Two first-half goals from Radamel Falcao set Atletico Madrid on their way to claiming the Europa League title with a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in Bucharest.

A late strike from Diego put the icing on the cake as Atletico lifted the trophy for the second time in three years. The triumph was fine reward for Diego Simeone, the club's Argentinian manager, who has revitalized the side since arriving at the Vincente Calderon in December.

With arguably the competition's two finest strikers on show in Atletico's Falcao and Bilbao's Fernando Llorente, there was much interest to see who would come out on top in the final.

And it was Falcao, winner of the competition last year with Porto who struck first just seven minutes in. The Colombian received the ball in the inside right position before befuddling his marker Fernando Amorebieta with some quick feet and a stepover to boot, allowing him half a yard of space to curl a majestic shot into the top-far corner of the net.

And in the 34th minute, Falcao was again to the fore as he netted his 12th goal of the competition to make it 2-0. The move starting when Andoni Iraola was caught dawdling on the ball on the edge of his own area. The ball was played to Arda Turan down the left of the area who played it across to Falcao six-yards out. With defenders blocking his path to goal Falcao performed a drag back that left Javi Martinez floored and enabled the club's record signing to blast the ball left-footed high into the net.

Despite Bilbao having the better of their possession and several chances with their attack-minded, neat passing, high-pressing game, Falcao's goals proved to be the difference between the sides. And the 26-year-old came close to completing his hat-trick with 10 minutes remaining. After further making a mockery of Bilbao's defenders, Falcao hit a right-footed effort that was only prevented from finding the back of the net by the post.

But just five minutes later Atletico did make it 3-0. Diego dribbled through a wide open Bilbao defense before firing a left-footed effort into the bottom-right corner of the net to seal the trophy for Atleti.


Atletico Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao by fasthighlights-2012


Atletico Madrid Europa League ||2011-2012||... by kofiswag