Football Features

“Mourinho wins” – Player ratings as Roma beat Feyenoord to claim the inaugural Europa Conference League

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:44, 25 May 2022

After a dogged night of football, Roma beat Feyenoord 1-0 to win the inaugural Europa Conference League.

José Mourinho won his fifth European final (out of five played!) and the first for an Italian club since the Portuguese himself guided Inter to win the 2010 Champions League, and they did it in vintage Mourinho style.

“In the end, football is about winning,” said Owen Hargreaves after the match, “and Mourinho wins.”

Here’s how the players rated at Air Albania Stadium:

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Rui Patricio – 8 – A big presence in goal, making big saves when called upon including a massive one from Malacia.

Gianluca Mancini – 9 – Sublime long balls all game trying to expose Feyenoord. Killer assist for Zaniolo’s goal. Smashed the ball off his own post at the start of the second-half but was otherwise dogged and determined to keep his clean sheet.

Chris Smalling – 9 – A moving brick wall. Battled ferociously with Dessers all night and threw his body in the way of everything. Marshalled his defensive line with an outrageous level of authority.

“They’ve played like Roman warriors,” said Joe Cole after the match on BT Sport. Meanwhile, Smalling himself praised his team’s spirit, saying: “Everybody fought right to the end.”

As Tammy Abraham said when interrupting Smalling’s post-match interview: “The best, the best, the best!”

Ibanez – 9 – Another massive defensive display. Roma put themselves in the hands of their back three and their back three carried them over the line. Racked up game-highs in clearances (6) and interceptions (4).

Rick Karsdorp – 7 – Dropped back to defend well. Not quite as good in attack as he should have been.

Bryan Cristante – 8 – Roma’s pass master. Got on the ball and shifted it forward often, and got stuck in with the tackles too (5).

Lorenzo Pellegrini – 7 – Made some really positive runs forward. Could have scored a second.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – n/a – His European final bad luck continues as he was forced to leave the final in the early stages.

Nicola Zalewski – 6 – Ran his heart out for his side.

Nicolo Zaniolo – 8 – Sublime goal to win Roma’s first-ever European trophy, taking Mancini’s long ball down with his chest and prodding it beyond the goalie so deftly. Suffering from two cruciate ligament injuries at the age of 22 is so brutal but Zaniolo has fought his way back and has now delivered a historic trophy.

Tammy Abraham – 8 – An absolute colossus. It feels darkly comedic that as Chelsea struggle to find someone to really play well as a striker for them, Tammy Abraham is out in Italy putting in gigantic Drogba-esque displays in European finals. Fought for every ball, powering his way through the Feyenoord defence to hold it up and give his defence some respite.

A heroic, Biblical display from a man who has played a starring role in more European triumphs than Romelu Lukaku. “We’re champions, ” he said after the game. “I’m happy to be part of a team.”

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Roma Substitutes:

Sergio Oliveira (for Mkhitaryan 18′) – 6 – Came on early for Mkhitaryan and while he was bright, it wasn’t quite the same however.

Jordan Veretout (for Zaniolo 67′) – 7 – Created the most chances despite coming off the bench. Very composed.

Leonardo Spinazzola (for Zalewski 67′) – 7 – Showed tremendous pace and drive down the left. Roma will be delighted to have his game-changing ability fully fit next season.

Matias Vina (for Karsdorp 89′) – n/a – Came on late.

Eldor Shomurodov (for Abraham 89′) – 6 – Excellent bit of pressing and hold-up play at the death.

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Justin Bijow – 6 – Could have been stronger on Zaniolo’s goal, but did play well besides that.

Lutsharel Geertruida – 7 – Carried the ball forward well (3/4 take-ons won) and defended nicely.

Gernot Trauner – 4 – Completely caught underneath the ball for Roma’s opener. It wasn’t a massive error but it had a huge cost.

Marco Senesi – 8 – Lucky to avoid a red card for his last man foul on Tammy Abraham but besides that he was an absolute monster and by far the best player in a Feyenoord shirt as he held Roma’s attack at bay almost single-handedly and started his side’s attacks as well.

Tyrell Malacia – 7 – A whirring dynamo in the second-half, constantly driving the ball forward. Produced the highlight of the match for Feyenoord as his stunning drive forced a great save out of Rui Patricio.

Fredrik Aursnes – 6 – Distributed the ball cleanly and quickly but wasn’t as potent.

Orkun Kökçü – 6 – The Eredivisie’s pass-master was definitely adept with his distribution today but failed to make the most of the shooting opportunities that he was given.

Guss Til – 5 – An underwhelming performance.

Reiss Neilson – 6 – Some nice dribbles to keep Roma on the back foot but that was really all. Didn’t strut his stuff on the big stage like his fellow Englishmen did in a maroon shirt.

Luis Sinisterra – 5 – Completely bottled up.

Cyriel Dessers – 7 – Really impressive during his ferocious battle against Chris Smalling. Created a game-high 3 chances for his team-mates, including one for Linssen that really should have been an equaliser.

Feyenoord Substitutes:

Jens Toornstra (for Til 59′) – 5 – Didn’t really improve things.

Marcus Pedersen (for Trauner 74′) – 5 – Had no impact.

Brian Linssen (for Nelson 74′) – 4 – Missed a massive chance in stoppage time, just missing the ball after a great Dessers flick.

Patrik Walemark (for Kökçü 89′) – n/a – Came on late.

Alireza Jahanbaksh (for Malacia 89′) – n/a – Came on late.

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