Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo goal wins Mourinho’s side inaugural Europa Conference League

Date published: Wednesday 25th May 2022 10:24 - News Desk

Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo celebrates his goal

Nicolo Zaniolo’s first-half strike was the only goal of the game as Roma beat Feyenoord to win the inaugural Europa Conference League title in Tirana.

Zaniolo fired home from his side’s first chance in the 32nd minute as Jose Mourinho’s men sealed their first silverware since the 2008 Coppa Italia.

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It proved a typical Mourinho-style triumph as Roma sat deep and soaked up plenty of pressure before cruising through the second half with the minimum of fuss.

The Dutch side, who last won the UEFA Cup in 2002, dominated the early possession but failed to create any meaningful chances and were punished when Zaniolo chested down a cross from Roger Ibanez and put his side in front.

Feyenoord keeper Justin Bijlow saved well from Chris Smalling before the Dutchmen ended the half with their first real chances from Orkun Kokcu and Cyriel Dessers.

Feyenoord maintained their momentum at the start of the second half and almost levelled when Roma defender Gianluca Mancini deflected a short corner onto his own post before Rui Patricio saved well.

Patricio also did well to tip a drive from Lutsharel Geertruida onto the post before a potentially pivotal moment after 54 minutes, when former Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham appeared to be fouled by Marcos Senesi as he looked to burst clear, only for the referee to take no action.

The impressive Smalling blocked a drive from Kokcu on the edge of the box then was in the right place again to stop a drive from Dessers as the minutes ticked by.

Lorenzo Pellegrini almost made it two for Roma before Feyenoord spurned a golden opportunity to level in injury time when Bryan Linssen missed a sitter from close range.

Ex-Manchester United centre-back Smalling said Roma fought to secure their first-ever major trophy in the Europa Conference League.

“We knew how much it was going to mean to everybody in Rome, and you can see how together we are, everybody fought until the end,” Smalling told BT Sport.

“We had to do that on a few occasions this year (fighting hard), we dropped a bit deeper than we maybe wanted to but we knew we had to do everything.

“You could see, strikers running back, everybody defending and we knew we had to win.”

Smalling added: “Even when I first came to the club it had been a long time since they won a trophy, you can hear the fans.

“We knew how much it was going to mean, you can see we’ve got some of the best fans.”

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