Josip Ilicic bags 4 goals, Atalanta dedicate win to virus-hit Bergamo
Atalanta forward Josip Ilicic made history by scoring all their goals in a 4-3 win over Valencia yesterday morning (Singapore time) in a game that was played at an empty Mestalla Stadium due to the coronavirus threat.
The Slovenian international's feat helped the Italian side win 8-4 on aggregate and reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.
Ilicic, aged 32 years and 41 days, also became the oldest player to net four goals in a Champions League match, eclipsing the previous record held by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose age was 32 years and 20 days when he scored four goals in Paris Saint-Germain's 5-0 victory over Anderlecht in 2013.
Said Ilicic: "I am getting better with age. I am having fun and want to carry on improving.
"It's a pity there are no fans here, but we have to entertain them and make those at home celebrate."
After the final whistle, Atalanta's players held up a shirt to a television camera that had the message, "Bergamo, this is for you!"
"We are very happy with how we have represented a region that suffers so much," said Gasperini, referring to the northern Italian city that had been hit hard by the coronavirus.
Ilicic scored his first two goals from the penalty spot. In between, Kevin Gameiro levelled for Valencia and then scored again shortly after half-time, before teammate Ferran Torres lobbed in their third goal.
Any chance of a revival was quickly snuffed out as Ilicic completed his hat-trick and added a fourth.- AFP