Madrid, Nov 23 (IANS) Two of the three Spanish clubs involved in Europa League advanced into the last 32.
Atletico Madrid assured their place in the next round thanks to a 1−0 win over Happoel Tel Aviv Thursday with a Raul Garcia goal after just seven minutes of the game, reports Xinhua.
The win assured that the reigning Europa League champions had nothing at stake in their last group game and backs up the policy of coach Diego Simeone of playing squad players in his side's European matches.
Earlier in the night, Levante also qualified for the knockout phase of the tournament with a 3−1 win away to Swedish side Helsignsborgs.
Angel opened the scoring for the Spanish side, who are making their first appearance in Europe, in the eighth minute and Papa Diop doubled the lead after 37 minutes.
Vicente Iborra made it 3−0 with eight minutes left and although Thomas Sorum scored a late consolation for the home side, it was too little and too late.
Meanwhile, last season's beaten finalists Athletic Bilbao were knocked out of the competition without kicking a ball. Athletic's game in Israel was postponed because of the conflict over Gaza and a bomb explosion in Haifa but the 1−1 draw between Sparta Prague and Olympique Lyon leaves the Basques with no chance of making the next round.