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Atalanta 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen – Ademola Lookman reflects on historic Europa League win

Hat-trick hero says Dublin final is one of the best nights of his life

Europa League Trophy

Ademola Lookman was proud to have made history after his hat-trick inspired Atalanta to Europa League glory against Bayer Leverkusen.

The 26-year-old Wandsworth-born forward – who was plucked from Sunday League football into Charlton Athletic’s youth set-up – scored three superb goals as La Dea won their first silverware since 1963.

In the process he became the first player since 1975 and just the sixth ever to score three goals in the final of a UEFA competition.

The Nigerian international told TNT Sports: “I don’t have words. It’s one of the best nights of my life. It was an amazing performance from the team. We did it – fantastic. I’m just happy we won. We made history tonight.”

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini – who saw his side recover from defeat to Juventus in the Coppa Italia final seven days earlier – said his side had written their name into the history books.

He told “I think we wrote history, also for the way we won it. It was just extraordinary, we defeated Liverpool, Sporting, who won the championship. When we faced Liverpool they were first in the Premier League… And now the German champions.

“Incredible. The boys were extraordinary, a memorable performance.

“We often play with three forwards. We had to try to be dangerous, it’s a final and the only thing that mattered was winning. We knew that playing like this could give us benefits, it was an extraordinary match.”

On Ademola Lookman’s hat-trick added: “We had a senior manager who had worked at Leicester who saw the opportunity to bring him from Everton. He wasn’t overly prolific in England. I played him in a more attacking role. Tonight he achieved something which will remain in the annals of football history: a stunning hat-trick.”

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Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.