European Football

Europa Conference League Preview

Europa Conference League Final Preview

Roma and Feyenoord eye history in Tirana

Roma and Feyenoord go head-to-head on Wednesday for the prize of becoming the inaugural winners of the Europa Conference League.

After impressive semi-final wins over Leicester and Marseille respectively, the pair meet in the Albanian capital, Tirana.

Will Roma finally win a European trophy? Or will Feyenoord add this competition to their continental haul?

Mourinho the man for European finals

His doubters may suggest he's lost his Midas touch but Jose Mourinho's record in European finals is to be commended.

The 59-year-old led Porto to glory in the UEFA Cup in 2003 and Champions League the following year, before winning the latter with Inter Milan in 2010 and then the revamped Europa League in 2017 while in charge of Manchester United.

Mourinho set his side up to hold firm and strike on the break in the latter three of those finals and to great success, keeping a trio of clean sheets in the process.

While the Portuguese has endured a mixed first season back in Serie A, guiding his team to sixth in the final standings, their 1-0 semi-final second-leg win over Leicester will have brought a smile to his face.

After a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium, the Giallorossi went ahead after 11 minutes through Tammy Abraham and then held onto their lead, recording just 36 per cent possession.

Mourinho may be planning something similar at the Arena Komb√ętare, with him likely to take a safety-first approach and back on his team's quality on the break.

Roma to win to nil: 29/10

Feyenoord have firepower

Feyenoord won the European Cup in 1970 and the UEFA Cup in both 1974 and 2002. That's in contrast to Roma who have lost their two previous continental cup finals and while they are the underdogs, the Dutch outfit are not to be underestimated.

De club aan de Maas have the Europa Conference League's top scorer Cyriel Dessers set to lead their line. The Nigerian has netted 10 times in this competition and is ably supported by Luis Sinisterra. The Colombian has scored six times and also provided four assists.

With little doubt that Mourinho will set his side up to defend, it will be intriguing to see how his opposite number Arne Slot approaches the game. Will the 43-year-old let his forwards loose? Or will he opt for a defensive approach akin to the one he adopted on the way to drawing 0-0 in the second leg of their semi-final away in Marseille?

Feyernoord to win: 11/5

Can Abraham come of age?

With a trophy on the line in both clubs' final game of the season, it looks set to be a cagey contest and chances could be at a premium.

The Europa Conference League has been much-derided and undervalued at times in its inaugural season. Still, neither Mourinho nor Slot will be handing the trophy back should they win it.

However, while Feyenoord lost their final game of the Eredivisie season to FC Twente on May 15, Roma concluded their campaign with last Friday's 3-0 win at Torino.

Tammy Abraham netted twice in that match to reach 17 Serie A goals, a record for an Englishman in a single campaign.

The 24-year-old has scored nine times in this competition and his decision to leave Chelsea last summer seems to be paying off.

After years of being in and out of the team, regular football clearly suits the England man and with him starting to fulfil his sizable potential, the stage could be set for him to become a Roma hero.

Tammy Abraham to score: 9/5

Final Tip:

Roma to win + Abraham to score: 19/5

2022-05-25