REFILE-Soccer-Falcao double puts Atletico 2-0 up in Europa League final
(Deletes duplicated reference to Atletico Madrid in first para)
BUCHAREST May 9 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao scored twice to give his dominant side a 2-0 halftime lead in the all-Spanish Europa League final against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
The Colombian curled a delightful left-foot shot past flailing goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz after seven minutes and bamboozled the Bilbao defence again in the 34th when he twisted and turned to fire home from close range.
In last season's final Falcao's goal secured the Europa League title for Porto as he set a European competition record with 17 goals in the campaign before a 40 million euros ($51.73 million) move to 2010 Europa League winners Atletico.
With his double strike on Wednesday the forward became the competition's leading scorer again this season with 12.
Bilbao, in only their second European final and their first for 35 years, threatened occasionally on a cool night in the Romanian capital but were a shadow of the side who had sparkled in victories over Manchester United and Schalke 04.
Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente met an inswinging cross but prodded wide of goal, then Atletico keeper Thibaut Courtois beat out Iker Muniain's powerful drive.
The game was briefly held up midway through the half by two pitch invaders who were soon apprehended. ($1 = 0.7733 euros) (Editing by Ken Ferris)
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