Yarmolenko strikes in extra time to sink Sevilla and send West Ham through | Europa League


This will go down as one of the greatest wins in West Ham’s history. It was an occasion to rival the night they said farewell to Upton Park and it could not have been more fitting that the decisive touch came from Andriy Yarmolenko, who was the calmest person in the stadium when the ball fell to him in front of goal with eight minutes of extra time left.

They were all off the bench when Yarmolenko put the rebound away after Sevilla’s goalkeeper, Bono, pushed Pablo Fornals’s shot into his path. The noise, the sheer emotion, took the breath away. This crowd had seen Yarmolenko mark his return from compassionate leave with a goalscoring cameo against Aston Villa last weekend and now they had witnessed the Ukrainian provide another moment of incredible drama, sending West Ham through to the last eight of the Europa League by overturning a first-leg deficit to beat Sevilla.

West Ham had not experienced anything as big as this since moving to Stratford in 2016. It was a night that called for perfection from all of Moyes’s players and it helped that the home fans knew they had a part to play, the ground a wall of noise as the game began and the hosts pushed forward in search of the goal that would draw them level on aggregate.

Yet Sevilla, streetwise and organised, had seen it all before. Nobody can match their expertise in this competition and they were not surprised by West Ham’s early robustness. Jules Koundé and Nemanja Gudelj were ready to battle with Michail Antonio, who was available to start after shaking off a groin problem, and West Ham struggled to create much at first. Their threat was limited to set-pieces and their best moment during the opening 20 minutes was a half-chance for Pablo Fornals.

Andriy Yarmolenko pounces to score the winner.
Andriy Yarmolenko pounces to score the winner. Photograph: Elli Birch/IPS/hutterstock

There was a discipline to Sevilla, who were boosted by the return of Thomas Delaney, Ivan Rakitic and Anthony Martial, and they soon began to create chances.

Jesús Navas shot over from 20 yards and the opener looked certain to arrive when Martial cleverly released Ludwig Augustinsson on the left, only for Alphonse Areola to deny Youssef En-Nesyri with a magnificent save.

West Ham breathed a sigh of relief and soon hit back. Moments later Saïd Benrahma pushed a deft pass through to Antonio, anticipation rising until Koundé charged across to take the pace off the striker’s shot. Bono was able to make the save and the danger passed when Gudelj beat Soucek to the rebound.

Yet it was encouraging for the hosts. Declan Rice began to exert himself in midfield. Benrahma, lively on the left, grew in influence. After 39 minutes the Algerian linked with Antonio, who showed the unselfish side to his game by driving past a clutch of defenders before moving left and crossing to the far post. It was a lovely ball and Soucek, who had pulled on to Augustinsson, rose above the left-back and guided a fine header beyond Bono.

Yarmolenko shares an emotional moment with a fan sporting a Ukraine flag.
Yarmolenko shares an emotional moment with a fan sporting a Ukraine flag. Photograph: Nigel French/PA

The noise was extraordinary when the ball went in and Sevilla took a while to regain control. En-Nesyri complained bitterly after being roughed up by Craig Dawson and the Sevilla forward was furious with himself after wasting a good headed chance.

Back came West Ham, Rice storming through at the start of the second half, Bono saving smartly from Soucek. Increasingly uncomfortable, Sevilla realised that they had to slow the pace of the game. The Spaniards began to weave pretty patterns and they went close again when En-Nesyri lashed wide.

The tension was growing, with neither side on top for long. West Ham were not overawed and they had a glorious chance just after the hour, only for Bono to repel them with a cracking double save from Manuel Lanzini.

Soon it was Sevilla’s turn, En-Nesyri teeing up Jesus Corona to fire wastefully over from just inside the area. It seemed that West Ham had run out of steam. They needed a spark from somewhere, fresh ideas, but Moyes was short of gamechangers on the bench and it became nervy as West Ham sat back and absorbed pressure, Dawson and Kurt Zouma heading plenty of dangerous crosses from Sevilla away.

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Extra time beckoned, West Ham bringing on Yarmolenko for Benrhama, a ruthless touch still eluding both sides. West Ham thought they had it when a corner reached Soucek; he headed agonisingly wide.

And then it happened. Fornals cut in from the left and shot. Bono tipped it away and Yarmolenko was there to convert the rebound.



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