Scamacca celebrates v AEK

Four things we loved as West Ham reached the UECL last eight

1. Bowen's European record

If there was any doubt West Ham would reach the last eight after Gianluca Scamacca’s first-half finish, Jarrod Bowen made sure with a quick brace within four minutes of the restart.

The No20 rifled home a right-footed effort with 47 minutes on the clock, finishing a rebound after Scamacca’s effort had been saved. The goal that took him to the top of the Hammers’ goalscoring charts in European matches, before he added his second of the night just two minutes later.


The England forward showed his finishing instincts and produced a stunning header, flicking Aaron Cresswell’s cross into the far-right corner to move two goals ahead of David Cross, Michail Antonio and Johnny Byrne in continental competitions.


2. The last eight – again!

A 4-0 win over AEK Larnaca in the second leg of West Ham United’s UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16 tie booked the Hammers a spot in the last eight. It was also the Irons' tenth straight win in Europe in 2022/23.

Team photo v AEK

Last year, David Moyes’ side overcame Sevilla to reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, and this time around it will be Belgian Pro League side KAA Gent who provide the opposition in the Europa Conference League.

It is 59 years since West Ham played their first-ever European tie - away at a Belgian club called La Gantoise - the French name for Gent! The Hammers will hope history repeats itself, too, as Ronnie Boyce's goal helped the Londoners win 1-0 in Belgium on their way to a 2-1 aggregate victory on the way to winning the European Cup Winners' Cup!



3. Scamacca strikes

Making his first start since a 2-2 draw at Leeds United in the Premier League on 4 January, Scamacca looked in the mood from the off. First, the Italy striker fired an early warning sign, striking a curling effort that dipped narrowly wide of the post with AEK goalkeeper Kenan Pirić well-beaten.

But the Hammers in attendance had to wait just 20 minutes for the No7 to net his fifth goal in the Conference League. Tomáš Souček won the ball and found Pablo Fornals, who in turn played in Manuel Lanzini.

The Argentine then drove into space , before Scamacca was found to put the Irons ahead. The No7 cut inside past AEK skipper Mikel Gonzalez and prodded home.


And the pattern continued, with Scamacca enjoying his night. In truth, he might have had a second just four minutes later, but the Italian was flagged off-side after he ran onto a pass from Paquetá and tapped past AEK stopper Pirić.

In the second-half, he tested the AEK goalkeeper once more, with Bowen on hand to convert the rebound this time.


4. Divin's intervention

While Ben Johnson featured from the off – and almost netted a memorable bicycle kick after Pablo Fornals had struck the crossbar – there were a few more Academy of Football graduates to make an appearance in east London.


Notably, Divin Mubama replaced Jarrod Bowen with 35 minutes to be played in east London and the No72 was quick to register his first senior goal in Claret and Blue.

A deep corner from Aaron Cresswell was headed back across by Souček, before Mubama dully delivered with a clever tap-in from close range.

Following that goal, Moyes then introduced 19-year-old defender Levi Laing – who made his senior debut – and Freddie Potts, taking the number of graduates from the Academy of Football to feature against AEK to four.


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