/Atalanta goes crazy, first triumph in the Europa League – Football

The Goddess of Europe. For one night the Irish sky is tinged with black-blue, the colors of Atalanta who outclasses the German champions Bayer Leverkusen against all odds – 51 games in the season without ever losing, until tonight – and wins Europe League, first historic international trophy in its history. The absolute protagonist of the final in Dublin, Ademola Lookman: his hat-trick sends the Nerazzurri to heaven, superior in every duel, and in every area of ​​the pitch, against the Germans, fresh from a record streak of matches without defeats. The 3-0 consecrates Gasperini’s team as the most ‘European’ team in terms of intensity and mentality – after the feat of eliminating Liverpool – and opens up the possibility for Italy of a sixth team in the Champions League (Roma, but only if Atalanta finishes fifth in the championship). On the magical night in Dublin, Gian Piero Gasperini’s gamble paid off when faced with the battleship Bayer, rulers of the Bundesliga, he decided to rebel against the role of sacrificial victim, proposing a hyper-offensive formation. Yet another winning intuition from the coach from Grugliasco, who thus becomes – thanks to this victory, the 200th on the Atalanta bench – the most mature coach to win a UEFA cup. The best way to get rid of that “zero qualifications” label given to him by his detractors. And also to end with a bang – if the rumors of his imminent farewell prove true – his golden cycle in Bergamo. Precisely to make room for the 27-year-old Nigerian international, Gasp relegated Teun Koopmeiners to the midfield line, deploying an attacking trident, completed by Gianluca Scamacca and Charles De Ketelaere. And his dominance, especially in the first half, proves him right. Not only up front, but also in defence, where Isak Hien cancels out Amine Adli and above all Berat Djimsiti, captain of the evening due to the absence of Marten de Roon, cancels out the feared Florian Wirtz. The first half is thus an Atalanta monologue, to the delirious joy of its eight thousand fans, who arrived in Dublin, even via unlikely stopovers (from Tallinn to Tenerife), for the appointment with history, the first European final in 117 years of history . From the first minutes, Atalanta’s fearlessness forces Bayer – perhaps in psychological difficulty also due to their role as very favorites – to play in apnea. All the most dangerous actions pass through the feet of Lookman, Matteo Ruggeri’s opening inspiration: on the cross from the Bergamo winger, Scamacca fails to find the header. 12 minutes pass and Atalanta runs ahead: this time the action develops on the right, Koopmeiners triggers Davide Zappacosta, in the center of him Lookman anticipates Exequiel Palacios. Bayer appears dazed, even more than by the disadvantage, by the furious pace of the Orobics, asphyxiating in pressing to recover the ball. The Germans’ reaction was a weak shot from Josip Stanisic, which Juan Musso blocked comfortably. But after a new attempt from Scamacca, still imprecise, Lookman takes care of giving substance to his superiority. On Matej Kovar’s clearance, Amine Adli’s improvident back pass, Lookman takes the ball in the midfield, tunnels to Granit Bayer is increasingly helpless, but Charles De Keteleare, after having jumped Piero Hincapie like a skittle, wastes an excellent opportunity. And upon returning to the changing rooms, the only real chance for Xabi Alonso’s boys was a left-footed shot just wide by Granit Xhaka. The inertia of the final seems to change in the second half, Bayer takes the lead, Atalanta is relegated. Gasperini is cautious, replacing De Ketelaere with Mario Pasalic. But beyond an oversized shot from Jeremie Frimpong, the German champions did not produce. Unlike Lookman, who extracts the third gem of the evening from his hat. A diagonal shot of rare beauty, which seals the first Italian victory ever in the Europa League. It’s a big celebration, on the pitch in Dublin and at the same time in Bergamo

Three goals in the final, in the first European success in Atalanta’s long history: Ademola Lookman, with the hat-trick against Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League final, enters the elite of European football, as well as that of Bergamo. Three is the magic number of this 26-year-old striker born in England but naturalized for Nigeria, who exploded in the Nerazzurri after having played, among other things, in the youth teams of the English national team, in Leipzig and Leicester: Lookman in fact reaches 30 tonight goals for Atalanta in two seasons. Previously, in continental competitions, he had only scored for the Nerazzurri in the second leg of the round of 16 against Sporting Lisbon and in the semi-final second leg against Marseille. For the Nigerian international, silver in the recent Africa Cup of Nations, it is the second personal trophy after the Under 20 World Cup in the colors of the Super Eagles. In 2023-2024, for him, 15 goals in total so far, of which 9 in the league and 1 in the Italian Cup in the semi-final return match against Fiorentina, for a total of 30 in 76 appearances in two years. Born in London on 20 October 1997, he has previously played for Charlton, Everton, Leipzig, Fulham and Leicester. But the consecration came with Gasperini, who understood the mix of speed and technique and adapted it perfectly to a flawless gaming machine. The consecration in Dublin, with three goals and a night he will never forget

Gian Piero Gasperini lifts the large cup, 13 kilos of silver which constitute the Europa League trophy. He raised it three times in front of the thousands of jubilant fans who came from Bergamo to Dublin to see the Goddess win her first European trophy. In a way that the coach defines as “extraordinary”. And it really is, if you think not only of the 3-0 in the final against Leverkusen, but of the level of other opponents defeated along the way, “teams like Marseille, Sporting Lisbon and Liverpool, who when we went there they were first in the Premier League”. He is proud of the players he coaches. For them he repeats “extraordinary”. The victory in Dublin “is a great satisfaction after a memorable performance”. He paid what seemed like a gamble, initially deploying the attacking trident. “There were all the conditions to play in this way, in a unique match, which we had to win. You can’t just defend in a match like this” he replies. “Without a shadow of a doubt it is a deserved cup, winning the Europa League is truly an achievement. We needed such a prestigious trophy. My future? I have to talk to the president, now let’s celebrate” he concludes. “It’s a dream that has come true… seeing how much these fans love Atalanta is wonderful. In Bergamo now everyone will be on the streets celebrating.” Here is president Antonio Percassi, his eyes shining with emotion. He says he is “confident” and “calm” about Gasperini’s permanence. After the second of Lookman’s three goals “I thought ‘this time maybe we can do it’. Such a great result for such an important goal is unexpected – he adds – Atalanta is in history. The beauty of it is to see the club grow every year and the players understood it too.”
“I’m very, very happy. Tonight we wrote history, we all did it together. The trophy will return with us to Bergamo, it’s incredible.” Lookman, who scored a hat-trick against the Germans, was the best performer of the match: “This is the club’s ambition. Last year we had a great season and qualified for Europe. Now we have won a trophy together to the coach. There was a fantastic contribution from everyone and tonight we celebrate.”

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2024-05-23 03:43:15
#Atalanta #crazy #triumph #Europa #League #Football


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