West Ham overcame nearly 60 years of waiting for the European trophy with a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina in the European Conference League final with a late goal from Jarrod Bowen.
Bowen dived into a superb pass from Lucas Paqueta in the 90th minute and scored past Pietro Terracciano to give the Hammers a 2-1 win over Fiorentina in Prague on Wednesday.
The victory gave West Ham their first silver medal since the 1980 FA Cup and their first European trophy in 58 years.
Bowen told BT Sport: I thought he was going to cry. ”
“I’m very happy. We haven’t had the best season, myself included, but I’m really happy we got it tonight,” he said.
“I think at my position, if I do 10 of those runs, I might get one ball. I have to put it away as soon as I get it.”
Bowen scored the penalty first and Saeed Benrahma opened the scoring before Giacomo Bonaventura equalized for Serie A side Fiorentina just four minutes later.
Fiorentina were unable to respond to Bowen’s goal despite nearly eight minutes of injury time, leaving the London club behind for the second time in its history and the first since its old club to win the European title before the fans. caused an enthusiastic celebration among the West Ham players while dancing at the 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Dance for joy! 🕺 pic.twitter.com/thBfMX3H4M
— West Ham United (@WestHam) June 7, 2023
West Ham finished 14th in the Premier League but went undefeated to qualify for the European tour, winning 12 of their 13 tournament matches. The win also means the team qualify for the Europa League next season.
“I’ve had a long career in football and you don’t get moments like this very often,” said West Ham manager David Moyes. His managerial job was threatened early in the season as the team struggled near the relegation zone in the league. .
Moyes has become the first Scottish manager to win a UEFA competition since Alex Ferguson won his second Champions League title with Manchester United in 2008.
Fiorentina took control in the first half and nearly took the lead at the end of the first half when Cristian Kuame’s header was deflected off the post. Luka Jovic headed the rebound, but the goal was disallowed for offside.
Fiorentina, who also won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961, had been waiting for the European title longer than West Ham.
They became the first club to reach the final of a Grand Slam tournament and looked good enough to force extra time before Bowen broke the offside trap to break through on goal.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect tonight to end like this,” said Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano.
— ACF Fiorentina English (@ACFFiorentinaEN) June 7, 2023
“We played well and had chances. [and] After a penalty that could have ended us, we quickly tied the score. We responded to that and Mandragora had a great opportunity,” he said.
“Then it was all over with the ball scrambled in the middle and the lack of the right moves in defense. The youngsters were destroyed,” he added.
But the match and post-match celebrations were also marred by violence.
West Ham have issued a statement condemning the actions of some supporters after Fiorentina defender Cristiano Biraghi was bleeding after an object was thrown by a crowd during the match.
With the game going scoreless in the 35th minute, Biraghi took a corner right in front of the edge of the Eden Arena where the West Ham supporters were sitting. The player was hit by what appeared to be an e-cigarette pen amidst a rain of cups and other objects.
After referee Carlos del Cerro Grande called for the match to be suspended and a stadium announcement warned fans to stop throwing objects and show respect to players and officials before the match continued. , Biraghi had to brace himself to keep the game going.
“West Ham United candidly condemn the actions of a small number of individuals who threw objects onto the pitch during tonight’s UEFA Europa Conference League final,” the club said in a statement.
On Wednesday night, some West Ham fans also clashed with riot police after the match in Prague, erupting into a brawl as police tried to confiscate smoke flares that had been lit by police as fans gathered in the city’s Old Town.. Riot police attacked the group after firing a second flare, and fans responded by throwing bottles and other projectiles at the officers.
Earlier in the day, Czech police said they had detained at least 16 Italian fans after assaulting a West Ham supporter outside a bar, with videos shared on social media showing chairs and fireworks being thrown at them. rice field.
The post-match celebration was initially cordial, with drunken people hugging and kissing each other and dancing at bar tables.