Emotional Pablo Fornals sends a message to West Ham fans after his heroic late win over AZ Alkmaar
Ablo Fornals declared: “West Ham are tremendous” after his sensational goal ended the club’s long wait for a European final, then vowed to surpass the best moment of his Irons career by lifting the trophy from Prague next month brought home.
The Hammers are in the top flight of the Europa Conference League where they take on Fiorentina on June 7 after Fornals sealed a 3-1 aggregate win over AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands in added time on Thursday night.
David Moyes’ side, 2-1 up at home in London last week, held out a narrow advantage against the AFAS Stadion but a solid defensive performance and then Fornals’ solo effort from the bench in the 94th minute ensured that that they will play in a major European Cup final for the first time since losing to Anderlecht in the 1976 Cup Winners’ Cup.
“It’s really incredible, I’m really happy for the club because it’s been a long time that the club hasn’t been in this situation,” said an emotional Fornals in the closing stages, before borrowing the chorus that was considered Soundtrack for the European Championship of the club served adventures in the last two seasons.
“Thank you for that [fans] Who came here, they are huge wherever they go! We already know they will be in Prague too because that’s what West Ham fans do, they always have our back.”
The final will be West Ham’s first in a competition since the FA Cup defeat to Liverpool in 2006 and the first of Fornals’ career as a senior club. The Spaniard is hoping to end his fourth season at the London stadium with trophies after signing from Villarreal in 2019.
The 27-year-old was brought on as a substitute for Said Benrahma with 15 minutes remaining as the Hammers prepared for a late Alkmaar bombardment but it never came. After overpowering a defender, Fornals skilfully shot past Mat Ryan from 20 yards out to equalize.
“Hopefully not!” Fornals smiled when asked if his strike was the highlight of his time in east London. “Hopefully there will be more. It will be the first final I’ve played for a club so it’s huge for me, huge for the boys, huge for the club. We are so happy about this evening.”
Next up is the Fiorentina. Italy, currently eighth in Serie A, recovered from a 2-1 deficit in the first leg to defeat FC Basel on penalties in the other semi-final in Switzerland on Thursday night.
“Of course it’s very good to have a chance of reaching the final but after this complicated season it will be even better if we can bring the trophy to east London,” added Fornals. “We’ll try to do that.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/west-ham-az-alkmaar-pablo-fornals-b1082253.html Emotional Pablo Fornals sends a message to West Ham fans after his heroic late win over AZ Alkmaar