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La Louve won its first European trophy on Wednesday, the new Europa League Conference, by beating Feyenoord Rotterdam (1-0) in the final.
José Mourinho confirmed his gifts as a lucky charm of Italian football by offering AS Roma its first European trophy, the new Europa League Conference, by beating Feyenoord Rotterdam (1-0) in the final with difficulty on Wednesday May 25, in Tirana .
Roma relied on a fine sequence from Nicolo Zaniolo to unlock a locked match (32e) then to the gloves, and the posts, of his goalkeeper Rui Patricio to then resist the Dutch. This short victory is worth a first international title for the Wolf, after two lost finals (1984 in C1, 1991 in C3), if we except the success in 1961 in the Cup of the cities of fairs, unofficial ancestor of the Europa League.
“I had told the players that they had done their job by qualifying for the Europa League [avec la 6e place en championnat]. Today was not work, it was history to be written,” commented Mourinho. “This title is in the history of Roma, but also in mine,” added the specialist in the finals Europeans, who won their fifth continental trophy, after their two Champions Leagues (2004 with FC Porto, 2010 with Inter Milan) and their two Europa Leagues (2003 with FC Porto, 2017 with Manchester United).
If we count his success in the Coupe des Coupes (the defunct C2) as an assistant to FC Barcelona, he even combines the four European cups.
A final in the form of a chess game
His victory on the bench of Inter, in C1, was also the last of an Italian club on the European scene. It will therefore have been necessary to wait twelve years and the return of the Portuguese to Italy to see a Serie A club again lift a cup in Europe. Enough to maintain the “Mourinho-mania” at the Stadio Olimpico, where tens of thousands of Romans gathered on Wednesday to follow this historic victory on the big screen, according to Sky Sport.
The spectators were about half as many in the Tirana stadium (21,000 seats), too small to contain the 100,000 fans from both sides who descended on Albania. With the key to tensions, arrests and expelled tifosi. In the stadium, no overflow to report even if the jet of two inflatable bananas made some observers react. In 2015, during a previous match between the two clubs, the throwing of a giant plastic banana towards the Italian ranks was interpreted on social networks as an act with racist connotations.
The final felt like a game of chess at first, with two tight blocks and full engagement. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, established by Mourinho despite his lack of matches (absent through injury since the end of April), did not keep up the pace, victim of a relapse in the right thigh after a quarter of an hour.
Spinazzola to the rescue
The opening came from Gianluca Mancini, finding Nicolo Zaniolo in the area, who opened the goal with a chest control before scoring with the tip of his left foot (32e). The rest was largely due to Rui Patricio’s gloves and posts.
At first not very serene on an axial strike from Orkun Kökçü (41e), the Portuguese goalkeeper of Roma released two decisive saves on strikes from Guus Til (47e) and especially Tyrell Malacia (50e), saved on these actions also by its amounts!
The tone was set for a second half of a different register, with the Dutch attacking and Roma hunkering down, with the comeback Leonardo Spinazzola coming in the second half to the rescue. Jordan Veretout (73)e), entered in place of striker Zaniolo, then Lorenzo Pellegrini (85e) could have given Mourinho some air, but they too fell on a vigilant Dutch goalkeeper Justin Bijlow.
To raise his arms to the sky, the Portuguese had to wait for another long minutes of additional time. But he holds this trophy well, which allows him to finish with a nice cry of joy this season ended quite far from the Top 4 in Serie A, and even behind Lazio Rome, in 6e square. But a small Cup changes everything.