Roma was on the verge of their first European final since 1990 as they took the stage on Thursday night. A loud, passionate and enthusiastic energy came from the romanista getting behind the she-wolf as Roma looked to add another chapter in Roman history. The Stadio Olimpico took Center Stage for a massive European semi-final. The second leg of the conference League Clash between Roma and Leicester City. Icons alike were in attendance. Francesco Totti, the king himself, and the majority of Roma’s women’s team that advanced to a final of their own were there in support. Among other icons is Claudio Ranieri. The man that pulled off the impossible with Leicester City to win the most improbable title in sports history. However, the seventy-year-old grew up in the streets of Rome, coming to the Stadio Olimpico as a child, having managed Roma on two occasions in his first stint getting Roma to a Coppa Italia final although the results did not go his way, he is a Roman boy through and through still has a professional admiration and is applauded by both Leicester city and Roma fans at the Olimpico. However, Claudia Ranieri, before the match, made his intentions clear regarding who he was supporting. He was one of the thousands of romanista in attendance, getting behind the giallorossi the potential of a historical Roman moment. The Stadio Olimpico was the stage for the Barcelona epic comeback. Kostas manolas put Roma on the brink of Glory, getting them into the semi-final of the Champions League; this time, Roma would have a chance for their first European final and end their trophy drought in the coming weeks. Was the special one going to get to yet another final? Giving the fans of Rome something to cheer about again. It would be a Clash of Titans in the first leg of the semi-final at the King Power Stadium. Nicola Zalewski, the Roma teenage sensation, made a brilliant run down the left flank freeing up Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini firing Roma in front in Leicester. Roma’s defense was incredibly difficult to break down. Still, eventually, Leicester City found their way back into it as Harvey Barnes came off the bench to orchestrate a way past Rui Patricio. Putting all the anticipation the pressure on one night in Rome. It was a night to remember at the Stadio Olimpico Roma’s own Coliseum. This was going to be a battle first-leg Leicester City would give everything they had and then some to get to a final of their own. Last year’s FA Cup winners, who have had an underwhelming Premier League season, had a point to prove in their own right. However, going into Rome with all the pressure in the middle of the table surrounded by all those fans was going to be a difficult prospect. The connection we have seen all year between Lorenzo Pellegrini and Tammy Abraham came into fruition were all more gifted a corner Roma’s number 7 put the ball near the corner flag with the giallorossi faithful behind them. Lorenzo Pellegrini stepped up and followed through on his connection, accurately placing the ball in a perfect area where only Tammy Abraham could get it. The English striker, that is had the best debut season in club history, Rises up and makes the connection with his head before driving the ball into the top left corner beating Kasper Schmeichel to give Roma a 1–0 lead. The Stadio Olimpico erupted as the fans were brought to their feet as an emotional crowd got behind them and celebrated a vital moment of the season. As Tammy Abraham scored his 25th goal of the campaign, but arguably no goal was as important as this. Roma came out with the aggressiveness they needed to instill their confidence to get there in the end. Leicester City was very aggressive and looked like the more dangerous team for large parts of the first leg. The foxes got forward, continually pinning Roma back in their own half. Roma welcomed that pressure as Leicester City found it difficult to withstand a Roma defense that never truly allowed Leicester City to have the upper hand even though they attempted to create a lot of chances and got into dangerous positions. Roma’s defense was brutal on Leicester, not allowing them to do anything they wanted. Occasionally managed to fire on goal, but more times than not, it went straight into the hands of Rui Patricio. Roma did not have a lot of possession, but they slowed down everything Leicester City managed to do. There were a couple of late chances in which Rui Patricio managed to make some important saves, but in the end, they never managed to break through. Roma were the favorites coming into the game, but Leicester City showed a valiant effort; they just came up against a defense that would not budge an inch and never gave them a chance. The full-time whistle blew, and Mourinho fashion holding off a 1–0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico, exploded with emotion. These fans have not seen our club win anything since 2008. Times have changed. Rome is going through a transitional period at the moment in what people in Italy believe will be a quick rise. Mourinho has instilled the winning mentality that Roma has always needed, and now Roma is 90 minutes away from ending their trophy drought. You can see the emotion and what it meant to everyone on that night. Lorenzo Pellegrini brought to his knees a Roman boy that came through the rains at Roma to Captain the side and now is on the verge of lifting a trophy for his hometown Club. Nicolo zaniolo is a young player who has gone through many difficult adversities. Tammy Abraham was a player that felt he had something to prove after his hometown Club gave up on him. Rui Patricio, the goalkeeper, came here in the summer to do exactly what they did on the night, giving Roma the security in goal may just have been the player of the season for this Roma team. The fans let a waterfall of emotion run over them, with Mourinho brought to tears on the sidelines as the final whistle approached. The special one gets to yet another final bringing the people of Rome supporters of this club finally an opportunity to win something. It may not be the Champions League, but as Mourinho said last night, it is our Champions League; there is a tough task ahead, but it’s not one Roma isn’t prepared for; the giallorossi will follow Roma to the edge of the Earth many of us will follow Roma to Albania as Roma in closer to their first trophy in a decade and the first European trophy Italy has seen since 2010. Leicester City deserves a lot of credit and respect, but this is something Roma has been waiting for such a long time, and now they have a chance finally to win something. Roma is growing right before our eyes, and now they have a chance to do something extremely special Rama advanced to the conference League final, outlasting Leicester City 2–1 on Aggregate.
Roma would have preferred to compete in the Europa League and Champions League but going into the season that was above their level was the conference, League. They were going to do everything in their power to make the most of it. They’ve had a challenging journey to the final; certainly, there have been some moments of pure dominance in this competition, but they certainly had hardships as they’ve had to face adversity plenty and battle through some very difficult challenges and occasional humiliation to get to the final ultimately the road they traveled has made everything worth it. Unfortunately, the group stage was not a given right and would have to go to battle over two legs to qualify for the group stage of the conference League. They ended up meeting up with Trabzonspor. One of Turkey’s strongest teams they will be playing Champions League football next season. The same team that stood in the way of Roma making the groups won the league in Turkey for the first time in 38 years. This side had some familiar faces Gervinho a former Roma player that had a recently productive spell at Parma, Bruno Peres, a player that put on the Roma shirt 132 different times and Edin Visca, a player that went up against Roma in the Europa League a few years ago when he was with Istanbul and former Parma star Andreas Cornelius. A well-balanced squad that had an incredibly successful season winning that League title is a type of team with Champions League quality; it was not the simplest a potential matchup. Roma took the first game with a 2–1 victory with goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini and Shomurodov. In the second, Roma put them to bed a 3–0 victory with goals from El Shaarawy Bryan cristante and Nicolo zaniolo, the first goal since his injury. Roma made it to the group; they ended up in Group C with Cska Sofia, a team they played in the Europa League last year, and Zorya Luhansk from Ukraine in what turned out to be their Nemesis in this competition, Bobo glint. Roma handled their business convincing in four of the six games they played. 5–1 and 3–2 victory over cska Sofia, beating Zorya 3–0 and 4–0, leaving the Norwegians. Glint humiliated Roma in Norway, beating the brakes off them. Roma suffered a 6–1 defeat in Norway, the biggest loss of Mourinho’s career. In the reverse fixture, they almost lost again a Rodger Ibanez header with seven minutes remaining to help them avoid a second defeat. However, they still finish top of their group with 13 points earning a spot in the Round of 16. In the Round of 16, they were drawn with Vitesse; the Dutch side gave them a game. Sergio Oliveira scored on the brink of half-time to give Roma a 1–0 victory in the first leg. In Rome, Vitesse scored a goal in the second to level the tie. Before Tammy Abraham scored a stoppage-time winner punching the ticket to the quarterfinals. Vitesse fought, didn’t blame officials, and was graceful in defeat. In the quarter-final, they ran into Bobo glint for the third time. The Norwegian side did it again, securing a 2–1 lead into the second leg taking care of business in Norway, following Lorenzo Pellegrini giving Roma the first-half lead. In Rome, Roma finally got their Revenge. Tammy Abraham scored in the opening minutes before Nicolo zaniolo scored the first hat trick of his career as they pulverized the Norwegian side that had their number in this competition to earn a 4–0 victory. Setting up a semifinal Clash with Brandon Rogers and Leicester city. Lorenzo Pellegrini’s goal gave Roma a 1–0 lead inside of 15 minutes before Harvey Barnes came off the bench to force an own goal by Gianluca Mancini. In the second leg in Rome, an early Tammy Abraham goal settled it in what was a true battle in the semifinals as Roma punched their ticket to the final in Albania. As you can see, Roma went through an awful lot throughout this competition so far, battling through adversity, having to deal with the glint and overcoming them, eventually pushing themselves through a punishing semifinal against Leicester City, and now they sit in the final with a possibility to end the trophy drought in the capital.
It’s no secret, but I’ve been critical of this competition as a whole ever since its creation. At the moment, I thought. The competition’s only purpose was to make UEFA more income and money. The champions league and Europa League are competitions. I’ve always had incredible respect for the top 6 teams, especially among the big leagues. They deserve recognition and an opportunity to challenge themselves to win a European competition. On the back of the creation of the conference League, I wasn’t sure the competition existing had to do with merit and felt that this was just a ploy to add fuel to the fire regarding the conference league. My perspective has changed a bit on all of this, but when Roma was going to begin this competition, I had serious doubts about whether the competition was good for football. I had expressed my doubts about that measure, given the money would bring in to UEFFA. It turned out to be a beautiful thing, but potentially, you could argue that this happened because of money. This turned out to be completely false, but I had another issue with this competition at the time because I believed a club like Roma was beneath it. Meaning I thought Rome was too big of a club to be degraded to a competition like this one. The size of Roma historically maybe blurred my vision. Growing up a Roma fan since the 1998 season, Roma has been a club that, more times than not, is competing in a Champions League or the Europa League but mainly the Champions League. It was this mentality that some clubs would be a great honor, but Roma was above that; it was a selfish train of thought. I acted without thinking about the whole picture. Roma is a club that is in transition even though Roma made the Europa League semi-final last season, following Roma making the Champions League semi-final in 2018. Roma has finished 6th, 5th, and 7th. It is a squad and a team with a lot of work to be done in a phase I would refer to as a project. This season, Europa League and champions league football were above their level. The conference is precisely what Roma’s level is, or was going into this season. I should have taken this competition more seriously throughout, and perhaps I should have covered it. I didn’t expect to feel the emotion I did in the later rounds of this competition, and now that Roma is sitting in a European final, I acknowledge that I was wrong and viewing this. A few weeks ago, I suggested that finishing above Lazio would be better than winning this trophy. I was sorely mistaken. I love what Mourinho said in his postgame interview after the victory on Thursday. He talked about the Champions League being exciting and reflected, but that’s not where Roma is right now, and the conference League final is our Champions League. I do not take this as seriously as I should have this season. I will not make that mistake again next season; even though Roma will not be in this competition, I will treat it with the respect it deserves. If Roma goes on to win the conference League, it will be one of the greatest moments of my life. I haven’t won anything as a Roma fan since I was 16. I’m almost 30 now. It’s competition now; as I’ve learned, it deserves respect through processing all of this. Say what you want about the conference League; the group phase wasn’t the most interesting, but The Knockout rounds were theatrical and exciting, displaying outstanding football. It has been something special, and even though this isn’t quite the Champions League or the Europa League, it still has been a fantastic competition that I misjudged. Words can’t even remotely explain how excited I was yesterday when we got to the fine. I was at work following the game on my phone when the final whistle was confirmed. I went into the cooler at my job and cried. I never thought that this competition would grab me emotionally. Still, it did, so for that reason, I openly admit I was wrong about the conference League this competition shouldn’t be degraded in any way in the future been extremely thrilling and quite a ride for my beloved Roma.