After De Marcos had seen a shot saved by De Gea, a lovely cross-field pass over the top from Amorebieta was brilliantly volleyed home by Llorente into the far corner on 23 minutes. The home fans celebrated like it was a Champions League final-winning strike and it certainly felt like a clincher of some sort, with the Reds now needing to find three goals in order to qualify.
United weren’t about to give up despite the uphill fight and Giggs was unlucky to see a close-range header deflected over the bar after a cross from the left from Young five minutes later.
As the half wore on the Reds kept up the pressure but could find no way through a stubborn Athletic defence. The home side lost Llorente five minutes before the break to injury – the striker had been a doubt before the game – with Gaizka Toquero replacing him.
Athletic Club showed no signs of letting up after the restart, with de Marcos blasting a shot just wide. Right-back Andoni Iraola almost added a superb second soon after when, after being found on the edge of the area, he tricked his way past a cluster of Reds before clipping his shot just past De Gea’s left-hand post.
He then went close to turning provider in Athletic’s next attack when he burst down the right and crossed to the unmarked Toquero, but the substitute spurned the opportunity and blasted over.