Athletic Bilbao all but ensured Europa League group stage qualification with a 6-0 first-leg thrashing of HJK Helsinki at San Mames.

The Basques started the brighter of the two sides and dominated the opening exchanges, Isma Lopez having a shot blocked by goalkeeper Ville Wallen while Mikel San Jose saw a header go into the side netting.

However, Marcelo Bielsa’s men took the lead on 23 minutes through Aritz Aduriz, the former Valencia man powering home a header from Andoni Iraola’s cross.

Markel Susaeta [pictured] then doubled the advantage on the half-hour mark with another header, this time from Inigo Perez’s corner, before Perez himself got in on the act just before the break when his free-kick gave Wallen no chance.

Aduriz got his second of the night and Athletic’s fourth six minutes after the restart following an Isma Lopez cross, and six minutes later Susaeta followed suit with a fine individual goal.

Mikel San Jose then rattled the woodwork before Mattilla did likewise for the Finns when he tried to surprise Gorka Iraizoz from distance.

Nonetheless, Andoni Iraola made it 6-0 seven minutes from time when he slotted home from inside the box to seal an emphatic win.

Athletic Bilbao 6-0 HJK Helsinki

Scorers: Aduriz 23, 51 (AB), Susaeta 30, 57 (AB), Inigo Perez 43 (AB), Iraola 83 (AB)

Athletic Bilbao: Iraizoz; Iraola, San Jose, Gurpegui, Inigo Perez; Iturraspe, De Marcos, Herrera (Ruiz de Galarreta 73), Susaeta (Muniain 69); Aduriz (Ibai Gomez 59), Isma Lopez

HJK Helsinki: Wallen; Lahti, Lindstrom, Mannstrom, Vayrynen (Zeneli 65); Sumusalo, Perovuo, Savage, Sorsa; Schuller (Mattilla 45), Sadik (Makela 72)

Ref: Yildirim (Tur)

Tags HJK Helsinki