Ademola Lookman’s Hat-Trick Leads Atalanta to Historic Europa League Victory Bayer Leverkusen

By Xorkpe Sosu 6 Min Read

Ademola Lookman delivered a stunning performance, scoring a hat-trick as Atalanta defeated Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

This victory ended Leverkusen’s impressive 51-match unbeaten streak and marked Atalanta’s first trophy in 61 years. Lookman made history by becoming the first player since 1975 to score a hat-trick in a European final, securing Atalanta’s first continental trophy.

Atalanta, often overshadowed by nearby giants AC and Inter Milan, have thrived under the leadership of Gian Piero Gasperini, reaching the Champions League four times.

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Their purposeful play was evident from the start, and they were rewarded just 12 minutes in when Davide Zappacosta reached the by-line and Lookman capitalized on Exequiel Palacios’s lapse in defense to score a powerful goal into the top corner.

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Lookman’s second goal was a standout moment, nutmegging Granit Xhaka before curling a powerful shot into the far corner.

Ademola Lookman's Hat-Trick Leads Atalanta to Historic Europa League Victory Bayer Leverkusen

Leverkusen, known for their dynamic full-backs, had chances to get back into the game around halftime. Alex Grimaldo’s shot was easily saved by Juan Musso, and Jeremie Frimpong missed a clear opportunity, firing over the bar with the goal wide open.

Leverkusen’s hopes took another hit when Gianluca Scamacca escaped with only a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Florian Wirtz.

For the fourth time in seven Europa League knockout matches, Xabi Alonso’s team found themselves trailing 2-0. Alonso, who has quickly become one of Europe’s most sought-after coaches, has decided to stay at Leverkusen despite interest from former clubs Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

However, his choice to start without a recognized striker backfired, leading him to bring on Victor Boniface at halftime to provide a focal point in attack.

Despite the change, the damage was already done. The German champions appeared exhausted from their intense season across three competitions. Atalanta capitalized on this, absorbing Leverkusen’s pressure and striking on the counter-attack.

Ademola Lookman Secures Atalanta’s First European Trophy in 61 Years

Ademola Lookman, who has experienced a nomadic career with loan spells at Fulham and Leicester after being let go by RB Leipzig, has finally found a home in Bergamo. His heroics in the Europa League final have cemented his place as a club legend.

“One of the best nights of my life. Amazing performance from the team,” Lookman said. “We’ve got to celebrate, we made history tonight.”

Lookman sealed the victory with another spectacular goal, skipping past Edmond Tapsoba and blasting into the top corner with his weaker left foot.

Leverkusen midfielder Granit Xhaka expressed his disappointment, saying, “It’s a shame that the time it didn’t work out for us was in a final. It’s bitter, definitely.”

“We lost a final today, but we go on and we’ll make up for it on Saturday in the German Cup final.”

This win was particularly sweet for Atalanta, who had lost all three of their previous finals under Gasperini, including last week’s Coppa Italia defeat to Juventus.

But this time, they made history, cheered on by thousands of fans in blue and black who traveled from northern Italy to Dublin.

In doing so, Atalanta became the first Italian team to win the Europa League since Parma lifted the UEFA Cup in 1999.

Bayer Leverkusen had the opportunity to edge closer to a historic treble, but it proved to be a step too far.

In a post-match interview with TNT Sports, a dejected Xabi Alonso was gracious in defeat, yet lamented the missed opportunity.

“We were not planning to have a bad day today,” the former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder said.

“It was not meant to be today. We could not cope with as many difficult situations as we were preparing, because Atalanta demand you [to do] so much. We were not getting the ball into the right positions because they do that so well. We were not able to come back and negate that. It was not meant to be.

“The unbeaten run has come to an end. Congratulations to Atalanta, they deserve it.

“We have tried to play too many passes in one, when we should have played a little bit longer. It was not about tactics. Today, they were better individually and [collectively] as well. It hurts that it comes in a big defeat, but we have another final on Saturday, and we will try to learn.”

“They are a very special team. Today was not our day. Normally, we get in better positions with our game, but today we couldn’t.”

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