17 mins: Roma Substitute: Having struggled to get fit for this match, Henrikh Mkhitaryan sits on the floor with his hands on his knees and shakes his head. He’s finished for the night and leaves looking very sorry. Sergio Oliveira replaces him. Bad luck, Henrikh.
15 mins: Pellegrini advances for Roma, running diagonally from the left flank towards the center of the pitch. He tries to spot Lorenzo Pellegrini with a ball behind the Feyenoord defense but he is intercepted.
13 mins: Feyenoord win a throw-in near the corner flag deep in Roma territory. Nothing comes of it.
11 minutes: Never have either team had a chance to feature yet and given the balance of the game so far you’d probably say Feyenoord have slightly the better.
9 minutes: Good work from Luis Sinisterrra de Feyenoord (sort of Latin for left-handed) on the left flank. His delivery is poor, however, and his cross goes straight into Bijlow’s gloves at the near post.
8 minutes: A Roma cross sent in from the right by Rick Karsdrop is too high a mite for Lorenzo Pellegrino, who had made a smart run from midfield. Clear Feyenoord.
5 minutes : Playing his first game since early March after being sidelined with a foot injury, Feyenoord keeper Justin Bijlow receives a backpass and hammers the ball up. He falls on a head of Rom.
4 minutes: Smalling concedes a second touch in quick succession in the middle of Roma ground. Nothing comes of it.
3 minutes: On the left of Roma’s back three, Chris Smalling wins a through ball from Cyriel Desswers and pushes it down. He comes out for a throw-in near the halfway line.
2 minutes : No quarter is spared or given in these very early stages as both teams battle for the ball.
Roma v Feyenoord let’s go…
1 minute: Feyenoord get the ball rolling, their players wearing gray shirts, yellow shorts and yellow socks. Roma players wear red shirts, shorts and socks.
Not long now: Referee Istvan Kovacs and his team of referees lead the players of both teams onto the pitch in Tirana and they rush before the last of the pre-match formalities. The stadium is full to its capacity of 22,000. It is suspected that these sides could have easily filled one four or five times larger.
To win! Whoever wins tonight’s final will secure a place in the Europa League next season. But what is it ? Neither of them need it as they have already qualified for the competition through their finishing positions in their respective domestic leagues.
Roma finished in the top six in Serie A, while Feyenoord finished third in the Eredivisie. There is, however, a brilliant pot and a big check worth €4.25m up for grabs in tonight’s final.
Line-ups Roma vs Feyenoord
Roma: Rui Patricio, Smalling, Ibanez, Mancini, Cristante, Karsdorp, Mkhitaryan, Pellegrini, Zalewski, Zaniolo, Abraham.
Subtitles: Vina, Perez, Shomurodov, Maitland-Niles, Veretout, Kumbulla, Sergio Oliveira, Spinazzola, Bove, Afena-Gyan, Fuzato, El Shaarawy.
Feyenoord: Bijlow, Geertruida, Trauner, Senesi, Malacia, Aursnes, Kokcu, Nelson, Til, Sinisterra, Dessers.
Subtitles: Pedersen, Hendrix, Jahanbakhsh, Linssen, Sandler, Cojocaru, Marciano, Walemark, Hendriks, Toornstra, Jansen, Hall.
Arne Slot speaks: “His resume makes you suspicious of his team,” Slot said of his counterpart. “He is known to have won many finals. But above all we have to focus on his team, the tactics and the different ways of playing. We shouldn’t pay too much attention to the fact that he has such an impressive record in the finals.
Jose Mourinho speaks: “If I win I will become the first to win all European trophies, but only if I win,” the Roma coach said ahead of tonight’s game. “When you reach the final after a season of work, the job is done. This is the team’s moment, not an individual’s moment.
“I don’t believe in potions, I don’t believe in spells. There’s nothing special to do, just us to be us as a team. Knowing the qualities we have, knowing the limits we have. For me, no matter how the final ends, it’s a positive season for us.
Officials for tonight’s game
- Arbitrator: Istvan Kovacs
- Assistant referees: Vasile Marinescu and Ovidiu Artene
- Fourth official: Sandro Schärer
- Video assistant referee: Marco Fritz
First news from the team…
With Chris Smalling in the Roma defence, Tammy Abraham looks certain to secure England’s representation in this final, spearheading the Italian side’s attack after scoring 28 goals in all competitions in a first successful season for the club.
Behind him, Nicolo Zaniolo could start in midfield after playing the final 14 minutes of Roma’s 3-0 victory in Turin on Friday after recovering from a muscle injury. Elsewhere in the Roma midfield, Bryan Cristante could start in place of Jordan Veretout. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is also available for selection after recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered against Leicester.
Also carrying the flag for England, Reiss Nelson is expected to line up for Feyenoord at the end of his season at the Dutch club on loan from Arsenal. Feyenoord keeper Justin Bijlow has just returned to training after an injury since March and will likely have to settle for a place on the bench, with his fitter understudy Ofir Marciano getting the nod. On loan from Genk, Cyriel Dessers is the competition’s top scorer with 10 goals and will play in attack for the Dutch.
ECL Final: Roma v Feyenoord
The Albanian city of Tirana hosts the first Europa Conference League final, which will be contested by Roma and Feyenoord. Greeted with some suspicion and a bit of derision when it was launched, the competition was in fact a resounding success.
Tonight’s finalists have played 36 games between them in the competition so far and tonight either Jose Mourinho or the considerably less famous Arne Slot will be behind their team’s victory in the very first final. Kick-off at the 22,000-seat Arena Kombëtare is at 8 p.m. (BST), but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and the build-up.