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Olympiacos 1-0 Fiorentina (aet): El Kaabi swoops to secure Greece's first major European trophy

Ayoub El Kaabi was once again the hero with a poacher's finish deep into extra time as Olympiacos edged the 2024 UEFA Europa Conference League final in Athens.

Highlights: Olympiacos 1-0 Fiorentina (AET)

Ayoub El Kaabi struck a winner deep into extra time as Olympiacos edged out Fiorentina in the 2024 UEFA Europa Conference League final in Athens to claim Greece's first senior men's European title.

Key moments

21' Bonaventura fires straight at Tzolakis
69' Tzolakis tips away effort from Kouamé
80' Iborra heads corner just past the post
96' Terracciano stretches to deny Jovetić
116' El Kaabi swoops in for Olympiacos

Match in brief: El Kaabi reigns

Who else but Ayoub El Kaabi? A tense final was heading to penalties when the Moroccan, who has taken Europe by storm this season, provided the decisive moment. Santiago Hezze's whipped cross was inviting, but the 30-year-old still had plenty to do as he stole in front of his marker and forced in. Cometh the nearly two hours, cometh the man.

The first 115 minutes were a frenetic wrestle for supremacy, with a surfeit of graft not always matched by attacking craft. There were chances at both ends throughout, though, with the best of the first half both falling to Giacomo Bonaventura. The 34-year-old, a scorer in last season's final defeat for the Viola, could not take advantage.

Konstantinos Tzolakis denies Giacomo Bonaventura
Konstantinos Tzolakis denies Giacomo BonaventuraUEFA via Getty Images

Fiorentina's lack of potency in front of goal has been a thorn in their side all season and here it dug in a little deeper. By the end of the first half they had mustered nine attempts on goal to Olympiacos's two; by the 64th minute those tallies remained unchanged as the sides cancelled each other out.

Both teams were showing their hand but neither were going all in. Christian Kouamé failed to make true connection when well placed, Vicente Iborra powered a header a whisker wide but the final drifted to extra time and looked destined for spot kicks until El Kaabi pounced.

As it happened: Conference League final

Laufenn Player of the Match: Ayoub El Kaabi (Olympiacos)

"He had very hard job today but he fought throughout and his goal was well deserved."
UEFA Technical Observer Panel

UEFA via Getty Images

Reporter verdict: Vassiliki Papantonopoulou, Olympiacos

Greece's first senior European club trophy, and with it Olympiacos become the first side in Europe to simultaneously hold a European trophy at senior and youth level. A goal by El Kaabi, as a penalty shoot-out loomed, decided this cagey affair between two sides of similar characteristics. José Luis Mendilibar has the Midas touch: come in mid-season and win a European trophy.

Reporter verdict: Fabio Balaudo, Fiorentina

TS Eliot once said that April is the cruellest month, but it feels like it might be May for Fiorentina. For the second season running they came agonisingly close but, with the trophy almost in their grasp, the Viola's dreams were shattered. Credit to Olympiacos and El Kaabi, who won the match with the only half-chance he had in 120 minutes. And who knows? Maybe next season will be third time lucky for the Italian side.

El Kaabi (in red) bundles in the winning goal
El Kaabi (in red) bundles in the winning goalGetty Images


Italiano: 'We did everything we could'

José Luis Mendilibar, Olympiacos coach: "I feel immense joy and happiness that I have helped make the [Olympiacos fans] feel this way; I dedicate this victory to them. I am happy we have achieved something our club have never done before. We're going to celebrate it properly and then we're going to start working on what comes next."

Ayoub El Kaabi, Olympiacos forward: "We all won it together. We thank all of our people: we are all together, one family."

Santiago Hezze, Olympiacos midfielder: "I crossed, but Ayoub [El Kaabi] made 90% of the goal. He fought until the end for that ball. I'm really happy. The team has made history. Mendilibar has made us a strong team. He told us we have to play as a family."

Giorgos Masouras, Olympiacos forward: "It was a lifelong dream to win something like this. I dreamed of winning a European trophy, and I told myself that I could do it. We did it and I am very happy. You have to chase dreams to achieve things."

Stevan Jovetić, Olympiacos forward: "It’s unbelievable. I cannot describe it. I have been waiting to win something like this for such a long time, just like Olympiacos. We knocked out Fener, Maccabi and many other great teams. Aston Villa! It’s a great achievement."

Rodinei, Olympiacos defender: "We've done it. I dedicate the win to my family, to the Olympiacos fans and to the whole world. I thank God that I got to experience this moment."

Panagiotis Retsos, Olympiacos defender: "It's the best feeling I've ever had in football. I've had a lot of ups and downs in my career but I'm happy to be here, where I grew up. It's the best gift for ourselves, for everyone involved in the first 99 years of our history because we turn 100 next season."

Vincenzo Italiano, Fiorentina coach: "It's disappointing for the second time. It's disappointing because again we had many situations to score goals, but the lads did everything they could. I don't think we deserved to lose this game. It is a huge disappointment for me."

Key stats

  • El Kaabi finished as the Europa Conference League's 11-goal top scorer despite Olympiacos only transferring to the competition for the knockout stages.
  • El Kaabi's haul of 11 Europa Conference League goals is a record for a UEFA knockout stage, one more the ten managed by Karim Benzema (2021/22 Champions League), Cristiano Ronaldo (2016/17 Champions League) and Radamel Falcao (2010/11 Europa League).
  • Olympiacos claimed Greece's first senior UEFA club competition title – Thrylos had never previously advanced beyond the quarter-finals in Europe, though their U19s did win the UEFA Youth League in April.
  • Greece are the 18th modern-day nation to claim a major men's UEFA club competition trophy, and third to lift the Europa Conference League.
  • Mendilibar guided Olympiacos to the Europa Conference League 12 months on from leading Sevilla to UEFA Europa League success. Both times, he was appointed in the spring.
  • Fiorentina were the top scorers in the Europa Conference League (25 in 13 games), had the most attempts on goal (268) and won the most corners (93).
  • Eight of the Fiorentina side that lined up in Athens were also in the starting XI 12 months ago when the Viola lost to West Ham.


Olympiacos's starting XI
Olympiacos's starting XIUEFA via Getty Images

Olympiacos: Tzolakis; Rodinei, Retsos, David Carmo, Ortega (Quini 91); Hezze, Iborra; Podence (Masouras 106), Chiquinho (André Horta 77), Fortounis (Jovetić 73); El Kaabi (El-Arabi 120+2)

Fiorentina: Terracciano; Dodô, Milenković, Martínez Quarta, Biraghi (Ranieri 106); Arthur (Duncan 74), Mandragora; González (Beltrán 106), Bonaventura (Barák 82), Kouamé (Ikoné 82); Belotti (Nzola 59)

Conference League roll of honour

2022: Roma (ITA)
2023: West Ham (ENG)
2024: Olympiacos (GRE)

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