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Olympiakos FC vs Fiorentina. UEFA Europa Conference League Final.

OPAP ArenaAttendance26,842.

Olympiakos FC 1

  • A El Kaabi (116th minute)

Fiorentina 0

    Olympiakos 1-0 Fiorentina: Ayoub El Kaabi scores winner in extra-time to secure Europa Conference League title

    Match report as Olympiakos become the first Greek side to win a European club competition; Ayoub El Kaabi scores the only goal to defeat Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final in Athens

    Olympiakos' Kostas Fortounis lifts the trophy
    Image: Olympiakos' Kostas Fortounis lifts the trophy

    Olympiakos beat Fiorentina 1-0 after extra-time in the Europa Conference League final on Wednesday to win the club's first major European trophy at the home of their domestic rivals AEK Athens.

    In a match that was high on intensity and physicality but low on quality in front of goal, neither side could find the net in the regulation 90 minutes before Ayoub El Kaabi netted the winner in the 116th minute.

    With the game seemingly headed to a penalty shootout, El Kaabi got in front of his marker to bundle in Santiago Hezze's cross but the players and fans had a long, nervous wait for VAR to check for offside before the goal was awarded.

    The result marked a second consecutive defeat in the Europa Conference League final for Fiorentina, who had reached this season's summit clash without losing a single game.

    "I am very happy that we achieved something that the club had not achieved before. We will celebrate, we will cheer and then we will get back to work for what comes next," Olympiakos head coach Jose Luis Mendilibar said.

    Player ratings

    Olympiakos: Tzolakis (7), Rodinei (7), Retsos (6), Carmo (8), Ortega (6), Hezze (7), Iborra (7), Daniel Podence (7), Chiquinho (6), Fortounis (5), El Kaabi (7).

    Subs: Andre Horta (7), El Arabi (n/a), Quini (6), Masouras (n/a), Jovetic (6).

    Fiorentina: Terracciano (6), Dodo (7), Milenkovic (7), Martinez (6), Biraghi (6), Arthur (5), Mandragora (6), Gonzalez (5), Bonaventura (5), Kouame (6), Belotti (5).

    Subs: Beltran (6), Ikone (5), Ranieri (n/a), Nzola (6), Duncan (6), Barak (6).

    Man of the match: David Carmo.

    How Olympiakos made history in Athens

    Piraeus is going to party like it never has before. It is quite a stunning achievement for a side who were on their third head coach earlier this season.

    Fiorentina had not been so lucky earlier in the game. The Italians thought they had broken the deadlock with just 10 minutes on the clock when defender Nikola Milenkovic turned home only for it to be ruled out for offside.

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    Nicolas Gonzalez miscued when presented with a fine chance for Fiorentina towards the end of a tight first half that unsurprisingly ended goalless.

    Ayoub El Kaabi scored the only goal for Olympiakos
    Image: El Kaabi became the first player to score 11 goals in the knockout rounds of major European competition in a single campaign since the addition of group stages

    With little goalmouth action to speak of it was the Serie A side who were carving out more opportunities, but Christian Kouame was the next player to fluff his lines when in a good position.

    Olympiakos stood firm and starting carving out chances of their own but Vicente Iborra could only glance a header wide as the Europa Conference League final went to an extra period for the first time.

    Substitute Stevan Jovetic, a former Fiorentina forward, forced a smart save out of Pietro Terracciano but the moment of individual quality needed to settle the tie was moments away.

    A memorable season for El Kaabi - who scored five times across the semi-final win over Aston Villa - was topped off with his 33rd goal of the campaign, prompting wild celebrations just down the road in Piraeus as he stooped to head home Santiago Hezze's cross.

    As players from both sides dropped to their knees, a long VAR check eventually sided with Olympiakos who then saw out the closing stages as Mendilibar - the club's third boss of the season - secured back to back European trophies after guiding Sevilla to Europa League glory last year.

    Marathon man Mendilibar achieves sporting immortality

    Jose Luis Mendilibar has won two European titles in a row
    Image: Jose Luis Mendilibar has won two European titles in a row

    Sky Sports' Ben Grounds:

    Jose Luis Mendilibar is the man you call upon when you want to win a trophy, or so it would appear.

    Olympiakos were onto their third manager of the season when he took charge in February.

    Diego Martinez was dismissed after just five months at the helm while Carlos Carvalhal lasted just 11 games.

    Rodinei celebrates at the end of the Conference League final
    Image: Rodinei celebrates at the end of the Conference League final

    But Mendilibar, who led Sevilla to Europa League glory last season after only being in charge for a matter of months, is the miracle worker and a God now in Athens.

    Fiorentina wilted under the pressure again, twelve months on from Jarrod Bowen's hammer blow.

    In this early summer of heightened sensitivity around managerial turnover, Mendilibar should be revered. He beat Jose Mourinho last season in a Europa League final.

    He saw off serial winner Unai Emery en route to this final, too. Such resilience in this Olympiakos side, who overturned a 4-1 home defeat by Maccabi Tel Aviv in the last 16 and then saw off Fenerbahce in the quarter-finals - on penalties in Istanbul - to set up the decisive meeting with Villa.

    Olympiakos become the first Greek side to win a major European club competition
    Image: Olympiakos become the first Greek side to win a major European club competition

    "Along the way, we've crossed the whole of Europe, playing against a lot of opponents," said Mendilibar on the eve of this game.

    "I think we could call it a marathon, and now we've reached the end."

    Mendilibar is the marathon man whose dreams of sporting immortality in Greece have been realised.

    Marinakis eyes more silverware

    Olympiakos won their first major European trophy
    Image: Olympiakos won their first major European trophy

    Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis has set his sights on more silverware after the club's "crazy dream" became reality with victory over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final.

    "We are very happy and proud," Marinakis, who also owns Nottingham Forest, said in quotes reported by daily newspaper Ethnos.

    "The people of Olympiakos have been singing about a crazy dream for 99 years. Today is not a crazy dream, it is reality, here in Greece.

    "These are moments of emotion and great joy. We continue not only to dream, but also to soar high. We're moving on. Here we go, the Europa League could be next."

    Olympiakos' Ayoub El Kaabi scores the only goal
    Image: Ayoub El Kaabi's strike for Olympiakos (115:16) was the latest winning goal in a major European final since Diego Forlán's goal for Atlético de Madrid against Fulham in May 2010 in the UEFA Europa League final (115:36

    Marinakis insisted he had been "sure" Olympiakos would get the better of Fiorentina in the final, adding: "What I told the captains, the coach and my colleagues was that we should all concentrate and not think about anything else, only the victory.

    "If you focus and want it bad enough, you will achieve it. We would never lose today, especially in Greece. I was sure, I broadcast it to everyone and you saw the result.

    "We have made a start, I am sure that in the coming years other Greek teams will achieve it as well. The next dream is a Europa League."

    Olympiacos players celebrate their victory
    Image: Olympiakos players celebrate their victory

    Olympiakos midfielder Chiquinho struggled to sum up the size of the club's achievement.

    "It's difficult to put into words," he said on Sky Sports News. "For the players, for the fans, for the club, it's history. We did it. We are so happy to make history for this club and to make our fans proud."

    Substitute Stevan Jovetic, a former Fiorentina forward, admitted he had mixed emotions after the game as the Italian side suffered a second straight defeat in the final of the competition.

    "I had to put all my emotions aside, to concentrate to do well, to win, and then after the game straight away I went to them (Fiorentina players) and congratulated them for the game," Jovetic said.

    "It's a third final in two years they are losing [they were runners-up in the Coppa Italia in 2023] so it's not easy, I know, but I wish them all the best and I hope they will win next season."

    Opta stats - Fiorentina's unwanted record

    Fiorentina players react disappointed at full time
    Image: Fiorentina players react disappointed at full-time
    • Olympiakos have won their first ever major European trophy, also becoming the first ever Greek side to be victorious in such competition.
    • Having also lost last season's UEFA Conference League final to West Ham, Fiorentina have become the first side to lose consecutive major European finals since Benfica in 2012-13 and 2013-14, with both finals coming in the UEFA Europa League.
    • Olympiakos' Ayoub El Kaabi is the leading goalscorer across major European competition this season with 14 goals, only five players have ever scored more in a single season, while he's the first non-European player to net 14+ goals since Lionel Messi in 2011-12 (14).
    • Fiorentina have now lost five of their six finals in major European competition; only Juventus (10) have lost more among Italian teams.
    • Olympiakos have become the first side to win a major European competition in their home country since Feyenoord beat Dortmund 3-2 in the UEFA Cup final in Rotterdam in 2002.

    What's next?

    Fiorentina still have one remaining Serie A fixture this weekend when they visit Atalanta on Sunday; kick-off 5pm.

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