Moustapha Cisse scores winner for Atalanta four weeks after playing for refugee side in 8th tier of Italian football

AS heartwarming stories go, this will take some beating this season.

With 25 minutes to go in a tense Serie A clash, Atalanta introduced teenage striker Moustapha Cisse into the action against Bologna.


What happened next is real Roy of the Rovers type stuff.

With eight minutes left, the 18-year-old just picked up a through ball just inside the box.

A perfect touch, followed by a powerful curling finish found the back of the net to win the game for Atalanta.

Incredibly, less than a month ago Cisse was playing in the eighth tier of Italian football for a team made up entirely of refugees, where scouts spotted his potential.

Now, he's the toast of Bergamo.

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Leaving home behind

When Cisse was just 16, he made the decision to leave Guinea for a better future.

His father had passed away, and he had hoped to start afresh in pastures new.

Football was his first love, and he found a like-minded team of individuals in ASD Rinascita Refugees in Lecce.

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Made up entirely of immigrants facing similar circumstances, he played with them for two years until he was discovered.

Atlanta scouts trailed him for months, and brought him to the club on February 23 where he would play with the reserves, or at least as was expected.

Prima star

Four days later, Cisse was thrown in at the deep-end and selected to play against Milan's 19s in the Campionato Primavera.

Playing against youngsters who had trained at academies from a young age, he didn't look out of place.

His power and pace were a thorn in Milan's side – and he scored twice wowing his coaches.


A week later, he was back on the scoring trail – netting against Napoli.

First team coach Gian Piero Gasperini took note.

First team opportunities

The legendary Italian tactician introduced him into the first team fold – training with seasoned pros, like Luis Muriel.

And when Colombian forward Duvan Zapata suffered an injury, Gasperini gave Cisse a taste of a Serie A matchday by naming him on the bench in the goalless draw with Genoa.

A week later, with Atalanta looking likely to drop more points as they chase a Champions League spot, he was thrust into the spotlight.

He completed his meteoric rise by finding the winner when Atalanta needed it the most.

After the game, Cisse was carried on the shoulders of his team-mates off the pitch who celebrated his moment.

Juventus' on-loan centre half Merih Demiral revealed his happiness for Cisse after the final whistle.


"It was important to win tonight, I am very happy for Atalanta and for Cisse, because he already settled in really well during training," he told DAZN.

"He deserved this goal and from the next game he will do even better."

Next, they welcome Napoli to the Gewiss Stadium. You can bet the Gli Azzurri's first team stars will be asking their U19s what to expect from the new kid on the block.

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