It’s the first UEFA Europa Conference League final as Roma take on Feyenoord in tonight’s final at the Air Albania Stadium in Tirana.
This is Jose Mourinho’s fifth European final, with a perfect record so far of only four he has managed throughout his career, as he leads Roma in search of the first continental title club since 1961.
The Italian side beat Leicester in the semi-finals, with Tammy Abraham’s second leg winner being enough to give them a 2-1 aggregate victory over the Foxes.
For Feyenoord, a 0-0 draw at Marseille did the trick after winning 3-2 at home and they will be looking to mark the 20th anniversary of the club’s UEFA Cup success with another trophy to add to the cabinet.
Eintracht Frankfurt won the Europa League last week with a win over Rangers on penalties and ahead of this weekend’s Champions League final in Paris, Roma and Feyenoord take center stage as they seek to become the competition’s first winners.
With kick-off at 8pm BST, follow all the action with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below…
How Feyenoord reached the final…
Feyenoord won a thrilling first-leg semi-final against Marseille at home as they took a 3-2 lead in the reverse fixture.
A goalless draw was enough for the Dutch to qualify and clinch a place in their first European final in 20 years.
Let’s focus on the highlights of the first leg, because there was not much to say in France!
How Roma reached the final…
A 1-1 draw at the King Power saw the semi-final between Roma and Leicester come down to 90 minutes in Italy.
Tammy Abraham scored in the 11th minute of the second leg and it was enough to send his side to Albania. Job. Fact.
Mkhitaryan is fit to start for Roma and he comes to replace Oliveira in the squad. Abraham has already netted 21 goals for the Italian side this season – can he finish the campaign in style by adding to that tally?
The big news for Feyenoord is that goalkeeper and captain Bijlow is fit and he is making an immediate return to the starting XI. This will be Nelson’s last game before his loan spell at the club ends and he returns to Arsenal this summer.
The Feyenoord team
Starting XI: Bijlow, Geertruida, Trauner, Senesi, Malacia, Til, Aursnen, Kokcu, Nelson, Dessers, Sinisterra
Subtitles: Cojocaru, Marciano, Jansen, Pedersen, Hendrix, Jahanbakhsh, Linssen, Sandler, Wålemark, Hendriks, Toornstra, Hall
The Roma team
Starting XI: Patricio, Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez, Karsdorp, Cristante, Mkhitaryan, Pellegrini, Zalewski, Zaniolo, Abraham
Subtitles: Fuzato, Vina, Perez, Maitland-Niles, Shomurodov, Veretout, Kumbulla, Oliveira, Spinazzola, Bove, Afena-Gyan, El Shaarawy
Abraham rewarded for his courageous gesture
When Jose Mourinho was looking to persuade Tammy Abraham to join Roma last summer, he offered her the choice between rain in London and sunshine in the Italian capital.
There are two things to note about this ultimatum. The first is that, in typical Mourinho fashion, it was designed with only results in mind, conveniently ignoring the fact that on average Rome receives far more annual rainfall than London. The second is that the tale has been repeated so many times, in so many interviews since, that it has lost some of its charm.
And yet, with each account as the season progressed, he grew more prophetic, the growing turbulence at Chelsea at odds with what, at least on a personal level, was an unqualified success of a debut campaign at the Stadio Olimpico. . for Abraham, rewarding the bold move to swap his hometown for Eternal in a £36m move.
Click here for the full story of Abraham’s record-breaking season!
Mourinho: This is our Champions League
Jose Mourinho insists the Europa Conference League is a big deal for Roma, even though clubs like Tottenham earlier in the season seemed to treat it more as a disadvantage.
“I am a coach with a history and Roma are a great club,” Mourinho said.
“I felt a little responsible for trying to make [the first edition of the tournament] great competition. So, little by little, we realized our ambition to go as far as possible. Then, very proudly, we saw that the two semi-finals were played in packed stadiums, with [a total of] 170,000 fans present.
“The Conference League is our Champions League. It is the level at which we are, the competition in which we play. The club did not reach [an occasion] like that for a long time.