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Sporting Lisbon coach Sa Pinto plays down favourites tag against Athletic Bilbao

The Portuguese side's coach has laughed off the idea that his team go into the second leg as the likeliest winners, pointing towards the defeats suffered by both Manchester clubs

Sporting Lisbon coach Ricardo Sa Pinto has dismissed the notion that his side are favourites ahead of their Europa League semi-final decider against Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.

The Portuguese giants take a 2-1 advantage into the clash at San Mames after goals from Emiliano Insua and Diego Capel in the first leg put them in the driving seat, but the former Seleccao striker says he is more than happy for his side to be labelled the underdogs ahead of the second leg.

"I've read in the newspapers that Bilbao are allocating 7500 tickets for their fans in the final. This means that they are optimistic, and that is fine," Sa Pinto told reporters.

"You can say that one team is better or worse than the other, but for example Bilbao beat Manchester United and United were favourites.

"We beat Manchester City, who were also favourites, and the most expensive team ever assembled, but I cannot say whether we are favourites or not against Bilbao."

Kick-off in San Mames is scheduled for 21.05CET.

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