The English won the final of the Conference League, which was played for the second time, against AC Fiorentina 2-1 (0-0) in Prague on Wednesday. AS Roma won the first edition in 2022. It is West Ham’s first major international trophy since 1965 when they won the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Said Benrahma with a hand penalty (62′) and Jarrod Bowen (90′) scored the goals for the Hammers in the Eden Arena, which had a capacity of less than 20,000 spectators. Giacomo Bonaventura’s equalizer (67′) wasn’t enough for Fiorentina.
The fans caused ugly scenes. Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi was pelted with several drinking cups in the first half of the game when he tried to take a corner. The Italian suffered a profusely bleeding wound to the back of his head but was able to continue the game with a turban after receiving medical treatment.
Biraghi was then involuntarily the center of attention for the first goal conceded. Because he touched the ball with his hand in a duel with Bowen, referee Carlos del Cerro Grande decided on a penalty after studying the video. Benrahma put the ball powerfully into the goal. Fiorentina quickly recovered from the shock and scored a remarkable equalizer through Bonaventura. The decision then came in the last minute before extended stoppage time, when Bowen shot in for the acclaimed winner. As a reward, the 14th in the Premier League can take part in the Europa League next season. In their national leagues, both finalists went away empty-handed in the fight for the coveted European Cup places.
Riots broke out in the center of Prague even before the match. Fiorentina fans attacked West Ham supporters in a bar, Czech police said. Three people were slightly injured, one of whom was taken to the hospital. In addition, officials have temporarily arrested 16 suspects.
The final took place under strict security measures. Police helicopters have been circling over Prague since the afternoon. Hundreds of officers were deployed, including mounted police officers. Two public viewing zones were set up for fans who could no longer get tickets for the game in the Eden Arena – one for each of the two clubs.