Roma wins inaugural Europa Conference League

Roma won their first major European trophy by beating Feyenoord in the inaugural Europa Conference League final in Tirana.

Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge of the Italians ended with a trophy after Nicolo Zaniolo chested down Gianluca Mancini’s lofted pass before beating goalkeeper Justin Bijlow with a clever flick.

Mourinho, who has won the Champions League, Europa League and the Uefa Cup, is the first manager to win all of Uefa’s major European trophies.

The Portuguese was criticised after Roma were embarrassed 6-1 in Norway by Bodo/Glimt in the group stage last October.

But this win continued the former Chelsea and Manchester United manager’s perfect record in European finals, having now overseen five wins in five finals.

“This is a competition we believed we could win since the start,” Mourinho Sky Sport Italia.

“I knew the moment I arrived what it meant to the people. They had been waiting for something like this. This was not work tonight, this was history. We had to write history. We wrote it.”

Feyenoord, whose campaign started in the qualifying rounds back in July, were denied an equaliser when Rui Patricio tipped Tyrell Malacia’s attempt on to the bar soon after Mancini inadvertently hit his own post while trying to make a clearance.

Smalling and Abraham play their part

There were incredible scenes at the final whistle as Mourinho was mobbed by his backroom staff and Roma’s players celebrated in front of their travelling support in Albania.

This was Mourinho’s first trophy since winning the Europa League with Manchester United in 2017.

Chris Smalling was part of the United side that defeated Ajax in Stockholm five years ago and the 32-year-old defender produced a man-of-the-match performance to help secure Roma a first trophy since 2008.

Smalling made a couple of crucial blocks in the early stages of the second half when Feyenoord were at their best, while he did a fine job keeping Cyriel Dessers- the competition’s leading scorer – quiet.

At the other end, Tammy Abraham thought he was clean through before being impeded by Marcos Senesi, who escaped without a booking.

Abraham has enjoyed a successful first season in Italy since joining from Chelsea for £34m last August.

He was unable to add to his season’s tally of 27 goals but he finishes the campaign with a trophy and a place back in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

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Written by 

Herman Nnyanzi 'The Analyst' is a Ugandan multimedia sports journalist who started his career in 2017. He has a genuine strong love for sports and expertise, especially football. Contact me on +256704472629 or +256786403603

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