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Olympiacos hero El Kaabi matches Messi feat in Europa Conference League success

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 May 2024

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Ayoub El Kaabi will be the toast of Piraeus after his match-winning heroics secured Olympiakos’ first-ever European trophy following their Europa Conference League success on Wednesday.

The Olympiacos striker delivered the fatal blow against Fiorentina, bundling home with four minutes remaining of extra time to snatch a 1-0 victory at the AEK Arena.

El Kaabi is the first player to score 11 goals in a single knockout stage campaign in major European competition since the introduction of group stages.

Radamel Falcao, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema all only ever managed 10 such goals in one campaign of UEFA competitions, and El Kaabi moves next to greatness in another aspect, too.

The Moroccan forward is the first non-European player to score 14 goals in major European competition in a single season, since Lionel Messi in 2011-12 (also 14).

Olympiakos have their star striker to thank after becoming the first-ever Greek side to lift a trophy in major European competition, while Fiorentina will be wounded by another failure in this tournament.

Having lost to West Ham in last season’s Conference League final, Fiorentina have now lost five of their last six finals in Europe, their only success coming against Rangers in the 1961 Cup Winners’ Cup.

Defeat also ended La Viola’s longest unbeaten run in Europe in their history, halting a 13-match undefeated streak in abrupt fashion.

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