Sevilla escape on penalties to oust Athletic Bilbao from Europa League
Sevilla remain on course for a third successive Europa League title after securing a dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Athletic Bilbao in the quarterfinals at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Unai Emery's men went into the game with a 2-1 advantage after goals from Timothee Kolodziejczak and Vicente Iborra in Bilbao but they were made to work by the Basque outfit in the second leg.
Aritz Aduriz offered hope of an Athletic fightback before the hosts hit back within seconds through Kevin Gameiro yet Raul Garcia's late header made it 2-1 and sent the tie into extra time and, eventually, penalties.
Bilbao midfielder Benat Etxebarria saw his spot-kick saved by David Soria and Gameiro duly slotted home Sevilla's fifth penalty to seal a semi-final berth.
Aduriz almost gave the visitors a sixth-minute lead but his effort from a tight angle was cleared off the line by Kolodziejczak.
Sevilla defender Adil Rami then volleyed over Michael Krohn-Dehli's cross from 15 yards but Athletic -- three points above Los Rojiblancos in the Primera Division table -- began to gain a foothold with Garcia wasting two clear first-half chances.
A swift Sevilla break down the left, led by Gameiro, gave Iborra a sight of goal from the edge of the box at the start of the second period with Iago Herrerin doing brilliantly to divert his left-footed shot over.
Herrerin's opposite number Soria fared slightly worse when faced with a tame Aduriz shot on 57 minutes, though.
After cutting in from the left Aduriz -- who scored in the first leg -- sent in a hopeful 18-yard effort which the Sevilla keeper fumbled into the bottom-right corner. It was the 35-year-old's 10th Europa League goal of the season and it left the home crowd stunned momentarily.
Two minutes later, however, Gameiro restored Sevilla's advantage by tapping home Grzegorz Krychowiak's low cross from six yards.
Bilbao refused to lie down and brought themselves back level on aggregate on 80 minutes when Garcia guided a looping header over Soria from Benat's cross.
The visitors should have taken the lead in the first half of extra time when Markel Susaeta was sent through on goal by Benat but he chipped the ball wide of the post.
Coke then almost scored with his first touch -- an overhead kick -- but the Sevilla substitute saw his effort somehow cleared off the line by Mikel San Jose as the tension stepped up a notch.
With the clock close to striking midnight in south-west Spain, Coke, Krychowiak, Yevhen Konoplyanka, Steven N'Zonzi and Gameiro held their nerve from 12 yards while Soria made up for his earlier error to send the 2014 and 2015 winners through.