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Lookman the Hero in Atalanta European Triumph

Lookman the Hero in Atalanta European Triumph

Former LFE apprentice and Charlton Athletic Academy graduate Ademola Lookman made history last night by becoming the first ever player to score a hattrick in a Europa League Final as his side Atalanta sank the all conquering Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in Dublin.

The Italian outfit went into the final as huge underdogs given Leverkusen’s historic season to date. The Bundesliga champions had gone 51 matches unbeaten in all competitions going into the game and required just a win on the night and a win in Sunday’s DFB Pokal Final to go undefeated for a whole campaign. However, Ademola Lookman and co tore up the script completely.

Lookman sent Atalanta into an early lead in the 12th minute, capitalizing on some rare defensive confusion between in the Leverkusen back line and finishing smartly into the roof of the net.

Then just 14 minutes later, the former Charlton man produced a moment of sheer brilliance, nutmegging Granit Xhaka before sending a powerful curled effort into the far corner to put Gian Piero Gasperini’s side firmly in the drivers seat.

Lookman fires in Atalanta’s second

Xabi Alonso’s team had no answers on the night and with just 15 minutes remaining Lookman made his way into the box, skipped past a Leverkusen defender and thundered a shot into the top corner to make sure of proceedings and hand Atalanta their first ever European trophy.

In and amongst the full time whistle celebrations, Lookman told TNT Sports: “One of the best nights of my life. Amazing performance from the team, we did it. We played a fantastic game. 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 and we got opportunities.”

In the post match press conference, the former Addicks apprentice was asked if he could ever of imagined in his wildest dreams he’d a experience a night like this. Lookman replied: “Probably yes. I’ve always had the confidence in my ability to create, to score goals and to help my team-mates. In the past two-years I’ve been able to take my game to a new level and I’ve been able to show that on a more consistent basis. I’m pleased with the progress that I’ve made but this is just the beginning. I hope for more nights like this and to progress and get better and better. That’s the key.”

The Atalanta winger came through the ranks at Charlton Athletic and was part of the 2014-2016 LFE Apprenticeship cohort. His Regional Officer at the time, Gavin Willacy, told LFE: “It’s fantastic to see his progress and it’s wonderful that such a lovely young lad is making the most of his talent and having such incredible experiences.”

Ademola Lookman and Gavin Willacy

Congratulations from everyone at LFE, Ademola!

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