Tuesday’s soccer news starts with tomorrow’s Europa League Conference final. The first edition of UEFA’s third-tier European tournament ends with Roma playing Cole Bassett’s Feyenoord at Air Albania Stadium. Bryan Reynolds played in some of Roma’s Europa Conference League games before joining Kortrijk on loan in January.
Roma entered the tournament in the playoff qualification round while Feyenoord began in the second qualifying round. Courtesy of the two-leg qualifiers, that means 14 games for Roma to reach the final and 18 for Feyenoord. While it’s worth asking why it should take so many games in a new tournament, Roma struggled in the group stage with a 6-1 loss at Bodo/Glimt on matchday three. Roma eventually advanced from group C 13 points to 12 over Bodo/Glimt. Feyenoord made it easier for themselves in group E, finishing with 14 points to Slavia Prague’s 8.
After a close round of 16 series with Vitesse that ended 2-1, Roma met Bodo/Glimt again in the quarterfinals. After losing the away leg 2-1, they took the series 5-2 on aggregate from a 4-0 home win. Playing Leicester City in the semifinals, Roma drew 1-1 away and advanced 2-1 on aggregate from a 1-0 home win.
Feyenoord beat Paritzan 8-3 on aggregate, winning both legs of that round of 16 series. Drawing 3-3 in Rotterdam with Slavia Prague, they took the series 6-4 on aggregate with a 3-1 away win. A scoreless second-leg meant Feyenoord’s 3-2 home win over Marseille was enough to advance to the final.
Roma won the predecessor to the old UEFA Cup, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1961. That’s it for European honors, though they made it to the European Cup final in 1984 and the Champions League semifinals in 2018. They played in the UEFA Cup final in 1991 and the Europa League semifinals last season. Feyenoord lifted the European Cup in 1970 and won the UEFA Cup in 1974 and 2002.
Stressing the importance of the Europa Conference League, Roma coach Jose Mourinho said, “When you work in Rome, you live in Rome, you breathe Rome and you breathe this club. I felt from the day I signed that they were a huge club, but with no victories and not many finals. I’m very emotional. This, for us, is our Champions League.”
Moving to the soccer scores, Joe Corona subbed out in the 59th minute of GIF Sundvall’s 2-0 home win over Mjallby in the Allsvenskan. Daniel Stensson scored in the 69th minute and Erik Andersson doubled the lead in the 84th. Romain Gall wasn’t in the squad for Orebro’s 1-0 home win over AFC Eskilstuna in the Superettan. Orebro’s Vincent Thill scored in the 48th minute.
The Guardian’s Sid Lowe looks at strategies at the top of the Premier League. Football365’s Ian King outlines the issues for Burnley, now in the Championship. Grant Wahl talks to Stuttgart coach Pellegrino Matarazzo.
WEDNESDAY’S SOCCER TV
Europa Conference League final on TUDN: Roma vs Feyenoord at 3pm. Copa Libertadores on beIN Sport: River Plate vs Alianza Lima at 6pm and Penarol vs Colon at 8pm. beIN en Espanol has Independiente del Valle vs America Mineiro at 8pm ET.
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