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Appreciating Ayoub El Kaabi’s record-breaking Conference League campaign

Olympiacos are celebrating a historic season after becoming the first Greek team to win a European trophy in 2023-24.

José Luis Mendilibar’s side beat Fiorentina 1-0 in extra-time of the Europa Conference League final, sending Athens – the host city for the final – into mass scenes of celebration.

Ayoub El Kaabi was the hero of the decider with a late, late winner for Olympiacos, completing a record-breaking campaign in continental competition for the Morocco international.

Signed from Al Sadd SC last summer, the 30-year-old has scored 33 goals in all competitions since his switch to Greece and has established himself in Olympiacos folklore.

We’ve looked at some of the records set during El Kaabi’s record-breaking season.

Most goals in the knockout stage of any UEFA club competition (11)

Olympiacos only entered the Conference League in the knockout rounds, following elimination from the Europa League’s group stage.

The Greek side embarked on a remarkable run through the knockout stages, including overturning a 4-1 first-leg deficit against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Round of 16. El Kaabi was at the forefront of the success with 11 goals in just nine appearances – the most any player has recorded in the knockout stages of a UEFA club competition.

His total exceeded the 10 goals scored by Radamel Falcao (2010-11 Europa League), Cristiano Ronaldo (2016-17 Champions League) and Karim Benzema (2021-22 Champions League).

Most goals in a UEFA club campaign by an African player (14)

Having scored three times in the Europa League before Olympiacos dropped into the Conference League, El Kaabi ended the European season with 14 goals.

It is the most ever scored in a single season of UEFA competition by an African player, beating the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Samuel Eto’o.

Most goals in a Europa Conference League knockout tie (5 – vs Aston Villa)

El Kaabi was the hero of the semi-final destruction of Aston Villa, as Olympiacos upset the odds to dump out the tournament favourites in the last four.

The Moroccan helped himself to a hat-trick as the Greeks stunned Unai Emery’s side with a 4-2 win at Villa Park in the first leg, before netting both goals in the 2-0 win at the Karaiskakis Stadium in the return.

First Europa Conference League semi-final hat-trick (vs Aston Villa)

El Kaabi’s treble at Villa Park was the first time a player had scored a hat-trick at the semi-final stage of the Europa Conference League.

Most goals in a single Europa Conference League campaign (11)

With 11 goals in this season’s competition, El Kaabi ended the tournament as the Europa Conference League’s top scorer, ahead of Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Eran Zahavi (8) and Dinamo Zagreb striker Bruno Petkovic (7).

It set a new record for the most goals scored in a single season of the newly-formed competition, while only three players have ever scored more Conference League goals in total.

After three editions of the Conference League, Arthur Cabral (Basel/Fiorentina), Vangelis Pavlidis (AZ Alkmaar) and Eran Zahavi (Maccabi Tel Aviv) are the leading scorers on 12 goals, with El Kaabi placed just behind them.

Read – The leading scorers from each of Europe’s top five leagues in 2023-24

See more – The highest points totals in Europe’s top five leagues in 2023-24

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