West Ham

West Ham 2-0 (aet) Sevilla (Agg 2-1): Player ratings as hero Yarmolenko writes Hammers history

Krishan Davis
West Ham celebrate
West Ham celebrate / Julian Finney/GettyImages
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Ukrainian national treasure Andriy Yarmolenko emerged as the hero for West Ham on Thursday night as his extra-time tap-in knocked competition specialists Sevilla out of the Europa League.

The 2-1 aggregate success means the Hammers progress to the quarter-finals of a European competition for the first time since 1981.

Sevilla set up in a very low block at a raucous London Stadium, allowing their hosts to monopolise possession and forcing the Hammers' attacking players to be patient and eke out goalscoring opportunities.

The first of those came to Pablo Fornals 12 minutes in, with the Spaniard nearly benefitting from the vision of Manuel Lanzini but his volley was well blocked.

Having created nothing of note, Sevilla must have thought they had doubled their aggregate lead shortly before the half-hour mark when Youssef En-Nesyri popped up in the box and smashed a shot towards goal, but Alphonse Areola produced an unbelievable reaction save to deny him - throwing out a strong right hand and clawing it away.

West Ham should have levelled the tie two minutes later, but Michail Antonio was slow to react to Said Benrahma's cute pass and afforded Jules Kounde just enough time to smother his finish and take the sting out of it, and Nemanja Gudelj beat Tomas Soucek to the rebound after the goalkeeper tipped it away.

The Hammers' patience paid dividends shortly before half-time when Antonio produced an inch-perfect clipped cross which was met by Soucek, whose header looped into the far corner.

En-Nesryi had his own headed opportunity just before the break, but he could only direct it wide.

West Ham began the second half on the front foot and Soucek was the protagonist again, but Bono was able to beat away the Czech's thumping strike after good work from Declan Rice.

David Moyes' side remained on the front foot but were almost caught on the break ten minutes into the half, but En-Nesyri - who became the antagonist of the piece - could only slash wide from an angle.

It was Bono's turn for some goalkeeping heroics shortly after the hour mark, with the Moroccan twice denying Lanzini - first blocking his strike from range and then reacting to flick away the Argentine's prodded follow-up.

However, West Ham's pressure eventually subsided and the match drifted towards extra-time.

The hosts seemed to find extra energy reserves in the first period, dominating proceedings and nearly snatching the lead in the 99th minute, but Soucek could only nod agonisingly wide from close range.

The Irons continued to push and deservedly found the second just two minutes into the second half. It was a wonderful, surreal moment, with Ukrainian national hero Yarmolenko tapping home after Bono parried Fornals' long-range strike. An incredibly emotional moment with the context of Russia's invasion of his home country - one that the player himself could scarcely believe.

It was enough to win the tie for West Ham. Here's how the players rated...


West Ham player ratings - Europa League

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

FBL-EUR-C3-WEST HAM-SEVILLA
Areola made a stunning save / GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

Alphonse Areola (GK) - 7/10 - Simply stunning save to deny En-Nesyri's powerful close-range effort. Barely tested in normal time after that.

Ben Johnson (RB) - 7/10 - Supported the attack at every opportunity, and very sound defensively too. Some excellent crosses.

Craig Dawson (CB) - 6/10 - Poleaxed En-Nesyri on halfway but escaped a yellow. Settled and passed well, even bringing it out from the back. So solid when needed most late on - some HUGE headers.

Kurt Zouma (CB) - 7/10 - Dominant on the ground and in the air. Provided a very calm foundation for West Ham to build upon.

Aaron Cresswell (LB) - 7/10 - Ventured forward with Sevilla rarely showing a willingness to attack. Made one hugely important interception.

2. Midfielders

Tomas Soucek, Said Benrahma
Soucek celebrates his goal / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Tomas Soucek (CM) - 8/10 - A steadying influence before nodding his side in front expertly. Some crucial aerial interventions at the back. So, so important at both ends. Could have nicked it in extra-time.

Declan Rice (CM) - 7/10 - Everything seemed to flow through him. Rare foray forward almost created a goal for Soucek.

Manuel Lanzini (AM) - 7/10 - Patient and creative as he looked to navigate Sevilla's low block. Booked for a silly lunge. Found energy from somewhere in the extra period, and made one huge tackle.

3. Forwards

Ivan Rakitic, Michail Antonio, Thomas Delaney
Antonio caused problems / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Pablo Fornals (RW) - 7/10 - Worked hard as usual, and his technical ability meant the ball wasn't wasted when he recovered it. Showed good fitness to carry his side forward in extra-time.

Michail Antonio (ST) - 8/10 - Should have reacted quicker when Benrahma picked him out in the box. Made amends with a wonderful assist for Soucek. Physicality caused all sorts of problems. Ran out of steam but powered through.

Said Benrahma (LW) - 6/10 - Did everything with such precision. Cute pass deserved an assists for Antonio. Faded somewhat and subbed late on.

4. Substitutes

Andriy Yarmolenko
Football, eh / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Andriy Yarmolenko (LW) - 10/10 - Some things you just cannot write. The Ukraine international tapped home a simply unbelievable winner. The most beautiful tap-in you will ever see.

Mark Noble (CM) - N/A

Issa Diop (CB) - N/A

Ryan Fredericks (RB) - N/A


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