Jarrod Bowen ensured the biggest game of his career had a fairytale finish as he snatched a 90th-minute winner to kick off a “crazy” party as West Ham United clinched its first major European trophy in 58 years.
A tense Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina at Prague’s Eden Arena looked like it was heading to extra time when Bowen latched onto a through ball and then outpaced the defenders before firing into the net to secure a 2-1 win.
The forward said he had been primed and ready for one final chance when it came and the celebrations looked set to last long into the night.
“I’m so buzzing. We’re just going to go mad I think. I’m not going to put a filter on it. I’m not going to give a responsible answer. This party tonight is going to be crazy,” he told reporters.
“There was one more chance and we won it,” he added to BT Sport.
“We had a dream, we haven’t had the best season, myself included, but to give these fans this moment, I’m over the moon. Never (have I felt like this in my life). This is the biggest game of my career. The emotion, there was time for one more chance. I’m just so happy.”
The winning goal, after Fiorentina had dominated possession for large portions of the game, sent West Ham manager David Moyes racing down the touchline in celebration.
“The minute Jarrod went through I was edging down the touchline; if there was anybody who was going to score it was going to be Jarrod,” said Moyes, whose jubilation had the hallmarks of some of Jose Mourinho’s exuberant celebrations.
“I couldn’t do the full Mourinho because I can’t slide on my knees and the grass was a bit dry, and I didn’t want to fall on my belly.” West Ham captain Declan Rice, who has been linked with a move away from the club in the close season, lauded Moyes as one of the club’s best-ever managers.
“There has been times this year when he’s been tested,” Rice told BT Sport. “If you actually look at his time at this club, he’s saved us twice, got us into Europe two years in a row and now he’s won this. I think he’s up there as West Ham’s best ever manager now.”
Rice joins the likes of West Ham’s other trophy-winning skippers including club greats such as Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds, something the midfielder said was a huge honour.
“To be even in that conversation is crazy. The last six years I’ve played my heart out for this club. We’ve not had it easy. To win this now, is just another level. To be in that category now, I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to get too excited.”
West Ham took the lead in the second half with a Said Benrahma penalty only for Fiorentina to equalise five minutes later. West Ham had looked to be holding on for extra time before Bowen’s heroics.
“Everyone is happy; let’s party,” West Ham Defender Kurt Zouma told BT Sport: “We were confident we would win. We had a good feeling. It is time to celebrate now.”
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