Beltran’s Late Penalty Sends Fiorentina into Europa Conference League Final for 2nd Straight Year

BRUGGE, Belgium (AP) — A late penalty from Lucas Beltran that rewarded Fiorentina’s intense pressing ensured the Italian team progressed to the Europa Conference League final for the second straight year with an aggregate 4-3 win over Club Brugge on Wednesday.

Fiorentina, which lost to West Ham in the title match last year, will face either Olympiakos or Aston Villa in the May 29 final in Athens. The Greek team hosts its English Premier League rival on Thursday holding a 4-2 lead from the first leg in England.

Fiorentina, which hit the woodwork three times and was the better team in the second half, is now unbeaten in its last 13 European matches.

Beltran’s goal secured a 1-1 draw after Brugge captain Hans Vanaken put the hosts in front with a first-half goal to level the tie. Fiorentina had prevailed 3-2 in the first leg in Italy.

“It is extraordinary, we wanted this final and we proved it in a resounding second half despite the curse of the posts,” Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano said. “The boys brought out a great personality that is needed in these matches, here it was bedlam.”

Club Brugge was in control early on at the Jan Breydel stadium. Playing in front of the backline, Ghana international Denis Odoi was excellent in mastering the midfield with Vanaken as Fiorentina players were pegged back in their half and defended with pugnacity.

Brugge found an opening in the 20th minute when Vanaken delivered a precise cross for Maxim De Cuyper in the box. The defender tried to head the ball home but could not connect with it, and it went straight into the back of the net.

Brugge suddenly lost its focus after scoring and allowed Fiorentina to kickstart its match with a series of chances.

Back from injury, Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet made an excellent save to win a one-on-one with Nicolas Gonzalez. Forward Christian Kouame then came close with a stunning half-volley that struck the crossbar and bounced in front of the goal line.

Both sides looked threatening after the interval, with Fiorentina gradually taking control of the game.

The Italian team had a first chance to level the scoring from a free kick that Cristiano Biraghi fired onto the crossbar in the 74th. Fiorentina then hit the woodwork again in the next minute as Kouame headed a cross off the post.

The Italian club’s efforts were rewarded in the 85th minute when Brandon Mechele conceded a penalty for a foul in the box. Beltran took the kick and sent the ball past Mignolet with a precise low shot.

Vanaken had a last opportunity to send the game into extra time after Odoi was sent off for a second booking, only for Filippo Terracciano to produce a fine save in stoppage time.

Fiorentina has now reached a European club competition final for the sixth time. Brugge’s last appearance at a continental final was in 1978 when it lost to Liverpool in the European Cup title match.



Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


2 Germans, a Spaniard and a Senegalese Killed in Building Collapse in Spain’s Mallorca Island

MADRID (AP) — Spain's National Police on Friday gave details on four people killed when a building housing a bar and restaurant club collapsed on the island of Mallorca.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is once again under the spotlight after a manager failed to consult a collections committee before purchasing a 21-star flag whose description as a rare banner marking Illinois' 1818 admission to the Union is disputed.

BABYLON, NY – Babylon AHEPA Chapter 416 awarded two very well-qualified students Yanni Saridakis and Maria Avlonitis with $1,000 scholarships on May 19.

THRU JUNE 4 NEW YORK – The third iteration of the Carte Blanche project featuring Maria Antelman with the work ‘The Seer (Deep)’ opened on April 19 and runs through June 4, Monday-Friday 9 AM-2:30 PM, at the Consulate General of Greece in New York, 69 East 79th Street in Manhattan.

ATHENS – An Archieratical Divine Liturgy and a memorial service honoring the 50th dark anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus at the Metropolis – the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Athens – marked the beginning of the 4th Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Sunday, May 26.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.