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Europa Conference League final: Olympiacos vs Fiorentina

Olympiacos vs Fiorentina


Europa Conference League final: Olympiacos vs Fiorentina

Europa Conference League final: Olympiacos vs Fiorentina

Ahead of this weekend’s Champions League showcase, Wednesday brings another diverting final.

Managed by Vincenzo Italiano, Fiorentina are angling to win their first European trophy since 1961, when they triumphed in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup.

Fiorentina lost to West Ham in the final a year ago

The Viola are favourites – and they’ve been here before, very recently. Just 12 months ago, Fiorentina faced West Ham in the final of this competition. On that occasion, it was the Premier League side that came out on top.

Can Fiorentina reign supreme this time? To do so, the Florence team will have to overcome an Olympiacos side that must know no fear after their semi-final heroics. It could help the Greeks that the final is being played close to home, too.

This year’s Europa Conference League final takes place in the Greek capital, at the Agia Sophia Stadium – home to Olympiacos’ great rivals, AEK Athens.

It’s the Greek equivalent of Tottenham playing a Cup final at the Emirates – but will that make this occasion feel a tad off-kilter for Olympiacos? Or simply make victory all the sweeter, assuming they can get the job done?

They’ve already proven plenty of people wrong in this competition. Many felt the Super League side would struggle against Aston Villa.

Instead José Luis Mendilibar’s team was outstanding, winning 4-2 in the first leg at Villa Park before sealing progress to the final with a 2-0 home win.

El Kaabi scored five goals against Villa

It’s probably fair to say Villa had run out of steam by the time they played the semi-final; so brilliant for much of the season, Unai Emery’s side have failed to win any of their last six games in all competitions.

Yet even so, the Greek club’s performance suggests no-one should underestimate this team. They have lost just one of their last eight games in all competitions, and may not be done yet.

Ayoub El Kaabi, in particular, may not be done yet. The Moroccan scored five of the six goals that powered Olympiacos past Villa, and has amassed a total of 15 goals so far in their European campaign; five in the Europa League, ten in the Europa Conference.

El Kaabi is 23/4 to score first, which feels pretty tempting. As for who wins? After the mayhem of the semis, perhaps this will prove a more cautious affair. Maybe taking a chance on the draw (after 90 minutes) at 9/4 is worth a look.

Olympiacos manager Mendilibar did something similar with Sevilla in last season’s Europa League final, the Spanish side holding Jose Mourinho’s Roma to a draw in normal time, and eventually winning on penalties.

He could be hoping to repeat the trick against another Italian side on Wednesday. Olympiacos are 9/1 to win on pens.

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