West Ham's victory in Europa Conference League final, with Jarrod Bowen's late heroics, ends their long trophy drought
West Ham United achieved a remarkable feat by winning their first major European trophy in over 50 years. In a thrilling Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina, it was Jarrod Bowen's 90th-minute goal that sealed the victory for the London-based team.
The match took place at Prague's Eden Arena and appeared to be heading towards extra time when Lucas Paqueta made a brilliant pass to Bowen. The West Ham player showed great speed and skill as he outpaced the defenders and found the back of the net, securing the decisive goal.
Earlier in the game, West Ham had taken the lead in the 62nd minute through a penalty. After a VAR review confirmed a handball by Fiorentina's captain, Cristiano Biraghi, Said Benrahma confidently converted the spot-kick, celebrating with his own fans.
Fiorentina didn't back down and quickly responded, equalising just five minutes later. Giacomo Bonaventura showcased his skills by controlling the ball under pressure from two defenders and slotting it past the West Ham goalkeeper, leveling the score.
The first half had seen both teams struggle to create significant chances. Fiorentina dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge in the final third, while West Ham had periods without the ball after Declan Rice narrowly missed a shot early in the game.
This victory holds great significance for West Ham. It marks their first major trophy win in more than four decades, with their last triumph being in the FA Cup in 1980. The Europa Conference League success also holds historical value as it is their first European trophy since 1965.
Moreover, the win ensures West Ham's qualification for the Europa League for the third consecutive season, a significant achievement for the club. The triumph also serves as a memorable farewell for captain Declan Rice, who is expected to depart the team in the upcoming transfer window. Rice now joins the exclusive club of West Ham captains who have lifted silverware, alongside legends Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds.