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Atalanta hail new hero in Koopmeiners

On the night Atalanta bid farewell to iconic striker Josip Ilicic, the overachieving Bergamo club may have found a new star.

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

Koopmeiners now has four goals in two games after also scoring in a 1-0 win at Hellas Verona at the weekend.

The 24-year-old Dutch midfielder, in his second season at Atalanta, has already matched his output of four goals in the entire 2021-22 campaign.

The last Dutchman to score a hat-trick in Serie A was the great Marco van Basten, who scored four goals for AC Milan three decades ago.

Atalanta, who are not playing in Europe this season, remain unbeaten and only trail Roma on goal difference.

Ahead of kick-off, Ilicic, 34, was celebrated by teammates and fans alike after the striker terminated his contract with Atalanta by mutual consent.

Ilicic scored all four goals as Atalanta won 4-3 at Valencia in a second leg to reach the 2020 Champions League quarter-finals as the team’s home of Bergamo became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

Afterwards, Ilicic donated the match ball to Bergamo Hospital.

After converting a penalty in added time in the first half, Koopmeiners added another two minutes after the break when he controlled the ball outside the box and placed a low shot into traffic which slightly deviated when entering.

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

Also on Thursday, Bologna and Salernitana drew 1-1.

Boulaye Dia scored a late equalizer for Salernitana following a Marko Arnautovic penalty.

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