July 13, 2024

Ademola Lookman Guides Atalanta To First-ever European Final

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……..To meet Boniface’s Bayer Leverkusen in the final

 

Ademola Lookman played a starring role as Atalanta booked their spot in the 2024 UEFA Europa League final with a 3-0 victory at home to Marseille.

 

The Nigeria international struck a deflected opener on the half-hour mark and was a constant menace as La Dea secured a 4-1 success on aggregate.

 

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side looked the more threatening from the off with Gianluca Scamacca hitting the woodwork and Charles De Ketelaere twice going close to putting the tie beyond the French outfit, before Lookman broke the deadlock from distance.

 

Iliman Ndiaye lobbed wide with a gilt-edged chance to level for the visitors following the restart and he was made to pay on 52 minutes when Matteo Ruggeri played a one-two with Lookman and rifled a stunning strike into the top corner.

 

Marseille almost seized a lifeline when Jordan Veretout’s deep free-kick was misjudged by La Dea keeper Juan Musso, but it cannoned back off the crossbar.

 

Atalanta then put the icing on the cake deep into stoppage time through substitute El Bilal Toure and will now meet Bayer Leverkusen in their first major European final in Dublin on May 22.

 

Gasperini described this second leg as the biggest night of his managerial career – and his team delivered to ensure it was one he will remember forever.

 

La Dea sent shockwaves around Europe when they dumped favourites Liverpool out in comprehensive style in the last eight and they backed it up by navigating this semi-final tie with real authority.

 

It could yet be a season for the ages for the Serie A outfit with a Coppa Italia final with Juventus coming up next Wednesday and a top-four finish still within their sights. Indeed, more big nights are on the agenda in the coming weeks for Gasperini as he finally enjoys the spotlight his coaching ability deserves.

 

 

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