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Olympiacos beat Fiorentina after extra time to win Europa Conference League

Olympiacos won the Europa Conference League (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)
Olympiacos won the Europa Conference League (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

Olympiacos won their first major European trophy as Ayoub El Kaabi’s late extra-time winner inflicted a second straight Europa Conference League final defeat on Fiorentina.

A forgettable final sparked into life with just four minutes of extra time remaining as El Kaabi turned home the only goal of a game taking place at the home of Olympiacos’ rivals AEK Athens.

While the Greek side could celebrate becoming the first team from their country to win a European trophy, Fiorentina were once again left wondering what might have been a year after losing in the final to West Ham.

A lengthy VAR check followed El Kaabi’s effort but it survived a potential offside to settle a final that had failed to burst into life until that point.

Fiorentina had not been so lucky earlier in the game. The Italians thought they had broken the deadlock with just 10 minutes on the clock when defender Nikola Milenkovic turned home only for it to be ruled out for offside.

Nicolas Gonzalez miscued when presented with a fine chance for Fiorentina towards the end of a tight first half that unsurprisingly ended goalless.

With little goalmouth action to speak of it was the Serie A side who were carving out more opportunities, but Christian Kouame was the next player to fluff his lines when in a good position.

Ayoub El Kaabi, right, celebrates his winner
Ayoub El Kaabi, right, celebrates his winner (Petros Karadjias/AP)

Olympiacos stood firm and starting carving out chances of their own but Vicente Iborra could only glance a header wide as the Europa Conference League final went to an extra period for the first time.

Substitute Stevan Jovetic, a former Fiorentina forward, forced a smart save out of Pietro Terracciano but the moment of individual quality needed to settle the tie was moments away.

A memorable season for El Kaabi – who scored five times across the semi-final win over Aston Villa – was topped off with his 33rd goal of the campaign, prompting wild celebrations just down the road in Piraeus as he stooped to head home Santiago Hezze’s cross.

As players from both sides dropped to their knees, a long VAR check eventually sided with Olympiacos who then saw out the closing stages as head coach Jose Luis Mendilibar – the club’s third boss of the season – secured back to back European trophies after guiding Sevilla to Europa League glory last year.