Europa League Final: Xabi Alonso Explains Why Ademola Lookman’s Atalanta Thumped Leverkusen

Europa League Final: Xabi Alonso Explains Why Ademola Lookman’s Atalanta Thumped Leverkusen

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
May 23, 2024 at 5:46 AM
In this article:
Xabi Alonso logo
X. Alonso
-MSpain logo
Ademola Lookman logo
A. Lookman
Atalanta logoFNigeria logo
Bayer Leverkusen logo
Bayer Leverkusen
Atalanta logo
UEFA Europa League logo
UEFA Europa League
  • Xabi Alonso has broken his silence after Bayer Leverkusen's Europa League loss
  • The Spanish coach's side succumbed to a 3-0 defeat against Atalanta in the final
  • The unexpected setback ends Leverkusen's remarkable 51-game unbeaten streak

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Bayer Leverkusen manager, Xabi Alonso, has opened up after his side suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat to Atalanta in the UEFA Europa League final.

A sensational hat-trick from Nigerian forward Ademola Lookman, which made him the first African to score a treble in a UEFA competition final, ensured Atalanta secured their maiden European trophy.

Xabi Alonso, Bayer Leverkusen, Atalanta, Europa League, Ademola Lookman, defeat, Europa League, final.
Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen missed out on Europa League glory to Ademola Lookman's Atalanta on Wednesday, May 22. Photos by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista and Jean Catuffe.
Source: Getty Images

While Lookman's efficiency in front of goal sealed a first-ever Europa League title for an Italian club, it was ensured that Leverkusen's enviable 51-game unbeaten run was brought to a crashing halt in Dublin.

Alonso's side, which had not lost a single game of football for 361 days, simply ran out of steam after a phenomenal season, with Gian Piero Gasperini's team running them ragged.

Ademola, who had earlier lost the AFCON and Copa Italia finals this year, opened the scoring with a back-post finish 12 minutes into the game before doubling the advantage with a stunning curling effort 14 minutes later.

He wrapped up his famous treble with a powerful left-footed strike that flew into the top corner, making him the first player to ever score a hat-trick in a Europa League final, per Sky Sports.

What did Alonso say after Europa League loss?

Reflecting on the game after their near-perfect season was brought to a halt, Xabi was graceful in defeat, suggesting the Italians deserved the trophy for their display.

"We need to accept today that Atalanta were better and deserved to win the trophy," the 42-year-old said, as cited by Leverkusen's X account.

The highly sought-after gaffer, however, admitted he was hurt by the nature of the loss.

"We didn’t play well and had too many problems today. It hurts that it happened in a big game, but we must accept it."

Atalanta's admirable showmanship towards Leverkusen

In a related publication, Sports Brief reported that Atalanta demonstrated great sportsmanship towards Bayer Leverkusen after their victory in the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday night.

The Italian team formed a guard of honour before the award ceremony, honouring Xabi Alonso's squad, whose unbeaten season ended at the Aviva Stadium.

Atalanta players lined up and applauded the Bayer Leverkusen stars as they stepped up to receive their medals.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.