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Atalanta champion of the 2023/24 Europa League

Atalanta Europa League

Atalanta Wins the Europa League Final Against Bayer Leverkusen, Securing the Greatest Title in Club History

With this victory, Atalanta ended Bayer Leverkusen’s 51-game unbeaten streak this season.

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Atalanta 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen, the heavy favorite for the Europa League final, clinched the Bundesliga title five rounds early and boasted a 51-game unbeaten run, the longest in European football this season.

Atalanta, meanwhile, is having a solid Italian Serie A campaign, potentially finishing between 3rd and 5th place, and was the runner-up in the Coppa Italia, losing to Juventus. In the Europa League, they eliminated Liverpool, the pre-tournament favorite.

In the grand final held in Dublin, the Italian side was more consistent, dominated Leverkusen, and won 3-0, with all goals scored by Nigerian forward Lookman.

Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Atalanta’s starting lineup was: Musso; Djimsiti, Hien, and Kolasinac (Scalvini); Zappacosta (Hateboer), Éderson, Koopmeiners, and Ruggeri (Rafael Tolói); De Ketelaere (Pašalić), Lookman, and Scamacca (El Bilal Touré).

Bayer Leverkusen’s starting lineup was: Kovar; Tapsoba, Tah, and Hincapié; Stanisic (Boniface), Palacios (Andrich), Xhaka, and Grimaldo (Hložek); Frimpong (Tella), Wirtz (Schick), and Adli.

Atalanta opened the scoring early in the match. In the 12th minute, Leverkusen’s defense cleared the ball after a corner, and Koopmeiners quickly retrieved possession. He passed to Zappacosta, who sent a low cross into the box. Hien let it pass, and Lookman got ahead of Palacios to slot it home.

In the 25th minute, Lookman struck again. Adli made a poor header, and the ball fell to the Nigerian attacker, who nutmegged Xhaka and finished with a precise shot to double Atalanta’s lead.

At the 42nd minute, Scamacca made a beautiful trivela pass to De Ketelaere, switching the play. The Belgian entered the box, had the option to pass to Zappacosta, but cut inside and shot with his left foot, forcing a save from Kovar.

In the 45th minute, Atalanta’s defense cleared poorly, and the ball fell to Xhaka, who tried a long-range shot that went close to the post.

In the second half, Atalanta continued to dominate, controlling the match and threatening on counterattacks.

At 48 minutes, Koopmeiners received the ball on the left wing and sent a low cross. Hincapié made a crucial interception as the ball was heading towards De Ketelaere, who was ready to score.

Atalanta sealed the game in the 75th minute. On a counterattack, Pašalić passed to Scamacca, who advanced through the middle and played the ball to Lookman on the left. The final’s hero dribbled past Tapsoba and fired a left-footed shot into the top corner, leaving Kovar no chance.

Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

Lookman became the first player to score three goals in a Europa League final. He also scored the first hat trick in a European final since 1975, when Jupp Heynckes led Borussia Mönchengladbach to a 5-1 victory over Twente in the second leg of that year’s UEFA Cup final.

In the 92nd minute, Hložek took a powerful shot from outside the box that went just wide of the post.

With the final whistle, Atalanta secured their first international title and the most significant in the club’s history. They broke a 61-year drought since their last major trophy, the Coppa Italia, won in 1963.

This Europa League triumph crowns Gasperini’s long tenure at Atalanta, where he has been at the helm since 2016, transforming the club into one of the most respected forces in Italian football. Under his leadership, the Bergamo side has become known for an offensive, dynamic, and aggressive style of play, characterized by high pressing, quick transitions, and an impressive goal-scoring ability.

Gasperini’s philosophy is also reflected in the team’s mentality. Atalanta is renowned for their resilience and fighting spirit, often overcoming theoretically stronger opponents. This winning mentality has translated into historic results, including consecutive UEFA Champions League qualifications, a memorable run to the quarter-finals in 2020, and now the unprecedented Europa League title, defeating the previously unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen.

Gian Piero Gasperini, com a taça da Liga Europa — Foto: Paul Childs / Reuters

Photo: Paul Childs / Reuters


Written by Henry Miller.

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