UEFA’s newly-instated club football trophy is up for grabs. Both AS Roma and Feyenoord have defied all odds to reach this stage and are set to face off in the final at the Arena Kombëtare in Tirana, Albania on Wednesday for the UEFA Europa Conference League Final.
Roma are coming into this game off the back of a 2-1 aggregate victory over Leicester City in the Semi-final. In the first leg, Roma drew 1-1 against the Foxes at the King Power Stadium, where Lorenzo Pellegrini was the star and the goal-scorer for them. They emerged victorious in the second leg by a score of 1-0, in which Lorenzo Pellegrini again played a crucial part by assisting Tammy Abraham. Roma were placed in Group C of the UEFA Europa Conference League alongside Bodø/Glimt, Zorya Luhansk and CSKA Sofia. They finished first in the group, earning 13 points from four wins, one draw and a defeat.
As far as Roma’s domestic league campaign is concerned, José Mourinho’s first season with Roma has yielded slightly better returns than last season, with the Giallorossi having ended the season in sixth place (one better than last season) in the Serie A with 63 points (one more than last season), clinching a spot in next season’s UEFA Europa League. They finished the league campaign on a high note by winning 3-0 against Torino, a brace from Tammy Abraham and a goal from Lorenzo Pellegrini concluding their domestic campaign.
Feyenoord, on the other hand, are coming into this game off the back of a 3-2 aggregate victory over Marseille in the Semi-final. Playing the first leg at home, Feyenoord won by a score of 3-2, with Cyriel Dessers scoring a brace for them. In the second leg, they drew 0-0 away from home against Marseille. Feyenoord were placed in Group E of the UECL alongside Slavia Prague, Union Berlin and Maccabi Haifa. They finished top of the table with 14 points from four wins and two draws.
In the Eredivisie, Feyenoord finished third with 71 points, confirming for themselves at least a spot in next season’s Europa League qualifiers. They played their last league game against Twente and were at the receiving end of a defeat.
Run of Form (last five matches): Roma: W-D-L-W-D | Feyenoord: L-W-D-D-W
José Mourinho is on the hunt for his fifth European title. Teary-eyed and full of emotions at the end of their semi-final win against Leicester, Mourinho showed how much winning the tournament would mean to him. It is also to be noted that he hasn’t lifted a trophy since 2017, when he won the Europa League with Manchester United.
Roma themselves have been without silverware since 2008. They’ll be hoping that their star players Tammy Abraham, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nicolò Zaniolo show up and take them all the way.
Feyenoord, on the other hand, under the leadership of Arne Slot, who is also in his first season with the club, have done exceedingly well. Finishing third in the Eredivisie and reaching a European final could already be considered over-achievement by Feyenoord and Arne Slot. Luis Sinisterra and Jens Toornstra have played a major part in their performances. Their exciting young left-back Tyrell Malacia is also a key player to watch out for.
As far as injuries are concerned, Roma’s Henrikh Mkhitriyan is doubtful to play the whole ninety minutes. Feyenoord’s first-choice keeper Justin Bijlow is also a major doubt.
Roma and Feyenoord have played against each other twice, with Roma having won one match with the other one ending in a draw. In the previous game that the two played against each other in 2015, Roma won the game by beating a nine-man Feyenoord 2-0.
István Kovács (Romania) will referee the inaugural 2022 UEFA Europa Conference League Final. He will be joined by his compatriots Vasile Florin Marinescu and Mihai-Ovidiu Artene. The fourth official, Sandro Schärer, is from Switzerland. The role of the video assistant referee (VAR) has been assigned to Marco Fritz (Germany), who will be aided by fellow countrymen Christian Dingert and Bastian Dankert.
Both teams have had roller-coaster rides on their way to the final. Both teams are formidable outfits filled with intent and hunger for triumph. The entire footballing world eagerly awaits the 2022 UEFA Europa Conference League Final for a thrilling fight between the two teams.