Late Bowen goal gives West Ham Europe Conference title

West Ham dramatically defeated Fiorentina to clinch the Europa Conference League title on Wednesday. The Hammers won the game thanks to a late goal from winger Jarrod Bowen. It was the club’s first major trophy in 43 years.

Both clubs attempted to finish on a high level after disappointing domestic campaigns. The Hammers finished 14th in the Premier League, just six points clear of the relegation zone. Fiorentina, on the other hand, finished eighth in Italy’s top flight, six points off a European place. Wednesday’s game was the last chance for both sides to qualify for continental competition next season.

The game started with the two teams in possession of the ball a bit cautiously. Fiorentina held the ball for most of the first 20 minutes, but couldn’t create many serious threats. Despite not seeing much of the ball in this time frame, West Ham did have their best early goal-scoring opportunity. Midfielder Declan Rice shot just wide of the post from the edge of the box in the 13th minute.

England fan hits captain Fiorentina with projectile

Things took a turn for the worse in the 33rd minute when selected Hammers fans threw projectiles onto the pitch as Fiorentina were about to take a corner kick. Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi suffered a blow to the back of the head in the incident. It looked as if a heavier implement had been stuffed into a plastic cup and hurled at the Italian defender. The match was then halted for approximately three minutes after the object opened a cut on Biraghi’s head.

Fiorentina thought to take a half-time lead after the ball narrowly crossed West Ham’s goal line seconds before the break. Nico Gonzalez shot a beautiful cross into the penalty area and found Christian Kouamé. Alphonse Areola initially saved the Ivorian’s header. Then striker Luka Jovic followed up the rebound with another header that somehow went through the goalkeeper and over the line. Jovic, however, was offside on the move.

Teams trade goals within a five-minute time frame

The game desperately needed a goal. Subsequently, the referee awarded a penalty to the Hammers in the 60th minute. Jarrod Bowen knocked the ball down chest down into the penalty area, but Biraghi essentially knocked it away from the winger. Although the match referee initially did not shake hands, the VAR intervened to make the right decision.

After the foul, Said Benrahma stepped up to take the penalty kick. The midfielder sent the opponent’s goalkeeper the wrong way and placed the ball perfectly in the top corner of the net. The midfielder now never managed to convert a penalty for West Ham.

However, Giacomo Bonaventura equalized for Fiorentina just five minutes later. The Italian neatly brought the ball down with his left foot into West Ham’s penalty area, after which he carefully shot with his right. The ball somehow shot through the opposing defense and bounced off the back of the net. It was the Italian’s seventh total goal of the current season.

West Ham wins Europa Conference League in 90th minute

Bowen gave the Hammers the lead again in the 90th minute of play. Lucas Paqueta played a beautiful through ball from the center of the field into his teammate’s path as he raced towards goal. With only the keeper to beat, Bowen fired his shot past Pietro Terracciano for the winning goal. Fiorentina were given five minutes of extra time to try and level the game again, but were unable to find their goal.

West Ham now qualify for next season’s Europa League tournament. Despite finishing bottom half of the Premier League table, their campaign ended with .

PHOTO: IMAGO / Focus Images

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