Europa Conference League

Europa Conference League (31)

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Nice and Koln after crowd trouble marred a Europa Conference League match between the teams.

Thursday's group game on the French Riviera saw a delayed kick-off due to fans clashing in the stands and missiles being thrown.

Reports also cited trouble around the city prior to the match, with vandalism and damage to the French team's official club shop.

A number of fans were injured, and European football's governing body confirmed the start of disciplinary proceedings.

In a statement, UEFA said: "Disciplinary proceedings have been instigated in accordance with article 55 of the UEFA disciplinary regulations following the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage match between OGC Nice and 1. FC Koln (1-1) played on 8 September 2022 in France."

Both clubs have been charged regarding the 'throwing of objects', 'lighting of fireworks' and 'crowd disturbances', with Nice also facing five further charges relating to their hosting of the game.

Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere said on Friday: "We've had enough of this. When you experience it live, it's terrible. When the next day you experience it a second time with hindsight, it's even worse because we have terrible images. It can't go on.

"I'm not in the habit of leaving a ship when things are rocking. But when you see that, you inevitably say to yourself: 'What am I doing here?'."

A number of Paris Saint-Germain supporters were identified as being among those involved in fighting.

French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera expressed a fear for the safety of the ordinary supporter, looking to avoid trouble at all costs but still coming face to face with hooliganism.

She said, quoted by RMC: "We are fed up, we are really fed up that our sport is soiled in this way, that we can no longer tell ourselves that we are going with our kids in a serene and safe way to a stadium.

"I have a knot in my stomach because it's starting again, Nice-Koln, with incredible violence, shocking images on social networks. We really have to find the solutions together to get through this, to ensure that this violence which is penetrating more and more into our society stops at least at the door of our stadiums."

Koln said they would work closely with police to identify perpetrators.

Managing director Christian Keller said: "We are all very upset about what happened. That has nothing to do with football and counteracts the values ​​of FC Koln.

"With both clubs, it was a small minority of less than 100 people each that caused the excess violence in the stadium. Over 7,900 of the 8,000 spectators in the Koln block have nothing to do with the incidents. A blanket condemnation of our fans and in particular the active fan scene is therefore wrong."

West Ham and Anderlecht will clash in a repeat of the 1976 European Cup Winners' Cup final after being drawn together in the same Europa Conference League group.

It was Anderlecht who won 4-2 at Heysel Stadium to land the silverware 46 years ago, but the task for each side this time around is to plot a route into the knockout rounds of UEFA's newest men's club competition.

West Ham can point to strong recent form against Belgian teams, having beaten Anderlecht's domestic rivals Genk 3-0 in London last season in the Europa League after drawing 2-2 away from home.

They later knocked out Sevilla and Lyon on a run to the semi-finals, where eventual champions Eintracht Frankfurt proved too strong.

FCSB and Silkeborg join West Ham and Anderlecht in Group B of the Conference League, while Villarreal also learned their early opponents.

After winning the 2021 Europa League and reaching the Champions League semi-finals last season, Villarreal will hope to avoid a bumpy landing in the tertiary competition, with Hapoel Be'er-Sheva, Austria Wien and Lech Poznan their Group C opponents.

Fiorentina, Nice and Koln are also aiming to make an impact in the competition, which is entering its second season.

The six rounds of group games take place from September 8 to November 3, with the Europa Conference League final to be played on June 7 at Slavia Prague's Eden Arena.

Slavia are among the teams competing, drawn to face Cluj, Sivasspor and Ballkani in Group G.

Draw in full:

Group A: Istanbul Basaksehir, Fiorentina, Hearts, RFS

Group B: West Ham, FCSB, Anderlecht, Silkeborg

Group C: Villarreal, Hapoel Be'er-Sheva, Austria Wien, Lech Poznan

Group D: Partizan, Koln, Nice, Slovacko

Group E: AZ, Apollon Limassol, Vaduz, Dnipro-1

Group F: Gent, Molde, Shamrock Rovers, Djurgarden

Group G: Slavia Prague, Cluj, Sivasspor, Ballkani

Group H: Basel, Slovan Bratislava, Zalgiris Vilnius, Pyunik

David Moyes is targeting another strong continental run after guiding West Ham to the Europa Conference League group stages with victory over Viborg.

The Hammers booked their place in Friday's draw after a 3-0 win at the Viborg Stadion rounded off a comprehensive 6-1 aggregate success over the Danish side. 

Gianluca Scamacca got the ball rolling for David Moyes' side in the second leg, while Said Benrahma and Tomas Soucek were also on target after the break to seal the deal.

West Ham enjoyed a marvellous run to the Europa League semi-finals last season, before losing out to eventual champions Eintracht Frankfurt.

Speaking to the media after Thursday's result, Moyes is hoping his squad can enjoy a similarly deep venture this time around.

"It is a special thing being in Europe, and what makes it really special is that you don’t get it very often," he told the club's official website.

"You can sometimes find people who treat it with a bit of disrespect, but I wanted to make sure we treat it with great respect because I want us to try and do well and compete it in.

"Now, we've got another period of European football and playing games in places we've maybe not done before, so we look forward to it.

"We tried really hard last year and we had a great run in it, and now we'll obviously try and do the same in this competition."

Scamacca and Pablo Fornals also highlighted the importance of grasping the opportunity to ensure another campaign of continental football at the London Stadium.

"We want to be in the Europa Conference League, so it was so important to win," the Italy international said.

"Everyone want to play in the European competitions, so it was a big night for us and we will give 100 per cent to go as far as possible."

Fornals added: "It's massive for us to be in the group stage. We're fighting every year to get European football for our people, and we couldn't miss this opportunity."

West Ham cruised through to the Europa Conference League group stages after completing a commanding 6-1 aggregate victory over Danish side Viborg.

Gianluca Scamacca, Said Benrahma and Tomas Soucek were all on target as the Hammers ran out 3-0 winners in the second leg at the Viborg Stadion.

New arrival Scamacca opened the scoring at the London Stadium last week and followed suit seven days later, steering home Soucek's near-post cross in the 22nd minute.

The former Sassuolo striker was involved again as David Moyes' side extended their advantage after the restart, combining with Maxime Cornet to set up Benrahma, who drilled past Lucas Lund.

Soucek then put the tie beyond doubt just after the hour mark as he slotted home from close range following Thilo Kehrer's initial saved headed effort from an Aaron Cresswell corner.

The Hammers' smooth passage into Friday's group-stage draw provides a welcome distraction following a difficult start in the Premier League, where they are still seeking their first point of the campaign.

Jose Mourinho has already turned his attention to his next challenge as he looks to build on Roma's Europa Conference League win.

A first-half strike from Nicolo Zaniolo on Wednesday secured a 1-0 final win over Feyenoord to give the Giallorossi secured their first UEFA trophy and first title in any competition since the Coppa Italia in 2008.

Mourinho became the second coach to win five major European titles after Giovanni Trapattoni; the Portuguese coach added to his two crowns in both the Champions League and Europa League/UEFA Cup.

Roma had already secured Europa League football for next season by finishing sixth in Serie A, seven points behind a place in the top four for Champions League qualification.

Mourinho will lead them into that competition, having asserted his desire to stay, but he is quickly focusing on "what next" in the Eternal City.

"Memories stay forever and history can't be deleted," Mourinho posted on Instagram. "For me these were incredible, unforgettable emotions, but I need to think 'what next'...

"Before that, I need to hug everyone. I need to tell the world my gratitude to my PLAYERS: every one of them, from Rui [Patricio] who played 54 matches to Pietro [Boer] who didn't play one single minute.

"But in this team everyone played every minute of every game, that is what the Einsteins of football don't know, don't understand, and I feel sorry for them.

"Football is what you see and what you can't see, football is not played by 11, it is played by many more, and we were so many… Players, coaches, medical staff, analysts, kitmen, kitchen people, families, friends, Romanisti, Mourinhisti, and I am so grateful to everyone.

"One day I will leave Roma and AS Roma, that's the law of football, but more than one or more cups I would love to see this club forever and ever united by this passion and love.

"Two pictures to hug you all. Have a great June."

Tammy Abraham has been joined in the Europa Conference League team of the season by Roma team-mate Lorenzo Pellegrini, who was named the player of the season.

Roma claimed their first UEFA trophy on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Feyenoord in the inaugural Conference League final.

Nicolo Zaniolo grabbed the decisive goal for the Giallorossi, but his attacking colleagues were preferred in a best XI named on Friday.

Leading scorer Abraham and captain Pellegrini were among four Roma players recognised, with goalkeeper Rui Patricio and centre-back Chris Smalling also included after inspired performances against Feyenoord.

Italy midfielder Pellegrini scooped the top individual award, but Feyenoord were also well represented, including young player of the year honours for Luis Sinisterra.

Sinisterra registered 10 goal involvements (six goals and four assists) throughout the tournament, second only to team-mate and top marksman Cyriel Dessers (11 involvements), whose 10 goals made him the sole man to beat Abraham's tally of nine.

Both Feyenoord forwards made the cut for the team selection, alongside defenders Lutsharel Geertruida, Gernot Trauner and Tyrell Malacia.

Dimitri Payet was also included, as well as sealing the goal of the season award for his sweetly struck effort against PAOK in Marseille's quarter-final.

 

Europa Conference League team of the season: Rui Patricio (Roma); Lutsharel Geertruida (Feyenoord), Chris Smalling (Roma), Gernot Trauner (Feyenoord), Tyrell Malacia (Feyenoord); Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Leicester City), Luis Sinisterra (Feyenoord); Cyriel Dessers (Feyenoord), Tammy Abraham (Roma).

Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham both revelled in Roma's Europa Conference League triumph after defeating Feyenoord 1-0 in Wednesday's final in Tirana.

Nicolo Zaniolo's lone goal proved the difference for the Giallorossi, chesting Gianluca Mancini's pass over the top of the defence to poke the ball home past Justin Bijlow in the 32nd minute.

While Abraham top-scored for the team over the tournament with nine goals, Smalling turned in a man-of-the-match performance at centre-back to help secure Roma's maiden European trophy.

One of the first in a modern wave of Englishmen playing abroad in Europe's top five leagues, Smalling was well aware of Roma's continental drought, insisting it motivated the team.

"We knew how much it was going to mean to everybody in Rome, and you can see how together we are, everybody fought until the end," Smalling told BT Sport.

"We had to do that on a few occasions this year, we dropped a bit deeper than we maybe wanted to but we knew we had to do everything. You could see, strikers running back, everybody defending and we knew we had to win.

"Even when I first came to the club it had been a long time since they won a trophy, you can hear the fans. We knew how much it was going to mean, you can see we've got some of the best fans."

Abraham had previously stated he was reticent to play in the Serie A, believing it would take him out of the frame for England selection.

With 27 goals in 52 games in all competitions this season, Abraham is part of Gareth Southgate's squad for the June international window along with Fikayo Tomori, who this weekend wrapped up the Serie A title with Milan.

The 24-year-old Abraham believes Roma deserved their victory on the night, while his reception in Italy has inspired him.

"One thing I said when I came here was I was going to help the team get to the final and one day I want to win a trophy," Abraham also told BT Sport. "In my first season I have achieved that.

"Credit to my team-mates, excellent performances. We deserve it. We have worked hard all year.

"I love them (the fans). From day one I came here it has been the best. We are champions, I am happy to be a part of the team, now it is time to celebrate and enjoy."

Nicolo Zaniolo is hoping to savour a childhood dream after his goal secured Roma the Europa Conference League title on Wednesday, defeating Feyenoord 1-0.

Zaniolo's goal proved the difference in a tightly-contested final in Tirana, chesting down Gianluca Manini's pass over the Feyenoord defence to poke the ball home past Justin Bijlow in the 32nd minute.

The 22-year-old scored the hat-trick to ignite the Giallorossi's comeback against Bodo/Glimt in the quarter-final second leg, making his winner in Tirana that much more fitting.

Post-match, he was adamant Roma can build something lasting upon this maiden European triumph, after losses in the 1984 European Cup and 1991 UEFA Cup finals.

"It's all wonderful, we want to enjoy this moment," Zaniolo told Sky Sports Italia. "I made my dream as a child come true, winning a European competition.

"There are no words, the fans are fantastic, and the victory is all for them. After this victory something important is being born. We are strong and we have not yet understood how much.

"I dedicate the goal and the victory to my whole family – my father, my mother, my grandmother, everyone. They have always been close to me."

The Giallorossi absorbed and defended for the majority of the match after Zaniolo's goal but more than the nature of the performance, the victory has an added dimension for captain Lorenzo Pellegrini.

Before two seasons with Sassuolo, the 25-year-old progressed through Roma's academy, grew up supporting the club and eventually returned.

Pellegrini admitted it was hard to process the achievement with that in mind, but wanted to taste more success with the club.

"We are a real team, we proved that," Pellegrini told Sky Sport Italia. "Now we have to celebrate and then start again, which is always difficult after a great victory, but a real team wins, celebrates and starts again.

"I said yesterday that I never would’ve imagined at the age of 25 to achieve this with the Roma jersey and the captain’s armband. It is a wonderful moment.

"Now we must celebrate, fix this moment in our minds and make it happen again in future."

Nicolo Zaniolo led Roma to their first major continental title with a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final in Tirana on Wednesday. 

After suffering a defeat in the 1984 European Cup final and missing out on UEFA Cup glory seven years later, the Serie A side were not to be denied an elusive European triumph and lifted their first trophy since the Coppa Italia in 2008. 

Zaniolo, who missed the entire 2020-21 season after suffering a second ACL injury in under a year, dinked in an exemplary finish in the 32nd minute to put Roma in charge. 

Feyenoord upped their game after the restart and were denied by the woodwork twice in three minutes, but Jose Mourinho's men tightened up and saw out a famous victory.

The meeting between the competition's two most prolific sides was bereft of goalmouth action for much of the first half, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's withdrawal due to injury the most notable event in the opening half hour. 

Roma moved in front with the first real chance of the match, though, as Zaniolo brought down Gianluca Mancini's excellent delivery with his chest and stabbed an instinctive finish home. 

Feyenoord made a bright start to the second half and Mancini diverted a fizzed low cross onto the near post of his own goal before Rui Patricio parried Guus Til's follow-up behind. 

Patricio produced a stunning stop in the 50th minute when he tipped a ferocious 20-yard drive from Tyrell Malacia onto the woodwork. 

Justin Bijlow denied Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini as Roma tried to get a second on the break, but Bryan Linssen was unable to connect with Cyriel Dessers' flick-on in stoppage time on a painful evening for Feyenoord.

Jose Mourinho has said Wednesday's inaugural Europa Conference League final will be about "finishing a journey" as his Roma side prepare to take on Feyenoord.

The Giallorossi beat Leicester City in the semi-finals and finished sixth in Serie A this season to qualify for next season's Europa League.

Mourinho recently insisted that winning the Europa Conference League will mean as much to him as his Champions League titles with Porto and Inter.

The game with their Dutch opponents will take place at Arena Kombetare in Tirana, Albania, and speaking at a media conference on Tuesday, Mourinho said winning the first edition of the competition was a key target for his team. 

"To me this final is not about writing history," he said. "It's about finishing a journey we've been on this season and achieving one of the targets we've always had.

"Me and my staff have been at Trigoria since the Torino game, preparing for this game. The squad look in good shape to me, ready for this."

Attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has not played since suffering a muscle injury against Leicester last month, but Mourinho said the Armenian could be available on Wednesday. 

"Mkhitaryan trained today with the squad for the first time. But it was only a light session," he said.

"Still, it was important for him to see how he feels out there on the pitch. I will rely a lot on his view on whether he is ready or not tomorrow."

The former Chelsea manager has often gone by the moniker "The Special One", following his confident self-tagging when he became boss at Stamford Bridge in 2004, but he insisted he is not the same person any more and just wants to help his team.

"The Special One story is a nonsense," he added. "It's something you say in the beginning of your career. As you progress, mature, you start to think more about others than yourself. So that's an old story to me. Tomorrow, I will simply try to help."

Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini also spoke to the media, and said he and his team-mates will be "focused and determined" to get the win.

"Who wouldn't want to bring something home that will remain forever in the history of this club?" the 25-year-old said.

"We will be focused and determined, as we always are. I hope that tomorrow will end up being one of the best days of my life."

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