Olympiakos edges Fiorentina 1-0 for first European title

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ATHENS, Greece, May 30, (AP): Olympiakos won Greece’s first European club title by beating Fiorentina 1-0 with a last-gasp goal in extra time in the Europa Conference League final.

Ayoub El Kaabi provided the dramatic ending, diving to nudge in a last-gasp goal in the second period of extra time, with fans erupting in celebration after a lengthy wait for a VAR check for offside.
The Moroccan striker – who finished as the competition’s top scorer – struck in the 116th minute of the match, dropping to his knees as he waited for the goal review. El Kaabi met a cross from Santiago Hezze to decide a game that had looked destined for a penalty shootout following an energetic but largely risk-free encounter at AEK Arena.

The late goal condemned Fiorentina and its coach Vincenzo Italiano to a second straight defeat in the final of the Europa Conference League, after losing last year to West Ham.
Olympiakos coach Jose Luis Mendilibar secured a second straight European title after winning the Europa League with Sevilla last season.

Thousands of Olympiakos fans joined wild celebrations across the Greek capital after attending outdoor viewing parties. Youths held up lit flares in the port city of Piraeus, near Athens, where the team is based.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described Olympiakos as “a true legend,” adding in an online post: “Olympiakos has won the Europa Conference League and made history! It was a sensational night for the club and Greek football.”

The third-tier European club competition occurred amid a massive security operation, with some 5,000 police officers forming concentric cordons around a northern area of the capital.
The final was briefly marred by scuffles between Fiorentina fans inside the stadium and riot police next to them.
Although the visitors dominated the early stages of the final, Fiorentina goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano kept his team in the game with two impressive fingertip saves to block on-target shots from Daniel Podence in the fourth minute and Stevan Jovetic in the sixth minute of extra time.

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