Jarrod Bowen became West Ham United’s all-time record goalscorer in European competitions on Thursday evening, as his brace helped the Hammers to a 4-0 victory over AEK Larnaca at London Stadium in a UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16 second leg.
The 26-year-old forward notched goals seven and eight in Europe to surpass Michail Antonio, David Cross and Johnny Byrne in the standings, whilst Gianluca Scamacca and Divin Mubama also found the net, the latter scoring his first professional goal for the Club.
Bowen took both of his goals superbly, racing in to convert Scamacca’s rebound beyond Kenan Pirić with his right foot, before adding his second only a minute later, when he fed Aaron Cresswell wide left, then superbly steered the full-back’s cross beyond the Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper with a looping header.
It was a brilliant night for the forward and for the Hammers, who advance into the last eight of the competition. Bowen was pleased to have got the win and his own personal accolade at the full-time whistle.
“It really does sound nice to have scored the most goals for the Club in Europe,” Bowen told whufc.com.
“My old man made me aware of it before the game actually and it’s really nice to be able to have that record. I had the shot in the first half and then two [goals] came along in two minutes in the second half – I’m over the moon.”
West Ham fans will be familiar with Bowen’s trademark left-footed goals, but both of his goals under the lights at London Stadium against the Cypriot outfit came from his right foot and his head – two types of finishes not commonly associated with the left-footed forward.
He took both expertly, particularly his header which he was able to guide beyond a stranded Pirić with great aplomb.
“The two finishes were quite instinctive, following in for the first one and then the other one dropping for me. With the two goals, the performance from the boys and getting into the quarter finals of the competition, it was really good for us.
“I could have maybe had a go myself on the edge, but I saw Cressy [Aaron Cresswell] screaming for the ball. I think he might have under-hit the cross, but it came to me, and I managed to flick it over the goalkeeper.”
While the Irons had set themselves up to progress following a 2-0 win in Cyprus last week, Bowen believed that Scamacca’s opener was vital and gave the team the catalyst to go on and score more. The win should give the team confidence when they return from the upcoming international break.
“We knew coming into this game that 2-0 was a difficult scoreline, because they’re coming into the game with nothing to lose. The first goal from Gianluca [Scamacca] was crucial in the game and it took some of the sting out of it – from there I thought we managed it really well and then went on to score more goals.
“Of course, we were disappointed with not getting a win on Sunday [against Aston Villa] and how the season has gone so far, we’ve got a break now and then we come back to a lot of games. We have big matches in there and we need to be taking maximum points and that’s what we want to do.
“We’re in the quarter finals competition, so we’re in a really good place in Europe. It would be really special to bring home a trophy to these fans come the end of the season.
“We have this to focus on but also the Premier League, which is more important for the Club right now. It’s down to us, it’s all in our hands and we need to go out and win all of the games.”
With the other round of 16 matches concluding on Thursday evening, David Moyes’ men have learnt of who they could face in the next round, with Anderlecht and Gent (both Belgium), AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands), Basel (Switzerland), Nice (France), Fiorentina (Italy), and Lech Poznań (Poland) all available to pull out of the hat on Friday afternoon.
Bowen believes that the Hammers are a team to be feared ahead of the draw, which will take place at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland at 1pm GMT (2pm CET).
"We’ll be looking forward to the draw on Friday lunchtime to see who we’re going to get," Bowen declared, "from there you’re only two games away from a semi-final, which is exciting.
“It’s different in Europe, the way of playing and the different atmosphere’s you see when you’re playing away. We’ve got to be on our guard, but we can take a lot of confidence from this result tonight."