(Reuters) – Tammy Abraham’s first-half header earned Italian Serie A side AS Roma a place in the final of the inaugural Europa Conference League, where they will meet Dutch club Feyenoord following two tight semi-finals on Thursday.
Roma edged Leicester City 1-0 to win their tie 2-1 on aggregate, while Feyenoord held home side Olympique Marseille to a scrappy 0-0 draw on the French south coast and advanced 3-2.
The final will be played in Tirana, Albania on May 25, where the winners will automatically qualify for the 2022/23 Europa League group stage, unless they reach the Champions League pool stages next season.
There was little to choose between the sides at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, where the decisive goal came on 11 minutes as Leicester’s frailties at set-pieces this season were exposed again.
Lorenzo Pellegrini’s corner was met by the head of England international Abraham, who guided the ball into the net.
It took Leicester 78 minutes to have a first shot on target as they battled to create clear-cut chances against the well organised home side, who reach their first European final since losing to compatriots Inter Milan in the 1991 UEFA Cup.
The second leg of the semi-final between Marseille and Feyenoord was marred by fan violence in the build-up as supporters from both sides clashed with each other and police, while a brick was thrown at the visitors’ team bus.
The first leg had been a five-goal thriller, but this was more of a cagey affair with the best chance of the first half falling to Marseille’s Dimitri Payet, who sliced a shot wide when he should have scored.
Marseille pressed for the goal they needed to equalise on aggregate, but Feyenoord held on to reach their first European final since they lifted the UEFA Cup for the second time in 2002.
(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)