AS Roma are the champions of the inaugural Europa Conference League after a 1-0 win over Feyenoord on Wednesday night.
The Italians, appearing in the final of a European tournament for the first time in 31 years, were clear favourites going into the match, and Nicolo Zaniolo’s 32nd minute goal proved the difference at a packed Arena Kombëtare Stadium in Albania.
The match got off to a lively start, even though there were no clear chances in the opening half-hour.
It was Roma though who scored from one of their two shots on target in the opening 45 minutes.
Zaniolo got to the end of a Gianluca Mancini ball from the flank, comfortably chesting it down inside the box before finding the bottom right corner with a cool finish.
It proved the only notable action in the first half, leading 1-0 at the break.
Feyenoord started the second half the better side and could have pulled level two minutes in only for Gernot Trauner to prod the ball onto the right post when provided with a perfect chance inside the box.
The Dutch side called for a penalty almost immediately after Bryan Cristante seemed to have handled the ball inside the box, but the referee allowed play to go on after a VAR check.
Three minutes later, Feyenoord attacked again but failed, once again, to find the back of the net when Tyrell Malacia got in a good shooting position on the edge of the box and pulled the trigger, forcing a world-class save from Rui Patricio, who punched the ball onto the post.
Feyenoord managed to control the match for long periods in the second period, but could not breach a disciplined Roma defense led by former Man United Chris Smalling.
Pellegrini had a late chance to make it 2-0, but his shot from just outside the box was well kept out by the goalkeeper.
Roma held on to win their first European title in three decades, with Jose Mourinho becoming the first manager to win all European Cups.