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Europa League: APOEL Nicosia knockout Athletic Bilbao

IANS | Nicosia |

Cyprus's APOEL eliminated mighty Athletic Bilbao after a convincing 2-0 victory and qualified for the last-16 stage of the Europa League.

After a goalless first half on Thursday, Pieros Sotiriou shot home a left pass from Efrain just one minute into the second half, reports Xinhua news agency.

Giannis Giannotas was brought down inside Athletic's area and he scored APOEL's second goal from the penalty spot in the 54th minute.

Scorer Pieros Setiriou was sent off the field with a second yellow card for a mid-field foul and APOEL had to withstand continuous pressing by Athletic playing with 10 for the 25 minutes of the game plus 6 minutes extra time.

Though they pressed the game for most of the time, Atheltic were never close to scoring.

APOEL's star scorer will miss the next Europa League game of his team.

Athletic also played with one less for the six extra minutes of the match after Ander Iturraspe was also sent off the field with a second yellow card.