Atalanta 0-2 Leipzig (agg 1-3): Nkunku double downs La Dea | UEFA Europa League

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Christopher Nkunku hogged the headlines again as his two goals ensured Leipzig eliminated Atalanta 3-1 on aggregate in this UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie.

Key moments

18 ‘ Laimer tees up Nkunku to open scoring
63 ‘ Hateboer volleys over from hosts’ best chance
87 ‘ Nkunku fouled by Musso then converts penalty

Match in brief: Relentless Nkunku makes the difference

Christopher Nkunku after making it 2-0

Christopher Nkunku after making it 2-0Getty Images

The home side took the initiative early on and had the first chance when the impressive Ruslan Malinovskyi clipped in a deep cross for Davide Zappacosta, who cut inside and fizzed in a low drive that Péter Gulácsi did well to hold. That was as productive as La Dea got in the opening 45 minutes, though, as Leipzig constantly threatened on the counter.

It was from one such breakaway that they took an 18th-minute lead, Konrad Laimer bursting clear down the right and teeing up Nkunku to fire in off the near post. The scorer’s effort was his 47th goal involvement of the season – equalling Timo Werner’s club record.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s men wrested control back after the interval and came close to leveling when Zappacosta’s deep cross was volleyed wide by an unmarked Hans Hateboer. Nkunku remained a threat at the other end and only the chest of Juan Musso stopped him sealing Leipzig’s progress. However, his landmark second would come late on, the striker converting from the penalty spot after Musso brought him down following an incisive Yussuf Poulsen pass.

Match as it happened: Atalanta 0-2 Leipzig

Vieri Capretta, match reporter

A very open tie ends with Leipzig progressing, and deservedly so. They were the better team overall, with more composure and quality in the final third. Both sides played with passion and attacking football, and it was the small details that made the difference.

Semi-finals: 28 April and 5 May

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Reaction

Marten de Roon, Atalanta midfielder: “We lacked something in the final third. Both sides had chances. We had to win away from home, but tonight they deserved it.”

Domenico Tedesco, Leipzig coach: “It’s a fantastic night; it’s not easy to win here. There were no secrets to the win: we defended well and, unlike the first leg, we did well to get past their gegenpress.”

Péter Gulácsi, Leipzig goalkeeper“We learned from the first leg what we had to do and were the better side over the two legs. We will have to face a tough opponent in the semi-finals.”

Key stats

Christopher Nkunku gives Leipzig the lead

Christopher Nkunku gives Leipzig the leadGetty Images

  • Atalanta had never lost a home match in the Europa League or UEFA Cup (W8 D6), including qualifying, until tonight.
  • La Dea failed to score for the first time in 14 Europa League matches.
  • Leipzig have won their last seven away games in all competitions now. They have scored 26 goals in those matches.
  • Nkunku has scored 14 goals in Leipzig’s last 12 away games in all competitions.

Line-ups

Atalanta: Musso; De Roon, Demiral (Scalvini 70), Palomino; Hateboer, Koopmeiners, Freuler (Pašalić 88), Zappacosta; Malinovskyi (Muriel 58), Boga (Miranchuk 70); Zapata

Leipzig: Gulácsi; Simakan, Orbán, Gvardiol (Poulsen 79); Henrichs (Klostermann 73), Kampl (Halstenberg 79), Laimer (Adams 73), Angeliño; Olmo; André Silva (Szoboszlai 63), Nkunku

Where is the 2022 Europa League final?


Seville’s Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium will stage the final on Wednesday 18 May.

The winners gain a place in the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage, if they have not qualified through their domestic competition.

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