Ademola Lookman leads Atalanta to 3-0 win over Leverkusen

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Europa League final: Ademola Lookman leads Atalanta to 3-0 win over Leverkusen
Europa League final: Ademola Lookman hat-trick secures Atalanta’s first trophy in 60 Years. — AFP File

In a thrilling Europa League final, Ademola Lookman, once hailed as a future star, ended Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten run, leading Atalanta to a historic victory. This marked Atalanta’s second trophy in their history, and the first in six decades, a fitting reward for one of the most admirable football clubs on the continent over the last decade.

Lookman’s performance was nothing short of incredible, overshadowing Xabi Alonso, the most sought-after manager this season. He scored every goal in Atalanta’s emphatic 3-0 win, delivering a hat-trick of divine and varied quality. This gave Gian Piero Gasperini, Atalanta’s legendary manager, the first trophy his adventurous career deserved.

Lookman’s third goal, a powerful drive into the top corner of the net, was the pick of the lot. It was a crucial moment, ending Leverkusen’s chase for an unbeaten European season and a treble. Atalanta’s 2-0 lead marked the fourth time Leverkusen had fallen behind to that exact score in their seven Europa League knock-out games. They always found a way back, until Lookman kept finding the net.

Atalanta’s display was virtuous, complementing the glory of victory. Gasperini’s team ran the season’s revelations off the pitch, with Lookman running them ragged. From the very start, Gasperini got it right, leading to a match in Dublin that might well end up as a very different origin story than had been expected.

Lookman, the Wandsworth-born Nigerian international, may now have a bigger future ahead. His performance was a rare final display, dominating Leverkusen from the start of the game. As Alonso changed his team, Atalanta seemed clearer about their approach, cutting through Leverkusen with ease. Lookman’s goals, especially the second one, a long shot swerved around Matej Kovar into the far corner from distance, woke Leverkusen up. But it was too late. Lookman had already topped it all off with something exquisite.

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