West Ham United overcame Sevilla to reach their first European quarter-final since 1981,
thanks to an emotional extra-time winner from Andriy Yarmolenko.
Yarmolenko was on compassionate leave while dealing with the trauma of having friends and relatives in war-torn Ukraine.
But, after scoring against Aston Villa on Sunday,
Yarmolenko swept the Hammers past Sevilla by converting a rebound after Pablo Fornals’
low drive was parried into his path by the visitors’ keeper Bono.
The 32-year-old forward, who came on as a substitute for Said Benrahma,
celebrated his great moment by looking to the sky,
and the London Stadium exploded in applause.
He seemed nearly befuddled at the final whistle until seeing a supporter holding a Ukraine flag and handed him his shirt.
Tomas Soucek had drew West Ham level in the first half,
when he headed Michail Antonio‘s cross into the far corner with a brilliant header,
trailing by a single goal from last week’s opener in Spain.
Sevilla, who had won the competition four times in the previous eight seasons
were a significant letdown,
coming no closer than Youssef En-early Nesyri’s shot,
which Alphonse Areola expertly saved.
This was described as the tie of the round by West Ham manager David Moyes.
The Scot must be ecstatic with the way his team has manoeuvred their way into a draw that includes Barcelona and Rangers, among others.
Watch the goals of West ham’s amazing performance today!!
The last time Moyes coached a team in the last 16 of a European competition,
his Manchester United side came back from a 2-0 first-leg deficit to knock Olympiakos out of the Champions League,
and it was undoubtedly his best night as a manager.
By the halftime break,
Moyes’ team had levelled the tie,
just as they had done the night before.
Despite having a minority of possession,
West Ham dominated the flow of the game.
In midfield, Fornals and Declan Rice were terrific,
teenage defender Ben Johnson was outstanding in a tenacious defensive showing,
and Antonio, who had been a doubt going into the game,
worked so hard up front that Sevilla could never relax.
In contrast, Anthony Martial underwhelmed on his return to England,
while Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui appeared to run out of ideas as his team attempted to claw their way to penalties.
Sevilla had not lost a European tie after establishing a 1-0 lead in the first leg. In a sad time at home,
Yarmolenko made history in a moment for Ukraine to be proud of.
Full Time Sevilla – West ham : 0-2