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Lookman wrecks Leverkusen's pursuit of a groundbreaking unbeaten treble

By Real11 - May 23 2024 37 Views
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Leverkusen's unbeaten season ended in UEL final

Ademola Lookman demolished Bayer Leverkusen’s quest of a historic unbeaten treble by scoring a stunning hattrick to power Atalanta to an emphatic 3-0 Europa League glory in Dublin. 

The 26 year old put on a special show as Gian Pero Gaspeirini’s side upset the odds to clinch its first European trophy and consign Leverkusen to loss for the first time in any competition this season. 

Leverkusen’s unbeaten run had stretched to 51 games and 361 days. Their last loss came back against VFL Bochum in May 2023.

It wasn't lost in terms of attitude, it was a football thing," Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso said. "It happens, it's football, today wasn't meant to be. They were better."

Leverkusen were chasing only their second European trophy, and their first since the 1988 UEFA Cup. 

"It's exceptional what we have done. Today is painful, but it is deserved as well," Alonso said.

"These defeats in a final, you don't forget them. We had a big chance, we put everything on today, but it didn't go as planned, we weren't on our best level and we will learn from today.

"How we deal with the pain will be a challenge for us."

Leverkusen had secured their first-ever Bundesliga title this season, winning 28, drawing 28 and losing none of their 34 league fixtures. 

They had been tipped heavily to become the first team in European football history to seal three major trophies after the DFB Pokal Cup and Bundesliga title unscathed. 

But Gasperini’s men had other ideas. Atalanta, who knocked out Liverpool of the competition before defeating Marseille in the semifinals, looked in firm control right from the start, and Lookman gave them a comfortable 2-0 lead going into the half-time before killing the tie with a remarkable individual goal in the 75th minute. 

Leverkusen’s recent run of managing a draw out of losing positions had kept this game alive until Lookman netted his third for the day. 

Having failed to complete an unbeaten treble, Leverkusen can still script history by completing an unbeaten double if they beat second-tier team Kaiserslautern in Saturday's German Cup final in Berlin.  

It's our first defeat of the season so it will be a test as to how we deal with it because we have a big game on Saturday," Alonso added.

"Normally it happens earlier in the season, but when it happens in such a big game, it hurts. But we have to use this pain in a positive way -- it's football, the normality is not to lose the first game in the 52nd game."

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