free hit counter code Olympiacos stun Fiorentina in extra-time to win Europa Conference League – Freeht.buzz

Olympiacos stun Fiorentina in extra-time to win Europa Conference League

Olympiacos FC v ACF Fiorentina - UEFA Europa Conference League Final 2023/24
Olympiacos vs Fiorentina was an incredibly tight contest (Photo: Getty)

Olympiacos have won the Europa Conference League after stunning Fiorentina 1-0 deep into extra-time in Athens.

Ayoub El Kaabi’s 116th minute header secured the Greek club’s first ever European trophy after a tense encounter at the AEK Arena.

After a shock win over Aston Villa in the semi-final stages, all the stars were aligning for Olympiacos to become the first Greek club to win a UEFA competition.

The match was taking place in Athens, at their rival’s home ground, and in the 20th anniversary year of the country’s shock triumph at the European Championships.

As for Fiorentina, the Serie A side side were hoping history would not repeat itself after losing the Conference League final to West Ham last season.

Both teams flew out of the trap, with Wolves loanee Daniel Podence’s curling effort tipped wide by Fiorentina keeper Pietro Terracciano inside four minutes, and 60 seconds later, Andrea Belotti fired a good chance into the side netting.

The Italians had the ball in the back of net after nine minutes courtesy of Nikola Milenkovic following a cleverly worked corner routine, but the flag was quickly raised for offside.

Olympiacos FC v ACF Fiorentina - UEFA Europa Conference League Final 2023/24
Olympiacos keeper Kostas Tzolakis was kept busy all night (Photo: Getty)

Neither side were willing to take their foot of the gas, though Konstantinos Tzolakis was initially kept the busier of the two goalies, making big saves to deny Giacomo Bonaventura and Belotti.

Down the other end, Terracciano had to be on alert after Podence flicked a powerful corner kick goal-bound and the 34-year-old was later involved in a hefty collision with El Kaabi as he went to punch away a dangerous ball.

After the break, play was delayed for several minutes after a clash of heads between Belotti and Panagiotis Retsos, with the latter surprisingly carrying on despite the Olympiacos physio signalling for a substitution to be made.

Olympiacos FC v ACF Fiorentina - UEFA Europa Conference League Final 2023/24
Ayoub El Kaabi scored the winner in the 116th minute (Photo: Getty)

The second-half was a far more tense affair, with neither side able to generate meaningful chances until Milenkovic headed wide from a corner, before Christian Kouame’s scuffed shot forced an awkward and acrobatic save from Tzolakis.

Olympiacos’ opportunities were few and far between but they came agonisingly close with 10 minutes of normal time when former Leicester City star Vicente Iborra header from a free-kick glanced wide of the post.

The score remained goalless as the match went to extra-time, and the Greeks started the additional half-hour the better, with Stevan Jovetic, a former Fiorentina striker, forcing a great save from Terracciano.

Tzolakis was called into action yet again after the break to deny Jonathan Ikone’s first time shot, but with tired legs all around the quality of the match had declined significantly.

Penalties looked to be inevitable, but then in the 116th minute, Santiago Hezze’s wicked cross found it’s way to El Kaabi, who held off the challenge of his defender to bundle the ball in the back of the net from a few yards out.

Players and fans were forced to wait an agonising few minutes as VAR checked for a potential offside, but eventually they were allowed to celebrate all over again.

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