England international Andriy Yarmolenko scored an emotional goal in extra time to seal a stunning Europa League 16 win over Sevilla.
The Hammers eliminated the six-time winners of the competition following a 2-0 win at the Electric London Stadium.
Yarmolenko jumped up in the right place, at the right time to head the net of goalkeeper Pablo Fornals.
From the start, you get the feeling that one of the biggest games in West Ham’s history always needs more than 90 minutes.
Not a single Hammers fan complained after Tomas Soucek’s game 39order synthetic leveling minutes – such is the sheer intensity and emphatic nature of this game.
Going into extra time, the first significant quarter-final in Europe in 41 years was still alive.
And never before has a match in the Europa League – often dubbed the second-tier competition between Europe’s elite teams – be so captivating. David Moyes is the mastermind in that regard.
Never before had six-time champions Sevilla faced such difficulty against English opponents – engulfed by an atmosphere of tension and longevity.
Super Saturday at the 2012 London Olympics will always claim to have the best moment to be seen in the arena – three gold medals in 44 thrilling minutes for Team GB.
But the story is set in the days leading up to this story before seeping into the ground through the stadium’s announcer: the biggest football match in the history of London stadiums.
London Stadium has been called many things since West Ham set up camp here in 2016 – lifeless, lifeless, perhaps too big and too ambitious for the club trying to fill it.
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However, none of that is true given that there are rarely witnessed pre-match scenes surrounding these parts – not since Moyes shook hands with the Hammers on this European roadshow run.
Tonight, it has a lot. On the jar. The lights: average number. DJ, on loan from Wembley after his antics at Euro 2020: contagious.
Both teams emerged from the tunnel to a rapturous soundtrack from the stands. The club promised there wouldn’t be an empty seat in this 60,000-seat arena, and the fans delivered.
Now is the time for the players to do the same. The first leg was defined by missed opportunities and missed opportunities, and the return leg came just as early.
Manuel Lanzini’s slot in the backline of Sevilla allowed Fornals to drop over his shoulder but his volley was well saved by Nemanja Gudelj.
Returning veteran Sevilla midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Thomas Delaney helped stop the tide and quickly dampened a raving crowd with some excellent possession.
Anothony Martial – starting this time – plays at Ludwig Augustinsson on the left and his defender keeps Youssef En-Nesyri ready to shoot.
Alphonse Areola tried his best to make a successful save.
The Hammers survived and were almost hit back thanks to a brilliantly deft pass from Said Benrahma, only for Michail Antonio to beat his attempt and Gudelj to deny Soucek from touch.
The Czech midfielder will soon have his revenge six minutes before the end of the first half. Antonio made up for his mess with an accurate pass to the post after scrambling for space.
Soucek spotted a mismatch with Augustinsson and repeated his header into the next net. Cue pandamonium. Cue delirious. Cue the crazy Moyes bounced along the touchline.
God knows what the Scots would do if Soucek had gone one more second after halftime, causing Yassine Bounou’s hand to hurt from the edge of the box.
The dominance of Moyes’ men – the Euro rookies – was such that Julen Lopetegui was forced to make changes he probably didn’t anticipate.
Rakitic – arguably the most influential player on the pitch – was sent off after just 56 minutes in an attempt to stop Declan Rice from creating from deep.
It makes a small difference. West Ham were on the move, on the cusp of getting that elusive second. Lanzini was rejected by Bounou twice in a row.
For such an experienced team at these crucial times – especially on English soil – the guests were bewildered indeed.
As the minutes passed, there seemed to have been the acceptance of extra time.
Yarmolenko’s fresh legs were brought in in anticipation of this person going far.
And it was Yarmolenko who scored the winner to end the most perfect of all scenarios.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4921407/west-ham-sevilla-report-europa-league/ Yarmolenko scores emotional extra time goal as Hammers reach Europa League quarter-finals