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West Ham ends 43-year wait for major trophy but condemns fan trouble during final

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West Ham ended its 43-year wait for a major trophy after beating Fiorentina 2-1 in the Europa Conference League final on Wednesday.

The Premier League club scored a late winner through Jarrod Bowen to seal the famous victory, sparking frenzied celebrations inside the Fortuna Arena in Prague.

“This is fantastic,” West Ham’s manager David Moyes said after the match.

“I’ve had a long career in football and you don’t get many moments like this but thankfully tonight we’ve got the result we’ve wanted.”

Despite struggling for form domestically, West Ham has thrilled its fans in Europe over the last two seasons.

It was knocked out of the Europa League semifinals last year but managed to reward its passionate fanbase with a memorable performance on Wednesday.

Saïd Benrahma’s second-half penalty had given the Hammers the lead but it was canceled out by Giacomo Bonaventura’s effort seven minutes later.

With the game looking like it was heading to extra-time, Bowen was played through by Lucas Paquetá’s superb pass before he calmly finished off his chance in the 90th minute.

Bowen ran to the West Ham fans with his teammates in wild celebration

“I obviously dreamed of scoring but to score the winner in the last minute … you always say you want to score a last-minute winner!” he said after the game.

“To do it in front of these fans, I thought I was going to cry. I’m just so, so happy. I can’t put it into words.”

Crowd trouble

Despite the jubilant scenes, the game was marred by fan trouble.

In the first-half, Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi was hit by an object thrown from the stands as he prepared to take a corner.

Biraghi required medical assistance after being struck in the head, causing him to bleed.

“West Ham United unreservedly condemn the behaviour of a small number of individuals who threw objects onto the pitch during tonight’s UEFA Europa Conference League final,” the club said in a statement, per Reuters.

“These actions have no place in football and do not in any way represent the values of our football club and the overwhelming majority of our supporters, who have behaved impeccably in Prague this week and throughout our last two seasons in European competition.

“In line with our zero-tolerance approach, anyone identified will have their details passed to the police and will be given an indefinite ban and therefore be unable to enter London Stadium and travel with the club.”

West Ham captain Declan Rice was leading the celebrations after lifting the trophy, amid speculation around his future at the club.

The England midfielder has been targeted by several teams but was reluctant to talk about next season after the game.

“There is interest from other club that’s out there but I have two years left at West Ham. I love this club, I love playing for this club,” Rice told BT Sport.

“There hasn’t been anything yet, my focus is playing for West Ham, enjoying tonight and seeing what happens.”

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