Soccer-Ecstatic Olympiakos players hail team spirit for first European title win


Soccer Football - Europa Conference League - Final - Olympiacos v Fiorentina - Agia Sophia Stadium, Athens, Greece - May 30, 2024 Olympiacos' Kostas Fortounis lifts the trophy as he celebrates with teammates after winning the Europa Conference League REUTERS/Louisa Gouliamaki

ATHENS (Reuters) - Olympiakos players hailed the team's unity after edging past Fiorentina 1-0 in extra time on Wednesday to win the Europa Conference League and become the first Greek team to claim a European club title.

In a game that was high on intensity and physicality but low on quality in front of goal, neither side could score in the regulation 90 minutes before Ayoub El Kaabi got the winner in the 116th minute.

"I have no words," said Olympiakos winger Giorgos Masouras as other team mates nearby cried and celebrated with their fans.

"It has not yet sunk in. We did it together. I was certain we would win it and we held on and got it in the end."

"We are now part of Europe's elite and have more responsibilities. We have to maintain this level now," Masouras said.

Olympiakos, who finished third in the league title race, became the first Greek club to lift a European trophy, with Panathinaikos coming closest previously, in 1971, when they lost the European Cup final to Ajax Amsterdam.

Celebrations broke out across Athens and the port of Piraeus with thousands of supporters lighting flares and fireworks

"I am very happy and satisfied and it is an honour to have made the fans happy," said Olympiakos coach Jose Luis Mendilibar, who took over in February.

"I am very happy that we achieved something that the club had not achieved before. We will celebrate, we will cheer and then we will get back to work for what comes next."

The result was a second consecutive defeat in the Europa Conference League final for Fiorentina, who had got to the showdown with Olympiakos without losing a single game.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Clare Fallon)

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