Last-minute European triumph for West Ham as fans clash with police

Jarrod Bowen has admitted scoring the winning goal in a European final for West Ham United was beyond his wildest dreams.

Bowen’s last-minute strike secured a dramatic 2-1 victory for West Ham over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final in Prague and ended their 43-year wait for a trophy.

The 26-year-old winger raced on to Lucas Paqueta’s through-ball and slotted home to spark wild celebrations on the pitch, the touchline and in the stands.

Some West Ham fans clashed with riot police in the Czech city after setting off flares as they celebrated winning the trophy.

Jarrod Bowen celebrates
Jarrod Bowen celebrates scoring the winning goal (Joe Giddens/PA)

A scuffle broke out after police officers tried to confiscate a lit flare as fans gathered in the Old Town area of the city.

Riot police stormed a group after they lit a second flare, with fans responding by pelting the officers with bottles and missiles.

The Hammers also condemned the behaviour of a section of their support after Fiorentina defender Cristiano Biraghi was left bleeding by an object thrown from the crowd during the match.

“I can’t sum it up, it’s the best feeling I’ve had in my career,” said Bowen.

“When I went through I had a lot of time and it was just about making sure you put it in.

“The keeper came out and I think I fell over, I looked up and the ball was going in and I thought ‘no, this isn’t happening’.

“I spoke to my family before and said ‘imagine scoring a goal in the last minute’. To bring a trophy to this club is the best moment of my career.

“The fans as well, seeing them after the game I was a bit lost for words. It’s the best feeling of my life, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d win a European trophy.

“I’m so buzzing, all of us are just going to go mad I think. You have to celebrate.

West Ham United v Fiorentina – UEFA Europa Conference League Final – Fortuna Arena
West Ham United’s Declan Rice (left) and manager David Moyes with the UEFA Europa Conference League Trophy following victory over Fiorentina in the UEFA Europa Conference League Final at the Fortuna Arena, Prague (Tim Goode, PA)

“When the final whistle went I just thought’ this party is going to be crazy. I’m just a little boy from Leominster who never thought I’d be talking like this. My family are crying and it just shows me how far I’ve come.”

West Ham led through a Said Benrahma penalty on the hour but were immediately pegged back by Giacomo Bonaventura’s strike.

But when Bowen raced through with a minute to go, boss David Moyes almost found himself going full Jose Mourinho.

“The moment he went through I was edging down the touchline,” he said. “If it was going to be anyone, I thought ‘this is the moment’.

“But I couldn’t do a full Mourinho knee slide as the grass was a bit dry and I’d have ended up on my belly.”