Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomeWorldWest Ham, Fiorentina, Roma and Sevilla head to European finals

West Ham, Fiorentina, Roma and Sevilla head to European finals

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As Roma coach Jose Mourinho said he was not fixated on becoming a legend at the club after leading his side to a second straight European final with a 1-0 aggregate win over Bayer Leverkusen after their Europa League semi-final, second leg on Thursday.

The 60-year-old, who won the second-tier European club competition in 2017 with Manchester United, led Roma to the Europa Conference League title last season.

“My concern isn’t marking my place in the Roma history books,” Mourinho told Sky Sport.

“It’s helping these kids (players) to grow, to achieve important things,” he said. “It’s also helping the Roma fans who have given me so much since day one. It’s an immense joy to get to another final.

“The boys give everything, this game is the result of our work, experience, tactical wisdom and knowing how to stay in matches. It’s an incredible team.”

Mourinho expressed his gratitude to the Roma fans for their exceptional support throughout the Europa League campaign, while asking for their continued backing as the team prepare to return to Serie A action at home to Salernitana on Monday.

“I don’t know if I can ask anything more from the fans, but these boys deserve something special on Monday when we will depart Trigoria (training ground).”

However, Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini said all the credit should be directed towards Mourinho for the team’s success.

“He’s different, he makes you realise the importance of the match. We came here and everyone knew what they had to do,” he said.

“We study, we organise ourselves, we watch videos. Especially in Europe, you can see what the coach brings us. Mourinho is the creator of this personality of ours.”

Roma are sixth in Serie A on 59 points, two points behind AC Milan and six off Lazio in the last Champions League spot.

Fiorentina to face West Ham 

Fiorentina’s Antonin Barak struck deep into stoppage time at the end of extra time to take his side into the Europa Conference League final with a 3-1 win at Basel in the second leg of the semi-final on Thursday that secured a 4-3 aggregate victory.

The Italians made their first European final in 33 years and will face West. Ham United in the showpiece match in Prague on June 7 after the Londoners beat AZ Alkmaar in their semi-final.

Fiorentina became the first club to reach the finals of four UEFA competitions, having played in European Cup, UEFA Cup, and Cup Winners’ Cup finals. They last reached a European final when they lost to Juventus in the UEFA Cup competition in 1990.

“Tonight we played like a mature team,” Fiore manager Vincenzo Italiano told DAZN. “It’s my first season in Europe and reaching the final is a great satisfaction. This path to the final will always remain with us but now we have a mission to complete.”

Fiorentina were chasing the game after Basel won the first leg 2-1 but they had trouble finding space as the Swiss employed a deep defensive strategy and sought to counter-attack.

However as the half wore on Basel’s defence began to falter, despite enthusiastic support from the St Jakob-Park crowd, and the visitors looked more likely to score.

Fiorentina took the lead in the 35th minute when a corner was met by the unmarked Nicolas Gonzalez, who headed home to level the aggregate score at 2-2.

Just before the break goalkeeper Marwin Hitz came to Basel’s rescue with a remarkable one-handed save from Giacomo Bonaventura’s effort to prevent another header finding the net.

Zeki Amdouni then scored for Basel 10 minutes into the second half before Gonzalez responded in the 72nd with a well-placed shot, sending the match into extra time.

Hitz made another crucial save in the opening minutes of extra time when he blocked substitute Luka Jovic’s header with another stunning one-handed reflex save.

The match was stopped for eight minutes near the end of extra time so medical assistance could be given in the stands.

Then nine minutes into stoppage time in the extra period Barak collected a loose ball inside the box and slotted it home from close range to send Fiorentina into the final.

After nearly three decades, Italian teams have reached the finals of all three European competitions, with Inter Milan facing Manchester City in the Champions League showpiece and AS Roma meeting Sevilla in the Europa League final.

“It’s wonderful, Italian football shows that it is returning to an important level. All three deserved to reach the final, we will all give heart and soul to achieve victory,” Italiano said.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)



This story originally appeared on France24

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