Zaniolo Fires Mourinho’s Roma To Conference League Triumph 

Roma’s players celebrate after winning the UEFA Europa Conference League final football match between AS Roma and Feyenoord at the Air Albania Stadium in Tirana on May 25, 2022. OZAN KOSE / AFP


Nicolo Zaniolo won Roma their first-ever major European trophy on Wednesday with the only goal in a 1-0 win over Feyenoord in the inaugural Europa Conference League final.

Italy international Zaniolo struck with a well-taken finish in the 32nd minute to earn Roma their first trophy of any kind since 2008 and cap a successful first season for coach Jose Mourinho in Rome.

Mourinho was moved to tears by his fifth continental cup as a coach, the first for an Italian team since he led Inter Milan to the Champions League 12 years ago.

“It was a real struggle but I’m really happy,” Zaniolo said to Sky.  “It was my dream and now I’ve done it.”

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Roma’s Italian midfielder and captain Lorenzo Pellegrini kisses the trophy as Roma’s players celebrate after winning the UEFA Europa Conference League final football match between AS Roma and Feyenoord at the Air Albania Stadium in Tirana on May 25, 2022. OZAN KOSE / AFP


Roma, Fairs Cup winners in 1961, rode their luck with Feyenoord having the lion’s share of the play and twice striking the woodwork in the second half.

But they remained solid in the face of Dutch dominance and brought joy to one of Europe’s most passionate and success-starved fan bases.

Over 50,000 fans packed the Stadio Olimpico in the Italian capital to watch their team make a little piece of history in Albania and poured onto the pitch once the trophy was secured.

Meanwhile, the small corner of supporters allowed into Tirana’s National Stadium roared with delight once referee Istvan Kovacs blew his whistle to end their team’s trophy drought.

“We know that after these amazing victories it’s always difficult to start again but a real team wins, celebrates, and then gets going again,” said Rome-born captain Lorenzo Pellegrini.

Roma’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho celebrates with the trophy after his team won the UEFA Europa Conference League final football match between AS Roma and Feyenoord at the Air Albania Stadium in Tirana on May 25, 2022. OZAN KOSE / AFP


For 1970 European champions Feyenoord it was their first-ever defeat in a European final as well as being the first loss in the competition for Arne Slot’s team.

Zaniolo broke the deadlock with the only real moment of magic in what was a tight, scrappy opening half.

He expertly brought down Gianluca Mancini’s ball over the top that just escaped Gernot Trauner before flicking a finish past the onrushing Justin Bijlow.

The goal made Zaniolo the first Italian to score in a European final since Filippo Inzaghi in 2007 as well as a confirmed hero for Roma fans.

Feyenoord had dominated the ball, creating nothing of interest, but that changed almost immediately after the restart.

Trauner diverted a low cross off the post and seconds later Rui Patricio made his first real save of the match, the Portuguese reacting well to push Guus Til’s shot away.

And the 34-year-old was called into action again four minutes after the break, flinging himself to his left to just tip Tyrell Malacia’s rocket of a shot onto the woodwork.

Almost straight after Tammy Abraham had his hands in the air in disbelief when he was pulled back by Marcos Senesi just as he was charging through on goal, but Feyenoord were clearly on top.

The Dutch side continued to push but a spirited defensive display typical of Mourinho’s teams held them off and handed Roma a rare moment of glory.


Feyenoord Fans Celebrate First Eredivisie Title Since 1999

Feyenoord won the Dutch league title on Sunday after veteran striker Dirk Kuyt scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 home win over Heracles Almelo that left them one point clear of arch-rivals Ajax Amsterdam.

Kuyt, the club’s 36-year-old captain, scored after 40 seconds to set the Rotterdam side on their way to the win they needed for a first title in 18 years.

It was Feyenoord’s 15th Dutch title, following their last success in 1999.

Feyenoord, coached by former Arsenal and Barcelona player Giovanni van Bronckhorst, had a chance to secure the Eredivisie title last week but were surprisingly beaten 3-0 by neighbours Excelsior Rotterdam in a nervy performance.

Yet any apprehension their supporters might have had on the final day of the regular league season evaporated right from the start as Kuyt took advantage of a defensive slip to hammer home from a tight angle at close range with his right foot.

It was his 100th goal for the club and was followed within eleven minutes by a towering header as he connected with Eljero Elia’s cross.

He might have secured his hat-trick just before half-time with a shot that went narrowly wide, but another chance to grab a third came seven minutes from the end when Feyenoord were awarded a penalty.

Kuyt made no mistake before Peter van Ooijen pulled one back for the visitors two minutes from the end.

Feyenoord’s win moved them up to 82 points, one ahead of Ajax, who concluded their domestic campaign with a 3-1 away victory over Willem II Tilburg.

Europa League: Manchester United Thrash Feyenoord 4-0

Europa League: Manchester United Thrash Feyenoord 4-0 with Wayne RooneyManchester United remained in control of their Europa League destiny with one group game to play as Wayne Rooney made history in a dominant 4-0 win over Feyenoord at Old Trafford.

The captain, returning to the starting line-up, became United’s all-time leading scorer in Europe on 39 goals with a composed finish to give the Reds a deserved 1-0 lead at the break.

In the second half, Juan Mata slid home his fifth goal of the season to double the lead before Zlatan Ibrahimovic laid on the third strike of the night as his cross was diverted into his own net by Feyenoord’s goalkeeper Brad Jones.

Substitute Jesse Lingard capped off a stunning move with a curling shot in stoppage time, as Jose Mourinho’s men ran out comfortable winners following a fine all-round display.

It means the Reds, who can still top the group, will book a place in the last 32 of the competition with a point away to Zorya Luhansk in the final Group A match on December 8.

Mourinho named a strong team despite making six changes from Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal as Henrikh Mkhitaryan made only his second United start and Sergio Romero replaced the rested David De Gea in goal.

After Fenerbahce’s 2-0 win over Zorya Luhansk earlier in the evening, United kicked off knowing that a defeat would lead to elimination from this season’s competition while a win would almost be enough to go through.

Manchester United Risk Europa Exit After Fenerbahce Defeat

Fenerbahce, Europa League, Manchester UnitedEnglish side, Manchester United are close to elimination from the Europa League after losing 1-2 to Fenerbahce.

Moussa Sow’s 65th second goal was the opener as Jose Mourinho’s side travelled to Turkey on Thursday night.

The visitors dominated possession but saw world record signing Paul Pogba go off with a leg injury in the first half.

Jeremain Lens also curled in a brilliant free-kick in the second half as the Red Devils struggled harder to get a goal.

Their effort later turned to celebration as Wayne Rooney smashed in a 25-yard consolation goal in less than two minutes to the end of the game.

Manchester United are now third in Group A with one point behind leaders Feyenoord and Fenerbahce.

They have two games left against the Dutch side at Old Trafford and away to Ukraine’s Zorya Luhansk.

Mourinho Tasks Manchester United To Impress In Feyenoord Clash

Mourinho, Manchester United, FeyenoordManchester United Coach, Jose Mourinho, has directed his squad to impress against Feyenoord in Thursday’s Europa League tie.

The club website said the Portuguese made the call after he proposed he would make changes for the clash.

Ten of the 20-man squad could register their first starts of the season in Rotterdam and the manager has challenged the fringe men to stake their claims.

“With all the years I have as a manager, I know only one way to select players which is performance.

“Perform and you play, it is as simple as that.

“Now some of the boys can really compete for the positions because when they are on the pitch, they can show how good they are,” Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference.

Mourinho has rested Red Devils captain, Wayne Rooney, saying he had played every game since the start of the season.

Cristiano Ronaldo Sets New All-Time UEFA Scoring Record

Christiano RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo has set a new all-time record goal total in UEFA club competition with his 77th and 78th strikes on Tuesday.

Ronaldo headed in Real Madrid CF’s 25th-minute equaliser against FC Schalke 04 in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg to draw level with Raúl González, who had topped the pile since surpassing Filippo Inzaghi in October 2010.

Ronaldo then added his second of the night – another equaliser – on the stroke of half-time to make it eight goals for the current campaign and eclipse the Spaniard.

It was also his 75th strike in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final, taking him level with Lionel Messi as the elite competition’s joint-top scorer.

The last of former Madrid ace Raúl’s European goals came for Schalke in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.

UEFA club competition top scorers

78: Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Clube de Portugal, Manchester United FC, Real Madrid CF)

77: Raúl González (Real Madrid, FC Schalke 04)

76: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

70: Filippo Inzaghi (Parma FC, Juventus, AC Milan)

67: Andriy Shevchenko (FC Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea FC)

62: Gerd Müller (FC Bayern München)

62: Ruud van Nistelrooy (sc Heerenveen, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United FC, Real Madrid CF, Hamburger SV)

59: Thierry Henry (AS Monaco FC, Arsenal FC, FC Barcelona)

59: Henrik Larsson (Feyenoord, Celtic FC, FC Barcelona, Helsingborgs IF)

56: Eusébio (SL Benfica)

UEFA Champions League top scorers (group stage to final)

75 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

75 Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC/Real Madrid CF)

71 Raúl González (Real Madrid CF/FC Schalke 04)

56 Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV Eindhoven/Manchester United FC/Real Madrid CF)

50 Thierry Henry (AS Monaco FC/Arsenal FC/FC Barcelona)

Van Persie refuses to sign new Arsenal deal

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has announced that he will not be signing a new deal at the club.

The 28-year-old, who has a year left on his current contract, confirmed that he had met with manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

But he revealed that they disagree on the way the club should move forward.

“I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract,” the Dutchman wrote on his personal website.

The striker had previously kept quiet over his future and refused to commit to a decision until Wednesday.

The Dutchman, who joined Arsenal from Feyenoord in 2004, added: “I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC.

“Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last eight years.

“As soon as Mr Gazidis is back from his two-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments.”

Van Persie ended last season as the English Premier League’s top scorer with 30 goals, helping the Gunners to a third-placed finish.

Reigning champions Manchester City have been linked with a move for the prolific frontman, while European heavyweights Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus are all thought to be interested.

Manager Arsene Wenger stated the importance of keeping Van Persie at the club earlier this month but the 28-year-old Dutchman has decided against prolonging his deal.