West Ham United win the Euroapa Conference League

West Ham won the Europa Conference League with a late goal from Jarrod Bowen
West Ham

(Football news) Said Benrahma’s penalty in the 62nd minute had earlier been reversed by Giacomo Bonaventura’s lightning-quick goal, but David Moyes’ team showed great fortitude by withstanding intense pressure at various points during the game until scoring in the 90th. Inciting wild West Ham celebrations at the Fortuna Arena and winning the team’s first significant trophy in 43 years, Jarrod Bowen pounced on Lucas Paqueta’s pass and fired home a low finish.  

After winning the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965, they had been without a significant trophy for more than 40 years. With this victory, they have now won a European trophy twice. Additionally, it secures their spot in the Europa League for the following season with a finish of 14th in the Premier League.

A plastic cup thrown from the West Ham end hit Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi, leaving him wounded and bandaged, and victory appeared improbable at moments during the lopsided first half. The game was marred by that event, as West Ham initially struggled to establish a foothold in the match in the raucous atmosphere at the Fortuna Arena that followed an afternoon of fan rioting that resulted in 30 arrests in the city centre.

Early on, Fiorentina made a rare push forward, but other than that, Moyes’ team was generally pinned in their own half as Fiorentina dominated possession. Declan Rice, playing in what is likely to be his final game for the club, shot narrowly wide.  Biraghi’s corner provided the Italians with their first real opportunity, and West Ham were fortunate that their lax defending did not backfire as Nikola Milenkovic wastely headed the ball.

Biraghi was struck in the head when empty cups fell on him after winning a corner in the same spot. The Fiorentina captain sarcastically applauded the West Ham end before understanding the impact had caused him to bleed. Biraghi’s head was wrapped after a lengthy delay in action, and the stadium announcer begged West Ham supporters not to hurl anything before the game restarted.

That advice was heeded, but the game’s pattern persisted. West Ham was relieved when Luka Jovic bundled home from close range just before halftime, but the goal was later overturned for offside after a protracted VAR review. After the break, West Ham started to offer a greater danger, especially from set plays. The breakthrough came when Biraghi was penalised for a handball after another VAR assessment, and a calm Benrahma scored the ensuing penalty.

Only a few minutes later, Fiorentina equalised thanks to the outstanding Bonaventura, who superbly finished Nicolas Gonzalez’s knockdown and found the far corner. Fiorentina came close to completing the comeback when Rolando Mandragora’s effort from substitute Arthur Cabral’s pass was barely wide, but the game remained a toss-and-turn in the closing minutes.

Tomas Soucek twice came close to scoring for the Hammers, but it was Bowen who would emerge as their hero. The 26-year-old maintained his composure to capitalise on Paqueta’s through ball and past Fiorentina keeper Pietro Terracciano, sending West Ham fans into a state of ecstasy.

West Ham manager David Moyes said “This is fantastic. I’ve had a long career in football and you don’t get many moments like this. Thankfully tonight we’ve had a great time and we’ve got the result we wanted.”

“These sorts of moments as a manager don’t come around too often. You have to work very hard. You don’t get enough good moments in football sometimes but today is a great moment for us.

“It’s a brilliant club in the east end of London who do brilliant work in the community. It’s a big family club and it’s getting better and stronger.

“We’ve got a 65,000-capacity stadium which we’ve nearly filled all season. It’s an incredible achievement for a football club to be growing like that. Tonight is another step on the road to progress and continued progress.

“The game probably didn’t go to plan the way we wanted it to, but in the end, winning finals is the important thing. You have some managers who have got a lot of medals by finding a way of winning.

Also read: West Ham United face Fiorentina in the final

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