With a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final, Jarrod Bowen’s late strike ended West Ham’s nearly 60-year absence from a European championship.
In the 90th minute, Bowen pounced on Lucas Paqueta’s superb assist and sent a volley past Pietro Terracciano to give the Hammers a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina in Prague.
With the victory, West Ham won their first trophy in 58 years and their first one in Europe since the FA Cup in 1980.
Bowen told BT Sport: “You always say you want to score in the last minute and to do it here in front of these fans. I thought I was going to cry”.
“I’m so happy. We haven’t had the best season, myself included, but to do it tonight, I’m over the moon,” he said.
“I think in my position you make that run 10 times you might get that ball once. As soon as you get it you’ve got to put it away.”
Said Benrahma scored the game’s first goal after Bowen successfully converted a penalty, but just four minutes later, Serie A team Fiorentina’s Giacomo Bonaventura equalized.
Bowen’s goal sparked wild celebrations among the West Ham players as they danced in front of their supporters after winning the London club’s second-ever European title and the first since the old European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965. Fiorentina had no answer to Bowen’s goal despite nearly eight minutes of injury time being played.
Dancing for joy! 🕺 pic.twitter.com/thBfMX3H4M
— West Ham United (@WestHam) June 7, 2023
Even though West Ham only finished 14th in the Premier League, they went undefeated throughout their European run, winning 12 of their 13 games in the competition after qualifying. The victory also guarantees the team a spot in the Europa League for the following campaign.
“I’ve had a long career in football and you don’t get many moments like this,” said West Ham coach David Moyes, whose job was under threat earlier in the season as the team was struggling near the relegation zone in the league.
Since Alex Ferguson’s second Champions League championship with Manchester United in 2008, Moyes is the first Scottish coach to have won a UEFA competition.
The first half was dominated by Fiorentina in terms of possession, and Christian Kouame’s header off the post shortly before the break almost gave them the lead. The rebound was headed in by Luka Jovic, but the goal was called back for offside.
Given that they already won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961, Fiorentina has been waiting for a European championship even longer than West Ham.
It was the first club to advance to the final of four significant continental tournaments, and it appeared to have done enough to force extra time before allowing Bowen to elude the offside trap and advance unimpeded toward goal.
“Tonight, I honestly didn’t imagine it could finish like this,” Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano said.
“We played well, had chances, [and] immediately equalised after a penalty that could have finished us. We reacted, we had a great chance with Mandragora,” he said.
— ACF Fiorentina English (@ACFFiorentinaEN) June 7, 2023
“Then with a ball contested in the middle, we did not make the right movement in defence, and it was all over. The lads were destroyed,” he added.