Jose Mourinho has done it again. The Special One led his AS Roma side to its first title since 2008 and the first UEFA trophy won in club history. The Giallorossi defeated Feyenoord, 1-0, in the UEFA Europa Conference League final in Tirana, Albania, on Wednesday. Nicolo Zaniolo scored the winning goal in the inaugural tournament in the 32nd minute that helped send Giallorossi fans into a frenzy.
The last time AS Roma won any silverware came in 2008 when they won the Coppa Italia under Luciano Spalletti. They also lost their previous two European finals at the hands of Liverpool in the 1984 European Cup and Inter Milan in the 1991 UEFA Cup. It took them 31 years to play another final, but this time the trophy is going back to Rome, where tens of thousands of fans watched the match inside the Stadio Olimpico. With the win, AS Roma have clinched a spot in next season’s UEFA Europa League group stage, which you can stream directly on Paramount+.
This is Mourinho’s fifth European final and trophy. He’s never lost a major UEFA final as manager. He has been triumphant in each of the previous four – with Porto in the 2003 UEFA Cup and 2004 UEFA Champions League, Inter in the 2010 UEFA Champions League and Manchester United in the 2017 UEFA Europa League. He has, however, lost two UEFA Super Cups. For the Portuguese coach as well as Roma fans, Wednesday will go down as an unforgettable night.
The first half wasn’t exciting as we could expect from these two sides, but it produced the only goal of the night. Feyenoord tried to maintain possession time and Mourinho’s side didn’t take many risks. There were not many chances, with only three shots on target overall in the first 45 minutes. However, AS Roma midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who had just worked his way back to fitness, was forced to go off with an injury and was replaced by Sergio Oliveira. The 32nd minute gave us the opening goal of the match with Gianluca Mancini’s cross fooling the covering defender and Zaniolo chesting it down before deftly flicking a shot over the onrushing goalkeeper. First chance, first goal for the Mourinho’s side. Clinical.
After that, Feyenoord tried to put more pressure on the Giallorossi. The tone of the second half was completely different with Feyenoord pushing much more and AS Roma suffering quite a lot. The Dutch team had two big chances in the first 10 minutes and had two consecutive chances that resulted in a shot ricocheting the post. Rui Patricio put together a fantastic performance to keep his side in the game in the second half and secure the coveted trophy. Feyenoord keeper Justin Bijlow also stepped up with some massive denials on Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini, but by then it was too late for a response by his attackers.
The night went to Jose Mourinho, who is the only manager on the planet to say he’s won the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League titles. If anyone is capable of guiding his team through knockout competitions, it’s Jose Mourinho. He worked his magic from him yet again.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism