Europa League: Atalanta beat Leverkusen with Lookman’s hat-trick

Europa League: Bayer Leverkusen’s 51-game unbeaten run was officially ended, and it was incredible as Ademola Lookman banged a magnificent hat-trick to clinch Atalanta’s first major title in 61 years.

Europa League final highlights – Atalanta 3-0 Leverkusen

Bundesliga’s new champions and unbeaten record winner Leverkusen marched to Dublin, Ireland, to become the first team to accomplish the treble without a defeat.

Meanwhile, Serie A side Atalanta aimed at the first elite title in over 60 years.

The story, however, ended with happiness for only one side: the Italian representatives.

Europa League- Atalanta beat Leverkusen
Europa League- Atalanta beat Leverkusen

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Atalanta winger Lookman was unstoppable, and Bayer Leverkusen’s impossible dream of completing an entire season was ended.

One, two and three, the London-born Nigerian scored only bangers as he punished errors by Leverkusen’s gameplay to score a brace within 26 minutes into the first half.

On Wednesday, Alonso’s big selection call was to prefer Exequiel Palacios in midfield over Robert Andrich. Still, the 2022 World Cup winner with Argentina was at fault for the opening goal.

Defending the far post, Palacios was utterly unaware of Lookman behind him when a ball across the goalmouth from Davide Zappacosta eluded everyone. Lookman darted in on Palacios’ blind side to score with a rising shot.

Leverkusen finally tasted defeat this season
Leverkusen finally tasted defeat this season

It was 2-0 in the 26th when Leverkusen yet again gave away the ball in the heart of its own half. Amine Adli’s aimless header back toward his own defence bounced to Lookman.

The former Everton player eluded Granit Xhaka’s tackle and curled his right-footed shot into the corner of the net beyond goalkeeper Matěj Kovář diving to his left.

It was the fourth time Leverkusen had trailed 2-0 in a Europa League knockout round game since March but its unbeaten run had never seemed more at risk. The season-long flurry of late and stoppage-time goals eluded Leverkusen this time.

Lookman’s third and final goal was a thing of beauty with a thunderous shot in the 75th.

What’s next for Leverkusen

Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso must now prepare his players for the German Cup final on Saturday. They will start as heavy favorites to beat second-tier Kaiserslautern in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.

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