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UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE

San Mames, Spain

Referee: Sebastien Delferiere | Attendance: 30000

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 0

FT

San Mames bids farewell

Athletic Bilbao's famous San Mames stadium will stage its final European game when Sparta Prague visit in the Europa League.

The ground known as La Catedral is the oldest in Spain having been built in 1913 and its name will live on in Athletic's new stadium, San Mames Barria, which is being built next door and will open next season.

Athletic reached the final of the Europa League last season, losing to Atletico Madrid, but this campaign has been a nightmare for the Basque side.

Internal problems have affected them on the pitch and Marcelo Bielsa's side currently sit closer to the relegation zone in the Primera Division than the European spots.

Their continental campaign, meanwhile, has been a world away from the flowing football that saw them beat Manchester United on the way to the final last season.

Their first five matches in Group I generated only four points and they head into the final game knowing they have no chance of qualification.

An apparent rift between Bielsa and star striker Fernando Llorente has been a major problem, with the Spain international spending most of his time on the bench, and he confirmed this week he will definitely leave at the end of the season.

Llorente said at a press conference: ``What has come around is hurting us and does not sit well with us. We try to work hard every week to get it right and get goals and wins.

``I am not thinking about anything more than being prepared to play each game here until June 30, when my contract finishes.

``I feel the support of my colleagues - that is very important. I will prove that I am with them to the death.''

It has been a much more profitable European season for Sparta, who are assured of second place and qualification for the last 32 whatever the result.

Striker Vaclav Kadlec is hoping to play wearing a mask after suffering a head injury last month.

Kadlec had to undertake tests to make sure he would be able to withstand the pressure of flying to Bilbao, and he told www.sparta.cz: ``I sat in a room in which the pressure is gradually changing.

``First we would climb to a height of 4,000 feet and then we quickly fell - just in case.''

Kadlec added: ``I'm feeling good but it will depend on the coach whether he picks me. And if I'm allowed, I'll play with a mask. I'm not afraid.''

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