Feyenoord falls to AS Roma in Conference League final
Feyenoord fought valiantly but came up just short in their quest to win the UEFA Conference League on Wednesday night in Tirana. AS Roma were the victors by a 1-0 scoreline in Arena Kombëtare, the national stadium in the Albanian capital. A first-half goal from Nicoló Zaniolo was enough to separate the teams.
Feyenoord was playing their first European final since 2002 when they came out victorious against Borussia Dortmund to win the UEFA Cup in Rotterdam.
The first half was a cagey affair, with AS Roma having the better of it and eventually taking the lead. Feyenoord was given an edge after 15 minutes when Henrikh Mkhitaryan, considered one of Roma’s most dangerous players, was forced off with an injury.
Despite this, Roma took the lead 31 minutes into the match. Nicoló Zaniolo punished a mistake by Gernot Trauner by poking the ball past Justin Bijlow into the Feyenoord net. The Rotterdam squad’s only meaningful attempt in the first half was a shot from a distance by Orkun Kokcü, but AS Roma keeper Rui Patricio easily held it.
Feyenoord came out for the second half all guns blazing. They struck AS Roma’s post twice within five minutes of the half beginning. After Gianluca Mancini was saved from an own goal by the woodwork, Tyrell Malacia forced Rui Patrício to push his strong shot onto the post.
However, AS Roma weathered the storm. They may have even been a bit unlucky when Feyenoord’s Marcos Senesi went unpunished for yanking Tammy Abraham back as he was rushing in on goal.
Feyenoord kept plugging away, but struggled to seriously trouble the AS Roma defending at this point. Justin Bijlow made a competent save after a strike by Lorenzo Pellegrini, keeping the Rotterdammers in the game five minutes from time.
Still, it was to no avail as referee Istvan Kovacs blew his whistle after 95 minutes to signal the end and confirm that the first edition of the Conference League trophy was going to Rome.