the Basques have been almost impeccable in front of their fans for years in this competition, we can hardly predict anything else but the home win in this rematch.
The Lions have won eight and lost just one of last nine Europa League matches at San Mames Barria. Spartak Moscow have picked up only a single point on travels in the group phase of the Champions League conceding as many as ten goals along the way.