Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Nicolo Zaniolo’s smart finish offers Europa Conference League glory to the Italians as victory nets Jose Mourinho his fifth European trophy… and the club’s first since 1961
- Roma won the inaugural Europa Conference League with a victory against Feyenoord
- Nicolo Zaniolo scored the only goal of the game, smartly crushing the keeper
- Ex-Man United man Chris Smalling has been exceptional in defense for the Italians
- It is the Serie A side’s first European trophy since the 1961 Fairs Cup.
- Jose Mourinho is the first manager to win all three UEFA European competitions
Jose Mourinho seems bored of hearing about the Special One these days. But how better to describe a manager who reigns supreme in the first ‘Cup of Jokes’?
This is how the Roma team viewed the Europa Conference League a year ago. On Wednesday night, however, no player or fan in Tirana was treating this as third-rate competition.
Not when European glory had eluded them since the 1961 Fairs Cup. That barren period ended after Nicolo Zaniolo’s goal beat Feyenoord.
AS Roma won the inaugural Europa Conference League with a 1-0 win over Feyenoord
Nicolo Zaniolo’s well-scored first-half goal was enough to bring down the Dutch in Tirana
Roma coach Jose Mourinho has now won all three UEFA European competitions
Roma: Rui Patricio, Smalling, Ibanez, Mancini, Cristante, Karsdorp (Vina 89), Mkhitaryan (Oliveira 17), Pellegrini, Zalewski (Spinazzola 67), Zaniolo (Veretout 67), Abraham (Shomurodov 89)
Unused subtitles: Perez, Maitland-Niles, Kumbulla, Bove, Afena-Gyan, Fuzato, El Shaarawy
Goals: Zaniolo 32
Reservations: Rui Patricio, Zalewski, Pellegrini, Spinazzola
Feyenoord: Bijlow, Geertruida, Trauner (Pedersen 74), Senesi, Malacia (Jahanbakhsh 89), Aursnes, Kokcu (Walemark 88), Nelson (Linssen 74), Til (Toornstra 59), Sinisterra, Dessers
Unused subtitles: Hendrix, Sandler, Cojocaru, Marciano, Hendriks, Jansen, Hall
Arbitrator: Istvan Kovacs
It means Mourinho is the first manager to win a European competition with four different clubs. His record in the major continental finals remains perfect: played five, won five. Mourinho reminded everyone of that – holding up four fingers and a thumb – as he was mobbed full time.
And make no mistake, it was a vintage performance from Jose – played by Chris Smalling who was immense as Roma held firm in Albania.
Tammy Abraham had a quieter evening but a brilliant first season ends with another European medal to add to last year’s Champions League title.
“We knew how much it was going to mean for everyone in Rome,” Smalling said.
“We knew we had to give it our all…we knew we had to win.”
Feyenoord, whose squad included loan Arsenal winger Reiss Nelson, took charge in a frantic opener.
All that was missing? A chance. At each end. Abraham and Cyriel Dessers were vying for the Golden Boot, but neither of them sniffled. No one did, really, until Zaniolo lifted into space, cushioned Gianluca Mancini’s diagonal pass and flicked the ball over Justin Bijlow.
It was brilliantly taken – no wonder Roma’s bench emptied. Mourinho tried to temper the celebrations, for once.
And with good reason. Back came Feyenoord. Orkun Kokcu’s shot was knocked down by Rui Patricio before they hit the woodwork twice in no time. Mancini turned a cross against his own post.
Then Rui Patricio pushed Tyrell Malacia’s shot into the goal. Soon, however, Abraham had passed.
Chris Smalling was superb in central defense as the Italians kept a trophy-winning clean sheet
Rui Patricio was also forced into a number of good saves as Feyenoord pushed for a leveler
Mourinho also won five of his five finals in Europe, a point he made known after the game
He appeared to be pulled back by Marcos Senesi – it seemed obvious red to all but the referee and VAR. Luckily for Roma, that didn’t matter.
“One thing I said coming here…I want to win a trophy in my first season. I achieved that,” Abraham said.
“I love it (the fans), from day one it’s been the best. We’re champions, I’m happy to be part of the team. Now it’s time to party.’
The full-time whistle sparked jubilant scenes of Roma players celebrating their victory
It is AS Roma’s first trophy in European competition since the 1961 Fairs Cup, 61 years ago.
Relive all the action with Sportsmail’s Kieran Jackson here: