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Olympiacos 1-0 Fiorentina (aet): El Kaabi wins Greece’s first major European trophy | UEFA Europa Conference League

Ayoub El Kaabi scored a winner deep into extra time as Olympiacos defeated Fiorentina in the 2024 UEFA Europa Conference League final in Athens to claim Greece’s first European senior title.

Key moments

21′ Bonaventura fires directly at Tzolakis
69′ Tzolakis tips away Kouamé’s attempt
80′ Iborra heads a corner just past the post
96′ Terracciano reaches out to deny Jovetić
116′ El Kaabi comes on for Olympiacos

Match in brief: El Kaabi rules

Who else but Ayoub El Kaabi? A thrilling final headed to penalties when the Moroccan, who has taken Europe by storm this season, delivered the decisive moment. Santiago Hezze’s cross was inviting but the 30-year-old still had plenty to do as he stole in front of his marker and drilled home. In the next almost two hours, the man comes.

The first 115 minutes were a frantic battle for supremacy, with an abundance of power that wasn’t always matched by attacking vehicles. However, there were chances at both ends throughout, with the best of the first half both coming from Giacomo Bonaventura. The 34-year-old, scorer in the final defeat of last season for the Viola, could not take advantage.

Konstantinos Tzolakis denies Giacomo Bonaventura

Konstantinos Tzolakis denies Giacomo BonaventuraUEFA via Getty Images

Fiorentina’s lack of potential in front of goal has been a thorn in their side all season and here it dug a little deeper. By the end of the first half they had collected nine attempts on target to Olympiacos’ two; by the 64th minute those figures remained unchanged as the sides canceled each other out.

Both teams showed their hand, but neither went all-in. Christian Kouamé failed to make a real connection when well placed, Vicente Iborra headed a streak wide, but the final drifted to extra time and seemed destined for penalties until El Kaabi struck.

It happened: final of the Conference League

Laufenn Player of the match: Ayoub El Kaabi (Olympiacos)

“He had a very tough task today, but he fought all the way and his goal was well deserved.”
UEFA technical observer panel


UEFA via Getty Images

Reporter’s verdict: Vassiliki Papantonopoulou, Olympiacos

Greece’s first senior European club trophy, making Olympiacos the first team in Europe to simultaneously hold a European trophy at senior and youth level. A goal from El Kaabi, as a penalty shoot-out loomed, decided this cagey affair between two sides with similar characteristics. José Luis Mendilibar has the Midas feeling: come halfway through the season and win a European trophy.

Reporter’s verdict: Fabio Balaudo, Fiorentina

TS Eliot once said that April is the cruelest month, but for Fiorentina it feels like it is May. They came agonizingly close for the second season in a row, but with the trophy almost in their grasp, the Viola’s dreams were shattered. Thanks to Olympiacos and El Kaabi, who won the match with the only half-chance he had in 120 minutes. And who knows? Perhaps next season will be third time lucky for the Italian team.

Response

To follow.

Key statistics

  • El Kaabi finished as the Europa Conference League’s top scorer with eleven goals, despite Olympiacos only advancing to the competition for the knockout stages.
  • Olympiacos claimed Greece’s first UEFA club competition title – Thrylos had never progressed beyond the quarter-finals in Europe, although their U19s did win the UEFA Youth League in April.
  • Greece has become the 18th modern-day country to claim a major UEFA men’s club competition trophy, and the third to lift the Europa Conference League.
  • Mendilibar guided Olympiakos to the Europa Conference League, 12 months after leading Sevilla to UEFA Europa League success. Both times he was appointed in the spring.
  • Fiorentina was the top scorer in the Europa Conference League (25 in 13 games), had the most attempts on goal (268) and won the most corner kicks (93).
  • Eight of the Fiorentina players who started in Athens were also in the starting line-up twelve months ago when the Viola lost to West Ham.

Setups

The starting eleven of Olympiacos

The starting eleven of OlympiacosUEFA via Getty Images

Olympiacos: Tzolakis; Rodinei, Retsos, David Carmo, Ortega (Quini 91); Hezze, Iborra; Podence (Masouras 106), Chiquinho (André Horta 77), Fortounis (Jovetić 73); El Kaabi (El-Arabi 120+2)

Fiorentina: Terrasciano; Dodô, Milenković, Martínez Quarta, Biraghi (Ranieri 106); Arthur (Duncan 74), Mandragora; González (Beltrán 106), Bonaventura (Barák 82), Kouamé (Ikoné 82); Belotti (Nzola 59)

Conference League Honor Roll

2022: Roma (ITA)
2023: West Ham (ENG)
2024: Olympiacos (GRE)

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