Atalanta in the Europa League final: why can they win?

Gasperini is writing chapters of history: he is eyeing two awards in eight days. Svilar and luck helped Rome and then betrayed them

We dreamed of actually winning this blessed Europa League that we never brought back home. It happened when Atalanta were hovering over Marseille with the confidence of a giant, superior and invincible, and Roma were two goals ahead of unbeaten Bayer. And we couldn’t believe it, we witnessed the sporting miracle that De Rossi’s team was performing in Leverkusen, as we fooled ourselves by invading Dublin with the Nerazzurri and Giallorossi flags in a final of our own.

The cup we miss

Instead, nothing happened, an errant exit and Carrom shut down Rome and negated the feat. The cup has not reached us yet. It will be up to Atalanta to try to win it, and dispel the Europa League curse that we have come close to since its inception – 2009 – only twice, with Inter Conte and Roma Mourinho, but have always remained outside the competition. The limits of our hands. We believe in the ability of Bergamo players to succeed, because nothing is forbidden for Gasperini, his club, and these players who are possessive and articulate, aggressive and organised, attacking and balanced. Roma themselves have proven that Bayer, who have been unbeaten all season, are not that difficult to beat. If the Giallorossi had not thrown themselves right into the fray to try and make the 3-1 scoreline that would have taken them to extra time, it is very likely that they would have won the game without conceding an equalizer on the counter-attack. So why can’t Atalanta, the dream team come true, beat Xabi Alonso?

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Reasons for doing so

Atalanta and Gasperini have added another building block to their extraordinary adventure together. They have now built a wall. Of course, this is really special: the first European final ever played by Bergamo players. Anyone who thinks that this club has limits, anyone who thinks that the Deia phenomenon will shrink sooner or later as it usually happens to clubs from small towns that reach the top, should think again: Atalanta does not stop, Atalanta is always bigger. What will happen between now and May 22 is very exciting: the Nerazzurri will play two final matches in eight days, first in the Italian Cup against Juventus and then in the Europa League against Bayer. A magnificent imaginary bridge will be built between Rome and Dublin, full of hopes, but also of realities, victories and goals.


Gasperini must now take the final step, which is to erase the zero – the only zero he has left – in the prize box he won. He claims that it is not an obsession and certainly that his journey in Bergamo is not tainted by this emptiness, but being able to pick up the cup, kiss it and raise it to the sky would give a sense of completion. A cup, yes. But they can – why not? – Until there are two. The victory over Marseille confirmed the greatness of Atalanta, which dominated the match as only the strong do. She never felt anxious, even when she couldn’t score; He built a lot without taking excessive risks; It struck and sank the Olympic as soon as it had the chance and it finally spread. We might say it was the perfect match, and no one should think that the French were lesser opponents.

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There is still great regret over the eradication of the Roma. Few would have thought that Bayer’s qualification could be in question after 0-2 in the first leg, but instead De Rossi’s side succeeded by exploiting several elements: tactical attention, a bit of courage, goalkeeper interventions and some moments of luck. And then the ability to exploit opportunities thanks to the brilliance of penalty kick taker Paredes. In the end, the elements that had kept her standing until that moment condemned her with a sneer: Svilar and good luck. De Rossi remains proud that a team that has dominated everywhere this year has come to the brink of elimination. It is not enough to give him joy, but to console him, yes.

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