Ademola Lookman Becomes First Player To Score A Hat-Trick In A Europa League Final

Nigerian forward Ademola Lookman has become the first player to score a hat-trick in a Europa League final in Atalanta’s 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in Dublin on May 22, 2024.

He was named Hankook Player of the Match.

He is also the first African player ever to score twice in the final of a major UEFA competition.

The UEFA Technical Observer panel’s assessment of the Nigerian’s performance stated:

“For obvious reasons and his all-round enthusiasm and energy. Really sharp and his execution was spot on.”

Lookman anticipated Davide Zappacosta’s ball across the box to open the scoring, then hit a brilliant individual second on 26 minutes. A threat all night, he became the first player to score a Europa League final treble after Gianluca Scamacca played him through to smash in Atalanta’s third on 75 minutes.

In the words of Ademola Lookman in the post-match conference:

“I’ve always had the confidence in my ability to create, to score goals, to help my team-mates.

In the past two years I’ve been able to take my game to a whole new level. Maybe [my best form] could have come earlier, but it’s come now. This is just the beginning. I hope for more nights like this and to just keep getting better and better.”

It is the sixth time that a player has scored a hat-trick in the final of a major UEFA club competition. Ferenc Puskás hit four for Real Madrid against Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 European Cup final, and then hit three against Benfica in the final of the 1962 competition.

Alfredo Di Stéfano also scored three for Madrid in that 1960 final, while Pierino Prati scored three against Ajax for Milan in the 1969 showpiece. The only previous hat-trick in a UEFA Cup or Europa League final was scored by Jupp Heynckes, as Mönchengladbach beat Twente in the 1975 decider.

Lookman is only the third Nigerian player to find the net in a UEFA Cup or Europa League final, after Alex Iwobi in Arsenal’s 4-1 loss to Chelsea in 2019 and Joe Aribo, who scored Rangers’ goal as they lost on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt two years ago. He is also only the third Nigerian to appear in a final win in the competition, after Taribo West (Inter Milan, 1998) and Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moskva, 2005).

After the game, he said that playing international football for Nigeria had helped him to raise his game:

“It’s incredible [to play for Nigeria].

The support and the love I get back home from the people is unbelievable. It gives me the motivation to evolve in different areas – as a person, not just in my game.”

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments