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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

BREAKING: West Ham beat Fiorentina to win 2023 UEFA Europa Conference League

West Ham beat Fiorentina 2-1 to win the 2023 UEFA Europa Conference League in Prague on Wednesday. 

Jarrod Bowen struck in the 90th minute as West Ham once more proved impossible to beat in the UEFA Europa Conference League, winning their first major continental title since the 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Said Benrahma had given West Ham the lead in the 62nd minute with a penalty, with Giacomo Bonaventura levelling moments later.

The Hammers held on to win their first major trophy since the 1980 FA Cup.

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Pietro Terracciano saved from Michail Antonio in the opening minute, and West Ham took courage for a while, hurrying Fiorentina and preventing them from building from the back.

Declan Rice fired just wide from the edge of the box, but the Viola pressed and passed more effectively as a stop-start first half went on.

Luka Jović had a shot blocked at source in the box, and got behind the Hammers’ defence in the final seconds before the break.

The No7 reacted sharply after Christian Kouamé’s header looped back to him off the post, but the effort was ruled offside.

The second half sparked into life after West Ham were awarded a penalty, Cristiano Biraghi handling a long throw came into the Fiorentina box. Said Benrahma struck it sweetly into the top corner, sending Terracciano the wrong way.

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Their lead lasted just five minutes, though, Giacomo Bonaventura controlling Nicolás González’s knock-down and then beating Areola with a low, angled shot. It might have got worse three minutes later, Rolando Mandragora flashing a powerful shot just wide from the edge of the box.

However, the momentum drained away, and extra-time looked to be looming when Areola saved Sofyan Amrabat’s hopeful effort from distance. There was a final cruel twist for the Viola, though, Jarrod Bowen chasing Lucas Paquetá’s smart ball through the Fiorentina defence before angling the ball past Terracciano.

Key stats

  • West Ham have won their first major continental trophy since the 1964/65 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
  • The Hammers made it through the whole campaign unbeaten; their final record: W14 D1.
  • David Moyes is the first Scottish coach to win a UEFA club competition since Sir Alex Ferguson won his second UEFA Champions League title with Man United in 2008.
  • Fiorentina are the top scorers in this season’s UEFA Europa Conference League with 37; West Ham finished second on that list with 29.
  • Fiorentina’s Arthur Cabral is the joint-top scorer in the Europa Conference League this season with seven goals; Kouamé and Biraghi have provided the most assists: five each.

Source: AFP

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