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  • by Yann Tear at the London Stadium

West Ham and Yarmolenko ride waves of raw emotion to edge past Sevilla on night to savour

Europa League Rd of 16 2nd leg

West Ham 2 Soucek 39, Yarmolenko 112

Sevilla 0

After Extra Time

Aggregate: 2-1

Talk about drama. Talk about emotion.

Andriy Yarmolenko has had to endure several weeks few of us could ever imagine. Or want to contemplate.

Somehow, the Ukrainian – tormented about events in his invaded homeland - has managed to dig down into himself to play a part in a momentous week for his club.

Scoring against Aston Villa on Sunday was a moment never to be forgotten. Tonight, at the London Stadium he managed to repeat the feat on an even bigger occasion to propel the Hammers into the Europa League quarter-finals for the first time.

With the game into the second period of extra time, the West Ham number seven – who came off the bench towards the end of normal time – was in just the right place to pounce on a rebound after Sevilla keeper Bono could only parry a low shot from Pablo Fornals into his path.

The goal raised the roof – completing a comeback of great patience and grit. It needed all of that to overcome a very resilient Spanish outfit.

The Hammers, 1-0 down from the first leg, drew level on aggregate with an excellent Tomas Soucek header sent back across keeper Bono. And who should be the provider but Michail Antonio.

Given a start, in spite of the hamstring strain collected at the weekend, David Moyes’ gamble paid off in a quite unexpected way.

A quick raid looked to have broken down when Antonio was policed out wide to the right edge of the box, after playing a one-two with Said Benrahma.

But he clipped a perfect chip up to the far post for Soucek – who rose above Ludwig Augustinsson to guide the ball expertly back towards the far corner.

The goal had not been signposted. Chances up to then had been scarce for the Hammers, for all their possession.

There was a left-foot volley on the turn from Fornals, blocked by ubiquitous Nemanja Gudelj, but Seville’s streetwise approach – given added inspiration perhaps by the success of fellow countrymen Atletico Madrid at Manchester United two days ago – was evident from the off.

They were organised, unruffled on the ball and also quick to succumb to the merest touch, winning free-kicks all over the pitch from easily-duped French referee Clement Turpin.

One in particular came after Declan Rice’s modest contact on Jesus Corona just outside the area. The striker went down in a heap, clutching the small of his back theatrically. Luckily the set-piece came to nothing.

It needed a fabulous reaction save from Alphonse Areola to deny Sevilla the opener after 26 minutes. Youssef En-Nesyri spun onto his left foot from a pull-back by Augustinsson and the connection was firm and heading for the net.

The Hammers responded with their best chance so far when the busy Benrahma’s cutely disguised pass gave Antonio half an opening, but the shot was smothered. Antonio had better luck when turned provider not long after.

The Irons were back out for the second half before the Spaniards and the intent was obvious. Rice laid a short pass in for Soucek to blast at Bono from an angle.

Aaron Cresswell pinged from outside the box. Manuel Lanzini had two bites at the cherry from another opening, with Bono blocking both efforts.

Optimism abounded. The pressure built up. A flurry of corners came and went.

Sevilla threatened only rarely. Man United man Anthony Martial – on loan to the Spaniards since January - rarely got anywhere against Ben Johnson.

But no-one could find a winner and it was on to extra time.

Soucek came within a whisker of nodding in at the far post after Craig Dawson had glanced on a Fornals corner.

It felt like we might be needing penalties to separate the two sides. Yarmolenko and West Ham had other ideas.

Hammers: (4-3-3) Areola – Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell – Soucek, Rice, Lanzini (Noble 115) – Fornals (Diop 119), Antonio (Fredericks 120), Benrahma (Yarmolenko 87).

Sevilla: (4-3-3) Bono – Jesus Navas (Montiel 105, Kounde, Gudelj (Carmona 111), Augustinsson – Jordan, Delaney, Rakitic (Torres 56) – Corona (Munir 96), En-Nesyri (Rafa Mir 90), Martial (Luis Cruz 102).


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