PLAYER RATINGS | Atalanta 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen – Ademola Lookman inspires Italians to Europa League triumph

A historic moment for Atalanta. A 3-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen has secured the Italian side their first European Cup in their history, and the club’s first silverware since 2011. Ademola Lookman the hero on the night, it was another Gian Piero Gasperini plan that was executed to perfection, ending Leverkusen’s and Xabi Alonso’s 51-game unbeaten run.

Atalanta come out all guns blazing

Atalanta started with high energy, pressing Bayer high up the pitch. The Bundesliga champions didn’t know what hit them. Shakey in possession, Bayer Leverkusen came into this as favourites, unbeaten, and had everything to lose. It took Ademola Lookman just 12 minutes to open the scoring for the Italians – the Nigerian’s 13th goal of the season. Exequiel Palacios switched off at the back post, allowing Lookman to nick the ball ahead of the Argentine, placing the ball past Matej Kovář.

Unable to find their rhythm. Bayer’s poor start continued. Wayward passes and individual errors, Lookman doubled his and Atalanta’s tally with a superb curling finish past a helpless Kovář. Never has Bayer’s midfield been so porous this season, and never this season has Granit Xhaka’s passing accuracy been so low. Alonso no doubt had to give his biggest half-time team talk of his managerial career.

And the Spaniard wasn’t scared to make a change either. Alonso introduced Victor Boniface at the break in place of Josip Stanišić, meaning Jeremie Frimpong played a little deeper, ahead of Edmond Tapsoba, and although they improved marginally, they still failed to test Juan Musso as Frimpong’s shot went wayward. But it was Atalanta that again came knocking.

An Ademola Lookman masterclass

Lookman completed his hat-trick after 75 minutes with another superb strike, this time unleashing an unstoppable shot with his weaker left foot in front of the Atalanta fans, sending them into delirium. A deserved win for the Italian side, they will enjoy this long into the night.

And from a Bayer Leverkusen standpoint, don’t let this result take anything away from their monumental historic season. They ended Bayern Munich’s 11-year monopoly of the Bundesliga, went on a 51-game unbeaten run, and could still end the season with a double.

Atalanta Player Ratings

Juan Musso (6) – Berat Djimsiti (6), Isak Hien (7), Sead Kolašinac (6) – Davide Zappacosta (7), Éderson (8), Teun Koopmeiners (8), Matteo Ruggeri (7) – Charles De Ketelaere (6), Ademola Lookman (10), Gianluca Scamacca (8)

Others: Mario Pasalic (6), Giorgio Scalvini (-), Hans Hateboer (-), El Bilal Touré (-), Rafael Tolói (-)

Bayer Leverkusen Player Ratings

Matěj Kovář (5) – Edmond Tapsoba (4), Jonathan Tah (5), Piero Hincapié (3) – Josip Stanišić (3), Exequiel Palacios (4), Granit Xhaka (5), Alejandro Grimaldo (3) – Jeremie Frimpong (4), Florian Wirtz (5) – Amine Adli (4).

Others: Victor Boniface (4), Robert Andrich (-), Adam Hložek (-), Patrik Schick (-), Nathan Tella (-)

GGFN | Daniel Pinder


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