Fiorentina vs West Ham 1-2: Bowen Late Goal Shatters Viola Dreams

What a pity, Fiorentina. The night in Prague will be full of regrets for the Viola, who succumbed 1-2 to West Ham in the Final of the second edition of the Conference League, after giving the impression of being in control for large parts of the game.

Vincenzo Italiano’s side seemed to have something more that the English, but West Ham were cynical enough to make the best out of the few chances they had, finding the winning goal with Jarrod Bowen right at the death.

And so, the Viola fell at the last hurdle once again, just one week after bending the knee to Inter in the Coppa Italia Final. It was the fifth European Final for Fiorentina and the first in 33 years, but President Rocco Commisso will need to wait some more time before adding some silverware to the Florence-based club’s trophy cabinet.

Fiorentina showed no fear and were in control for most of a cagey first half in which there were very few chances to report. The Viola‘s ball possession came close to bearing fruit during added time, but Luka Jovic was caught offside as he tapped the ball in after Alphonse Areola had miraculously deflected Christian Kouamé’s header into the post.

Other than that, the only thing to report from the first period was Fiorentina’s captain Cristiano Biraghi being hit by a lighter from the stands by some “brilliant” West Ham supporter. It caused him a bleeding wound to the head, but the captain stoically remained on the pitch with his head wrapped in an appropriately purple bandage.

Regrettably, Biraghi was involved in the episode that brought the English side ahead as his handball in the box while marking Bowen was caught by the VAR, after referee Del Cerro Grande had failed to notice it.

Saïd Benrahma is a spot kick specialist and he lived up to his name with a perfect conversion that put the Hammers 1-0 up .

However, the Viola‘s reaction was vibrant and produced and almost immediate equalizer. Italiano’s boys’ action was spectacular: Nico Gonzales headed the ball in the middle of the box, then Giacomo Bonaventura adjusted it with his left foot and fired it past Areola with his right one.

That was the best moment for Fiorentina, who should have their second soon after. Unfortunately, Rolando Mandragora’s conclusion from an Arthur Cabral service was terrible as the former Udinese man missed the target despite having acres of spaces to hit the goal.

It was not a great game, if truth be told. As chances from both sides dwindled, the Conference League Final seemed destined to have an extra time addendum, but West Ham unexpectedly wrapped it when there was just one minute left.

It all started when Fiorentina lost a seemingly harmless ball control at midfield. Lucas Paqueta saw the space to catch the Fiorentina backline by surprise with a sharp filtering passs for Bowen.

The 26-year-old sneaked past two Viola defenders and beat Terracciano, putting a damper on Fiorentina’s hopes of winning their first European trophy since prevailing in the inaugural edition of the Cup Winners Cup in 1961. For the Hammers, on the other hand, this is the second European victory after they also prevailed in the Cup Winners Cup, four years after Fiorentina’s exploit.