ATLETICO MADRID STRIKER Radamel Falcao believes the first goal will be crucial in Wednesday’s Europa League Final with Athletic Bilbao.
Falcao scored in last year’s Europa League final as Porto triumphed 1-0 over fellow-Portuguese club Braga.
This season it is an all-Spanish final and while the Colombian striker would love to score again he would give up that opportunity as long as Madrid score first.
“To score a goal in a final is something special,” Falcao said in the lead-up to Wednesday’s final.
“It happened to me last year but I have to say, that the important thing is not who scores, but that the team scores.
“Anyway, it’s true that in a final whoever scores the first goal can control the rest of the game.”
Madrid won the Europa League in 2010 but their head coach Diego Simeone has reminded his players not to take Wednesday’s opportunity for granted.
“You only get a couple of chances, maybe three or four in your career to play a final,” Simeone said. ”So you have to approach a final as if you were a young player but also as a veteran that can be playing his last final.
“Experience is very important because a final requires a huge amount of responsibility.”
Both Madrid and Bilbao have Argentine coaches, with Simeone up against Marcelo Bielsa. Bilbao have never won a European title and Bielsa argued his side must succeed in every facet on the pitch to win in Bucharest.
“We have to try to be very effective in defence and also try to have more possession than they do,” Bielsa said.
“We also need to be the more attacking side in the match to try and get a positive result.”
Madrid and Bilbao have each won three of the past six games between the two Spanish clubs, setting up a very close game to decide the 2012 Europa League title.