On Wednesday, Nicolo Zaniolo scored the only goal in Roma’s 1-0 win over Feyenoord in the first UEFA Europa Conference League final, giving them their first major European prize.
Zaniolo, an Italy international, scored a well-taken goal in the 32nd minute to give Roma their first trophy since 2008 and cap a successful first season in Rome for coach Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho was driven to tears by his sixth European championship as a coach, the first for an Italian team since he led Inter Milan to the Champions League 12 years ago. Zaniolo told Sky, “It was a big struggle, but I’m incredibly thrilled.” “It was always a dream of mine, and now I’ve realised it.” Roma, the 1961 Fairs Cup winners, rode their luck with Feyenoord having the lion’s share of the play and twice striking the woodwork in the second half.
However, they stood firm in the face of Dutch supremacy, bringing satisfaction to one of Europe’s most ardent and success-hungry fan bases. On the pitch, fans are celebrating Roma’s victory:
Over 50,000 fans flocked to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to see their side make history in Albania, and they surged onto the pitch once the trophy was won.
Meanwhile, moment referee Istvan Kovacs sounded his whistle to end their team’s trophy drought, a small section of supporters allowed into Tirana’s National Stadium erupted in joy.
“We know it’s always difficult to start again after these incredible victories, but a true team wins, celebrates, and then gets back to work,” said Rome-born captain Lorenzo Pellegrini. Feyenoord, the 1970 European champions, suffered their first ever defeat in a European final, as well as Arne Slot’s team’s first loss in the competition. In what was a tight, scrappy first half, Zaniolo broke the deadlock with the only real moment of magic.
He skillfully took down Gianluca Mancini’s ball over the top that had eluded Gernot Trauner before flicking a finish past Justin Bijlow.
Also read: AS Roma loses 2-0 to Fiorentina, extending their winless streak The Serie A run is now at five games. Zaniolo became the first Italian to score in a European final since Filippo Inzaghi in 2007 and a confirmed hero for Roma fans with the goal. Feyenoord had dominated the ball and created little intrigue before the restart, but that changed almost quickly. Trauner deflected a low cross off the post, and Rui Patricio made his first major save of the game seconds after, the Portuguese moving quickly to push Guus Til’s attempt away.
Four minutes after the break, the 34-year-old was forced into action again, throwing himself to his left to narrowly tip Tyrell Malacia’s rocket of a shot onto the woodwork.
Tammy Abraham’s hands were almost in the air in surprise when Marcos Senesi pulled him back just as he was sprinting through on goal, but Feyenoord were definitely on top. The Dutch team continued to press, but Mourinho’s team put up a valiant defensive showing teams held them off and handed Roma a rare moment of glory.