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Ademola Lookman's hat-trick gives Atalanta the Europa League title

Atalanta's Ademola Lookman holds the trophy after his team won the Europa League final   -  
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Kirsty Wigglesworth/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved


London-born Nigerian forward, Ademola Lookman, scored a stunning hat-trick to hand Atalanta a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen and the Europa League title on Wednesday.

He scored twice in the first 26 minutes before sealing the win 15 minutes from fulltime to give his team just the second major trophy in their 117-year history.

“We played a fantastic game tonight. In all areas, I think from the first minute we showed our intent. We played a fantastic first half. And in the second half, we didn't rest on our laurels. We kept pushing,” he said.

Lookman’s three goals made him only the sixth player to score a hat-trick in a European final, the last one being in 1975.

Stealth in the penalty area, balance on the ball, deft footwork, and precise shooting with both feet were factors in his standout performance.

The London-born Nigerian forward had struggled to establish himself in the English Premier League before reviving his career in Italy.

Even Atalanta coach, Gian Piero Gasperini, acknowledged he was not buying a pure striker when Lookman arrived at the club two years ago.

The forward said love and support from his family and African home, the trust he felt from Gasperini, and the calmness of life in Bergamo had all helped.

“I've always had the confidence in my ability to create, to score goals, to help my team-mates. In the past two years, I've been able to take my game to a new level,” he said after the game.

Wednesday’s victory ended the German champions, Bayer Leverkusen’s remarkable unbeaten streak and made Atalanta the first Italian winners of the competition in 25 years.