A Review of the latest action in the world of Football, from Major leagues to Youth Competitions
Mid/Late Week Football Round-up: Top Stories in Europe and the World
It is fair to say it is proving to be a stand-out season for Italian Club sides in European Competitions. A look at the European calendar and the outcome of the last couple of weeks tells a tale with a theme of emerging Italian dominance in Europe with Five European clubs making it to at least the Semi-finals and three teams making it to three different finals on the football clubs’ continental stage. Inter Milan, AS Roma and Fiorentina have made it to the finals of the Champion’s League, Europa League and Conference League, respectively after a week to remember in the football world.
Inter Milan set the ball rolling and reached the Champions League after beating City rivals, AC Milan over two legs in a tie that saw the Nerazzurri keep a pair of clean-sheets while scoring thrice to send them into their first Champions League Final to face Manchester City that trashed a faltering Real Madrid side. This is Inter Milan’s first appearance in the Final of the Champions League since 2010 when they defeated Bayern Munich to cap off a historic treble under Jose Mourinho.
Speaking of ‘The Special One’, Jose Mourinho, his side made it to a second successive European Final in as many years after he also guided his AS Roma side to a triumph in the Maiden edition of the Conference League last season and gained qualification to the Europa League. Last night, the Giallorossi have overcome a Bayer Leverkusen side led by Mourinho’s former player, Xabi Alonso in a quite quiet tie that saw the Italian side advance with a 1-0 score line over the two legs to advance to the Europa League Final to face the defending Champions and Competition favorites, Sevilla.
Still on Sevilla they came up against a resurgent Juventus side that had clawed back a 1 goal deficit to keep the score at 1-1 going into the second-leg. However, the old lady of Italian football proved to be the only exception to vast Italian success last night as they crashed out of the race to reach their first major continental Final since 2017 when they lost to another Spanish side, Real Madrid, in the Final of Europe’s premier club competition. The game was a tense and tight affair with the roles reversed as Sevilla made a comeback from a goal down to win 2-1 in extra-time in a fixture that lived up to the billing.
Fiorentina also led a proverbial fightback in their Conference League Semi-final second leg decider away from home against FC Basel who took a 2-1 lead into halftime in the tie. Two goals from Nico Gonzalez and another from Antonin Barak, late into extra-time saw the Italian club run out 3-1 winners taking the overall score to 4-3 in the tie. Fiorentina will face West Ham United in the Final of the Conference League after the latter overcame Dutch side AZ Alkmaar 3-1 over the double-legged tie to reach their first European Final for forty-seven years. The scenes at the end of the fixture have been branded by the AZ Alkmaar Coach as shameful as some of the Alkmaar support attempted to storm the away end where friends and family of the West Ham team were sitting. This led to the likes of West Ham’s Michail Antonio, Flynn Downes and Lucas Paqueta all attempting to climb into the stands to protect those that were being targeted before the notably late arrival of the riot-police to quell the chaos.
It was certainly an eventful night of European football and surely fans of the Clubs involved and others around the world would be hoping for more of the same as the 2022/23 football season enters its final and most decisive lap.