Andriy Yarmolenko was again the hero for West Ham as his extra-time goal knocked out Sevilla and sent the Hammers into the Europa League quarter-finals after a 2-0 victory on the night and 2-1 win on aggregate.
It was Yarmolenko’s second goal in as many games for West Ham since his return from compassionate leave following the war in his native Ukraine.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Tomas Soucek’s first-half header brought West Ham level in the tie and while the Hammers controlled much of the second leg at the London Stadium, they could not find the decisive second goal in normal time.
Their big moment eventually came in the second half of extra time as Yarmolenko, who came on as an 87th-minute substitute, reacted quickest after goalkeeper Yassine Bounou parried Pablo Fornals’ strike to tap home the rebound and spark yet more emotional scenes.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man
Andriy Yarmolenko has scored 13 UEFA Europa League goals, the second-most of any Ukrainian player, behind only Júnior Moraes (14).
Yarmolenko has found the net in back-to-back appearances for West Ham in all competitions for the first time since September 2019.
Yarmolenko was a little bit emotional away from the lads afterwards. For what he’s been through to perform like this is a credit to him – his desire, the way he chased players and scored two crucial goals. He deserves this. He stepped up. I’m delighted for him.
The Ukraine international’s strike proved to be the decisive goal as West Ham knocked out the six-time winners to book their place in Friday’s draw for the last eight as their remarkable European adventure continues.
Moyes: Nights like this really help you build
West Ham boss David Moyes told BT Sport afterwards: “This will be as high as we’ve had. We’ve had other nights. Avoiding relegation was an incredible high but thankfully we’ve moved on from that.
“Beating a serial winner of this competition made it a bit more special. They just keep going. You could see the resilience in them. We keep on going.
“For the first 20 minutes we were the better side without creating many chances. They became stronger before half-time.
West Ham: Areola (8), Johnson (7), Zouma (7), Dawson (7), Cresswell (7), Rice (8), Soucek (8), Fornals (7), Lanzini (7), Benrahma (7), Antonio (8).
Subs: Yarmolenko (8), Noble (n/a), Diop (n/a), Fredericks (n/a).
Sevilla: Bounou (6), Jesus Navas (7), Kounde (7), Gudelj (6), Augustinsson (6), Jordan (7), Delaney (6), Rakitic (6), Corona (6), En-Nesyri (7), Martial (6).
Subs: Torres (6), Vicente (6), Munir (6), Cruz (n/a), Carmona (n/a), Montiel (n/a).
Man of the match: Michail Antonio.
“The message was we knew we had to keep hanging in. That was more like it tonight. In the second half our intensity was great until 70 minutes then it dropped off. We picked up again in extra time and kept at it. We’ve not got the trophy yet. There are still tough games to go.
“Nights like this really help you build. I thought Sevilla were probably the favourites for the tournament. For us to beat them over two legs is an incredible result.”
Yarmolenko had been granted compassionate leave after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and missed West Ham’s 1-0 loss in the first leg in Spain due to illness.
He reacted sharply to a rebound, however, to send the London club into a European quarter-final for the first time since 1981 and knock out Sevilla, the record six-times winners of the competition.
Yarmolenko gave his shirt to a fan with a Ukraine flag as he celebrated a win that started when Soucek headed in Antonio’s cross at the far post to put West Ham in front five minutes before half-time.
Moyes said he hoped the goal would lift Yarmolenko, adding: “We’ve all been there where you’re losing and you think there’s no chance that we’re going to get a result.
“In football things change for you. So I hope maybe this changes a little bit of what’s in Yarmo’s head, maybe what’s happening in life.
“But overall, if he’s getting mentioned worldwide and then everybody else is realising the damage Russia is doing to Ukraine.”
How emotional night in east London unfolded…
After a cagey opening, West Ham needed a stunning one-handed save from Alphonse Areola to keep out Youssef En-Nesyri’s powerful strike.
The game started to open up and Said Benrahma’s brilliantly disguised pass released Antonio, but the striker’s shot was palmed away by goalkeeper Bounou before Nemanja Gudelj got to the rebound ahead of Soucek to clear.
Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell were fit to start West Ham’s Europa League last-16 second leg against Sevilla.
The duo were injury doubts after limping off against Aston Villa on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Croatia international Ivan Rakitic started for Sevilla after missing the 1-0 first-leg win in Spain through illness.
West Ham got their goal moments later to bring the tie level on the night. Antonio was involved again, and his inch-perfect cross picked out Soucek, who guided the ball beyond Bounou and into the far corner.
After the break, the Hammers went on the attack immediately as they looked to grab a decisive second goal. Declan Rice set up Soucek, but the midfielder’s first-time strike was batted away by Bounou.
The tension continued to rise as Manuel Lanzini was denied by Bounou, but chances were becoming few and far between as the game meandered towards extra time.
An extra 30 minutes were needed and many home fans thought they’d taken the lead in the tie when Soucek latched onto Dawson’s knockdown at the far post. The net bulged but the crashed into the side netting as a huge chance went begging for Moyes’ side.
However, then came West Ham and Yarmolenko’s moment to spark wild celebrations at the London Stadium.
When is the Europa League quarter-final draw?
The Europa League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday, March 18 at 12pm UK time, with the balls being drawn out at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
The semi-finals will be drawn at the same time, meaning clubs and fans can plot out their potential route to the Sevilla final.
Man of the match Michail Antonio: ‘This season is like a dream come true’
Michail Antonio (10 goals, 10 assists) became only the second player to both score 10+ goals and assist 10+ goals for Premier League clubs in all competitions this season, after Mo Salah (28 goals, 10 assists), while he is the first to do so for West Ham in a single campaign since Dimitri Payet in 2015-16 (12 goals, 15 assists).
Antonio told BT Sport: “It’s been unbelievable. This season has been like a dream come true. First time in Europe for me, managed to become West Ham’s all-time Premier League goalscorer, and we’re just enjoying our football.
“We came into the game believing we could dominate. From the first half, we were onto them, driving and creating chances. We felt that if we continued playing the way we were, we’d get the win.
“Andriy’s got the finishing touch right now and I’m so happy for him. I hope he can keep doing it.
“The only atmosphere that compares to this was the final day at the Boleyn Ground. We came out here and the fans were singing. The atmosphere was an absolute joke today. I give the win to the fans. They were the 12th man so they’re the ones who did it for us.”
The list of quarter-final contenders are:
- RB Leipzig
- West Ham
- Eintracht Frankfurt
Opta stats: Sevilla suffer first EL defeat to English opposition…
West Ham have reached the quarter-final of a major European competition for the first time since the 1980-81 Cup Winners’ Cup.
Sevilla have lost each of their last six European competition matches that have gone to extra-time, three in the Super Cup and three in the UEFA Europa League.
Sevilla suffered their first UEFA Cup/Europa League defeat to an English opponent (P9 W6 D2 L1).
Andriy Yarmolenko has scored 13 UEFA Europa League goals, the second-most of any Ukrainian player, behind only Júnior Moraes (14). Yarmolenko has found the net in back-to-back appearances for West Ham in all competitions for the first time since September 2019.
The Europa League quarter-final and semi-final draws will take place on Friday, March 18 at 12pm UK time, with the balls being drawn out at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. You will be able to follow all three draws across Sky Sports’ digital platforms.
West Ham return to Premier League action on Sunday by visiting Tottenham, live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event; kick-off 4.30pm. Sevilla host Real Sociedad on the same day in La Liga at 5.30pm.