Mourinho is special again. Leading Roma to the trophy and making history
First half. Tense
The second European Cup final this season reminded something of the first – the final match between Rangers and Eintracht in the Europa League. At least in the first part, that is, in the first half. There was a lot of struggle, soccer in general looked tense and dynamic, but the sharpness was sorely lacking.
Both teams kept in mind the importance of a rare trophy for them and the high cost of a mistake. That’s why it didn’t look very spectacular. One might already be afraid for the Champions League final. What if the trend continues? And in the first half, even Zagnolo’s goal didn’t help the game. The Romans converted their rare chance thanks to Nicolo’s skill. And we had to wait until the second half to see the escalation.
Second half. One goal at a time
The second half was quite fiery and bright from the start. “Feyenoord put all doubts aside and began to pounce on Roma’s gates attack after attack. It should be noted that the Romans thought that one goal would be enough, and then they could just rely on their attention and the reaction of Patriciu. It was she who saved the Romans several times from the quick goals of Rotterdam at the beginning of the second half.
Then, poor execution by the Dutch, who were too fussy and didn’t keep their cool at the crucial moments, got in the way. And then there was the commitment of Roma’s defenders who bravely threw themselves at their shots and, perhaps, blocked most of them. At the same time, the Romans almost abandoned counterplay, concentrating all their efforts on killing potential danger near their goal and killing time as much as possible. “Feyenoord lacked the experience and skill to punish Roma for this defensive approach.
Although, at times, the Romans also showed their lack of experience. Take the example of Abraham’s attempted one-on-one run. Senesi openly tackled him, but Tammy broke free and ran towards goal, although he could not keep up with the ball. Had he fallen, the Feyenoord defender would certainly have been sent off. This episode just emphasizes that everyone was emotional and their decisions were not the most informed. Still, Roma managed to hold out thanks to a slightly greater level of skill and class. And they were able to pull themselves together psychologically in general, because throughout the season the Romans had repeatedly broken down and made a frenzy that drove Mourinho mad. At the most crucial moment, they didn’t waver.
Shots on goal: 8 (3) – 12 (5)
The difference in the attacking profile of the teams can be explained by the fact that “Roma” acted on the scoreline for most of the match. “Feyenoord simply had to attack more. The Rotterdamers had 56 attacks per match, while Roma had only 30. In this case, the Dutch club and more often hit the goal, had more accurate shots. However, all these efforts of Feyenoord were in vain and took place when Roma already had the advantage. Probably, the tactics to keep the minimum advantage looked dangerous, but it worked.
Ball possession: 38% (78%) to 62% (90%)
These numbers are also determined by how the teams structured their game, based on the result on the scoreboard. But it is worth noting that Feyenoord had a slight advantage in ball control even before Roma’s goal, so the conceded goal by Rotterdam only strengthened this effect, bringing the figures in the final minutes to overwhelming. The handling of passes was particularly impressive, as Roma did not keep the ball at all and tried to give it forward at the first opportunity. Even the goal came after a long throw forward. The Romans minimized their fiddling with the ball and their preparatory work.
Feyenoord, on the other hand, made too many passes, at times overdoing it and allowing the opponent to cluster in the area of the potential shot, which helped them to block. Smalling alone did a lot of blocking. And Roma didn’t pay attention to passes. It made only 227 passes compared to Feyenoord’s 527, three hundred fewer. At the same time, without the ball, the Romans had to move a little more, pressing and closing the space. “Roma ran 117 kilometers against Feyenoord’s 115.7 kilometers. That’s four or five kilometers more than a standard Champions League match, for example.
The first-ever Conference League draw is likely to be historic not only for its very debut status. José Mourinho, who had already been written off by many, mocked more by those who thought his greatness was a thing of the past and could only quarrel with referees and journalists, took and made history. He immediately became the first to win all existing European Cups.
The particular began his triumphant Eurocup trek with Porto in 2003, when he took the UEFA Cup, beating Celtic 3-2 in the final. A year later, he took the Champions League with the Dragons, beating Monaco 3-0 in the final. In 2010, Mourinho already won the Champions League with Inter. Then Bayern Munich fell in the final. Interestingly, by the way, it was the last European trophy of the Italian club to date. It turns out that Mourinho has brought Italians their last two wins in European competitions.
After that, the Portuguese managed to win the Europa League with Manchester United in 2017. For MU, it was the first success in this tournament. Of interest is the presence of Henrikh Mkhitaryan in that United side, who has now also won the Conference League with Mourinho. Although he was injured in the final match and was replaced early in the game.
Mourinho may be, as they say, no longer the same, but he continues to leave a mark on history. He became the second coach to win a European Cup tournament for the fifth time. The first such coach was Giovanni Trapattoni. It is already the 26th trophy in Mourinho’s career. And the break from the previous one dragged on. They were victories in the Europa League and the English League Cup with MU in 2017. But Roma had to wait even longer. The Romans last took any trophy in 2008, and that was the Italian Cup. And the last time they won a European Cup was in 1961. And that was the Fairs Cup – if anyone remembers it at all.