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Sensational Lookman nets treble as Atalanta beat Leverkusen

2024/05/22 21:56
E8

Former Everton forward Ademola Lookman scored a sensational hat-trick, as Atalanta beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in the Europa League final in Dublin to claim their first-ever European trophy and crush the German side's quest for an 'Invincible' season. 

At a packed Aviva Stadium, the Serie A side started well and they were two goals in front within half an hour after two deadly finishes from Lookman. 

Undefeated all season going into the showdown, Xabi Alonso's side tried to find their way back into the contest but a rocket of a strike from Lookman with a quarter of an hour to play effectively killed the contest, as well as Leverkusen's dreams of a fairytale unbeaten campaign. 


The Action: Aviva Stadium was pumping before kick-off and a lively start to the contest saw both teams looking to force errors from their opposition. 

Atalanta were quicker out of the traps and the first dose of goalmouth action came after five minutes when a loose ball from Leverkusen's former Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka allowed the Italians to progress down the left, but Gianluca Scamacca's header from Matteo Ruggeri's cross was well blocked. 

The Serie A side continued to look the livelier team and Gian Piero Gasperini's men took the lead on 11 minutes when a lovely move down the right ended with former Premier League pair Davide Zappacosta and Ademola combining: the latter firing high into the net from his Italian team-mate's searching low cross. 

Xabi Alonso's Bundesliga champions entered the fixture as firm favourites, but they were struggling to impose themselves as an attacking force. The first inkling that they might gather some forward momentum came around the 20 minute mark when Jeremie Frimpong was played in behind by Edmond Tapsoba's fantastic through-ball, but the German side were eventually limited to a tame effort on goal from Josip Stanisic. 

With their unbeaten opponents out of sorts, Atalanta continued to threaten and they were 2-0 up after 25 minutes when Lookman pulled another fantastic finish out of the bag. 

The former Charlton and Everton forward drove towards the edge of the box, skipped past Xhaka's attempted challenge and arrowed a low drive into the bottom corner to stun Leverkusen. 

The Bundesliga outfit tried to respond and they created their first proper chance near the half hour mark when Alex Grimaldo sprang forward, but the full-back was only able to scoop the ball into the arms of onrushing keeper Juan Musso.  

Atalanta were in the ascendency, but they had a scare 10 minutes before the interval when Scamacca lunged into an ill-advised challenge on Amine Adli and was perhaps fortunate to only receive a yellow card. 

The Italians ended the half on top and they were almost three goals to the good minutes before the break, but former Manchester United academy goalkeeper Matej Kovár got down well to save from Charles De Ketelaere. 

Xhaka bent a long range effort wide with the break looming, but Atalanta were good value for their lead when referee Istvan Kovacs blew the half-time whistle.  

Half-time: Atalanta 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen

The game picked up where it left off after the interval, the crowd treated to the entertaining sight of the referee tumbling over before Teun Koopmeiners' dangerous cross was cleared by a wonderful interception from Leverkusen defender Piero Hincapie as Atalanta looked to start the half with a bang. 

There was still plenty of time on the clock, but already a sense that Leverkusen would need a large hand from Lady Luck if they were to mount a comeback - a stray elbow from Scamacca on Hincapie offering hope that potential ill-discipline might come to their rescue. 

Leverkusen were starting to play more of their football in Atalanta's half, but they were struggling to create anything clear-cut in front of goal, a skied effort from Frimpong the best they could muster. 

On 75 minutes it was all over, as Lookman topped his previous two goals with an absolute belter to claim his hat-trick. 

Some resolute defending saw the Italians spring forward and when Scamacca found Lookman with a perfectly-timed pass, the electric Wandsworth-born winger pulled out a stepover before lashing an unstoppable left-footed effort into the roof of the net. 

In truth, the fifth-best side in Serie A this season were the sharper, more organised side all evening and the remainder of the game played out with little danger of Leverkusen breaching their opponents' backline - Adam Hlozek going closest with a fierce drive that drifted wide. 

Atalanta's victory earned them their first-ever European trophy and, remarkably, only the second title in their entire history - the Europa League joining their 1963 Coppa Italia triumph in the archives. 

Leverkusen, meanwhile, now need to dust themselves down and concentrate on their German cup final clash against Kaiserslautern on Saturday. 

xG: Atalanta (0.89) 3-0 (0.75) Leverkusen

 



Poll
POLL RESULTS
ATALANTA
DRAW
BAYER LEVERKUSEN

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2024-05-23 00h00m by mfosterfield
As a fan of Atalanta, I could feel the anticipation building as Lookman scored two early goals, showing his skill and class on the big stage. But as a football fan, I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed for Leverkusen, who were hoping for an 'Invincible' season only to have their dreams crushed by Lookman's third goal. Overall, a fantastic performance from Atalanta and a disappointing end for Leverkusen.
2024-05-22 23h31m by edavidson
As a fan of Atalanta, I am absolutely thrilled with Lookman's hat-trick and the team's performance in the Europa League final. It's a historic moment for the club and we couldn't have asked for a better way to claim our first-ever European trophy. Sorry to Leverkusen, but you just couldn't keep up with us tonight.
2024-05-22 23h15m by banderson1976
However, it was Lookman who proved to be the difference maker with his clinical finishing and impressive strike to seal the victory for Atalanta.

As an Everton fan, it's bittersweet to see Lookman performing so well for another team. He was always a promising player for us, but it just didn't seem to work out. Congratulations to Atalanta on their first-ever European trophy, well-deserved win!
2024-05-22 22h43m by gkingsley
As a fan of Atalanta, you were surely thrilled to see your team perform so well, especially against a strong undefeated side like Leverkusen. Lookman's hat-trick was simply sensational and completely shut down any hopes of a perfect season for the German side. You must be over the moon with this incredible victory and to see your team lift their first-ever European trophy. Forza Atalanta!
2024-05-22 22h31m by eedwards
As a football fan of Atalanta, I am feeling extremely satisfied with Lookman's performance in the Europa League final. His hat-trick was sensational and it helped us secure our first-ever European trophy. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric and our team started off strong, with Lookman scoring two deadly finishes. Even though Leverkusen was undefeated all season, Lookman's rocket of a strike sealed the deal and crushed their dreams of an 'Invincible' season. What a thrilling victory
classic matches
U Wednesday, 22 May 2024 - 20:00
Aviva Stadium
István Kovács
3-0
Ademola Lookman 12' 26' 76'

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