Another insult for Fiorentina, the Conference League goes to Olympiacos: El Kaabi decides it in the 116th minute


By John

Olympiacos-Fiorentina 1-0 aet
116' ts El Kaabi.
OLYMPIACOS (4-2-3-1): Tzolakis 6; Rodinei 6, Retsos 6, David Carmo 6, Ortega 6 (1'1 ts Quini 6); Hezze 6, Iborra 6; Fortounis 5.5(27'st Jovetic 6), Chiquinho 6 (33'st Horta sv), Podence 6.5(1'2 ts Masouras 6); El Kaabi 7.5 (17'2 ts El-Arabi sv). On the bench: Paschalakis, Papadoudis, Alexandropoulos, Carvalho, Richards, Apostolopoulos, Ntoi. Coach: Mendilibar 7.
FIORENTINA (4-2-3-1): Terracciano 7; Dodo 6, Milenkovic 6.5, Quarta 6, Biraghi 5.5 (1'2 ts Ranieri 5); Arthur 5.5 (29'st Duncan 6), Mandrake 6; Gonzalez 5.5 (1'2 ts Beltran 6), Bonaventura 5.5 (37'st Barak 5), Kouame 5.5 (37'st Ikonè 5.5); Belotti 5.5 (14'st Nzola 5.5). On the bench: Christensen, Faraoni, Kayode, Parisi, M.Lopez, Infantino. Coach: Italian 5.
REFEREE: Dias (Por) 5.5.
NOTE: warm evening, pitch in excellent condition. Spectators: approximately 31 thousand. Booked: Podence, Jovetic, Paschalakis, M.Quarta, Kouame. Corners: 6-5 for Fiorentina. Recovery: 1'; 7'; 0'; 5'.

Almost a year after the Prague defeat against West Ham, Fiorentina falls again in the Conference League final, this time in Athens at the hands of the hosts Olympiacos. They did so by losing 1-0 in extra time with the 116th minute goal scored by El Kaabi, which condemned Vincenzo Italiano's Viola to a second bitter consecutive defeat in the last act of the “smallest” of the three European competitions.
On the other hand, the Greeks led by the Spaniard Jose Luis Mendilibar are having a great celebration, which confirms itself as the bête noire of the Italians after last year's Europa League triumph with Sevilla against Roma. The first real outburst of the match came from the red and whites who immediately became dangerous in the 4th minute with Podence, who was good at focusing on the right and exploding a shot from the edge which involved Terracciano in the deflection for a corner. The Viola responded immediately, first with an imprecise shot from Belotti, then with a goal disallowed due to an offside by Milenkovic on Biraghi's low cross.
Close to the halfway point, Bonaventura also had a double great opportunity, but Tzolakis was ready in both situations. A little later the Greeks also show up again with Podence, this time with a header from a corner carefully blocked by the Tuscan goalkeeper. In the second half, Fiorentina once again played the game better, despite creating fewer dangers near the opponent's area: the first scoring opportunity of the second half arrived in the 69th minute, when Kouame chewed a right-footed shot from an excellent position after a touch from Dodo, who was denied anyway. corner kick from Tzolakis who doesn't let himself be surprised by the poisonous trajectory.
Olympiakos, on the other hand, finds it more difficult to formulate in the offensive phase, so they try to exploit dead ball situations: from one of these, in the 80th minute, the red and whites come close to taking the lead with a header from Iborra who he touches the post from Horta's cross. In the final 90 minutes of regulation little else happens, so we continue with extra time. The Viola seem to be feeling a bit tired and tense, leaving more freedom to maneuver to Mendilibar's men who knock with the great former Jovetic: the Montenegrin tries with a right-footed shot from outside which is rejected once again by Terracciano.
In the second extra time, the first chance goes to Ikone in the 110th minute (left-footed save), then in the 116th minute the decisive shot brings the signature of El Kaabi, who scores his eleventh goal of the tournament, leading Olympiakos to triumph with a shot diving header from Hezze's cross. VAR confirms the goal after two minutes of bated breath.