Atalanta bids Iličić goodbye and discovers Koopmeiners

·2 min read

ROME (AP) — On the night that Atalanta bid goodbye to emblematic striker Josip Iličić, the overachieving Bergamo club may have found a new star.

Teun Koopmeiners scored all three goals in a 3-1 win over Torino and Atalanta moved level on points with Serie A leader Roma on Thursday.

Koopmeiners now has four goals in two matches after also scoring in a 1-0 win at Hellas Verona over the weekend. The 24-year-old Netherlands midfielder is in his second season at Atalanta — and has already matched his output of four goals in all of the 2021-22 campaign.

The previous Dutchman to score a hat trick in Serie A was Marco van Basten, who had a four-goal performance for AC Milan three decades ago.

Atalanta, which is not playing in Europe this season, remained unbeaten and trails Roma only on goal differential.

Torino, which also entered unbeaten, was left three points behind.

Before kickoff, the 34-year-old Ilicic was feted by teammates and fans after the striker terminated his contract with Atalanta by mutual consent.

Ilicic scored all four goals when Atalanta won 4-3 at Valencia in a second-leg match to reach the Champions League quarterfinals in 2020 just as the team’s home, Bergamo, was becoming the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. Afterwards, Ilicic donated the game ball to Bergamo’s hospital.

Having converted a penalty in first-half added time, Koopmeiners added another two minutes after the break when he controlled the ball outside the area and placed a low shot through traffic that took a slight deflection on its way in.

After Nikola Vlašić pulled one back for Torino, Koopmeiners sealed it with another penalty just inside the right post.

Also, Bologna and Salernitana drew 1-1 with Boulaye Dia scoring a late equalizer for Salernitana following a penalty from Marko Arnautović.

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The Associated Press