Lookman’s Hat-trick Fires Atalanta Past Leverkusen In Europa Finale

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Super Eagles of Nigeria winger Ademola Lookman scored a brilliant hat-trick as Atalanta beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in the Europa League final on Wednesday, at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

German champions Bayer Leverkusen featured Amine Adli in attack, with Florian Wirtz and Jeremie Frimpong supporting on the wings. For Atalanta, Gianluca Scamacca led the line while Lookman and Charles De Ketelaere were on the flanks.

Atalanta opened the scoring when Davide Zappacosta was allowed far too much space down the right, before Lookman beat a defender Exequiel Palacios to fire home the opener.

Atalanta winger Ademola Lookman scores first goal against Bayer Leverkusen.

The Italians continued to press and were rewarded 14 minutes later after a lovely piece of play.

Another Leverkusen error gifted possession to the Nigeria forward, who skipped past one defender and curled a fierce shot into the bottom-right corner from just outside the box.

Atalanta winger Ademola Lookman scores second goal against Bayer Leverkusen.

The stunned Germans showed brief flashes of how quickly they can turn it on in attack but little came of it. Leverkusen swapped defender Josip Stanisic for top scorer Victor Boniface at halftime, but it changed little.

Lookman completely blew Leverkusen away on the counterattack with another stunning strike into the top corner, this time with his left foot to complete his hat-trick.

Atalanta winger Ademola Lookman scores third goal against Bayer Leverkusen.

It was the sixth hat-trick in a major European final and first since Jupp Heynckes’ for Borussia Moenchengladbach in the 1975 UEFA Cup.

The Nigerian was flung into the air by his team mates 15 minutes later when the final whistle blew as the Bergamo club ended the 61-year wait since their 1963 Italian Cup triumph.

The victory ended Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini’s own two-decade long pursuit of major silverware as his side totally outplayed Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen.

The Italian club have won just the second major trophy in its 117-year history, while ending the German champions’ remarkable 51 game unbeaten run.

“It’s one of the best nights of my life,” Lookman, who cradled the match ball as he collected his winners’ medal, said in an interveiw.

“It was an amazing performance from the team. We did it… We made history tonight.”

Atalanta coach Gasperini had a few words to share after the famous victory.

“We needed to be attacking, it was not enough just to defend. We know these teams are great at attacking. Everyone was extraordinary,” Gasperini said.

“The way we did it was the most important thing, we deserved it without a shadow of a doubt against such a strong team. Winning the Europa League is an extraordinary achievement.”

Source Reuters Europa League

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