… As Roma Beat Feyenoord, Win Inaugural Europa Conference League
Roma won their first major European trophy by beating Feyenoord in the inaugural Europa Conference League final.
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.
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.
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 Tirana, 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 played an important role in securing 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.