Atalanta end Leverkusen’s unbeaten run to win Europa League titleBreaking

May 23, 2024

Ademola Lookman scored a stunning hat-trick as Atalanta ended the 51-match unbeaten run of Bayer Leverkusen to win the Europa League final 3-0 at Aviva Stadium. With this victory, Atalanta claimed their first trophy in 61 years, meanwhile, Lookman became the first player to score a hat-trick in a European final since The side from Bergamo have long lived in the shadow of nearby giants AC and Inter Milan. However, they have enjoyed a golden era under Gian Piero Gasperini, reaching the Champions League on four occasions, and now have silverware to show for it. “To win it with Atalanta is perhaps one of the football fairytales that rarely gives scope for meritocracy,” said Gasperini. “It doesn’t always come down to cold hard numbers or super leagues but shows teams without huge budgets can achieve big things.” Leverkusen have made a habit of late fightbacks in their remarkable run to winning a first-ever Bundesliga title without tasting defeat.

But this time they failed to dig themselves out of a hole created by a slow start. “It’s a shame that the time it didn’t work out for us was in a final,” said Leverkusen midfielder Granit Xhaka. “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). Atalanta’s more purposeful play in the opening stages was rewarded after just 12 minutes. Davide Zappacosta got to the by-line and Lookman caught Exequiel Palacios napping to fire into the top corner at the back post. The Nigerian has at times endured a nomadic career, bouncing around the lower reaches of the Premier League on loan spells at Fulham and Leicester after being discarded by RB Leipzig. But Lookman has found a home in Bergamo, where he will now forever be a hero. “In the past few years I’ve been able to take my game to a new level and show that on a more consistent basis,” said Lookman.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan