Olympiakos 1-0 Fiorentina: Europa Conference League final – as it happened | Europa Conference League

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Congratulations to Olympiakos! Commiserations to Fiorentina, meanwhile, and thanks to you for reading this MBM. Nighty night.

Olympiakos line up for their prize. Gold medals are draped around their necks. Then Kostas Fortounis is handed the famous old trophy. Up into the night air it goes, bang go the glitter bombs, and Olympiacos of Piraeus begin their celebrations. It’s going to be a long night in Athens and surrounding areas!

Kostas Fortounis lifts the trophy high as he and his teammates celebrates Olympiacos’ Europa Conference League triumph over Fiorentina. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Now it’s time for Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis to lift the trophy. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/Reuters

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The trophy presentation. The cup is popped on its plinth. Olympiakos form a guard of honour and thank the officials for their work. Then come the defeated Fiorentina, led by their captain Cristiano Biraghi, and receive their silver medals for the second year in a row.

Some admin ahead of next season. This result means Olympiakos will play in the Europa League next season. It also means Fiorentina will have a chance to make it third time lucky in the Conference League … and puts an end to Torino’s dream of playing in the competition next season. (They’d have crept in as Italy’s ninth team in Europe had Fiorentina won.)

It’s not been a bad year for Ayoub El Kaabi either. The 30-year-old Moroccan had never played in Uefa competition before this campaign; he’s ended it as top scorer with 11 goals including the winner in the final. Now he’s part of the Olympiakos legend for ever.

What a year for Olympiakos boss Jose Luis Mendilibar, who won last season’s Europa League with Sevilla. Tonight’s victory means he becomes only the second manager in history to win a European trophy with different clubs in successive seasons, after Rafael Benítez, who won the Uefa Cup with Valencia in 2004 and the Champions League with Liverpool a year later.

Stevan Jovetić, formerly of Fiorentina but now of Olympiakos, speaks to TNT. “It is amazing … I’m really proud … I think we did great all year … I want to just compliment Fiorentina … two years in a row … shame for them … an amazing team … I wish them all the best.”

It wasn’t a classic. It was far from a classic. But when it came down to it, Olympiakos had Ayoub El Kaabi, and Fiorentina did not. The Moroccan made a cute run before converting Santiago Hezze’s inswinger with a deft header, leaving Fiorentina to rue missing a series of decent chances, none of which were finished with a confident connection. The small margins, and it’s Olympiakos who cavort on the pitch of their city rivals AEK, while the Viola crumple in tears having suffered a fatal blow late in the final for the second year running. Yep, the small margins.

Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/Reuters
Olympiacos players and staff celebrate after winning the Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
Whilst there’s dejection for Nicolas Gonzalez and his Fiorentina teammates. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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EXTRA TIME, FULL TIME: Olympiakos 1-0 Fiorentina

Ayoub El Kaabi’s late, late, late goal means Olympiakos become the first Greek club to win a major European title!


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ET 30 min +4: Fiorentina are 60 seconds away from falling at the final hurdle of the Conference League for a second season in a row. Heartbreak ahoy – again – for the Viola. Olympiakos are 60 seconds away from history!

ET 30 min +3: Nobody will be taking anything for granted yet. But the Olympiakos bench take turns to embrace El Kaabi anyway. The fans in the stand giving it plenty as well.

ET 30 min +2: El-Arabi comes on for the goalscorer El Kaabi.

ET 30 min +1: The first of five minutes for Fiorentina to save themselves. Ikone finds some space just inside the Olympiakos box on the right. He opens his body only to see his shot blocked. Fiorentina have had their chances tonight. They’ve not connected properly with a single one.

ET 30 min: A huge roar as the goal stands! Olympiakos are on the brink of becoming the first Greek team to win a major European club competition!

Stevan Jovetic, Giorgos Masouras and Rodinei of Olympiacos celebrate as referee Artur Soares Dias confirms El Kaabi’s goal stands following a VAR review. Photograph: François Nel/Getty Images

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ET 29 min: Oh man, this is so close. El Kaabi is down on his haunches as he awaits the verdict. Was he marginally off just before he nipped in ahead of Martinez Quarta?

ET 28 min: El Kaabi is booked for whipping his shirt off in celebration. But will the goal stand? There’s a lengthy look by VAR for offside!

You can’t do that El Kaabi, no matter how happy you are. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

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GOAL! Olympiakos 1-0 Fiorentina (El Kaabi 116)

Space and time for Hezze out on the right. Too much space. Too much time. Hezze curls in towards El Kaabi on the left-hand edge of the six-yard box. El Kaabi stoops and guides a header across Terracciano and into the bottom left! El Kaabi’s 11th of the competition and it could be the most precious of all!

Olympiacos’ Ayoub El Kaabi glances a header past Fiorentina’s keeper Pietro Terracciano to open the scoring. Photograph: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters
El Kaabi celebrates his goal as his teammates rush to join in the celebrations. Photograph: Louiza Vradi/Reuters
Joy for the Olympiacos players and fans. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/Reuters

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ET 24 min: Dodo heads the free kick clear, bringing that passage of back-and-forth play to an end.

ET 23 min: … a move which ends when Dodo is rather harshly judged to have skittled Jovetic out on the left flank. A chance for the Greek side to load the box. André Horta to take.

ET 22 min: An aimless punt upfield by Fiorentina. Tzolakis comes to the edge of his box to collect, but Quini panics and slices high, backwards and out for a corner. Fortunately for the sub, his keeper deals with the set piece, and Olympiakos counter …

ET 20 min: … and now Ikone does get an effort on target, scuffing a cross from the left towards the bottom right from six yards. Any decent connection and Tzolakis was in all sorts, but the keeper’s able to parry clear.

Olympiacos’ keeper Konstantinos Tzolakis earns his corn. Photograph: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters

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ET 19 min: … and to that end, Barak slips Ikone into space just inside the Olympiakos box on the right. Ikone hesitates and the chance to shoot is gone.

ET 17 min: On TNT Sports, pundit James Horncastle suggests that Fiorentina will be the more desirous of getting this settled in extra time, because they’ve missed so many big penalties this season.

Olympiakos get the second period of extra time underway. Fiorentina have made a double change, replacing Cristiano Biraghi and Nicolas Gonzalez with Lucas Beltrán and Luca Ranieri, while Olympiakos have swapped out Daniel Podence for Giorgos Masouras

EXTRA TIME, HALF TIME: Olympiakos 0-0 Fiorentina

The wait for a goal goes on.

This is the scene in Piraeus during the match, just imagine what it’ll be like if they win! Photograph: Orestis Panagiotou/EPA

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ET 14 min: André Horta spins into a little space down the left before finding El Kaabi in the box. Milenković sticks to El Kaabi’s shoulder, ensuring the striker can’t get a shot away at the expense of a corner. Terracciano plucks the set piece from the sky.

ET 12 min: Nzola probes down the right but can’t find anyone in the middle with his low cross. Meanwhile here’s Antony T on the beaten semi-finalists: “Any Club Brugge fans feeling a little annoyed right now? I know this Villa fan is.”

ET 10 min: Biraghi is booked for a cynical check on Rodinei. The resulting free kick, sent in from the right, is helped over the bar by El Kaabi.

ET 8 min: Thing about that aforementioned penalty claim was, Olympiakos had a decent shout. Jovetic’s cross from the left certainly hit the arm of Martínez Quarta. It was from close range, and Martínez Quarta’s arm wasn’t far from his body … but both distances were ambiguous enough to make a claim. Not clear and obvious, in the final analysis. But Fiorentina might not have had VAR on their side had it been awarded.

ET 6 min: Jovetic cuts across the edge of the Fiorentina D, left to right, before arrowing a low drive towards the bottom right. Terracciano tips around the post and nothing comes of the resulting corner.

Olympiacos’ Stevan Jovetic fires off a shot. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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ET 4 min: Jovetic is booked for claiming for a penalty in an overly enthusiastic manner. Podence then nearly talks himself into a second yellow. Finally the substitute keeper Paschalakis is booked for having his say from the bench.

ET 3 min: El Kaabi chases a speculative ball down the right but can’t do anything with it.

ET 2 min: Fiorentina start extra time on the front foot. The Greek side yet to get much of a sniff.

Fiorentina get the first half of extra time underway. Olympiakos have replaced Francisco Ortega with Quini.

FULL TIME: Olympiakos 0-0 Fiorentina

11 min: It’s been a great start to this match. Both teams could easily have scored already. This surely won’t end goalless.

So yeah, sorry about tempting the football gods like that.

90 min +6: A free kick for Olympiakos on the halfway line. Andre Horta launches it long. Terracciano plucks it from the sky on the edge of his box.

90 min +5: Nzola robs David Carmo down the right flank but takes a heavy touch upon entering the Olympiakos box and the Greek side clear their lines.

90 min +4: Both teams clearly frightened of making that fatal mistake. Most of the fans worried about witnessing one as well. The AEK Arena is so quiet, the tension palpable.

90 min +3: Gonzalez crosses from the left. He’s got folk to find in the middle, but sends the ball far too closely to Tzolakis, who claims.

90 min +1: A long punt towards the Fiorentina box. El Kaabi heads down, onto Martínez Quarta’s arm. He wants a penalty but he’s never getting one.

90 min: There will be seven additional minutes.

89 min: Duncan cuts in from the right and lashes wildly over from the best part of 30 yards.

88 min: It’s very scrappy. Still time for a football match to break out. “Re: 73 min. That’s gracious of Jovetic. I’m sure Fiorentina fans have also promised to not celebrate if he scores.” Yep, Peter Oh. Here all week. Try the dolmades.

86 min: Rodinei is sent into acres of space down the right by Podence’s cute flick, but blooters his cross over everyone’s head in the centre. Thirty minutes of extra time edge ever closer.

85 min: Dodo comes flying into Jovetic, who was about to step away from him on the left flank. Just a free kick, no booking. André Horta swings it in and El Kaabi flashes a header wide right. Olympiakos are getting closer and closer during these late exchanges.

Olympiacos’ Ayoub El Kaabi heads wide of the target. Photograph: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters

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83 min: A double roll of the dice by Fiorentina, as Bonaventura and Kouame are replaced by Barak and Ikone.

81 min: Fiorentina send a corner in from the right. A scramble. A whistle. Beginning to feel like extra time is an inevitability.

80 min: André Horta curls the free kick into the mixer. Iborra eyebrows a header towards the top left. Just wide. Had that been on target, the desperately stretching Terracciano was beaten all ends up.

Olympiacos’ Vicente Iborra rises highest and directs a header goalwards … Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
But it floats the wrong side of the upright. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images
Which Iborra isn’t pleased about. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

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79 min: Rodinei dribbles down the right touchline and is agriculturally upended by Kouame, who goes into the book as a result. A free kick and a chance for Olympiakos to load the box.

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