Fri. Dec 9th, 2022

Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Nicolo Zaniolo’s smart finish delivers Europa Conference League glory for Italians as win sees Jose Mourinho land his fifth European trophy… and the club’s first since 1961

  • Roma won the inaugural Europa Conference League with victory vs Feyenoord 
  • Nicolo Zaniolo scored the game’s only goal, chipping cleverly over the keeper 
  • Ex-Man United man Chris Smalling was outstanding in defence 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 

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Jose Mourinho seems to be bored of hearing about the Special One these days. But how better to describe a manager who reigns supreme in the inaugural ‘Cup of Jokes’?

That was how Roma’s squad viewed the Europa Conference League a year ago. By Wednesday night, however, no player or supporter in Tirana was treating this as a tin-pot, third-rate competition. 

Not when European glory had eluded them since the 1961 Fairs Cup. That barren spell is over after Nicolo Zaniolo’s goal downed Feyenoord. 

AS Roma won the inaugural Europa Conference League with a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord

AS Roma won the inaugural Europa Conference League with a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord

AS Roma won the inaugural Europa Conference League with a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord

Nicolo Zaniolo’s well-taken first-half goal was enough to down the Dutch side in Tirana

Nicolo Zaniolo’s well-taken first-half goal was enough to down the Dutch side in Tirana

Nicolo Zaniolo’s well-taken first-half goal was enough to down the Dutch side in Tirana

Reiss Nelson

Rui Patricio

Roma manager Jose Mourinho has now won all three of UEFA’s European competitions

MATCH FACTS  

Roma: Rui Patricio, Smalling, Ibanez, Mancini, Cristante, Karsdorp (Vina 89), Mkhitaryan (Oliveira 17), Pellegrini, Zalewski (Spinazzola 67), Zaniolo (Veretout 67), Abraham (Shomurodov 89)

Subs not used: Perez, Maitland-Niles, Kumbulla, Bove, Afena-Gyan, Fuzato, El Shaarawy

Goals: Zaniolo 32

Bookings: 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

Subs not used: Hendrix, Sandler, Cojocaru,Marciano, Hendriks, Jansen, Hall

Bookings: Trauner

Referee: Istvan Kovacs

It means Mourinho is the first manager to win a European competition with four different clubs. His record in 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 at full-time. 

And make no mistake, this was a vintage Jose performance – embodied by Chris Smalling who was immense as Roma held firm in Albania. 

Tammy Abraham had a quieter evening but a brilliant debut season ends with another European medal to add to last year’s Champions League title.

‘We knew how much it was going to mean to everyone in Rome,’ Smalling said.

‘We knew we had to give everything… we knew we had to win.’

Feyenoord, whose side included on-loan Arsenal winger Reiss Nelson, took charge during a frantic opening. 

All that was lacking? A chance. At either end. Abraham and Cyriel Dessers were vying for the golden boot but neither had a sniff. No one did, really, until Zaniolo peeled into space, cushioned Gianluca Mancini’s diagonal pass and chipped the ball over Justin Bijlow. 

It was brilliantly taken – no wonder the Roma bench emptied.Mourinho tried to temper the celebrations, for once. 

And with good reason. Back came Feyenoord. Orkun Kokcu’s shot was spilled by Rui Patricio before they struck the woodwork twice in no time. Mancini turned a cross against his own post. 

Then Rui Patricio pushed Tyrell Malacia’s shot on to frame of the goal.Soon, however, Abraham was through. 

Chris Smalling was superb in central defence as the Italians kept a trophy-winning clean sheet

Chris Smalling was superb in central defence as the Italians kept a trophy-winning clean sheet

Chris Smalling was superb in central defence as the Italians kept a trophy-winning clean sheet

Rui Patricio was also forced into a number of good saves as Feyenoord pressed for a leveller

Rui Patricio was also forced into a number of good saves as Feyenoord pressed for a leveller

Rui Patricio was also forced into a number of good saves as Feyenoord pressed for a leveller 

Mourinho also has won five of his five finals in Europe, a point he made known post-match

Mourinho also has won five of his five finals in Europe, a point he made known post-match

Mourinho also has won five of his five finals in Europe, a point he made known post-match 

He appeared to be pulled back by Marcos Senesi – it looked an obvious red to all except the referee and VAR. Fortunately for Roma, it mattered little.

‘One thing I said when I came here… I want to win a trophy in my first season. I’ve achieved that,’ Abraham said.

‘I love (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 triggered jubilant scenes from the Roma players celebrating their win

The full-time whistle triggered jubilant scenes from the Roma players celebrating their win

The full-time whistle triggered jubilant scenes from the Roma players celebrating their win 

It is AS Roma's first trophy in European competition since the 1961 Fairs Cup, 61 years ago

It is AS Roma's first trophy in European competition since the 1961 Fairs Cup, 61 years ago

It is AS Roma’s first trophy in European competition since the 1961 Fairs Cup, 61 years ago 

Re-live all the action with Sportsmail’s Kieran Jackson here:

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