Ademola Lookman: Remembering the Lowest Moment of Winger's Career After Viral Panenka Penalty Miss

Ademola Lookman: Remembering the Lowest Moment of Winger's Career After Viral Panenka Penalty Miss

Rene Otinga
updated at May 23, 2024 at 6:14 PM
In this article:
Ademola Lookman logo
A. Lookman
Atalanta logoFNigeria logo
Fulham logo
Fulham
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England
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West Ham United
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Atalanta
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  • Ademola Lookman made history netting a hat-trick for Atalanta in the UEL final
  • The Super Eagles star’s story is that of a player who never gave up on his career
  • Four years ago, Lookman made headlines for one of the worst penalty attempts

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Ademola Lookman’s story from a Premier League struggler to a Europa League winner is remarkable.

The Charlton youth academy product is the name on every fan’s mouth after scoring a hat-trick for Atalanta in the Europa League final on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

Ademola Lookman, Fulham, Super Eagles, Premier League, Atalanta, Europa League.
Ademola Lookman had one of the lowest moments of his career while playing for Fulham on November 07, 2020. Photo: Photo by Chloe Knott.
Source: Getty Images

Very few would have predicted the winger’s ascendancy, especially with how his career was going in the Premier League a few seasons ago.

He had stints at Everton, Leicester City, and RB Leipzig, but he had very little to show for in terms of goals.

According to Transfermarkt, Lookman’s best goal haul in a season before joining Atalanta was six goals, which he bagged while playing for Leicester.

Such numbers are alarming for a player who plies his trade in forward positions, and it almost looked like Lookman would be another case of a player who failed to reach his full potential.

Lookman finds a home in Atalanta

The Super Eagles star’s fortunes all changed when he joined Italian outfit Atalanta for a reported transfer fee of €15 million in 2022, according to Sporting News.

Despite the modest price tag, the deal looked like a huge gamble from the Italian club, based on Lookman's past stints with other clubs.

The winger, who had never hit double figures in goals in a season, somehow retained the faith of Atalanta manager, Gian Piero Gasperini.

"We had a senior manager at Atalanta [Lee Congerton] who had worked at Leicester, who saw the opportunity to bring him in and thought he was a possible useful player," Gasperini recalled.
"Nobody could ever imagine he'd could make this much progress. He wasn't overly prolific in England. I changed his position to a more attacking role. [In the final] he achieved something that will remain in the annals of football history — a stunning hat-trick."

When Lookman hit a new low in 2020

In 2020, while playing for Fulham, Lookman went viral for all the wrong reasons.

The England-born Nigerian star cost the Cottages a precious point against West Ham after he attempted an audacious Panenka penalty in the game's dying moments.

Fulham were trailing 3-2, and Lookman’s tame penalty was comfortably saved by Lukasz Fabianski, leaving the young winger distraught and embarrassed as his side lost the game.

Scott Parker, the Fulham manager at the time, expressed his disappointment in Lookman, criticising the youngster for his Panenka attempt.

The Cottages finished in 18th place that season and were relegated to the Championship.

Amid the criticism, Lookman was eventually shipped to Leicester City by his parent club, RB Leipzig, for another loan spell.

Fans who have tracked the 26-year-old’s ascendancy in the game since 2020 have posted new comments on a video clip of his horror penalty on YouTube.

Here are some of the comments:

@Big_5ve:

"Bro wouldn’t have scored a hat-trick in a final if he did score the penalty."

@Arsenallnews_

"This is the last time I remember watching Lookman and thinking, Christ, this guy is an absolute mess. Now look at him tonight."

@michaelnkama0

"He didn’t need to pay for PR, he did it by performing at the highest level. Ademola Lookman Olajade Alade Lookman, MON"

@Leo_Dawid

"Revival at last."

@KwenaYaBagopa

"The fact he attempted panenka in that situation should’ve told people something."

Players who have scored in UCL final

Sports Brief also reported on the players who have scored a hat-trick in the Champions League final.

While Lookman is the first man to score a treble of goals in the Europa League final, the Champions League has three big names in that category.

Ferenc Puskas headlines this list, as he scored two hat tricks in two different Champions League finals.

Authors
Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and TUKO.co.ke.