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Bayer Leverkusen unbeaten season at risk trailing Atalanta 2-0 at halftime in Europa League final


DUBLIN (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen's stunning unbeaten season is in serious danger trailing 2-0 to Atalanta at halftime in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

Ademola Lookman scored twice in the first 26 minutes and Leverkusen struggled against the Italians' tight-marking press.

It is the fourth time that German champion Leverkusen has trailed 2-0 in a Europa League knockout round game since March but its unbeaten run — now at a European record 51 games — has never seemed more at risk against an excellent Atalanta team.

Leverkusen did not help itself with big errors leading to both goals.

First, midfielder Exequiel Palacios was slow to sense danger in the 12th minute when a low ball came across the Leverkusen goalmouth toward the far post.

Palacios was static as Lookman darted in on his blind side to score with a first-time rising shot.

In the 26th, Lookman was gifted the ball deep in Leverkusen's half by an aimless header back toward the defense by forward Amine Adli.

The Nigeria winger scored with a curling right-footed shot from 20 yards (meters).

Atalanta is playing in its first European final and has not won a top-level trophy since the Italian cup in 1963.


AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer