West Ham overcame an almost 60-year wait for a European trophy when Jarrod Bowen’s late-game goal secured a 2-1 win over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final.
Bowen raced on to Lucas Paqueta’s brilliant pass in the 90th minute and slotted a shot past Pietro Terracciano to earn the Hammers a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina in Prague on Wednesday.
The win secured West Ham’s first piece of silverware since the 1980 FA Cup and their first European trophy in 58 years.
Bowen had earlier won the penalty from which Said Benrahma opened the scoring but Giacomo Bonaventura equalised just four minutes later for the Serie A side Fiorentina.
Fiorentina had no answer to Bowen’s goal despite nearly eight minutes of injury time being played, setting off wild celebrations among the West Ham players as they danced in front of their fans after winning the London club’s second-ever European title and the first since the old European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965.
West Ham only finished 14th in the Premier League but went unbeaten through its European campaign, coming through qualifying before winning 12 out of 13 games in the tournament. The win also means the team earns a berth in the Europa League next season.
“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.
Moyes became the first Scottish coach to win a UEFA competition since 2008 when Alex Ferguson claimed his second Champions League title with Manchester United.
Fiorentina dominated possession in the first half and nearly took the lead just before the break when Christian Kouame’s header bounced off the post. Luka Jovic headed home the rebound but the goal was disallowed for offside.
Fiorentina has been waiting even longer than West Ham for a European title, having also won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961.
It became the first club to reach the final in four major continental competitions and looked like it had done enough to force extra time before letting Bowen beat the offside trap to come clear through on goal.
“Tonight, I honestly didn’t imagine it could finish like this,” Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano said.
Just nine weeks ago Moyes watched as the away fans unfurled a ‘Moyes Out’ banner during a 1-0 win over Fulham, which likely saved his job.
Now the manager has written his name in West Ham folklore, joining Ron Greenwood and John Lyall as trophy-winning Hammers managers. A place in next season’s Europa League means the club has qualified for Europe three seasons in a row, for the first time.
He told BT Sport: “I would have to say it’s my best day in management because the moments you get to celebrate, have your family here, and win in the last few minutes of the game – we did that against Alkmaar as well – they don’t happen often. Tonight was brilliant, it’s a great feeling.