Champions League: Atalanta make history in 8-4 win over Valencia | Dailytrust

Champions League: Atalanta make history in 8-4 win over Valencia

Josip Ilicic scored four goals against Valencia as Atalanta eased into the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Italians arrived in Spain with a commanding 4-1 lead from the first leg of their last-16 tie and quickly added to their advantage inside an eerie Mestalla Stadium.

With the chants of a large gathering of home supporters outside the ground clearly audible, Slovenia forward Ilicic converted a third-minute penalty for the Serie A side after he had been fouled by Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby.

And while Kevin Gameiro capitalised on a defensive mix-up to tap in an equaliser for the hosts, Diakhaby’s handball allowed Ilicic to score his second spot-kick of the evening to put the visitors 6-2 up on aggregate.

A second Gameiro goal, this time from a close-range header, levelled the score on the night before Ferran Torres’ lobbed effort put the La Liga side in front.

However, Ilicic’s rasping left-foot drive from 20 yards restored Atalanta’s three-goal aggregate lead as he became the first Slovenian player to score a Champions League hat-trick.

Ilicic’s fourth, a left-foot effort into the top left corner, rounded off an 8-4 aggregate win on a fine evening for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side, who have now scored 28 goals in their last seven games and become the competition’s first debutants to reach the last eight since Leicester City in 2016-17.

Atlanta’s stats

Josip Ilicic became the fourth different player in Champions League history to score four goals in a knockout stage match, after Lionel Messi (2009-10 & 2011-12), Mario Gomez (2011-12) and Robert Lewandowski (2012-13).

Ilicic is the first Slovenian to score a Champions League hat-trick – they are the 35th different nation to record a hat-trick.

He is the oldest player to score an away Champions League hat-trick (32 years 41 days), overtaking Zlatan Ibrahimovic (32 years 20 days for Paris St-Germain v Anderlecht in 2013-14).

Atalanta are the first Champions League debutants to reach the quarter-final since Leicester City in 2016-17, and the first Italian side to do so in their maiden campaign since Lazio in 1999-2000.

Atalanta scored eight goals over both legs against Valencia, as many goals as they scored during the group stages of this season’s tournament.

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