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Olympiakos 1-0 Win Over Fiorentina UEFA Europa Conference League Final

by: EdwardB


Under the bright lights of the AEK Athens stadium, a tense and cagey Europa Conference League final between Olympiakos and Fiorentina was decided dramatically. Olympiakos, roared on by their passionate supporters, secured a 1-0 victory and their first major European trophy thanks to Ayoub El Kaabi’s late extra-time winner, condemning Fiorentina to their second consecutive heartbreak in the competition’s showpiece event.

A Cagey First Half

The opening exchanges of the final were a far cry from the spectacle many had anticipated. Both sides seemed gripped by the occasion, resulting in a scrappy and uneventful first half. Fiorentina, eager to atone for their defeat to West Ham in last year’s final, thought they had drawn first blood just ten minutes in. Defender Nikola Milenkovic bundled the ball home from close range, but the assistant referee’s flag for offside quickly cut short his celebrations.

Nikola Milenkovic

As the half wore on, Fiorentina began to establish a degree of control. Nicolás González spurned a glorious opportunity to put La Viola ahead, miscuing his shot when well-placed inside the box. Christian Kouamé then followed suit, failing to hit the target from a promising position. Despite creating the better chances, Fiorentina were unable to find a way past Alexandros Paschalakis in the Olympiakos goal before the break.

Olympiakos Grow in Stature

The second half witnessed a shift in momentum. Olympiakos, seemingly spurred on by the fervent home support, emerged from the break with renewed purpose and began to threaten the Fiorentina goal. Vicente Iborra came close to breaking the deadlock with a glancing header that sailed narrowly wide. Despite their improved performance, the Greek side couldn’t find the crucial breakthrough, meaning the Europa Conference League final would go to extra time for the first time in its short history.

Extra Time Drama

With penalties looming, the tension inside the stadium reached fever pitch. Substitute Stevan Jovetic, a former Fiorentina fan-favorite, almost delivered a cruel blow to his former employers, but Pietro Terracciano expertly saved his powerful drive. However, just as it seemed the game was destined for a penalty shootout, El Kaabi emerged as the hero for Olympiakos.

Stevan Jovetic

With just four minutes remaining, the Moroccan striker found himself perfectly positioned to meet Santiago Hezze’s pinpoint cross. El Kaabi’s header was emphatic, leaving Terracciano with no chance and sending the Olympiakos faithful into raptures. A lengthy VAR check for offside followed, but the goal stood, prompting wild celebrations from the players in red and white.

A Night for Olympiakos to Remember

El Kaabi’s goal, his 33rd of a sensational season, proved enough to secure a historic victory for Olympiakos. It marked their first major European trophy and sparked jubilant scenes across Piraeus, the club’s home city. For Fiorentina, it was a bitter pill to swallow. Two consecutive Europa Conference League final defeats will be difficult to stomach, and Vincenzo Italiano will need to rally his troops for a renewed assault on the competition next season.

For Olympiakos and their manager, José Luis Mendilibar – who secured back-to-back European trophies after guiding Sevilla to Europa League glory last year – this triumph will live long in the memory. As the final whistle blew, the magnitude of their achievement was evident. Olympiakos, the underdogs in the eyes of many, were crowned champions of Europe.

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